Phase 3 COVID-19 Surveillance and Monitoring To Include Several Rounds of Required Random Sampling and Directed Sampling (9/10/2020)
Round One Begins On Monday, September 14, 2020: Phase 3 of the University of Maine System’s asymptomatic COVID-19 screening strategy will include several rounds of coronavirus testing. Each testing round will occur over a period of approximately ten days, with the final round expected to conclude the week before the Thanksgiving break transition to remote instruction. The number of rounds and tests may be adjusted, along with other mitigation strategies, based on testing results, statistical modeling from them, and local and state-wide conditions with the ongoing pandemic.
Each round is expected to include 2,000 tests. The number of tests are apportioned to UMS universities based on their percentage of the approximately 22,000 students, faculty, and staff participating in some form of on-campus activity in the Fall 2020 semester.
- Given its location, University of Maine School of Law community members will be tested along with the University of Southern Maine community
- Employees with System-wide responsibilities will be included in testing pools based on their primary work location
1,500 Required Random Tests Per Round: Each round of testing will include a random sampling that requires participation of a percentage of students, faculty, and staff participating in on-campus activities in order for university statisticians to accurately model potential disease prevalence rates across the System. Approximately 80% of the random sampling will involve students to reflect campus demographics and the preponderance of utilization for the fall semester. The remaining 20% of random tests per round will be assigned to University employees.
500 Administrative Tests for Directed Sampling: An additional 500 tests will be available in each round to be used as directed by university leadership. These tests may be used, for example, for additional sampling narrowed to more specific campus populations or programs.
If there is not a need for directed sampling in a round the university’s allotment of administrative tests may be reallocated to the required random tests performed.
Identifying and Notifying Testing Participants: University asymptomatic testing teams will identify participants who have been selected at random for each round and provide ample notification of testing times and locations. These notifications will include contact information that students and employees can use to ask questions.
The Role of Community Members: The random testing of a percentage of students, faculty, and staff who participate in on-campus activities will be an important methodology for estimating the prevalence of infection, helping to assess the impact of the University’s public health strategies and determine what changes might be necessary to preserve the health and safety of each campus and its surrounding communities.
While the University of Maine System encourages its communities to come together in support of each other and our communal health and safety, published COVID-19 health and safety protocols will continue to be enforced. The University of Maine System’s primary focus is on all of us pulling Together for Maine to keep each other safe, and we ask that everyone respect all community members and act responsibly to avoid the need for enforcement.
The University of Maine System’s three-phase plan includes arrival testing for all students or staff from out-of-state, all residence hall students, and special populations; a second round of testing within 7-10 days for everyone required to have an arrival test; and on-going surveillance testing through individual and wastewater testing.
The University of Maine System is extending planned asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to include a second round of screening for all students or staff arriving from out-of-state, residence hall students, and special populations. The phase two follow up screening will occur 7-10 days after arrival testing and is part of a three-phase surveillance strategy recommended by the UMS Scientific Advisory Board to lower the risk of disease transmission on campus from asymptomatic carriers.
SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can shed from an infected individual during a 2-14 day asymptomatic or presymptomatic period. The recommendation for a second round of baseline screening of asymptomatic community members is intended to identify incidents of infection that may have been undetectable or may have arisen during the initial return to campus and testing period. Each round of testing of out-of-state arrivals, residence hall students, and special populations in phase one and two of the screening strategy involves approximately 12,500 individual tests.
Students and staff required to participate in phase one arrival testing can forgo initial phase one testing on campus by securing an approved COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test within 72 hours of scheduled arrival on campus.
UMaine has published an information video on what students can expect as part of the phase one baseline arrival testing that can be viewed at this link and this COVID-19 Testing Guide for students. Similar resources and support are available for students attending each of Maine’s public universities.
Phase 3 Monitoring
The University of Maine System will also be conducting further monitoring for the disease following the completion of initial baseline screening at the start of the semester to trace and isolate cases of infection. Monitoring will include additional COVID-19 testing surveillance and symptom tracking.
Wastewater testing will also be used to monitor public health conditions on campuses that are home to 78% of the System’s resident hall student population. Campuses with the infrastructure necessary to support wastewater testing include UMaine, UMFK, and USM.
You are required to quarantine or self-isolate if:
- You are newly arriving in or returning to Maine.
- You are ill or may be ill with COVID-19.
- You have been in close contact with an individual who is ill or may be ill with COVID-19.
- You have been directed to do so by a medical provider or medical authority.
- You are a university student or employee and have been directed to do so by a University authority as part of its pandemic protocols.
