Individuals who come in close contact with someone with COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine for 10 days if they are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is exempting fully vaccinated, asymptomatic individuals from quarantine requirements if they come into close contact with someone known to have COVID-19. An individual is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving a J&J shot or 14 days after their second Pfizer or Moderna shot.
The change in policy follows consultation with state public health officials. Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah shares that vaccinated individuals are no longer required to quarantine as part of a message encouraging vaccination in a “This is Our Shot, Maine” video produced by the University of Southern Maine.
“We are adding one more reason to the list of why it is smart to protect yourself, your family, and our community through vaccination,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “Fully vaccinated students, faculty, and staff who come in contact with someone with COVID-19 do not have to quarantine and interrupt day-to-day activities. It’s an important step in our march to normalcy.”
The University of Maine System’s Together for Maine public safety initiative includes weekly asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 for all students, faculty, and staff participating in on-campus experiences this semester, and contact tracing to isolate infected individuals. UMS universities maintain 529 units of quarantine space to support individuals found to be close contacts as defined by public health authorities.
“My whole life went on pause when I found out I was a close contact,” said Emily Colby, an occupational therapy major and art minor from Lunenburg, Vermont in her junior year at the University of Southern Maine. “I knew quarantining was the safe, responsible thing to do, but it forced me to miss work, practice, and time with friends. I will be fully vaccinated soon so I won’t have to put my life on hold again.”
Colby competes on the USM track and field team, and works as a resident assistant and student ambassador. She has received her first vaccination shot. She spent a week in quarantine at USM in spring 2021. Her capstone art project involves a survey of her peers and a series of six works of arts related to the theme of pandemic life and feelings (sketch 1, sketch 2).
“I spent two weeks in quarantine and my family had delayed Thanksgiving so I could participate,” said Mackenzie Bumpus, a graduate student studying student development in higher education at the University of Maine. “Getting involved on campus and in the community are an incredibly important part of the college experience and student success. The events that our team had coordinated had to be paused or transitioned to a virtual format while I was in quarantine. I missed out on the thing that I love most about being on a college campus — being able to engage with the UMaine community.”
Bumpus is from Wilmington, Massachusetts and works as the graduate assistant for Campus Activities in the UMaine Center for Student Involvement. She will be fully vaccinated as of April 26.
“I’m a residential assistant and have helped support many students in quarantine on campus this year because they had been in close contact with someone with COVID,” said Kendra Silvers, a senior studying biology with a pre-medical concentration at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. “We did all we could to provide care and comfort, but staying inside and alone is never easy. The very best alternative now is to get vaccinated so you can be exempt from quarantine.”
Silvers, from North Berwick, Maine, is on the track and field team at UMPI and works as a rehabilitation assistant in a hospital therapy unit. She has been fully vaccinated.
75% of responding UMaine Students Planning to Get Vaccinated
As part of the “This Is Our Shot, Maine” vaccination campaign, the University of Maine System Science Advisory Board and the Vaccine Planning and Partnership Task Force, chaired and coordinated by UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, are surveying students, faculty, and staff to assess vaccination plans and determine how best to provide information and educational materials to members of the community. Nearly three-quarters of the 4,200 respondents to the survey have been or plan to get vaccinated, including 75% of responding UMaine students.
“This is our shot to help end the pandemic and we are proud of how our community is responding,” said President Ferrini-Mundy. “An exemption from quarantine after complete vaccination is another strong incentive to get vaccinated as we monitor developments with the vaccines and develop our plans for the fall.”
The University of Maine System and the Vaccination Planning and Partnership Task Force are constantly monitoring developments with the vaccines currently in use under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization approval process. UMS is encouraging but not requiring vaccination at this time.
The fall semester is more than four months away and UMS has not yet established vaccination requirements for when classes resume.
About the University of Maine System
Established in 1968, the University of Maine System (UMS) unites six distinctive public universities, comprising 10 campuses and numerous centers, in the common purpose of providing quality higher education while delivering on its traditional tripartite mission of teaching, research, and public service.
In 2020 UMS became the first and only statewide enterprise of public higher education in the country to transition to a unified accreditation for the system. Much different than a merger or consolidation, unified accreditation is a new operating model for the University of Maine System that removes the primary barrier to inter-institutional collaboration.
A comprehensive public institution of higher education, UMS serves more than 30,000 students annually and is supported by the efforts of more than 2,000 full-time and part-time faculty, more than 3,000 regular full-time and part-time staff, and a complement of part-time temporary (adjunct) faculty.
Reaching more than 500,000 people annually through educational and cultural offerings, the University of Maine System also benefits from more than two-thirds of its alumni population residing within the state; more than 123,000 individuals.
The System consists of six universities: The University of Maine (UMaine), including its regional campus the University of Maine at Machias (UMM); the University of Maine at Augusta (UMA); the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF); the University of Maine at Fort Kent (UMFK), the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI); and the University of Southern Maine (USM). The System also includes the University of Maine School of Law and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.