University of Maine System group gathering limits and campuses spring 2021 general operations (04/02/2021)
University instruction and operations have continued throughout the pandemic and they are continuing today, often in new and different ways, as well as in-person during the spring 2021 semester, to promote both safety and the ability of students, faculty and staff to be together.
The University continues to support substantial remote working by employees, is encouraging employees to be on campus only when necessary or substantially advantageous for academic purposes, including in-person instruction, or other job duties.
This is not a change in underlying University guidance regarding remote working. Employees should continue to coordinate with their supervisor regarding their in-person or remote work plans and needs to ensure alignment with department staffing plans and to ensure that safety protocols and supplies are in place. This is not a complete return to either fully remote or fully on campus work. Rather, the University of Maine System seeks to ensure that employees who need to be on campus to provide in-person instruction or for other reasons can and, in fact, should be on campus. At the same time, employees who do not need to be on campus for these or other reasons and who can effectively work remotely are asked to do so.
The University of Maine System currently has various overall special provisions in place regarding its general operations and in-person activities, including:
- Maintain 6-foot Physical Distancing at all Times: The University will continue to follow physical distancing guidelines issued by civil authorities that include maintaining 6 feet between individual at indoor and outdoor events even as the groups size limits generally may be increasing as described here.
- General group size limits: In-person group gathering on campus or for University business are limited to not more than 50 persons through April 4, 2021.
Effective April 5, 2021, the Universities of the system may selectively increase their indoor gathering limit to mirror the increases of civil authorities in Maine. Even after April 5, each University may further limit group gatherings on campus or for any specific University event or gathering as circumstances may warrant.
Effective April 5, each University may allow up to 50% of permitted occupancy, 5 persons per 1,000 sq. ft., or 50 persons, whichever is greatest and allows for 6-foot physical distancing. This is currently expected to be the maximum indoor gathering limit through Commencement and until May 23, 2021, in keeping with the directives of civil of authorities.
Effective April 5, regarding outdoor gatherings, any outdoor gathering taking place at a facility or event that is subject to a permitted occupancy limit may be allowed an occupancy as great 75% of that permitted occupancy and allows for 6-foot physical distancing. This is currently expected to be the outdoor gathering limit through Commencement and until May 23, 2021, in keeping with the directives of civil of authorities.
Importantly, all such gatherings must also be conducted in a manner consistent with the further guidance of civil authorities such as those which still require physical distancing and face coverings, and the specific checklist when applicable of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.
- In-person instruction group size limits: In-person classes are a special circumstance and continue to be limited to no more than 30 people being present at any one time for the spring semester, unless a special allowance has been or s provided by the respective University’s leadership. Face coverings and physical distancing continue to 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 – especially the extent they are available to the general public – may see additional activity under the new group gathering limits when they take effect, but they also may continue to be curtailed and they especially may be curtailed regarding access by the general public through the spring semester based on the determinations of each university. It is suggested that visitors check in advance to ensure their business can be conducted.
- Public access to campus: Beyond a general request to avoid campus unless an individual has bona fide business to conduct, members of the public are alerted that each University may be curtailing access to various facilities, such as fitness facilities, bookstores, libraries and so forth. Any member of the public who must come to campus or who has an appointment scheduled on campus is encouraged to confirm in advance with the campus they are visiting that they will be able to carry out the purpose of their visit before making the trip. University dining facilities are not be open to the public at this time.
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: 04/02/2021)
Chancellor Dannel Malloy and the Presidents and Law Dean of the University of Maine System are alerting faculty, staff and students to prepare for a traditional, in-person college experience and a return to near normalcy in fall 2021.
The universities of the University of Maine System are looking forward to welcoming students to campus for the fall 2021 semester with near pre-pandemic normalcy because of multiple and increasingly available and highly-effective vaccines, our mutual increased experience with and commitment to pandemic protocols, and changing civil and public health guidance.
Faculty, staff and students should plan for more in-person instruction, courses and activities; more people in attendance at these activities, more students in residence; and, more facilities open with fewer restrictions.