The University requires all travelers arriving in or returning to Maine from all locations, unless returning from a state exempted from the 14-day quarantine per Maine civil authorities, to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of return or until obtaining a negative COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) test for Covid-19. The Covid-19 test may be sampled up to 72 hours in advance of the date of return to campus or upon arrival. Residential students returning in the fall will be required to quarantine while awaiting test results, as part of the University’s safe return to campus plans. Each campuses can assist with meeting quarantine requirements for residential students. This is necessary to mitigate spread of COVID-19.
People who are ill or who may be ill, or individuals who have been in close contact with those who are ill or who may be ill, also may be required to self-isolate or quarantine.
Per the CDC guidelines fourteen (14) days of self-isolation also is required for:
- Any traveler to the U.S. (returning or coming for the first time) from any country under a CDC Warning Level 3, regardless of whether that direction is specifically given to them at the U.S. point of entry; Travelers Returning from International Travel
- Any student or employee who had direct contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19;
- Any student or employee who has had direct contact with someone who is under care for suspected exposure to COVID-19.
- Anyone who has tested positive until cleared by a medical provider or appropriate medical authority to end the isolation. Important note: In the case of a confirmed ill person, the CDC’s guidance now contemplates an isolation period as short as 10 days to as long as 20 days depending on the severity of illness a person experienced and other factors. Please consult with your health care provider to make sure you understand the requirements as they apply to you. Any student or employee who has tested positive may not end their isolation or return to campus or in-person instruction until cleared by a medical provider to do so. The University may require documentation of such clearance.
- Anyone else who is otherwise under direction from a medical provider or appropriate medical authority to do so.
- Any university student or employee otherwise under direction from a University authority to do so as part of its pandemic protocols.
- If you are unsure or worried that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 OR came in close contact to someone possibly exposed to COVID-19, please contact your medical provider for guidance. It is prudent to self-isolate until a medical provider has provided additional guidance.
- If you are in the same household as someone who is isolating, consult with your healthcare provider to determine if you also need to follow isolation protocols.
- For more information about quarantine and isolation, or for instructions on how to self-isolate reference, please see here.
(Last reviewed/updated: 07/26/2020)
Face coverings are a key tool to keep individuals and communities safe in this pandemic. They are required to be worn indoors and outdoors on University of Maine System campuses with certain exceptions as described below.
Face coverings are to be the type commonly 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.
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.
University of Maine System students and employees should also refer to the related guidance in the “For Students” or “For Employees” sections of this Together for Maine web site.
Current exceptions to the University’s face covering requirement include:
- When a person is alone in an office or other room with a closed door;
- When a person is alone outside in a space where and when they can reasonably expect to be alone and they have a face covering available in the event it is needed;
- When eating or drinking in a space where eating or drinking is permitted;
- When a medical accommodation has been granted by appropriate University officials;
- When a situation (i.e. childcare settings) or a person (i.e. children younger than 2) are specifically exempted by Maine civil authorities; or,
- In other special circumstances as may be determined by campus leadership.
Additionally, individuals are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering in public settings in Maine in general to comply with the various orders of civil authorities and to follow the recommendations of public health experts. When circumstances are unknown or uncertain, having a cloth face covering available in case needed will allow individuals best to meet these directives and recommendations. For more information about the directives of civil authorities, please see this state web site.
If you are an employee, to request a medical and other accommodations as required by law, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a student, contact your campus Disability Services Office.
(Last reviewed/updated: 08/10/2020)
What is the status of group size limits, in-person class size limits, public access and general University operations? (08/10/2020)
The Universities of the University of Maine System are looking forward to welcoming students to campus for the fall 2020 semester. University instruction and operations have continued throughout the pandemic and they are continuing today, often in new and different ways, to promote both safety and the ability of students, faculty and staff to be together.
Faculty and staff are anticipated to return to campus in greater numbers in August, as the start of the fall semester approaches. The University will continue to support substantial remote working by employees and will encourage employees to be on campus only when necessary or substantially advantageous for academic purposes or other job duties. This will mean more routine access to campus for employees but not a complete return to pre-pandemic time on campus. Employees should continue to coordinate with their supervisor prior to returning to campus to ensure alignment with department staffing plans and to ensure that safety protocols and supplies are in place.
The University of Maine System currently has these overall special provisions in place regarding its operations and in-person activities:
- Public access to campus: University campuses in general are open to those who have business which they need to conduct with the University. Members of the public who have specific business with the University, such as the need for a trip to the bookstore or a fitness facility, are asked to limit their time on campus to the time necessary to conduct that business. University dining facilities are not be open to the public at this time. It is always suggested that visitors call ahead before undertaking their trip to ensure their business can be conducted. Members of the public – those are who are not students, staff or faculty – who can defer their business or who have no bona fide need to be on campus are asked to avoid visiting campus at this time.
