Healthy Huskies

Healthy Huskies Update (March 18, 2021)

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

With the longer days and higher temps, I find myself longing for the sight of robins scratching the warming ground. Here’s hoping that when the crocuses come up, the number of COVID-19 cases will be going down.

In the meantime, though, we have to keep doing our part — especially since the Maine CDC reports concerning upticks in case counts and hospitalizations. People in their 20s now comprise the highest percentage of positive cases, just over 18 percent, followed closely by those under 20, who account for nearly 16 percent of all cases.

Now is not the time to let up.

Fortunately, as you’ll see below, scheduling our weekly asymptomatic tests is about to get easier, thanks to the new PointnClick web portal. I look forward to giving it a spin. Our participation in weekly screening and our continued adherence to best practices outlined in the Healthy Huskies Promise are more important than ever.

Let’s make sure we finish the year healthy and strong.
Glenn Cummings
President


Goodbye, Safer Community app. Hello, PointnClick!

If you’ve experienced difficulties with using the Safer Community mobile app to manage testing appointments and receive test results, life is about to get easier. Effective today, the Asymptomatic Testing Team is pleased to announce that the Safer Community mobile app has been replaced by a more straightforward web portal that can be accessed by smartphone, tablet, or computer: PointnClick.

The PointnClick web portal is easy to use and includes additional features such as:

  • Email and text message notifications
  • Test results in printable report format, similar to what you would receive from a doctor’s office
  • The ability to schedule testing appointments more than a week in advance
  • QR codes that can be printed/screenshot and presented at testing checkout
  • Updatable profile information
  • And the ability to complete an electronic consent form for COVID-19 testing

To ensure that the PointnClick web portal is user-friendly, reliable, and provides timely result notifications, the Asymptomatic Testing Team held two pilot tests this week with great success.

Here’s The Key Action Step: For the remainder of this semester, please sign up for weekly testing using the PointnClick web portal.


Fall Housing Selection Deadline: March 24

The deadline to apply for the housing self-selection process is next Wednesday, March 24. You can find the housing application in the housing portal — and you can find multiple room types from which to choose. For instance, In Philippi, there are singles, doubles, and suites with three or four people. In Upperclass Hall, we have four-person suites and four-person apartments. On the selection day your group leader is eligible, they'll have two times to select: the morning time is for spaces they can fill (for example, a group of four filling a four-person suite) and the afternoon is for individuals or groups looking to occupy a space they can't fill (for example, a group of two looking to take two spaces in a four-person apartment). Make sure you consult with your group about the spaces you are interested in, and that you have backup plans in case your first choice is unavailable. Please see the Housing website for more information.


Spring Sports Competition Is Underway

Director of Athletics Al Bean announced that USM has given the green light for spring sports to return to competition. USM's baseball, softball, women's lacrosse, men's lacrosse, women's outdoor track & field, men's track & field, women's tennis, men's tennis and golf teams will take to their respective competitive arenas for the first time since March 2020. Competitions began yesterday, and Little East Conference play begins March 27. Learn more about the guidelines in place for competition and schedules


What To Do If You Test Positive

Students who test positive as part of the UMS asymptomatic screening may receive notice of their result through an alert sent from the PointnClick web portal. If you receive a notice that you have tested positive or you have been informed that your roommate or housemate has tested positive, there are some important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind. And perhaps the most important don’t is don’t panicPlease see these instructions for on-campus students and off-campus students to know what to do, what not to do, and what supports are in place to help you. (Scroll down to the "Students: If you test positive for COVID-19" option on the page at the link above.)


Summer Registration Is Now Open

As indicated in emails recently sent to matriculated and non-degree students from the Office of Registration & Scheduling Services, registration for Summer Term classes is now open. Please note that Registration continues up to the start date of a class. Learn more at the Summer Registration site


"15 to Finish" Keeps You on Track to Graduate in Four Years

As you consider registering for Summer Term courses, remember that taking Summer Term courses is a great way to pick up additional credits you may need to stay on track to complete 30 credits a year — and graduate in four years. Learn more about the advantages of the 15 to Finish approach


Advising Team Says the Time Is Now

USM's Advising Team recommends that you book your registration appointment with your advisor through their "youcanbook.me" site or by calling the Advising Office front desk: 207-780-4040 (Portland) or 207-780-4555 (Gorham).. Learn more about how to access Advising support via Zoom and the team's Virtual Front Desk


For Graduate Students: The New Shaw Innovation Fellows Program

The Shaw Innovation Fellows Program at USM, a distinctive initiative launched with a $500,000 gift from USM alum David Evans Shaw ’76G, ’15H and the Shaw family, will provide select USM graduate students with fellowships for innovative and applied research projects. Emphasizing mentoring, collaboration, and engagement — and integrated with USM’s Promise Scholarship Program — the Shaw Innovation Fellows Program will award five one-year fellowships will be to USM graduate students whose projects demonstrate bold and innovative approaches to solving human, environmental, economic, and societal problems of the 21st century and beyond. Learn more about the Shaw Innovation Fellows Program


From the Asymptomatic Testing Team: New Pro Tips To Make Sure Your Saliva Sample Is Valid

  • Drink water before you fast. The Asymptomatic Testing team reports that people who come to test before having ANY fluids for the day or who are coming right after vigorous exercise/athletic practice are dehydrated and may struggle to produce a sample that yields a test result. The Asymptomatic Testing team recommends drinking at least 1–2 cups of water or clear fluid before you begin your 60-minute fast — and, generally, 8–10 cups of fluid the day before your test.

