For Employees

This document states the University of Maine System’s COVID-19 vaccination protocols for employees for the 2021-2022 academic year and provides exemptions for employees in the following groups – documented medical contraindication, sincerely held religious belief, remote work only, and outdoor or isolated area work only. These protocols may be revisited as the COVID-19 pandemic develops; and as public health best practices change or emerge; and based on current law.

COVID-19 Employee Vaccination Protocols:

The University requires in-person employees to become fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to verify that fully vaccinated status with the University, request an exemption, or adhere to alternative COVID-19 public safety protocols. The University encourages all who are able to be vaccinated to do so as soon as possible, and initiate vaccination no later than September 30, 2021.

Any employee who is working on-site at any UMS campus or facility and is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine that is either fully approved by the FDA, approved under the FDA emergency use authorization, or approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), will be required to adhere to public safety protocols to include masking, regular asymptomatic weekly testing and as applicable, quarantine and isolation consistent with University standards.
Fully vaccinated is defined as two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

No later than September 30, 2021, all employees are required to log in and verify their information through the UMS COVID-19 vaccination portal.

Employees planning to be fully vaccinated should receive their first vaccination as soon as possible, but no later than September 30, 2021.

No later than October 15, 2021, all employees should complete one of the following:

Verify that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine that is either fully approved by the FDA, or approved under the FDA emergency use authorization, or approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). A request for verification is required to be submitted and approved through the UMS COVID-19 vaccination portal.

  1. Employees are encouraged to verify their first vaccination through the UMS COVID-19 portal as soon as their first vaccination is received and then, if receiving a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine, to enter their second vaccination through the UMS COVID-19 portal as soon as their second vaccination is received; or
  2. Obtain an exemption from the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Requests for exemptions are required to be submitted and approved through the UMS COVID-19 portal. No alternative forms will be accepted other than the templates available on the UMS COVID-19 portal. All employees who have not been fully vaccinated are required to adhere to public safety protocols to include masking, regular asymptomatic testing, and as applicable, quarantine and isolation consistent with University standards.

Exemptions to Vaccination Protocols:

  1. Documented medical contraindication: a signed statement from a licensed physician, nurse practitioner or physician assistant that, in the provider’s professional judgment, immunization may be medically inadvisable.
  2. Sincerely held religious belief: a signed statement from the employee, that the employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs are contrary to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement.
  3. Remote work only: a signed statement from the employee that the employee’s job duties are conducive to remote work, that they have received approval to work remotely, and that the employee will perform all UMS work remotely. All remote work exemption requests are subject to final approval by Human Resources.
  4. Outdoor or isolated area work only: a signed statement from the employee that their job duties occur at least 90% outdoors or at least 90% in areas where others are not present. All outdoor or isolated work exemption requests are subject to final approval by Human Resources.

Employees in a higher risk category, or with severe illness or underlying health conditions or other applicable circumstances that may impact their ability to comply with COVID-19 requirements may contact the University of Maine System Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator at: 101 North Stevens Hall, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754; 207.581.1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System); or adacoordinator@maine.edu.

UMS will engage in active outreach to employees who have not submitted their vaccination information or submitted an exemption.

Employees who have started a course of COVID-19 vaccination but are not fully vaccinated (defined as two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine) by October 15, 2021, should submit this information through the UMS COVID-19 portal (https://www.maine.edu/information-technology/support/it-resources-and-tools/vaccination-verification-guide/). All employees who have not been fully vaccinated must comply with public safety protocols to include regular asymptomatic testing (up to once per week), masking, and as applicable, quarantine and isolation consistent with University standards.

Public safety protocols, in addition to those listed above, may be implemented by the University at any time, as appropriate to respond to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, public health best practices, civil authority and law. For example, the University may require universal masking, or move all courses online, if it is determined that such action is appropriate for the safety of the University community, taking into account the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, public health best practices, civil authority and law.

