Healthy Huskies

Healthy Huskies Update (March 4, 2021)

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Two recent vaccination-related announcements — the Governor's eligibility expansion and the Chancellor's Job One commitment to have the UMaine System be the most vaccinated workforce in Maine — raise hopes and emphasize the ground we're gaining in our efforts to curb the virus.  

But there is still much we need to keep doing to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and everyone in the pack healthy and COVID-free. Participating in weekly testing, wearing approved face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings, especially indoors, are essential to slowing the spread of the pandemic. Thank you for your ongoing commitment to following the best practices outlined in the Healthy Huskies Promise.

Your efforts are at the heart of our optimism for increasingly normal summer and fall academic terms.

With best wishes for good health and success,
Glenn Cummings

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

Housing Application/Contract for Fall 2021 Is Open

Current USM students seeking housing for the fall semester can access the Housing Application/Contract under the USM Quick Links on the MyUSM campus portal. Simply click on “Residential Life and Housing Portal” and then select “Apply for 2021–2022.” Timelines for housing selection can be found on our website. The first major deadline is March 24, 2021— the deadline to complete an application/contract to get into the online self-select housing assignment process, and the deadline to clear financial holds. Applications received after that will be queued to be manually housed after the self-select process. Looking to form a roommate group? Make sure that everyone in your group has applied for housing. If yours is a mixed-gender group, make sure that everyone has filled out the Gender Inclusive Agreement. In order to select a room, everyone will also need to make sure that they don't have any holds on their account in MaineStreet. Check out the Housing website for more information. 

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. 

Use the new PointnClick web portal to schedule your weekly asymptomatic test

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 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.

Virtual Career Week Continues

Hosted by the Career & Employment Hub, Virtual Career Week wraps up tomorrow. Throughout the week, students and alumni can have one-on-one meetings with employers to explore career opportunities and job openings, learn more about companies and organizations, network, and even interview for open positions. Career Week is open to ALL students and alumni and sign-up is easy. In addition, check out all of the open roles posted on the USM Job & Internship Board

You're Invited: The Hussey Leadership Institute

All students, faculty, and staff are invited to attend the 4th-Annual Hussey Leadership Institute. This program will be held over the course of eight sessions through the second half of March to explore the topic of Leading in a Disrupted World. The USM community can use the code "Champ21" to register for free. Learn more and reserve your spot today.

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.

Athletics Moves to @southernmainehuskies on Instagram

Your official source for the latest Huskies Athletics news on Instagram is now @southernmainehuskies. And for webcast coverage of this weekend's games and meets (feat. Men's and Women's Indoor Track & Field, Men's and Women's Basketball, and Men's and Women's Ice Hockey), please see Follow. Like. Share. #GoHuskies #LeadThePack 

Winter Athletics Contests Continue This Weekend

Please note that USM Athletics contests remain closed to fans, but will be broadcast via the internet. Find more about game/meet times, the competition, and links for webcasts at Winter competition at USM will involve several health precautions, such as requiring coaches and student-athletes to wear face-coverings during practices and while on the sidelines during competition. Referees and officials will be required to participate in on-site testing prior to home and away competition. USM's Athletics competitions also follow CDC, UMaine System, and USM guidelines as well as NCAA recommendations. Learn more about USM's 2021 Winter Athletics plans.

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 Health 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.)