  • Understand the anatomy of producing saliva. Take a moment to note that the soft area underneath your tongue produces saliva from nearby salivary ducts when rubbed. When you arrive for testing and are well hydrated, you can use your tongue to massage that area to produce saliva and then pool it in the pocket under your tongue.

  • Let gravity do the work. While you are generating saliva by the method described above, tilt your head forward and allow your saliva to naturally come forward. Avoid attempting to pull or draw saliva from the back of your throat or mouth — an area that naturally has a lot of mucus and food particles, which can make the saliva invalid.

  • Steer clear of coffee, milky, or heavily dyed beverages before your test. We’re finding 60 minutes may not be enough time to clear the substances produced by these beverages before they come to test. We encourage you to play it safe and wait until after you test to consume those beverages!

  • Rinse your mouth right before the start of your 60-minute fast. Vigorously swish clean water around your mouth right before you start your fast. This will help to clear out any particles that may be lingering in your mouth. Participles or discoloration from food, beverages, gum, tobacco, or other substances that appear in your saliva will result in the rejection of your test sample.

  • Fill your tube with between 1 and 1.5ml of saliva. No more, no less. Check the side of the tube for measurement marks. Too little or too much can cause your test to be rejected.

  • Refrain from chatting or keeping your mouth open while you're in line waiting to test. Opening your mouth too much can cause it to dry out, making it difficult to produce enough saliva.

  • Please stay away if you're sick. If you are feeling any new or unexplained COVID symptoms on the day of your test, we want you to stay away from our asymptomatic testing sites. Symptoms mean you are no longer considered “asymptomatic” and it is more appropriate for you to consult with your Primary Care Physician or, if you are a student and do not have one, USM's Health & Counseling Services team to help direct you to any necessary testing.

Video: USM Senior Connor Blake Shows How to Ace the Test


Infographic: How to Ace Your Test

Follow these five simple steps at your testing appointment to make sure your saliva sample is valid and you're on your way as quickly as possible. 


Spring Counseling Groups and Workshops Announced

Coping with QuarantineIncreasing Happiness and Why It's Important, and A New Trail (developing healthy rituals and abstaining from substances) are among the new groups and workshops offered by USM's Counseling Team. See the full schedule of workshops and groups for the spring semester.


SilverCloud Online Mental Health Tool Available for Students

In addition to Zoom workshops, support groups, and individual counseling appointments, USM's Counseling Team is now offering SilverCloud, a free, online mental health tool for USM students. SilverCloud provides self-guided programs to help students cope with anxiety, depression, stress, sleep issues, and resilience. Based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, the self-guided modules are available anytime, on any device. The SilverCloud website provides an overview of options and a brief quiz to help you find the right program and get started. (Log in with your USM email and password.)


Lower Your Stress with Mindful Mondays 

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-based 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.


Will You Be Coming to Campus This Week?

Faculty, staff, and non-residential students, please continue to let us know your anticipated weekly presence on campus by completing the One-Time or Intermittent Visit to USM Form. Your responses help us better understand the population that should participate in weekly asymptomatic screening. If you have questions about the form, please contact usmcovidtesting@maine.edu and see the FAQ page on USM’s Asymptomatic COVID Testing site.


Video Tour of the Library

USM’s three libraries are open to USM students, faculty, and staff. Please be advised that USM-approved masks must be worn at all times, social distancing is required, no meals are allowed (small snacks and drinks are fine), and study rooms are closed. To learn more about how to access the libraries’ resources, watch this video. And for times when librarians are available to help and building hours, see the USM Libraries website.


Deadline to Withdraw from a Course for a W Extended

Students now have until Friday, April 9, to withdraw from a course for a grade of W. After grades are posted, students will have until May 28 to elect the Pass/Fail grade option in their courses. Stay tuned for details on how to exercise these options.


Campus Food Pantry Offers Pre-Order and Pickup

With this Google form, you can now pre-order a weekly bag of groceries for pickup from the Campus Food Pantries in Portland (102 Bedford Street) and Gorham (in the UCU Den of Brooks Student Center). Pickup times for the Portland and Gorham CFP are listed on the Google Form. LAC students can find food security support in the LAC Library or by emailing CFP staff. Please see the CFP website for hours of operation in Portland, Gorham, and LAC.


Sometimes Required, Sometimes Recommended: When to Use the COVID-19 Reporting Form

Employee and student use of the COVID-19 Reporting Form is sometimes required and sometimes recommended, but not required. Learn more about when the COVID-19 Reporting Form must be used and when it can be used at your discretion at the Healthy Huskies website.


Need a Study Buddy? Use Navigate USM

With the free Navigate USM app, you can easily find a study buddy for a class, see campus events, build to-do lists, manage your class schedule, explore careers related to majors and interests, find out if you have holds on your accounts, and check out campus resources — all in one place. Learn how to find and download the app.


Your Passport to Fun Activities 

USM’s Passport Initiative is your ticket to access campus programs, events, and the USM community. With uniquely numbered and assigned passports, undergraduate students can earn multiple chances to win valuable prizes — all for nothing more than having fun. The more passport-approved events you attend, the more times your name gets added to end-of-semester raffles for a PlayStation 5, an Xbox Series X, an iPad Air, Apple Watch, a book stipend, and Husky Bucks among other prizes. Check the Passport Initiative website for information about upcoming events.


Find a Zoom Lounge Location 

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.


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.


Which Face Coverings Are OK

By now, you know face coverings are required on campus. If you need a refresher on which face coverings are acceptable for use on campus, please see the System's Face Covering Guidelines


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.


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.)