Compliance:

For represented employees, this document is effective upon execution of the applicable Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This document will be in effect for the 2021-2022 academic year and may be revised, discontinued, or extended at any time.

The University of Maine System’s (UMS) Universities and Law School have returned to closer-to-normal, pre-pandemic in-person operations for Fall 2021.

The return to a traditional academic year is driven by the fundamental nature of our on-campus communities, the in-person experiences that the vast majority of our colleagues and students desire, and the need to remain true to our mission to provide the most comprehensive and enriching educational experience possible.

Faculty and staff should expect to continue to return increasingly to pre-pandemic conditions and modalities. This means that employees whose duties required in-person presence before the pandemic–such as maintaining physical campus operations, conducting research and teaching in-person courses–should expect to work in person.

Employees who may want or need to alter their pre-pandemic working modalities, or to continue alternative work arrangements they used during the pandemic, will need to consult with supervisors, chairs, or deans to determine the conditions and modalities of their ongoing work. Guidance for supervisors, chairs, and deans will be distributed by appropriate senior leadership.

Not all employee circumstances are the same, of course, and therefore the University of Maine System has developed a process and a structure designed to support those who may find it necessary to explore alternative work arrangements – that is, something different than their pre-pandemic work schedule and/or modalities.

As always, if you have any questions, please call on your HR Partners for assistance and support.

(Last reviewed/updated: 09/24/2021)

For more information about where you can get vaccinated in the United States:

Please check the vaccines.gov website (External Site) or text your zip code to this phone number: 438829.

For additional information about vaccination locations in Maine, you also can check the Maine Government COVID-19 Vaccine site (External Site). COVID-19 vaccinations in Maine are plentiful, free and easy to obtain.

For instructions on using the online service to provide your vaccination information:
Visit the guide to the COVID-19 vaccination portal.

To go directly to the online service:
Verify your vaccination status (External Site).

To see the full vaccination requirement protocols for employees of the University of Maine System:
Please see the relevant specific portion of this web site.

Getting a second shot at a different provider than your first shot:

You can receive a 2nd shot of vaccine when required at a different clinic than where you received your first shot.

When seeking a second dose in Maine at a location other than where the first shot was given, you should notify the clinic where you are seeking your second dose. The time to receive a second Pfizer dose is 21 days after the first dose. For Moderna, it is 28 days.
Avoid mixing and matching vaccines.

Maine CDC recommends that you bring their vaccination card to your 2nd shot. If you have lost your card, you can still get a shot. You should inform the clinic that it is your second shot.

To replace a lost vaccination card or find a vaccination location, please see the information below.

How to replace your COVID-19 vaccination card:

If you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 but cannot find your vaccination card, these are the steps you can take to acquire a record that can be uploaded to the University of Maine System’s (UMS) vaccination verification portal. The University of Maine System only requires a digital copy of your vaccination card to complete verification.

Photo of Your Vaccination Card: If you have a photo of your card on a phone or other device, please visit the vaccination verification portal and follow the steps to upload an image.

Contact Your Medical Provider or Primary Care Physician: Contact your provider to ask if they can provide proof of vaccination from your medical records or by accessing your state’s immunization registry and provide a record or letter verifying your status for upload to the University of Maine System portal with the type of COVID-19 Vaccine administered and dates.

Contact Your Pharmacy: If you were vaccinated at a pharmacy, many pharmacies like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens, may provide individuals with digital vaccination records through their website that can be uploaded to the UMS portal. You may also be able to visit the providing pharmacy and request a copy of your record.

Contact Your State’s Immunization Registry: Contact your state registry directly. In Maine you will need to email, fax or mail in a signed copy of an authorization to release information directly to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The Maine CDC strongly recommends individuals contact their medical provider or primary care physician as a faster alternative.

