Special Covid Policies
There are policies that have been implemented to mitigate the inherent risks of congregate housing in an effort to keep everyone as safe as possible. Some are listed below, though the complete list of residence hall policies can be found here. We want to be transparent about these as living in a congregate living environment requires additional rules to maintain a higher level of safety.
Will housing assignments be determined by vaccination status at all?
Yes! The UMaine System recently instituted a vaccination requirement for all students, staff, and faculty with an on-campus presence, with exemption processes for medical or religious reasons. Compliance is:
- Getting vaccinated by 8/20 and uploading your information in Pointnclick (instructions below)
- Getting your first shot by 8/20, even if your second shot is forthcoming!
- Applying for a medical or religious exemption through the Pointnclick portal under “Student Exemption Requests”
To provide verification of your vaccination information, go to the Point-n-click portal. There are also helpful instructions on how to navigate the portal here, and a video as well. You can upload your information as soon as you get your final shot - you don’t need to wait two weeks after your vaccination.
We know this news may mean some students are re-evaluating their Fall plans. We will be waiving the cancellation fee for housing if students cancel prior to August 15th. As of August 15th, the cancellation fee is 10% of remaining housing fees for the academic year.
- Guests: The Off-Campus Guest Policy has officially changed as of 10/5/21. Residents are now able to submit requests to host guests through their housing portal. To complete requests you will need the First and Last Name of the guest, their USM Student ID number or State ID number for non-students, their date of birth, email, phone number, vaccination status, and date of stay (start and end date). Click here for a video walk-through. Please note that in addition to the standard guest policy requirements, there are also some key guidelines about the process of requesting a guest currently due to COVID-19:
- Off-campus guests must be fully vaccinated - this means two weeks past their final shot
- Vaccination status for off-campus USM students will be verified in Point-n-click. Non-USM student guests will be verified by email correspondence with Residential Life - please send proof of vaccination to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Off-campus guest requests must be approved by all roommates in the space - roommates will receive an email to follow with a unique code to accept the guest for their stay. Roommates must accept the request in order for the requested guest to stay on-campus. If any of your roommates do not accept the request, your guest is not permitted onto campus.
- Off-campus guest requests must be submitted and approved by 4:30 pm the DAY BEFORE the guest is staying. For example, guests staying on Thursday must be submitted and approved by Wednesday at 4:30 pm.
- Off-campus guests staying over the weekend must be approved by 4:30 pm on Friday.
- Each student is limited to two guests at a time, not to exceed double the capacity of the room (for instance, a 4-person suite can only have up to 4 guests at a time).
- Guests must be at least 16 years of age.
- Face Coverings: Face coverings are required indoors for all persons – students, staff, faculty and visitors – regardless of vaccination status when indoors at a University facility. This is effective August 18, 2021 through October 31, 2021. This requirement may be ended or extended depending on civil guidance, the trajectory of the pandemic and public health considerations. The University of Maine System carefully monitors public health guidance and data, and will update its requirements, including this face covering requirement, as warranted. Continuation or easing of this protocol are both possible depending on circumstances. Indoor spaces include all hallways, lobbies, and common spaces outside of your unit (room, suite, apartment). Face coverings must cover your nose and mouth. More information is on the Together for Maine page.
- Quarantine/Isolation expectations: Anyone who tests positive will be asked to isolate. Students who are symptomatic may be asked to isolate for a short time while being tested. Students who have not uploaded their vaccination information into the PointNClick portal will need to quarantine per UMaine System policy.
- Common residence hall spaces, such as lounges: These spaces are open for Fall 2021.
- Assigned restrooms: We will no longer be assigning access to specific restrooms for each student for the 2021-2022 academic year.
- General compliance and honesty: There are many facets to keeping our community safe. Complying with any contact tracing done by USM or the CDC, being honest about where you’ve been or who you’ve been with, reporting symptoms if you have them, and not making choices that could expose you and your community to risk will be essential to allowing us to continue to provide housing. Our goal is not to punish students or create unnecessary restrictions. Rather, we want to ensure that we are able to continue to offer university housing to our students as we know that denying students housing could create situations in which they are unable to continue their education here at USM. In order to be able to provide housing, however, we need for those living on our campus to be honest about their own health, symptoms, exposure, and to follow the guidance of university staff and health officials.
- Health and Safety: All members of the University residential community—residents, staff, and visitors (if permitted)—will act in a manner that demonstrates respect and consideration for those around them, including respect and consideration for the health and safety of all community members. All residential students are prohibited from creating a health or safety hazard to others within the residence halls, apartments, suites and/or other University housing unit, and the University may request or require a resident to leave University housing if their continued presence in the housing community poses a health or safety risk for residential community members. Residential students are required to comply with health and safety laws, orders, ordinances, regulations, and health and safety guidance adopted by the University as it relates to public health crises, including but not limited to COVID-19. Guidance will evolve as the public health crisis evolves and may include, but is not limited to, social distancing, limitations on gatherings, wearing a face covering, COVID-19 diagnostic and surveillance testing (including before, after and/or upon arrival to campus), contact tracing, disinfection protocols, limitation of guests/elimination of guest policy, and/or quarantine/isolation requirements (including before, after and/or upon arrival to campus). Adherence to health and safety requirements applies to all residents, staff, vendors, and guests (if permitted), and extends to all aspects of residential life, including bedrooms, bathrooms, community kitchens, lounges, storage areas, basements, and other community/common spaces.
- Travel guidance for personal travel: This is based on Maine CDC requirements.
- Are there policies about my job off campus, visiting my home, activities off campus, etc?
We ask that all students do individual risk mitigation for most of their daily activities. Can someone go to the grocery store? Absolutely - a necessary and fairly low risk activity. Does it make sense to go to the grocery store daily? It's likely better to plan meals ahead and reduce your risk. Similarly, if going home carries risk (perhaps you have many family members at home, or family members are not generally limiting their interaction with others), this would be something you’d need to assess.
Students need to take care of their health and reduce their risk. By reducing their risk, they are protecting our community.
Congregating in groups is especially risky. This includes restaurants, bars, and other places with many people. Please note that while there is no specific policy about this, if there are egregious violations that constitute a health and safety hazard to the community, there will be institutional follow-up.
What if I choose not to comply?
These policies are created for the health and safety of the community. Violating them brings risk to our community. While our actions always impact a community, it's very possible that one person’s poor actions could cause significant issues on campus, including the closure of campus or infecting other students who may suffer extreme, long-lasting medical conditions or even death. Any violations of our policies will thus be documented and the consequences will be significant. Community members that endanger the welfare of our community may be asked to move off-campus. Please help us to keep campus safe and keep housing open.