The University of Maine System is also committed to helping lead the state’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign and participating in the Moving Maine Forward Plan announced March 5, 2021.
University guidance will continue to align with civil authority recommendations. The University will carefully consider the full spectrum of protocols and options including: group size limits, face coverings, physical distancing, testing requirement and many other considerations. The University will continue to be informed by science and will continue to ensure compliance with the pandemic requirements of Maine civil authorities.
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. In the fall of 2021, the System currently intends and is planning to return to operations which are much closer to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Further guidance regarding the return to campus will be forthcoming as planning advances. For now, especially if you are a university employee engaged in direct student interactions, support or instruction; research or public service best conducted on site, or, work which otherwise requires in-person presence, please assume and expect that you will to be in- person for fall 2021. Please use this information and expectation to inform your decision- making and planning for fall.
Separately from this preliminary guidance regarding fall 2021, the University of Maine System currently has guidance and various special provisions in place regarding its operations and in-person activities for spring and summer 2021. Those interested in the protocols and guidance for those periods of time are encouraged to review the material specific to those time periods, which is different from the guidance that is being developed for fall 2021.
The entire 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 03/10/2021)
The University of Maine System and its institutions intend to remain operational, with appropriate safety measures implemented such as a combination of remote and in-person work, instruction, and research, along with physical distancing, face coverings and other such pandemic protocols during summer 2021.
The University System remains obligated by and committed to meeting the pandemic requirements of civil authorities. This includes adhering to both indoor and outdoor group gathering limits and the variety of other guidance promulgated by civil authorities. The University currently has a 50-person group gathering limit for both indoor and outdoor activities, which matches the civil authority’s indoor limit and is more stringent than the guidance of civil authorities for outdoor limits. We will continue to monitor and adjust accordingly to any updates or revisions in guidance provided by civil authorities.
Within this commitment to civil requirements and safety, the University System does intend to conduct in-person instruction, day camps, overnight camps and other in-person programming at its facilities or under its auspices during summer 2021. Instruction, research, programs, camps, and other summer activities are not necessarily expected to operate in-person universally. Rather, instruction is expected to continue as it has for the current academic year as a mix of in-person and alternative modalities for summer 2021. Beyond for-credit instruction, only programs and activities which can meet the: a. guidance of Maine civil authorities for that particular activity, b. requirements of each University’s pandemic response team, and c. head institutional leader, such as President or Dean, shall operate. This means decisions about in-person activities may vary between institutions and within institutions. Interested individuals should also check on the specific programs that interest them.
Additionally, the University System continues to monitor vaccinations and testing circumstances and may also yet update guidance for summer in light of those circumstances or regarding those specific issues. At this time, for example, the University System is neither precluding nor implementing a testing requirement for in-person activities.
This guidance applies to activities within the State of Maine. Summer programs, instruction or activities involving domestic travel outside of Maine are first subject to the University’s pandemic travel limits and guidance, which is detailed under the travel section of this web site.
Students and families are encouraged to check with the specific program of interest to them for the most current and accurate information regarding summer programs. For more information regarding current civil authority guidance regarding summer camp and other specific activates, please see the available checklists.
The University System does expect to conduct its customary programs for incoming university first-year students. These are distinguishable from day or overnight summer camps serving other populations by that fact but these first-year programs may in some instances or practices be referred to as “camps.”
The University System currently permits group gatherings of up to 50 people and continuously reviews the guidance of civil and public health authorities and will communicate any changes in that group gathering limit. 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 site 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 as the University System continues its pandemic planning and response. More information is planned and expected to become available regarding summer 2021 by March 31, 2021.
(Last reviewed/updated: 02/24/2021)
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 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 also are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering off campus as required by Maine civil authorities and and to follow the recommendations of public health experts. When circumstances are unknown or uncertain, wearing a face covering and 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: 03/09/2021)
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: 03/09/2021)
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: 03/09/2021)