Maine Immunization Program Contact Information

U.S. Centers for Disease Control:

University of Maine System Assistance

  • COVID-19 Hotline: (207) 581-2681

(Last reviewed: 09/23/2021)

Beginning immediately, benefits-eligible employees and their spouses/domestic partners covered by the University of Maine System group health plan are eligible to receive credit for meeting Level 2 MotivateMe Wellness requirements by entering their completed COVID-19 vaccination information into their account at myCigna.com (External Site)

Receiving the taxable $100/$200 incentive payment is, as always, dependent upon both health plan-covered individuals completing Level 1 requirements as a pre-requisite to earning credit for Level 2.

Available now through November 30, 2021, this special offering allows employees and spouses/domestic partners to self-identify their completion of Level 2 through COVID-19 vaccination via the myCigna.com (External Site) website.

Here are instructions on how to find the form on the website:

  1. Log into your myCigna.com (External Site) account and click on Wellness, get the dropdown menu and click again on “Wellness & Incentives.”
  2. Upon arrival on the “Total Wellness Starts Here” page, look to the lower left, find the “View All Incentives” link and click to move forward toward your destination.
  3. Once you have arrived on the “Incentives for [Your Name]” page, look to the menu of “Available Incentives” visible to the right. Option #5, “Self-Reported Activities” is the choice you will make to proceed to the Verification Form needed to enter your qualifying information to receive Level 2 credit for vaccination.
  4. You have arrived at the Vaccination Verification Form to enter your information and qualify for the Level 2 incentive of $100, (taxable). Please fill in the date of completing the goal, certification of the goal, and then click on the “Complete Goal” button.

Your verification process to qualify for the Level 2 Vaccination Incentive is now complete. Please keep in mind it could take up to twenty-four hours for the goal to show as completed.

The only information that the University of Maine System will receive from Cigna as a result of this process is self-reported confirmation of completed vaccination and date of completion.

As a reminder, incentive award amounts are paid in the last pay period of December 2021. A taxable maximum payment amount of $200 ($100 for employee and $100 for spouse/domestic partner) applies.

Note: Any employee who is completing or already has completed the PointNClick vaccination confirmation process and enrolled in the University of Maine System benefits plan is invited to enter their information directly into myCigna.com (External Site) to qualify for Level 2 credit. Please remember, to earn Level 2 cash awards (taxable), both the employee and spouse/domestic partner, if covered under the plan, must first complete Level 1. Spouses/domestic partners desiring to earn Level 2 credit by entering their vaccination information are likewise invited to confirm their status in myCigna.com as well through their individual account.

Should you experience any difficulty in entering your confirmation or require assistance, your Employee Benefits Center is available to help at:

Email: benefits@maine.edu
Phone: 1-866-269-9635.

Thank you and enjoy a healthy and safe semester!

Your HR Team

(Updated 9/17/21)

Required:

  • Face coverings are required indoors for all persons – students, staff, faculty and visitors – regardless of vaccination status when indoors at a University facility.  This has been extended to be effective through October 31, 2021. This requirement may be ended or further extended depending on civil guidance, the trajectory of the pandemic and public health considerations. The University of Maine System carefully monitors public health guidance and data, and will update its requirements, including this face covering requirement, as warranted. This face covering requirement specifically will be reviewed by October 31, 2021.  Continuation or easing of this protocol are both possible depending on circumstances. Further information is below.

Further information:

  • For planning purposes, University entities or organizations which organize, host or otherwise conduct large scale events of 250 persons or more should assume the University face covering requirement will be in place for indoor events for the entirety of the fall 2021 semester, as such events may require tickets, printing of promotional materials, and other communications that require advance planning.
  • The University of Maine System at this time also strongly recommends face coverings outdoors for all students, staff, faculty and visitors when the event or activity involves larger gatherings or crowded circumstances. This is a recommendation, not a requirement, at this time.
  • Face coverings also continue to be welcomed in other circumstances when individuals choose to wear them as a matter of personal preference. There may be certain exceptions related to security-sensitive circumstances or other matters when face coverings must be removed.
  • Exceptions to the indoor requirement:
    • When a person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door;
    • When eating or drinking in a space where eating or drinking is permitted;
    • When a student is in their own residence hall room with the door closed and is alone or is with only those authorized to reside there;
    • When a residential student is engaged in personal hygiene activities in the bathroom associated with their residence hall room;
    • When a medical accommodation has been granted by appropriate University of Maine System officials;
    • In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.
    • Engagement is ongoing with faculty and staff to discuss face coverings for faculty and others in teaching and other particular roles with the goal of optimizing a safe and effective educational and campus experience.  At this time, the only exceptions to the requirement are those above.

