With 95% of its community vaccinated, the System is providing paid leave time for booster shots as a next step to curbing COVID threat and finishing the final weeks of the fall semester safely and in-person.
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System (UMS) informed employees today that they are eligible for two hours of paid administrative leave time that can be used to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster. Gov. Janet Mills announced on Nov. 17 that all Mainers ages 18 and older who have been fully vaccinated for sufficient time are now eligible for a free booster.
UMS offered two hours of paid administrative time for faculty and staff to get their first COVID-19 vaccine shot in the spring and has achieved a vaccination rate of more than 95% among its 30,000 students and employees.
The System is urging continued adherence to safety practices with the addition of the booster and flu shots as part of its plans to safely provide in-person learning and activities through the scheduled Dec. 17 end of the fall semester.
“Cases are still too high and the highly contagious Delta variant has been an especially grave health threat for unvaccinated individuals,” says Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “I got my booster and the flu shot at the same time and am encouraging everyone to do the same. Our university community will keep setting the example that vaccination works and doing all we can to protect ourselves and each other from infection.”
The System requires vaccination or a recognized exemption for all its students. Employees must also be vaccinated or have a qualified exemption as required by university and federal policy by Jan. 4.
UMS is discussing the potential impacts of its employee vaccination and testing mandates and booster incentive with all six bargaining units. In support of ongoing communication with employees, UMS will launch an outreach and support effort after the Thanksgiving holiday to bring all of its faculty and staff into full compliance with federal requirements.