Dear UMPI Community,
As a follow-up to the message you received from the Chancellor this morning, I would like to provide some further detail about how the University of Maine System COVID-19 Planning and Travel Directives impact our campus.
First, please see below for a University of Maine System press release on the matter, which is being shared with statewide media. Second, please note our use of the term COVID-19 (for Coronavirus disease 2019). According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.
Here at UMPI, the COVID-19 directives outlined by the University of Maine System mean that University related air travel out of state and country–for activities such as conferences, student club trips, and athletic trips–will not be taking place for the foreseeable future. Additionally, any personal travel to areas with COVID-19 cases is strongly discouraged. Measures are being put in place to ensure that individuals who return from such travel are cleared before returning to campus.
Our Student Affairs team is working with ResLife and Sodexo to ensure that students can stay on campus with dining options through Spring Break. We highly encourage students to consider this option instead of embarking on travel plans this Spring Break.
Our Academic Affairs team is working with faculty to ensure that plans are in place should we need to transition all classes to online delivery at some point during the semester.
Please know that they are all proactive steps we’re taking Systemwide to ensure the health and wellbeing of all our students, faculty, and staff. We are taking these steps in light of the most recent information from the CDC and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, both in terms of what is occurring nationally and internationally in regards to the efforts to curtail the spread of COVID-19. Our aim in doing so is to allow for the least disruptive Spring semester possible for our campus community.
And a reminder that you can find the latest health advisory information from the University of Maine System at https://www.maine.edu/health-advisory/. The latest UMS press release on these matters follows below.
University of Maine System prohibits all non-essential university air travel, opens residence and dining halls for spring break and urges students to stay on campus
No plans to close campuses but university leaders set March 23rd deadline for continuity of instruction planning and provide accommodations for faculty and employees at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is prohibiting all university-sponsored non-essential air travel and is strongly encouraging students, faculty, and staff to limit personal travel to any domestic or international areas with known COVID-19 cases or community transmission of the disease. The limitations are part of a number of COVID-19 Directives Chancellor Dannel Malloy developed with the University Presidents and the Dean of the Maine Law School to help limit potential exposure to coronavirus and better prepare the university to fulfill its academic mission.
Chancellor Dannel Malloy and university leaders are also encouraging students to stay on campus over spring break and will be opening residence and dining halls to support students without additional room or board charges. Campus operation teams will be working over the next few days to finalize plans to potentially accommodate thousands of students living on campus next week.
“We are fortunate that Maine and our campuses still do not have a recorded case of coronavirus,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “That will likely change but for now we want to encourage as many of our students, faculty, and staff to stay here in Maine to limit their potential exposure and to do our part to help halt the spread of this terrible disease.
“I am personally very grateful for the dedication of our resident life and facilities staff and for the support of our partners at Sodexo who are making it possible for us to accommodate our students here on campus over spring break.”
The COVID-19 Directives set a March 23rd deadline for continuity of instruction planning across the University of Maine System that would transition academic programs to distance and online modalities in the event that the spread of COVID-19 forces a disruption of campus operations. There are no plans to close campuses but the March 23rd deadline ensures that by the end of spring break the University will have the capacity to fulfill its academic mission and commitment to students if campus-based operations are impacted before the end of the semester.
Chancellor Malloy and the University Presidents are also working to provide work accommodations to faculty and staff at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at a higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus infection.
Faculty who face higher risks associated with COVID-19 will be able to transition to online and distance instruction as soon as possible and staff employees with similar risks who communicate a desire to work remotely will be given preference for “telecommuting” work-from-home arrangements to the extent possible. Students facing higher risks may seek accommodations from their university accessibility services office.
Please visit the UMS COVID-19 Public Health Advisory page for the latest updates and guidance from the University of Maine System.
ATTACHMENT: COVID-19 Directives