Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
With just under two weeks to go until Thanksgiving and our transition to remote learning, many students at colleges and universities nationwide are doing some important thinking about the risks of contracting COVID-19 this close to November 25.
Given quarantine and isolation restrictions, the simple math at this point in time means any exposure to the virus could disrupt plans to return home for Thanksgiving. If you become infected or are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine before traveling. For students, this could mean quarantining or isolating on campus during Thanksgiving break. Travelers who are ill, are infected, or have recently been exposed to the virus are not allowed to board planes and trains.
We have all worked incredibly hard to get this far in the semester together. I want everyone to be able to enjoy a safe, healthy, and well-deserved break on Nov. 25. Especially now, please demonstrate the behaviors outlined in the Healthy Huskies Promise to ensure your safety and the safety of your family and the USM community.
To help us stay healthy, the University of Maine System and USM are administering Expanded Safe Departure Testing next week and implementing some limits through Nov. 25. Please see the details below.
Thank you. Stay strong and be safe,
Expanded Safe Departure Testing Next Week
In addition to randomly selected non-residential students, faculty, and staff, next week’s Safe Departure asymptomatic testing will include all residential students and select non-residential students that have been identified by the University of Maine System as having a home address outside of Maine and currently enrolled in a course with an in-person component.
All residential students will test:
- Monday, Nov. 16, 8 to 11:45 a.m. & 12:30 to 3 p.m., in Costello Field House, Gorham Campus.
Randomly selected commuter students, faculty, and staff will test:
- Monday, Nov. 16, 8 to 11:45 a.m. & 12:30 to 3 p.m., Costello Field House, Gorham Campus
- Tuesday. Nov. 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Abromson Center, Portland Campus
- Thursday, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Rm 108/109, Lewiston
To find out if you have been randomly selected for testing, check your email to see if you received a message from email@example.com with all the details. For more information on next week’s testing dates, times, and locations, see the Asymptomatic Testing FAQ page. Participants who have tested at any point before with USM are expected to participate again as this is a new round of testing.
Changes to Limit Community Transmission During the Final Two Weeks
In response to rising levels of community transmission and positive case counts in Maine, the University of Maine System has issued these reminders and changes through the transition to remote learning:
- Emphasizing Remote Work: Existing UMS return-to-work guidance encourages employees to be on campus only when necessary or substantially advantageous for academic purposes or other job duties. In-person instruction remains a priority. Supervisors and academic administrators will be asked to revisit and emphasize remote working options for employees within their units or departments whenever possible.
- Implementing a Two-Week Pause on Appointments and Nonessential Activities: Scheduling of new appointments for admission tours will prioritize dates and times after the Thanksgiving break, with possible differences by campus. Previously scheduled tours may proceed with strict adherence to group size and face-covering requirements or occur virtually.
- Each UMS campus is also being asked to consider delaying any nonessential work or activity that requires a campus presence until after the Thanksgiving holiday.
- Non-residential students are being asked to limit their trips and time on campus to only essential academic or health-related activities.
- Residential Students are being urged to stay on campus for the final two weeks of the semester, to avoid travel beyond campus boundaries, and to reduce their personal bubble of interactions as feasible.
- To the extent possible, student organizations and activities will be transitioned to virtual events.
Transitioning Home Checklist
As you prepare to transition home for break, here are the instructions for checking out of your residence hall:
- Complete spring interest form
- Email your RA before you leave to let them know how you're doing and what plans you have for the break.
- Remove all trash
- Take everything you need for the break
- Close your windows
- Leave the heat on and turn off the lights
- Return your keys* and keep your ID (it will deactivate remotely)
Be sure that you have taken all the items you will need for break as you will not have access to your room until you return.See you on January 19 for spring semester!
*If you live in Anderson, Robie Andrews, and Upton Hastings you will be returning your room key at the point of departure. At the RA office in your hall, there is a black box with key envelopes. Fill one out, leave your key inside the envelope, and deposit it in the black express checkout box. If you live in Philippi, Woodward and Upperclass please do NOT return your USM ID.
Our buildings are staffed all weekend, with an RA on call each night from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need anything this weekend.
What to Do This Weekend (Virtual Edition)
Please note: All events listed this week are virtual to encourage students to limit off-campus travel and exposure to others in the final two weeks before Thanksgiving and the transition to remote learning for the rest of the semester. Any exposures will disrupt your plans to return home for Thanksgiving. If you become infected or are exposed to a person who is confirmed to be infected, you will need to isolate or quarantine on campus before traveling.
For Employees: How, When to Communicate About COVID-19
As the number of positive cases is on the rise, now is a good time to review USM’s COVID-19 Communications Protocol so employees know what to do and who to contact if you test positive, have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, and other scenarios. Follow the flowchart to understand how to navigate various scenarios. If you have questions, please contact your HR Partner.
See last week’s Healthy Huskies Update for these and other reminders:
- The many benefits of using the free Navigate USM app
- Visitors to Maine From Conn., N.J., and N.Y. must now test or quarantine
- Maine and U.S. CDC guidelines about travel and gatherings
- Groups and workshops to help manage stress, grief, anxiety, and mindfulness
- The deadline for dropping a Course for a W has been extended to Dec. 11