University completes transition to distance instruction and welcomes students back to classes for the completion of the spring semester with extended opportunities to choose a Pass/Fail grade, a 46% credit adjustment on Room and Board charges, and wage commitments to student workers
Orono, Maine — Classes resume for 26,655 University of Maine System students on March 25 following a spring break that was extended by two days to allow for the successful transition to distance instruction and other appropriate modalities for the completion of the spring semester.
Maine’s public universities remain operational but most faculty and staff are working remotely and public access to university facilities is restricted in keeping with guidance from public health officials and directives from Maine Governor Janet Mills.
There are currently 291 students remaining in residence halls on University campuses due to extenuating personal circumstances. Campus occupancy has been reduced 95% from the residence hall population of 5,809 students prior to the March 13 start of spring break. Two days before the start of spring break the University announced plans to transition to distance instruction and significantly reduce residence hall occupancy in response to the emerging COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
“Today’s resumption of classes will be unlike anything before in the history of our universities,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “The transition to distance instruction and 95% reduction in our on-campus population were necessary to protect community health and help blunt the spread of the virus.”
Pass/Fail Options Extended
Maine’s public universities are all extending the deadline for students to choose Pass/Fail options for their course work in recognition of the extraordinary transitions students, faculty, and staff are making in their personal lives and in their academic plans.
“For many students the learning modalities we’ll use to finish this semester will be different then how we started and all of us have had to make a fast adjustment to a new but necessary way of life.” said Chancellor Malloy. “We will need to be patient with each other, learn quickly from our mistakes, and adapt to flexible solutions that always put students first now and when we are eventually able to transition back to in-person instruction.”
Details of the Pass/Fail extensions, other grading options, and implications for grade point averages and prerequisites vary by campus and can be found at the following links:
46% Credit Adjustment on Room and Board Charges
Room and board adjustments for students who have checked out of residence halls on University of Maine System campuses are now being posted to students’ accounts. After careful consideration the University of Maine System decided on a 46% credit adjustment on both room charges and board charges.
The percentage is based on 102 days of the full semester the student would have been in a residence hall; there were 47 days remaining in the term as of March 13. This percentage will be applied at all campuses. Once adjustments are posted campus staff will begin processing refunds for those eligible. The adjustments and issuing of refunds are expected to be complete by March 31, 2020.
Decisions on adjustment to meal plan charges for those who have remained on campus will be determined soon. Once a decision has been reached at a campus, adjustments will be posted and any refunds for those eligible will be processed immediately. The University recommends enrollment in direct deposit to expedite receipt of refund dollars. In the event a student is unable to participate in direct deposit the University recommends reviewing and updating the student’s refund address on MaineStreet.
Commitments to Student Employees
Continued Pay for Federal Work Study Students: The University is implementing a plan to continue to pay federal work study students who are not able to work on campus or via remote arrangements for the final three full pay periods of the spring semester. Guidance for federal work study students has been posted to the University Public Health Advisory Page.
Paying Non-Federal Work Study Student Employees Through April 4: The University has committed to wage payments to non-federal work study student employees through the pay period ending April 4. Wages will be calculated based on average weekly hours worked before the University response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. Guidance for non-federal work study student employees can be found at this link and will soon be posted to the Public Health Advisory Page.
The University has made a similar April 4 pay commitment to all regular employees.