When face coverings are required to be worn as described above, they are to be of the type recommended by public health officials. These are generally made of multiple layers of cloth, which cover the nose, mouth and chin and are secured either with ear loops or with ties behind the head. For more information about styles and types of face coverings which meet the University of Maine System’s (UMS) requirement (and those which do not), please reference the UMS Face Covering Guide found below. Additionally, double-face masking is increasingly common. Although it is not required by the University at this time, individuals are welcome to take this additional step in keeping with guidance from public health authorities such as the CDC (External Site).

Employees in a higher risk category, or with severe illness or underlying health conditions or other applicable circumstances who may need disability accommodations in connection with this protocol should contact the University of Maine System American with Disabilities Act coordinator at:

Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator
Address: 101 North Stevens Hall
University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5754
Phone: 207-581-1226, TTY 711 (Maine Relay System)
Email: adacoordinator@maine.edu

While the University of Maine System seeks and encourages its community to come together in support of each other and our shared safety, the University will enforce the required COVID-19 health and safety protocols for face coverings, testing participation and other protocols as necessary and warranted. The University’s face covering requirements are subject as applicable to the UMS employee progressive disciplinary policy, the UMS Student Code of Conduct (Board of Trustee Policy 501) and the respective associated disciplinary practices and provisions. These procedures also apply to anyone submitting false or fraudulent vaccination verification information.

The University will be enforcing the face covering requirement. Enforcement activities may include spot checks of face covering compliance, audits of face covering compliance among groups sharing an indoor space and any other compliance enforcement efforts the University deems necessary to keep its community safe. Individuals who are found in the course of any of these or other potential reviews to have been non-compliant with the face covering requirement may be subject to disciplinary actions. Unless specifically authorized by the University to do so, students and employees, including faculty, may not conduct face covering enforcement activities. Any member of a UMS university community concerned about a violation of the face covering requirements may report that concern by calling 207- 581-2681 or by selecting your campus using this online reporting tool.

The University asks everyone to aim for not mere technical compliance with the face covering requirement but rather to meet the spirit and intention of the face covering requirement when wearing your own face covering.

Note that this and all University guidance on COVID-19 is subject to change in accordance with the evolving circumstances of COVID-19.

(Last reviewed/updated: 09/23/2021)

UMS FACE COVERING GUIDE

(04/29/2021)

Face coverings are required at all times on University of Maine System campuses, property and facilities, both indoors and outside and if traveling on university business in a vehicle with others or engaged in official university business or activities away from campus. The chart below describes face coverings that are both allowed by and not allowed by the University.

This guide does not address respirators and other personal protective equipment required to protect the employee from exposures in the workplace. Face coverings are intended to limit transmission of disease between people, not only to protect the wearer but also to protect others.

What should cloth face coverings be made of?

In general, face coverings should have multiple layers covering the nose, mouth, and chin and be secured snugly with ear loops or ties behind the person’s head.

