Delta Variant Expedites Student Vaccination Requirement Plans at University of Maine System

Students participating in an on-campus experience this fall must begin process of becoming fully vaccinated by August 20 

Discussions are underway with bargaining unit partners for similar policy for faculty and staff 

Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System will require COVID-19 vaccination of all students engaged in an on-campus experience this fall. Discussions are underway with labor leaders for a similar policy for university faculty and staff.  The University of Maine System began signaling in the spring semester its intention to require vaccination once full FDA approval had been issued for one of the COVID-19 vaccines.  

UMS is expediting requirement plans amidst growing concerns about the severity and infectiousness of the Delta variant.  More than 10,300 university community members have already voluntarily verified their vaccination status as part of the ongoing university Shot Clock campaign using the UMS online portal.  

Students who verify their status or get their first shot toward full immunity by Aug. 20 will remain eligible to participate in on-campus activities in the fall semester.  Students also have an opportunity to request and receive an exemption to the vaccine requirement for a documented medical contraindication or a sincerely held religious belief.

Exempted students and those individuals in the process of becoming fully vaccinated will be required to participate in asymptomatic screening, face covering requirements, and other safety practices to participate in on-campus activities. 

Students who do not verify their vaccination status or receive an exemption will exclude themselves from participation in on-campus activities this fall. 

Classes begin Aug. 30 and every UMS university will be hosting vaccination clinics on campus or working to connect students, faculty, and staff with community-based vaccination resources as part of welcome back to campus activities this fall.  

Students who participate solely in remote learning will be exempt from the vaccination requirement.  Approximately 60% of enrolled UMS credit hours for the fall semester features traditional in-person, classroom instruction.  All members of the university community who are able to are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated regardless of location or instruction modality.  

Nationally, over 640 institutions of higher education and many employers are now requiring vaccination.  

“Science has been our guide throughout the pandemic and suggests that almost everyone is safer through vaccination,” said Chancellor Malloy. “The data around the Delta variant is sobering and we are expediting our plans to require vaccination for our in-person population as part of our multifaceted approach to student safety and public health this fall.”  

Last week, Chancellor Malloy and university leaders had briefings around the Delta variant and fall semester safety plans with the UMS Science Advisory Board and faculty representatives from all the UMS universities, and held extended discussions with university presidents and the Law School dean.  

“Students, their families, our faculty, and staff are right to be concerned about the highly contagious nature of the Delta variant,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy, chair of the UMS Science Advisory Board. “Vaccination reduces the severity of infection.  It is a sensible and now required part of our plans to protect the health of our faculty, staff, and students this fall.”