Healthy Huskies

Healthy Huskies Update (Jan. 14, 2021)

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome to the first Healthy Huskies Update of 2021. I hope this message finds you well and that you found some opportunities to recharge over the holidays. With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day this coming Monday, residential students returning to campus on Tuesday, the start of spring semester classes on Monday, Jan. 25, and an even more robust asymptomatic testing regime soon to begin, today's Healthy Huskies Update is filled with information we all need for a successful launch. 

Before we get to those details, I want to encourage everyone to double down on their commitment to the Healthy Huskies Promise, especially over the coming holiday weekend. Following the best practices regarding masking up, keeping your distance, avoiding large indoor gatherings, and frequent hand washing is the best way to make sure COVID doesn't hitch a ride with you back to campus this coming semester

I look forward to seeing our residential students return next Tuesday, and I wish everyone good health and success in 2021.

Glenn Cummings
President, The University of Southern Maine


You’re Invited: The NAACP in Maine’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance

Please consider attending the NAACP in Maine’s 40th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Observance, of which USM is a proud co-sponsor. Pay-what-you-wish registration for the day-long virtual teach-in and call to action on Monday, January 18, is available online at the link above. (No fee is required for registration, but participants have the opportunity to make a donation as part of the registration process.) Sessions begin at 10 a.m. and the closing ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Please note: Dr. Kim Simmons of USM’s Women and Gender Studies Program will deliver the 3 to 4:30 p.m. lecture and Q&A, “Sustainable Activism in 2021 and Beyond.”

Student Move-in Details for Tuesday, Jan. 19

If you are registered to reside in the residence halls this coming semester, you have been emailed specific instructions about your scheduled move-in time slot and your asymptomatic testing time slot on Tuesday, Jan. 19. This email also includes details on quarantine expectations, dining services, and steps you can take now to make sure COVID-19 doesn’t hitch a ride with you back to campus. To find this email, search for the subject line “Move-in Reminders” from the usm@housing.maine.edu address. The Residential Life team will soon email you with more information about vehicle routes to follow on the Gorham Campus on move-in day and the Husky Huddle check-ins that Res Life staff will conduct during the quarantine period. Please keep a watchful eye on your inboxes for important messages over the coming days.

Asymptomatic Testing Update

Phase 4 of Safe Return Testing began at USM this week with the screening of Resident Assistants and select staff in Health Services, Gorham Facilities Maintenance, Public Safety, Sodexo, Athletics, and Student Affairs. This week’s screening was done by saliva PCR tests administered by UHCS staff. Next week, residential students, student-athletes, ensemble music students, and out-of-state commuters who have relocated to Maine for the spring term will be screened and quarantined until their negative test is confirmed. Residential students and student-athletes will be screened upon arrival to campus on Tuesday. On Wednesday, music ensemble students, select Portland Facilities Maintenance staff, and commuters who opted to test in Portland will be screened. Students required to participate in Phase 4 screening may provide evidence of a negative PCR or Antigen test to be exempted from the required quarantine. All people who are part of these initial rounds of screening have been notified by email. If you have questions, please contact usmcovidtesting@maine.edu. Please note: If individuals received a positive COVID-19 test during the break and have not yet informed University Health & Counseling Services, they are asked to do so.

The University of Maine System will soon provide students, faculty, and staff with details on more frequent asymptomatic testing that will be provided throughout the spring semester. For now, please see the Chancellor’s January 8 email on plans to increase testing System-wide, a new testing partnership, and a mobile testing laboratory that will allow UMS staff and our testing partners to more quickly process COVID saliva test results from all of our universities and in much higher numbers.

Help Wanted: Public Health Testing Ambassadors

Phase 6 of the Asymptomatic Testing regime, in which every member of our on-campus communities will be tested weekly, will require significant staffing. As noted in a recent email from VP of Human Resources Natalie Jones, the search is on for current USM employees, students and community members to serve as Public Health Testing Ambassadors on the Portland and Gorham campuses from February 1 through May 7. For information about the scope of the work, job requirements, work environment, and compensation, please see the recent email.

New Campus Locations for Key Student Services

With the closure of the Woodbury Campus Center at the end of the fall semester, several important student service offices have been relocated for the start of the spring semester. The following services have been relocated to the Second Floor of the Abromson Center:

Student Diversity Center, Prayer and Meditation Room, Student Government Association Office, Campus Safety Project, and the Student Affairs Office. These spaces are located behind the University Store. The second floor also features a Zoom Lounge and tables and chairs on the mezzanine overlooking the first floor.