Reference:

Type Description Meets the University’s requirement
disposable face coverings Cloth Face Covering
“Cloth Face Covering” per Maine civil authorities is a protection that covers the nose and mouth; fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face; is secured with ties or ear loops; has multiple layers of fabric which cover the nose, mouth and chin; allows for breathing without restriction; and is able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to its shape.
Clear masks, dust masks, and disposable masks (pictured), and or KN95s (non-NIOSH certification) are also appropriate as face coverings.
Yes
(See Note #1)
This category best meets the University’s requirement for face coverings on campus.
filtering masks N95 / N100 / P100 filtering facepiece (with exhalation valve) No
Any respirator that has an exhalation valve does not provide source control.
filtering masks without exhaust N95 / P100 filtering facepiece (without exhalation valve) Only with special permission and approval.
See Note #2
neck gator and bandana style masks Neck gator or bandana style covering open at bottom No
Half face and full-face respirators Half-Face and Full-Face Respirator No
See Note #3
Powered Air Purifying Respirator Powered Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR) Yes, with specific approval of appropriate university officials.
See Note #4
Face shield Face Shield No, not by itself. UMS does not allow face shields as a replacement for cloth face coverings.
They may be worn in combination with a cloth face covering.
Other methods, including homemade face masks and face shields Other methods No
  1. Employees who work in a setting where cloth face coverings may increase the risk of heat-related illness or cause safety concerns due to introduction of a hazard (for instance, straps getting caught in machinery) may contact UMS Safety Management to determine the appropriate face covering for their setting.
  2. Requires additional regulatory Respiratory Protection Program (OSHA Voluntary Use) requirements. Employees must consult with their Licensed Health Care Professional and their supervisor prior to use.
  3. These respirators have an exhalation valve that do not provide source protection. They are for workplace exposures and their use is regulated by the UMS Respiratory Protection Program.
  4. These units are not permitted generally but may be permitted with approval of the appropriate university officials if necessary for some reason as an alternative to more typical cloth face coverings.

For more information, supervisors may contact UMS Safety Management at 207-581-4055 or sem@maine.edu

As the University of Maine System continues to monitor the local, national, and worldwide incidence of the coronavirus and the illness it causes, faculty and staff members are asked to review the workplace policies and guidance on this web site which reflect established UMS approaches to a variety of workplace circumstances and challenges.

The University of Maine System’s priorities in maintaining workplace policies in the context of the current public health situation are to:

  • Encourage fairness, open communication, and concern for the wellbeing of our faculty, staff, and students.
  • Maintain a safe and healthy workplace, including minimizing the transmission of contagious disease such as the COVID-19 and adhere to all testing protocols;
  • Sustain the University of Maine System academic mission and operational integrity Potential Additional Policy Changes

Potential Additional Policy Changes
If public health conditions warrant, the University of Maine System’s policies may be further adjusted. Faculty and staff will be notified as necessary of such changes and should also check the Together for Maine web page for updates.

Questions may be directed to your campus Human Resources Office.

(Last reviewed/updated: 02/10/2020)

Important Information About Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Benefits and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: On Thursday, March 11, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). The University of Maine System has elected to continue to provide Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) benefits to eligible employees through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The expanded use of FFCRA through the ARPA helps individuals and their families meet the variety of challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new benefits under FFCRA/ARPA are effective April 1 through September 30, 2021.

What’s New?

  • FFCRA Sick Leave and Family Care benefits of 80 hours (prorated for part-time employees) will begin anew on April 1, 2021, regardless of prior usage.
  • The legislation added reasons for using sick leave to include vaccination related time, such as getting vaccinated or recovering from the health related effects of a vaccination.
  • The American Rescue Plan Act also extended FFCRA Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) benefits through September 30, 2021. EFMLA benefits have been expanded to a total period of 12 weeks up to a maximum of $12,000.

While this news is most welcome for University of Maine System employees, it does hold the possibility of creating some confusion about how to account for time spent obtaining a COVID-19 vaccination in the weeks to come.

Important Information about Time Reporting for the COVID-19 Vaccination: You may recall, on March 5, Chancellor Malloy authorized all UMS managers to help make vaccination a workplace priority and provide faculty and staff with the flexibility needed to get vaccinated when appropriate.