- General group size limits: In-person group gathering on campus or for University business are limited to not more than 50 persons in keeping with the directives of Maine Civil Authorities. Such gathering must be consistent with the other guidance of civil authorities such as those requiring social distancing and face coverings. The University routinely monitors the guidance of civil authorities and is aware this is an example of an area where the University’s guidance is within but more restrictive than the civil guidance.
- In-person instruction group size limits: In-person classes will be limited to no more than 30 people being present at any one time, unless a special allowance is provided by the respective University’s leadership. Face coverings and physical distancing will be part of the protocol. This in-person size limit should not be confused with a limit on the enrollment size of a class. Rather, the limit is regarding how many individuals can be physically present at any one time for a particular class, not how many individuals can be enrolled in the class. The overwhelming majority of University of Maine System classes already are far smaller than this size limit. Those which are larger will assume an alternative instruction format to ensure any in-person instruction can adhere to the class size limit and the physical distancing, face covering and other pandemic protocols.
- Community spaces and facilities such as libraries, museums, gyms, retail stores, computer labs, and study hall: These spaces may now operate consistent with the group gathering guidance above, upon approval by campus leadership and the campus emergency operations team, and in compliance with any other requirements which may be in place by civil authorities in Maine, in particular the industry-specific guidance which may be available and applicable from the Department of Economic and Community Development.
- Childcare centers: Any childcare facilities operated by the University, under its auspices or in University facilities may now operate upon approval by campus leadership and the campus emergency operations team, and in compliance with any other requirements that may be in place by civil authorities in Maine, in particular the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The response to COVID-19 continues to be a rapidly evolving situation even at this stage of the pandemic and this guidance is subject to change. Interested individuals and organizations are encouraged to check Together for Maine routinely for updates. Employees and students in particular are encouraged to check the relevant sections of the web site for information particular to their needs.
(Last reviewed/updated: 08/10/2020)
As with other respiratory illnesses, there are steps that everyone can take daily to reduce the risk of getting sick or infecting others with circulating viruses. There is currently no vaccine or broadly accepted treatment for COVID-19 that is known to be effective. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
- Steps individuals can take to keep themselves and others safe include:
- Wear a cloth face covering.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Learn about and practice social distancing.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water:
- If soap and water are not readily available, rub your hands with an alcohol based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
- Get a flu shot when appropriate.
The CDC web site provides a wealth of information about staying safe and slowing the spread of this virus.
The Maine CDC also provides an FAQ that answers may such frequently asked questions.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care professional and tell them about any recent contact with other COVID-19 cases
- Symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Most patients experience mild symptoms and can recuperate at home, but others, particularly those with underlying medical conditions, may experience more severe respiratory illness. Learn more about COVID-19 symptoms.
If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your health care professional and tell them about any recent contact with other COVID-19 cases. Your healthcare professional will work with Maine CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
All students, staff and faculty should please update information regarding emergency notifications in your emergency alerts profile. Follow this link for instructions. This will allow the University to best communicate with you.
Email: The Chancellor has been and will continue to send email updates at key junctures to keep the community advised. Presidents, in collaboration with each other and the Chancellor, also are doing likewise for your specific University.
Web site/s: The University is posting regular updates and information to a one-stop source web site for Covid-19 information: https://www.maine.edu/health-advisory/ . The web site also provides links to specific sites of the individual Universities of the University of Maine System. The web site also connects to more information from the Maine and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
If you have a question not answered by any of this guidance, the University also has a phone information line with recorded information and options for getting personal responses. That number is 207.581.2681.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
Update your Contacts
Students and university employees are urged to update their contact information in MaineStreet as well as to review and update current Emergency Alert Notification preferences and subscriptions. It is critical that each campus be able to communicate directly with their communities through email and/or text messaging. We encourage you to follow these guides to review and/or update your information.
These guides can be found here: https://www.maine.edu/information-technology/support/update-account-information/.
Should you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact email@example.com or visit the UMS IT Support site: UMS IT Support site: https://www.maine.edu/information-technology/support/.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
COVID-19 is a disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that has now been detected in hundreds of countries, including the United States, primarily during 2020. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. Many of them infect animals, but some coronaviruses from animals can evolve into a new human coronavirus that can spread from person-to-person. This new virus prompted the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The virus itself is named “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease it causes is named “coronavirus disease 2019” (abbreviated “COVID-19”).
