Together for Maine: Our Plan for a Safe Return
UMPI Safe Return

Latest Communications

3/10/2020 – Message from President Rice to faculty

Colleagues,

I am including the UMS Directives issued this morning by Chancellor Malloy with this email as an attachment.  Please see my earlier email to the entire UMPI community regarding the overall contents of these directives and impact upon our University; I highlight four specific issues within those directives here in greater detail as they will require our immediate attention.

Travel

As noted, all UMS and thus all UMPI-sponsored non-essential air travel is prohibited as of today.  In addition, international travel remains prohibited to countries with a Level 3 or 4 advisory in accordance with CDC guidelines.  This includes travel for all faculty, staff, administration, and students to any venues. Specific exceptions that identify specific travel as “essential” may be made only by the Chancellor through detailed consultation with myself and UMS Risk Management.  This includes organization and club-sponsored trips, class and/or program-sponsored trips, as well as conferences (either presenting or attending) or travel for course-related activities. Please contact me directly about considering an “essential” travel exemption for any such travel that you may be planning to undertake, lead, or sponsor.  A reminder that all such university-sponsored air travel, even that termed “essential” by a university president, must be approved by the Chancellor and cannot be undertaken without such approval as of today.

In addition, UMS is strongly discouraging personal travel to any domestic or international area with known COVID-19 cases.  Personal travel cannot include any UMPI-sponsored, recognized, or funded activities, as such travel would be considered UMS-sponsored.  I urge you the strongest level of consideration before embarking upon such travel as your return could include health/safety measures imposed by the State of Maine and/or CDC that have not been declared at the time of your departure.  In addition, please consult the CDC web site for travel information regarding prohibitions and strictures, as well as warnings, that may be in place for any international destination point. HR and Risk Management can also assist in this information.

Instructional Preparation

In addition, all faculty are required to have in place plans for any live course instruction to online or other appropriate distance modalities by March 23, 2020.  Although this does not mean that this institution will announce a move to all distance delivery modalities for its instruction on March 23 or a date thereafter, this is a preparatory requirement.  Look for additional information coming from our Center for Teaching and Learning in support of employment of distance modalities to come out Wednesday and later this week. You may also contact Heather Nunez-Olmstead (heather.nunez@maine.edu) at any time for direct support in this matter.  Any requests for exemptions to this must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, be approved by your academic Dean, receive subsequent approval from Risk Management and myself, and cannot move forward without final approval from the Chancellor.  Please contact your academic dean if you feel you may need to require and be eligible for such a request.

Consideration and Protection of older persons/persons with pre-existing health conditions

Following the most recent CDC guidance recognizing the particular health risks of COVID-19 for older persons and persons with specific pre-existing conditions (i.e., compromised immune systems), faculty prepared to make a transition from a live to a modality not requiring physical presence in the classroom may do so at any time with notification to your college dean and identification by myself.  Please notify your dean at your earliest convenience if you wish to make such an adjustment so that we can ensure your course is prepared for this transition.  

In addition, any students identifying within this category should also be given immediate consideration for completion of coursework within a non-physical modality even within a “live” course environment.    Students are being advised to seek accommodations in such a situation and faculty will be appropriately informed by Student Support Services in such instances. Any student making requests of this sort directly to a faculty member should be immediately referred to Student Support Services.

As with faculty, any staff employees in such categories who communicate a desire to work remotely will also be given preference, to the extent to which this is possible, for work-from-home arrangements.  Please contact your immediate supervisor in this regard.

Dormitories and Spring Break

Students are being encouraged to remain in the dormitories over spring break to minimize potential contact with the COVID-19 virus.  In addition, health preparations are being made within our facilities for containment and treatment of any students who report travel to identified areas and/or whom report any symptoms.  As has been our ongoing practice, there is no room charge for students staying over break and Sodexo is preparing reduced rate additional board offerings.

Let me emphasize, once again, that these steps are in preparation for further possible action in our attempts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and safeguard the health of our students and our UMPI community.  It is my hope that further steps will not be necessary and that our ability to (more) freely travel in regards to university-sponsored activities will be restored. But it is essential that we be prepared for the potential disruption that may occur and your cooperation is deeply appreciated.  Should you have any questions regarding any of these issues please do not hesitate to contact myself or your academic dean. 

Ray