Students and employees who verify their vaccination status by Aug. 20 will be exempt from COVID-19 testing and quarantine strategies, indoor mask wearing effective July 26.
UMS to select weekly winners of $1,000 Shot Clock Scholarships among students who have verified their vaccination status starting Friday, July 16
Orono, Maine: The University of Maine System is planning required COVID-19 arrival testing for all unvaccinated students and employees who are members of the in-person population as part of its fall 2021 return to campus. Unvaccinated community members participating in arrival screening will also be required to quarantine while awaiting their test results and wear face coverings while inside university buildings.
Students and employees who verify their fully vaccinated status on the secure UMS Portal by Aug. 20 will be exempt from the arrival testing and quarantine requirements. Effective July 26, UMS will align with changes in state of Maine practices and no longer require students and employees who have verified their vaccination to wear masks inside university buildings.
More than 5,000 UMS community members have already registered their status by using the voluntary tracking portal to upload an image of their vaccination card.
The presence of the very contagious Delta COVID variant, and reports that the majority of patients requiring treatment for severe COVID-19 symptoms are not fully vaccinated, are requiring the University of Maine System to remain vigilant about asymptomatic cases and the spread of disease at its universities. This vigilance includes planning to require unvaccinated members of the in-person population to participate in regular rounds of asymptomatic screening during the semester and to continue to wear face coverings inside university buildings.
UMS anticipates requiring vaccination against COVID-19 once any of the vaccines that have been issued to hundreds of millions of Americans under emergency use authorization receive regular FDA approval. The policy will recognize and respect that some individuals are not able to be vaccinated.
“The Delta variant is a real threat, hospitalizing many young, unvaccinated individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy who shared a “The Choice is Clear” message with the University community about plans for fall.
“Vaccination is our best defense against the threat of COVID and makes life easier and safer,” continued Chancellor Malloy. “We have no more urgent task in our return to normalcy than to get our vaccination rates as high as possible while also maintaining safety protocols for those who have not or cannot get vaccinated.”
The University of Maine System Science Advisory Board and its Vaccination Planning and Partnership Task Force are led by University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. Campus-based vaccination clinics and a student-led “this is our shot” vaccination campaign were among the steps Maine’s universities took to increase vaccination before the end of the spring semester.
Vaccination clinics are also being planned on university campuses for the start of the fall semester, including a weekly series of clinics at the University of Maine in August and September.
“We have relied on science throughout the pandemic to protect our communities,” said President Ferrini-Mundy. “We are incredibly proud of the public health commitment of our students, faculty and staff, and know that our return to campus this fall is made possible because of their leadership.”
Shot Clock Vaccination Scholarships
Students among the fall 2021 in-person population who verify their vaccination status will be eligible to be selected for a $1,000 Shot Clock Scholarship. Weekly selections start Friday, July 16. Employees who have registered their vaccination status will also be eligible for prizes. Fall classes begin at the UMS universities on Aug. 30.
“Being vaccinated is both an act of personal and community care, and especially so in the context of our college campuses where we are all so interconnected with one another. As such, I encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to please make an appointment to do so today,” said Irene Neal, UMS student trustee and a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. “If not for yourself, please get vaccinated to protect and honor the health and safety of your family, friends, classmates and everyone else in our campus communities.”
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 seven main campuses: 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 a UMA campus in Bangor, USM campuses in Gorham and Lewiston-Auburn, the University of Maine School of Law, and the University of Maine Graduate and Professional Center.