For Employees

The University of Maine System’s (UMS) Universities and Law School will return to customary, pre-pandemic operations for Fall 2021, unless pandemic conditions or civil or public health authorities require otherwise.

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 their work to return 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. Each campus will establish a timeline for the return to occur before the start of the fall semester.

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–for the coming academic year.

UMS has communicated this information to representatives of the various collective bargaining units and will continue to discuss the return to campus with those representatives through the customary labor-management communication channels.

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

(Last reviewed/updated: 07/22/2021)

Welcomed:

  • In general, face coverings continue to be welcomed in any circumstance 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.

Current requirements:

  • Indoors: Beyond welcoming face coverings in all settings, face coverings also are required at all times when indoors on University System property for all visitors, faculty, staff, and students regardless of vaccination status.
  • Exceptions to the indoor requirement:
    • 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 person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door;
    • When eating or drinking in space where eating or drinking is permitted (not a classroom);
    • When a medical accommodation has been granted by appropriate University officials;
    • While participating in activities in which a face covering cannot practically be worn and conditions are safe to remove a face covering, such as when part of an academic assignment requires playing an oral musical instrument or when such a special circumstance is expressly exempted by Maine civil authorities; and
    • In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.
  • Note: Face coverings are not required of any visitor, faculty, staff member or student regardless of vaccination status, when outdoors on university property.

Requirements effective July 26, 2021:

  • In general, face coverings will continue to be welcomed in any circumstance 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 they must be removed.
  • Indoors: Effective July 26, face coverings will continue to be required indoors for any visitor, faculty, staff, or student who is not fully vaccinated.
  • Exceptions to the indoor requirement:
    • 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 person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door;
    • When eating or drinking in space where eating or drinking is permitted (not a classroom);
    • When a medical accommodation has been granted by appropriate University officials;
    • While participating in activities in which a face covering cannot practically be worn and conditions are safe to remove a face covering, such as when part of an academic assignment requires playing an oral musical instrument or when such a special circumstance is expressly exempted by Maine civil authorities; and
    • In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.
  • Note: Face coverings are not required of any visitor, faculty, staff member or student regardless of vaccination status, when outdoors on university property. Effective July 26, face coverings will no longer be required indoors for those who are fully vaccinated.
  • Students may verify their vacation status at our COVID-19 tracker and verification form.
  • Face coverings may also still be required in other specialized circumstances.

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’s 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).

Students 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 face covering requirements may contact the University of Maine System American 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.

While the University 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, including inquiring directly about an individual’s vaccination status for the purpose of ascertaining whether the person is required to wear a face covering, and may not otherwise unilaterally seek to enforce the face covering requirements on their own. All members of the University community are encouraged to submit their vaccination verification here. 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 emailing umaine.alerts@maine.edu.

The University is counting on all of us pulling together to keep each other safe and asks that everyone do their utmost in their own conduct to avoid the need for enforcement.

This pandemic continues to be a rapidly evolving situation. This information is subject to change. Employees should check Together for Maine site routinely for updated information or changes in existing information.

(Last reviewed/updated: 07/22/2021)

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

Vaccination is strongly encouraged for all members of the University of Maine System community. Fully vaccinated individuals currently may refrain from otherwise required asymptomatic testing, certain quarantine requirements and potentially additional public health and safety protocols, per public health guidance and University practices. To be sure you are not required to test or quarantine as often or in circumstances that would not be required of vaccinated persons, please be sure both to get vaccinated and to inform the University of your vaccination status using your campus portal (External Site) at your soonest opportunity.

If you are not already vaccinated, please get vaccinated and submit your verification information as above as soon as possible. For more information about where you can get vaccinated in the United States, please check the vaccines government website (External Site) or text your zip code to this phone number: 438829. For locations in Maine, you also can check the Maine Government COVID-19 Vaccine site (External Site).

The University is accepting verification documents for those vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as those authorized by the World Health Organization EUL for international students and visiting faculty/staff who received the WHO vaccine in a country where it is authorized. More information about the specific acceptable vaccines is at the bottom of this text.

The University System continues to review the latest information about COVID-19 requirements and will communicate with students, staff and faculty should a requirement be adopted in the future. The University already requires other vaccines consistent with state law and there is a strong likelihood vaccination against COVID-19 will in the future be required for the members of the University’s in-person community. Until and unless the University of Maine System requires or permits COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of in-person participation in the University community, no employee, office, program or component unit of the University of Maine System or any of the institutions of which it is comprised may make such a requirement of its own. The University will consider potential exceptions that would require vaccination sooner, such as if a student or employee, in connection with their role at the university, is required by a third party to be vaccinated. Should the University adopt any requirement(s) related to COVID-19 vaccination, careful consideration will be given to any exceptions or exemptions which may be appropriate such as medical accommodations that may be warranted under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Information about FDA authorized vaccines is available on the Food and Drug Administration website (External Site). As of July 8, 2021, the FDA authorized vaccines were Pfizer-BionTech; Moderna; and, Janssen (J&J).

Information about World Health Organization (WHO) authorized vaccines is available on the World Health Organization website (External Site).  As of July 8, 2021, the authorized vaccines differed by country but overall those authorized by the WHO included the FDA vaccines listed above plus: Oxford/AstraZeneca; Serum Institute of India; Sinopharm; and Sinovac.

(Last reviewed/updated: 07/08/2021)

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: 7/21/21)

The University System continues to encourage students, staff and faculty to become vaccinated. For information about where and how to get a vaccine, contact your healthcare provider, text your zip code to 438829 or check the CDC website for United States information (External Site) and the state of Maine website for specific Maine information (External Site). More information about vaccination benefits and safety is available on the CDC website (External Site).

Asymptomatic fully-vaccinated students, staff and faculty are in general exempted from COVID-19 testing, face covering (effective July 26) and quarantine requirements if they are fully vaccinated and provide verification of their fully vaccinated status to the University System. You can provide verification on our COVID-19 testing and vaccine verification tracking platform.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna, or
    2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s/Janssen.

To provide verification of vaccination, visit the vaccination submission form and select the “submit vaccination information” option.

The quarantine and testing exemptions are effective now to those who verify their fully-vaccinated status with the University System. Again, verification of vaccination can be provided by visiting the vaccination submission form and selecting the “submit vaccination information” option.

(Last reviewed/updated 07/16/2021)

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)

In preparation for Fall semester 2021, important updates and announcements regarding access to campus, remote work options, and other information will be made available on the Together for Maine website on the “For Employees” page (the page you are currently reading).

As details become available, also look for updated materials and resources here at this location designed to be helpful in understanding University of Maine System guidance and direction for the safe opening of the academic year.

Should you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your campus HR Partner or the Employee Benefits Center at benefits@maine.edu or 207-973-3373.

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 October 17, 2021.

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 October 17, 2021.

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.