Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As a true testament to how time flies, we’re now on the cusp of our planned transition to remote learning. In this last Healthy Huskies Update before the pivot, we bring students important information about how to transition home smoothly, as well as how to succeed, stay healthy, and stay connected during the rest of the semester.
For me, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the season of gratitude. This year, I’m especially grateful to everyone in the pack — students, faculty, and staff — for their unwavering efforts to ensure we could get to this point together. Your commitment to mask up, keep your distance, avoid large gatherings, participate in our asymptomatic testing program, and follow all the best practices of the Healthy Huskies Promise has been essential to making it work.
Thank you for your patience and resourcefulness in meeting the many challenges of the semester as well as everything you continue to do to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and everyone in the USM community healthy.
As ever, stay strong and stay safe,
The CDC’s Advice on the Safest Way to Celebrate Thanksgiving
“As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control earlier today. “Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.” Learn more about the CDC’s advice on Thanksgiving and holiday travel.
Testing: A Look Ahead and Off-Campus Resources
This week marks the end of the University of Maine System’s Phase Three Asymptomatic Testing efforts for the 2020 fall semester. Thank you to the thousands of Huskies who reported for testing when requested! Your participation helped with our efforts to curb the spread of the virus and keep the pack safe. We will begin the Spring 2021 term with required Safe Return Testing for key in-person populations in January and continue with mandatory testing of randomly selected students, faculty, and staff through May. More information about these testing opportunities will be shared in early 2021. In the meantime, students remaining in residence through the break may continue to receive requests for Asymptomatic Testing directly from email@example.com. For the rest of Husky Nation, FREE testing is available throughout Maine. See the Keeping Maine Healthy COVID-19 Testing Locations to learn where you can obtain a test. (Scroll down a bit to see the list.)
How to Be More Successful on Brightspace, Zoom
As we’re about to make the transition to fully remote learning for the rest of the fall semester, 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.
Complete the Survey, Enter to Win a $500 Textbook Credit
As part of the process of bringing student housing to the Portland Campus, the University is continuing to evaluate the demand for student housing in Gorham as well as Portland. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey before Sunday, November 22, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. As a token of our appreciation for your time, you will be entered into a drawing to win one of two $500 spring semester textbook credits OR one of 20 $50 gift cards to Hannaford, L.L. Bean, and other local vendors.
USM Advising Offers Drop-In Hours Via Zoom
Even though we’re transitioning to remote learning, USM’s Advising team continues to be available for you. Students can make appointments with their advisors using Advising's online easy-to-use booking tool. (Click on your advisor's name at the link above for information on how to book an appointment.)
Still Time — And Good Reason — to Get a Flu Shot
It’s not too late to get your flu shot before the transition to remote learning next week. Just call Health Services (207-780-5411) before going home for the holidays to make an appointment.
Counseling Services’ Updated Workshops, Groups, and Tips
Support from the USM Counseling Services’ team doesn’t end with the transition to remote learning. See this email from USM Clinical Psychologist Victoria Libby or the Counseling Services FAQ page for her Mental Health Tip of the Week as well as an updated list of Counseling Services’ Zoom Workshops and Support Groups. If you are interested in scheduling an individual counseling session please contact Counseling Services’ front desk at 207-780-4050.
What’s Open and When — Nov. 30 to Dec. 18
Zoom lounges, University Libraries, Costello Sports Complex, and Sullivan Fitness Center will continue to be open after we transition to remote learning. Please check the links provided for hours of operation information.
How to Keep Earning Federal Work-Study Funding
If you are currently employed on campus as a Federal Work-Study student this fall and wish to continue earning your work-study award, you must continue working scheduled hours through the remainder of the semester. Students who cease work after we transition to remote learning for fall semester will not be paid remaining work-study funds. You will only be paid for hours worked. Please contact your supervisor if you have any questions about your schedule.
IT Resources and Tools
Looking for IT-related support to aid you with remote teaching and learning? Check out IT Resources and Tools, which has been updated to include information on how to request, access, and/or use available tools to support your remote teaching, learning, and work needs.
Housing's Checklist for Heading Home
As you prepare to transition home for break, here are the instructions for checking out of your residence hall:
- Complete the spring housing 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.
- Please clean out your mailbox and pick up any packages at Mail Services before departing for winter break. Packages are not forwardable through FedEx and UPS per their policy, only USPS.
- Make sure to change your shipping address over break when ordering from Amazon and other online vendors to get your packages shipped home accurately.
- Make sure your phone number and addresses are up-to-date in MaineStreet.
- Check your personal voicemail to make sure it’s set up and able to receive voice messages. Please also clean out older voice messages you no longer need, as you cannot receive new voice messages when your voice mailbox is full.
Parking: If you will be gone over break but leaving your car on campus, make sure to park your car in the lot next to Hannaford field (G13 A, B, or C). Look for the long-term parking signage. If you park elsewhere on campus, your car will be towed during any parking bans and you will need to pay both towing and storage fees.
If you plan on staying over break, make sure to check your USM alerts in the event of a snow storm/parking ban. Call 207-780-4800 for snow ban notifications.
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.
Don't Miss Each Week's DoSE
Students, be sure to check your inboxes for the weekly DoSE (Dean of Students Email). Each message from Dean Mondor contains useful information on resources, events, and deadlines to help you be successful and well at USM.