University of Maine System Cancels Spring Break, Restricts Travel, and  Creates Testing Dashboard To Limit and Monitor Spread of COVID-19

Student safety and public and community health the focus of operational changes as Maine’s public universities prepare for the August 31 return to campus for students, faculty, and staff

University of Maine System has launched a testing summary dashboard to publicly report on aggregate testing activity and results that are a part of System’s 3-Phase Asymptomatic Screening Strategy

UPDATE:  20% Room and Board Rate Reduction for fall semester to account for planned transition to distance instruction at the Thanksgiving Break

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System issued new travel restrictions and an updated 2020-21 academic calendar as part of its efforts to limit travel and protect students, employees, and Maine communities from the spread of the COVID-19.  The commitment to staying Together for Maine is among seven unifying principles the System announced last month as part of its plan to resume in-person instruction this fall and fulfill public higher education’s essential educational, service, and research missions for Maine.

“Maine has kept the coronavirus under control by adhering to public health guidance and through concern for one another,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy.  “College and campus life will have to be different this year because COVID is still in charge, but with our screening strategies and sensible travel and schedule accommodations we can better protect one another and our Maine communities.”    

Spring Break Eliminated / Remote Instruction After Thanksgiving

The updated 2020-21 academic calendar begins classes as scheduled on August 31.  The fall semester includes the observance of Indiginous Peoples’ Day and the elimination of the traditional fall break.  It transitions to remote instruction following the Thanksgiving holiday.  Residence halls will be closed for the vast majority of students at the November 25 start of the holiday with instruction and exams occurring remotely through mid-December as previously scheduled.  Room and Board rates will be reduced by 20% for the fall semester to account for the planned transition to distance instruction at the Thanksgiving Break.

The spring 2021 semester begins January 25 — a week later than typical — and eliminates the traditional week-long spring break to discourage travel away from and back to Maine.  There will be a one day break on March 24, 2021.  The spring semester will end as previously scheduled.   

Testing and Results Summary Dashboard Launched

The University of Maine System is planning a three-phased asymptomatic screening and public health monitoring strategy that will include the administration of more than 25,000 individual COVID-19 tests through a partnership with The Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD.   

To promote transparency the System has launched a testing summary dashboard on its Together for Maine website to provide the public with access to an aggregate summary of COVID-19 asymptomatic testing activity and results.  The dashboard will be updated daily and will only reflect testing activity and results that occur within the partnership established in support of the System’s screening strategies.  Tests through the healthcare system or other providers are not reported on the UMS dashboard.

Testing centers on some campuses will be able to administer as many as 80 tests per hour and UMaine and USM have plans to provide 1,000 tests per day as students arrive on campus before the August 31 start of classes.  Testing results will be available within 48 to 72 hours.  

The individual universities have plans in place to isolate and support infected community members, assist in contact tracking, and communicate with the broader community as needed or advised by health officials.  

The Maine Center for Disease Control continues to be the authoritative and comprehensive source of Maine’s COVID-19 data and positive test results will be reported directly to the agency in keeping with public health protocols.  

“We are using the best available science and proven private sector partners to identify and isolate individual cases of infection to slow or prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Joan Ferrini-Mundy, President of the University of Maine and Chair of the UMS Scientific Advisory Board.  “We have been working hard and are ready to do all we can to keep our students and communities safe this fall.”  

Travel Limits — Sponsored Travel Outside Maine Prohibited

In alignment with the staying together for Maine principle the University of Maine System has posted travel guidance that continues to prohibit university-sponsored domestic travel beyond the State of Maine unless special permission is granted for compelling circumstances.  UMS also greatly discourages personal travel by students, staff, or faculty outside of Maine during the fall semester and will require a negative COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) test or a 14-day quarantine of any community member upon return to Maine from a state not exempted from 14-day guidelines per Maine civil authorities.

The System is also prohibiting university-sponsored international travel and expects to maintain the prohibition through at least the end of the 2020 calendar year.  Additional information on domestic and international travel can be found in the traveler guidance posted on the Together for Maine website.


Release Updated at 2:15 PM to reflect Room and Board Rate Reduction of 20% for the fall semester