Healthy Huskies

Healthy Huskies Update (May 6, 2020)

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

In this last Healthy Huskies Update, I want to thank you for your cooperation this year as we worked together to keep each other healthy and keep learning together as long as possible. I know that many people predicted that we wouldn’t make it past October. I also know that many people had faith in our ability to make the sacrifices required to make this year work under extraordinary circumstances.

The members of the President’s Cabinet and I are deeply grateful to all of you for adopting and sticking to the Healthy Huskies Promise and for the patience and flexibility you demonstrated this unforgettable year.

This expression of gratitude is not to suggest that we are all the way through this dark tunnel. But we can clearly see the light at the end of it. Our commitment to getting vaccinated is making a difference. Getting vaccinated is the fastest way back to normal — something I think we all want and look forward to. If you haven’t yet been vaccinated, please consider the benefits listed below as you make your decision.

Moving forward, you will be able to find the latest pandemic-related updates and information in the DoSE, the regular Dean of Students email, as well as other regular University communications. So please continue to check your email after the semester ends.

I know this is an incredibly busy time for the USM community. Moving out of the residence halls, completing final exams and projects, and grading those final exams and projects are all increasing the demands on our time and energy. I wish you a strong finish to the semester and success with all of your work.

With congratulations to those who are about to receive their degrees this Saturday and all best wishes for a joyous Mother’s Day,

Glenn Cummings
President, The University of Southern Maine


Christina’s Check-out Reminders

Director of Housing and Residential Life Christina Lowery recently messaged all residential students with important reminders regarding departure from the residence halls:

  • Whether you have or haven’t yet left for the semester, make sure you complete the express checkout form in the housing portal. That lets us know you’ve left campus. You can find the housing portal under your USM Quicklinks, and there should be express checkout QR codes posted in your hall as well.

  • Have reusable items you don’t want to move home? There are “Mindful Move-out Tables” in each building. Simply place the items there, and they will be picked up at the conclusion of move-out. This is a great way for us to reduce waste when you leave.

  • Additionally, please make sure you defrost your fridge when you leave, and take out all your trash and recycling. Please take the extra couple of minutes to make sure recycling makes it to the right bin to reduce waste. Be sure to double-check your drawers before you leave, too. (Finding one full drawer is common after everyone leaves!) Lastly, if you have roommates, coordinate with them. Don’t leave the last person with the responsibility of cleaning the room.

Dining Location Hours on Friday, May 7

A reminder that Brooks Dining and the Husky Hideaway close at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 7, for the semester. Residential meal plan dollars and Bonus Dollars DO NOT roll over to fall semester, so May 7 will be the last day to use them. Commuter Meal plan dollars DO roll over into the fall semester.

  • Brooks Dining Hall will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 7
  • The Husky Hideaway will be open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, May 7
  • Luther Bonney Cafe will be open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Friday, May 7

Fully Vaccinated Can Be Exempt from Testing and Quarantining

Per the Chancellor's recent announcement, asymptomatic students, staff, and faculty who would otherwise be required to participate in asymptomatic COVID-19 testing (which currently involves weekly testing) and who otherwise would be required to quarantine when determined to be a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case, may be exempted from testing and quarantining if they are fully vaccinated and provide verification of their fully vaccinated status to the University.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

To voluntarily provide verification of vaccination, select the “Enter My COVID-19 Vaccine Information” option on the PointNClick website.

The quarantine exemption is available now to those who submit verification and upon review of the specific circumstances. The testing exemption from asymptomatic testing is available effective May 9, 2021, to all those who submit bona fide verification of vaccination. Your participation in this process is voluntary. If you choose to participate in this voluntary process, your vaccination record will be stored within the PointNClick System ONLY. The PointNClick system is a secure electronic medical record system used by healthcare providers and universities around the globe. By providing your vaccination record, you are consenting to and authorizing the University of Maine System to verify and use your COVID-19 vaccination status ONLY for pandemic management purposes, including in compliance with the state of Maine, CDC, and other applicable laws, regulations, guidance or standards, which may include exemption from quarantine or testing in certain circumstances.


New Vaccination Clinic Options:

Community Pharmacy will be conducting COVID-19 vaccination clinics at the Windham Raymond Adult Education building located at 406 Gray Road, Windham, on Wednesday, May 19, and Wednesday, May 26. The vaccine clinic on May 19 will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The vaccine clinic on May 26 will run from 4 to 7 p.m.

Community Pharmacy will be administering both the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine. Please use the links below to sign up for a time and indicate which vaccination you would like to receive. If you choose to receive the Moderna vaccine, your second appointment will be scheduled once you receive your first vaccination. Sign-ups will remain open until all of the available time slots are filled. You will receive a confirmation email Monday night or Tuesday morning prior to your appointment. These vaccine clinics are available to anyone 18 years of age or older. Walk-ins are welcome; however, space is limited. You are encouraged to sign up in order to ensure you receive your vaccine.

The Portland Expo-based COVID-19 vaccination site is now offering shots on a walk-in basis. The clinic, operated by Northern Light Mercy Hospital, is open Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments can still be scheduled ahead of time; walk-in vaccinations will be dependent on weekly shipments.

Please also consider these options:


No Insurance Is Required for Getting A COVID-19 Shot

The headline says it all. Show your USM ID Card at a vaccination clinic, and it will be accepted as proof of eligibility.