For some people, this new virus causes mild symptoms like the common cold or influenza (flu), while for others it can cause severe pneumonia that requires medical care or hospitalization, and it is sometimes fatal. Scientists are still learning about this new virus and its associated disease.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
The University of Maine System has formed the Fall 2020 Safe Return Planning Committee to prepare for the safe return to campus. The group held its first organizational meeting last week and is charged with assessing COVID-19 guidance and conditions and developing appropriate actions and protocols that can be implemented to provide for a safe return to campus as Maine begins its return to the new world we all will face in the coming weeks. More than 40 members of the university committee from the campus incident command teams were invited to the initial discussion.
The planning committee will be co-chaired by Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Robert Placido and Chief Facilities Management and General Services Officer Chip Gavin and will include planning leaders from the incident command teams for each campus and a representative from the University of Maine School of Law. Committee members represent many of the academic and operational functions of the University of Maine System and experts from across the System will be asked to participate as needed to inform the planning process.
The Fall 2020 Safe Return Planning Committee will operate transparently, providing a monthly update to the University community starting in May and regular updates to the UMS President’s Council. The initial update will detail committee membership and a work plan.
Anyone with questions or suggestions is invited to contact Chip Gavin, Chief Facilities Management and General Services Officer.
(Last reviewed/updated: 04/21/2020)
The UMS Office of Student Success and Credential Attainment has compiled a list of community support for students and staff during COVID-19. The Resource for Adult Learners includes links and key information on a range of topics including food assistance, filing for unemployment, access to WiFi, student loan repayment assistance, and child care. Many of the resources included in the guide can also be of use to University employees.
(Last reviewed/updated: 04/13/2020)
Courses for the Summer Sessions I and II will be offered online because registration will begin before we can predict when fact-to-face instruction will be viable again. Summer programming, such as athletic camps and non-credit academic programs, will be assessed closer to their individual start dates, so they will not be cancelled at this time.
(Last reviewed/updated: 04/07/2020)
With the official launch of our new ‘virtual University‘ this week, reliance on technological solutions to continue instructional activities and business operations has hit an all time high. US:IT has continued efforts to provide additional tools and services to support the University community during this transition. We are pleased to announce the immediate availability of these new services through the IT Resource Guide.
(Last reviewed/updated: 03/27/2020)
Any in-person events or gatherings which include 10 or more people are prohibited. These restrictions include any events on University property, events being hosted by the University in a non-University location, and official participation by University students, staff, and faculty in such events regardless of location. If you are considering attending an event or gathering of any kind, but you are sick, please stay home.
(Last reviewed/updated: 03/18/2020)
The Tools for Remote Teaching, Learning and Work Resource Guide (https://www.maine.edu/information-technology/support/tools-resource-guide/) has been updated to include information regarding internet connectivity options across the state. The FCC recently announced the ‘Keep Americans Connected’ pledge which asks telecom providers to play their part to ensure citizens are able to maintain or gain internet access, including providing current mobile subscribers with unlimited data and free mobile hotspot services for the next 60 days. On the Resource Guide, we’ve included a NEW interactive graphical map showing the locations of educational sites in Maine where internet and/or computer access may be accessible to students (as of today). We’ve also included a listing of Public libraries in the State as well as the most popular national chains where free public WiFi is available. As the COVID-19 situation in Maine continues to change by the hour, the availability of these resources may be affected and we will be keeping this guide up to date.
(Last reviewed/updated: 03/16/2020)
Call your doctor.
If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. Call ahead before visiting your doctor or other medical provider.
For more information, visit the CDC site here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html
There is no specific treatment for illness caused by the novel coronavirus. However, many of the symptoms can be treated. Treatment is based on the patient’s condition. There is currently no vaccine to prevent novel coronavirus. Be aware of scam products for sale that make false claims to prevent or treat this new infection.
Call your healthcare provider if you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you live in or have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread. Tell your healthcare provider about your recent travel or contact.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)
UMS employee information UMS has flexible and non-punitive leave policies for students and staff affected by COVID-19.
- Employees are encouraged to stay home if when ill and to leave work if they become ill
- Employees may stay home and, if feasible, work remotely when sick or caring for sick household members. Employees should discuss remote work arrangements with their supervisor.
- UMS will continue to monitor state and federal agency guidance and adjust work and leave practices as appropriate. In the meantime, information regarding paid leave and Family Medical Leave (FML) can be found at on the my campus benefits page.
- Continue to encourage welcoming environments for ALL members of our community.
(Last reviewed/updated: 03/13/2020)
According to the CDC, older adults and individuals with certain serious underlying medical conditions are at higher risk for Covid-19. Serious underlying medical conditions include, for example: heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease, among other conditions. These individuals should be especially mindful and diligent regarding Covid-19. Information about risk factors and the actions which individuals at higher risk can take is available here.
(Last reviewed/updated: 06/16/2020)