Also, the Campus Food Pantry has relocated to 102 Bedford Street (on the basement level) of the white house occupied by TRiO Services, Promise Scholars, and Veteran’s Upward Bound. For hours and more information, please visit the website or email: campusfoodpantry@maine.edu.

On the Portland Campus, Dining Services will be open for business starting on the first day of classes in the lobby of Luther Bonney Hall, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sodexo will provide new hot meal options, a variety of Simply to Go offerings (salads, sandwiches, cups), freshly brewed coffee, and a variety of snacks and beverages. Sodexo also will feature LTOs (limited time offers) that will change every two weeks. To expedite food pick up, make sure to download and use the Bite App to order your meals ahead of time. Just go to the App Store for iOS or the Google Play Store for Android and type “Bite by Sodexo – Universities” to download the USM Dining Mobile Ordering App. Meals will be provided to residential students on the Gorham Campus beginning on move-in day, and in Brooks Dining Hall and the Husky Hideaway when classes resume.

New Zoom Lounge Locations

USM has designated several spaces on all three campuses for socially distanced group study, individual quiet study, and Zoom/online course participation. Please see this updated list of Zoom lounges and study spaces for the spring semester — and don’t forget to stay socially distanced and bring headphones for use in these spaces.

A Refresher on Face Covering Requirements

Now is a good time to revisit USM’s and the University of Maine System’s policies on face coverings. Prior to the start of the spring semester, please refamiliarize yourself with the face coverings that are acceptable for use on campus.

Spring Semester Counseling Workshops and Groups Announced

USM’s Counseling Team has developed a preliminary — and growing — schedule of workshops and groups for the spring semester. The Counseling Team will email students, faculty, and staff during the first week of classes with an updated list of workshops and groups that includes new additions. Remember: workshops are FREE to all enrolled students.

Mindful Mondays Continue for Spring Semester

Academic Advisor and Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Katie Tomer will continue to offer Mindful Mondays from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. every Monday, excluding university holidays. This ongoing Zoom-baed program is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Participants are invited to learn and practice evidence-based breathing and meditation techniques that have been shown to lower stress levels and increase well-being. Join Mindful Mondays through this Zoom link.

How to Be More Successful on Brightspace, Zoom

With spring semester courses starting on Monday, Jan. 25, now is a good time to revisit resources on how to be a more successful learner on Brightspace and Zoom. Find out how to submit an assignment, engage in a discussion and take quizzes on Brightspace in the Student’s Guide to Brightspace video series. And the Learning with Zoom video series is just as full of pro tips. These academic resources and many others are brought to you by USM’s Academic Gains Through Improved Learning Effectiveness (AGILE) program.

Monitor Your Symptoms with #CampusClear

System-wide, hundreds of students, faculty, and staff have downloaded and signed up to use #CampusClear, the free app that provides a daily prompt to indicate any symptoms you may be experiencing. Self-screening is easy and takes only a few seconds. Learn how to download and use #CampusClear for iOS and Android.

Course Modalities Explained

With spring semester courses starting on Monday, Jan. 25, now is a good time to refamiliarize yourself with descriptions of the various course modalities so you will know how your courses will be conducted and what’s expected of you.

File Your FAFSA by Tomorrow for the Best Financial Aid Package

Students who are planning to take courses next fall are strongly encouraged to complete the FAFSA by Jan. 15. Since some federal financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, you can maximize your chance of receiving the best possible financial aid package by completing your FAFSA before January 15. Learn more about the benefits of completing your FAFSA early.

Deadline to Request Change to Pass–Fail is Jan. 28

If you’re interested in switching a fall semester grade from a letter grade to pass–fail, the deadline for requesting the change is Thursday, Jan. 28. Learn more about the simple, three-step process for requesting a change to pass–fail grading.

Updated Costello Sports Complex Hours Announced

USM’s Costello Sports Complex on the Gorham Campus will be closed January 18–24. Beginning Monday, January 25, Costello will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, and closed on Sundays.

Faculty and Staff: Your 2020 Parking Permits Have Expired

Please see the Parking Services section of the Healthy Huskies website for information on how to obtain your 2021 parking permit.

See System-wide Campus COVID Counts

There are two ways to see the latest positive-case counts at USM and each System campus: The University of Maine System provides daily announcements of positive counts at each campus and other testing-related updates on the Together for Maine website. You can also find aggregated test result data on the System’s COVID-19 Testing Summary dashboard. (Scroll down a bit at the link to see the dashboard.)