Already Had COVID-19? 

The CDC recommends people should be vaccinated regardless of whether they have already had COVID-19. To learn why, please see the CDC's vaccination FAQ page


System Issues Updated Guidance on Face Coverings

As indicated on the Together for Maine website, face coverings are now

  • Required at all times when indoors on University of Maine System campuses, property, and facilities, and at all other times when indoors on University business. More details, exceptions, and information are available on the Together For Maine website (please see the "When do I need to wear a face covering on campus? (04/29/2021)" entry).
  • Recommended but not required when outdoors in circumstances that make physical distancing difficult to maintain.
  • Not required when outdoors in circumstances when physical distancing is readily maintained.

The University of Maine System asks everyone to aim for not just technical compliance with the face-covering requirement but also meeting the spirit and intention of the face-covering requirement when wearing your own face covering.

Current exceptions to the University’s face covering requirement include:

  • When a person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door
  • When eating or drinking in a space where eating or drinking is permitted
  • When a medical accommodation has been granted by the appropriate University official
  • When a situation (e.g. childcare settings) or a person (e.g. children younger than 2) are specifically exempted by Maine civil authorities
  • In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.

There is no exception to the face-covering requirement for instructional purposes. Physical barriers, such as clear plastic screens, may be used in combination with a face covering but are not a substitute for face coverings.

These updates, effective April 29, 2021, are in keeping with updated orders of Maine civil authorities as announced April 27, 2021. These changes do not alter the University’s physical distancing requirements. See "University of Maine System and campuses summer 2021 general operations (04/29/2021)" for the latest physical distancing and group gathering requirements.


Testing Continues This Summer

Phase 7 weekly summer testing for all students, faculty, and staff with an in-person presence on campus starts the week of May 10. (As indicated above, students, faculty, and staff who are fully vaccinated are exempt from participating in asymptomatic testing.) Learn more about new testing times and locations at usm.maine.edu/covidtest. Faculty, staff, and non-residential students who are not fully vaccinated, please continue to let us know your anticipated weekly presence on campus by completing the One-Time or Intermittent Visit to USM Form. If you have questions about the form, please contact usmcovidtesting@maine.edu and see the FAQ page on USM’s Asymptomatic COVID Testing site. 


Advising is Available During the Summer

USM’s Advising Team reminds you that advising support is available all summer through Zoom, email, or phone: 207-780-4040 (Portland) or 207-780-4555 (Gorham). Students can use the 'You Can Book Me' pages to set up an appointment, just as they would during the regular school year. Learn more about how to access Advising support via Zoom and the team's Virtual Front Desk.


The Counseling Team’s Update on Summer Support

As the end of the semester draws near, many of the Counseling Team’s groups and workshops are coming to a close. Counseling Services will still be open during the summer with reduced staff. Please see the Counseling Team’s recent email for information on how to connect with the office and use the SilverCloud online mental health tool.


Introductory Stress Relief Sessions, Thursday Evenings Through Mid-May

Academic Advisor and Nationally Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) Katie Tomer will offer special Introductory Breathwork and Meditation sessions Thursdays from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m. through mid-May to support staff, faculty, and students. These Zoom-based sessions are open to all USM community members along with friends and family. 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. Sessions will be held April 29, May 5, and May 13. The zoom link for the sessions will be maine.zoom.us/my/katietomer.


Watch: Hannah, Jon, and Dr. Shah's Vaccination Video


Testing During Ramadan

For Huskies who will be fasting in observance of the holy month of Ramadan, from the evening of April 12 through May 12, USM's Asymptomatic Testing Team encourages you to take your COVID test as early in the morning as possible. This will provide you with the best chance of being hydrated enough to produce a valid sample. Test centers will be open at 8 a.m. on Monday and Tuesday at the Gorham Ice Arena, 8 a.m. Tuesday through Friday at 109/110 Abromson in Portland, and 9 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday in Rm. 283 at Lewiston-Auburn Campus. If you are have having difficulty making this work, please email usmcovidtesting@maine.edu


Scheduling Your Next Testing Appointment with PointNClick

The Safer Community mobile app has been replaced by PointNClick, a more straightforward web portal that can be accessed by smartphone, tablet, or computer.

For the remainder of this semester, please sign up for weekly testing using the PointNClick web portal.


Watch: Connor’s Pro Tips on How to Pool Your Drool


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 ClicknPoint 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.)


Housing Waitlist Is in Effect

USM's Housing team reports that the self-select housing process is complete. Four hundred and seventy-three students went through the process and have selected their spaces for the fall. If you are interested in applying for fall 2021 housing but have not done so already, you can access the application in the housing portal. Once you have applied, you will receive a waitlist position and will be able to see in real-time where you are in line for a space. Over the summer, the Housing team will communicate with all fall 2021 residential students and share move-in information, housing policies, and other details. 


The Spring 2021 Pass/Fail Option Deadline Is May 28

Concerned about a grade you earned this semester? Thinking about asking to change a letter grade to pass/fail grading in one or more of your classes? Making the switch to P/F isn't difficult. Just follow these steps by Friday, May 28


SilverCloud Online Mental Health Tool Available for Students

In addition to Zoom workshops, support groups, and individual counseling appointments, USM's Counseling Team offers 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.)


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.


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.


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.)