In addition, the Chancellor authorized two hours paid administrative leave (COVID leave for time reporting) for anyone to use to get their first vaccination.

Time used under the relevant FFCRA vaccination time reporting code and any other FFCRA Sick Leave/Family Care time taken cannot exceed 80 hours in total.

To record time for COVID-19 vaccinations obtained during scheduled working hours, use the following time reporting codes:

Prior to April 1: Use “COVID Leave” not to exceed two hours

April 1 or after: 

  • FFVXH (for hourly employees)
  • FFVXS (for salaried employees)
  • COVID Leave time

For more details on how to enter your vaccination related time on your timesheet, please visit the Human Resources Operations COVID19 Information Site (External Site).

To apply for FFCRA benefits for reasons other than the use of a vaccine, please complete the online form on the site linked above.

For more information on FFCRA or the ARPA, please contact your HR Partner or Employee Benefits Center at benefits@maine.edu or 1-207-973-3373.

Your HR Team

Information has been added on the Human Resources COVID-19 Guidance Page

If you have a contractor or vendor coming on campus, please have them review and respond to these questions (see below as Docx and PDF files) prior to their arrival. If you have any questions, please contact your campus Emergency Operations Center (EOC) contact.

COVID-19-Vendor_Contractor-Questions-Guidance-09/17/2020 (Docx)

COVID-19-Vendor_Contractor-Questions-Guidance-09/17/2020 (PDF)

(Last reviewed/updated: 05/21/2021)

Information and support services and options to complete remote work, teaching and learning for members of the University of Maine System community remain available and subject to timely updates and additions.

Areas of particular emphasis include verification of equipment and internet access, course delivery, collaborative tools, remote teaching support, support for remote work, remote labs and software, IT support and more. Please visit the Information Technology Resources and Tools page for more information.

Check back often, as additional services and tools will be posted on an ongoing basis.

(Last reviewed/updated: 5/21/2021)

Important Actions to Take To Be Safe and Prepared

  • All faculty and staff are urged to take basic steps to avoid exposure to or infection from the virus causing COVID-19 and to protect themselves and others.
    • Stay home if you are ill.
    • Stay home if you are at higher risk.
    • Follow the CDC guidance for protecting yourself and others.
    • See more information about staying safe in the “For Everyone” section of this web site.
  • Take the steps necessary to set up direct deposit for paycheck processing if you have not already done so. Please visit https://mycampus.maine.edu to access Employee Self-Service.
  • Should you need assistance with feelings of stress or anxiety or with resources for child care, pet care, etc., you or your family are encouraged to contact the Employee Assistance Program available through Cigna at mycigna.com or 1-800-274-7603.

(Last reviewed/updated: 01/13/21)

COVID-19 Diagnostic Visits: Cigna is waiving out-of-pocket costs for virtual or face-to-face COVID-19 diagnostic visits with in-network & out-of-network providers, whether at a provider’s office, urgent care center, emergency room, or via virtual care, through the Public Health Emergency (PHE) period, currently scheduled to end on January 15, 2022.

COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing: In compliance with recent Health and Human Services (HHS) guidance, Cigna covers individualized COVID-19 diagnostic tests without customer cost share when referred or administered by a health care provider. Coverage includes COVID-19 diagnostic molecular or antigen diagnostic test, including rapid tests, saliva tests, etc. administered by in or out-of-network providers through January 15, 2022.

All COVID-19 treatment costs will be covered by the applicable Cigna health care plan in place and subject to the normal co-pays and deductibles.

Cigna will continue to provide useful information available at its Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center website (External Site) that features updates on current vaccine resources (External Site).

Finally, Cigna joins with the University of Maine System to encourage employees to be aware that even after vaccination, it’s important to continue following Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines (External Site) to help prevent exposure to COVID-19.

Should you have any questions about your Cigna COVID-19 health plan testing and diagnostic coverages, please contact Cigna directly at 1-800-244-6224.