Dear UMPI Community,
As we’ve seen this week, the COVID-19 situation has been continuously evolving. Because of that, University of Maine System leadership and campus Presidents have made the determination to move all classes online as of March 23. You may have seen a message from the Chancellor about this already, but I wanted to ensure you knew what this will mean for UMPI.
Our campus will remain open for business, but the majority of students will be moving out of the dorms by the end of spring break. Exceptions will be made for those students who choose not to return home because of distance (i.e., students from other nations or other states), because of active COVID-19 cases in their home locations, or because they have work that must be completed within the Presque Isle/Aroostook County area.
While logistical details are being worked out, know that, in addition to teaching, student advising, tutoring, support services, and counselling will continue on a daily basis, if by virtual means. In addition, campus facilities– such as the Center for Innovative Learning and its library services, Gentile Hall and its recreational facilities, as well as all other offices and standard university functions will remain open as usual. Faculty may choose to telecommute for their online classes, but maintain the option to work on campus if they choose. Staff will continue to work on campus, though planning is underway should we need to ask all non-essential employees to telecommute in the coming weeks. Essentially, business will continue as usual right now, except for the fact that many or most of our students will be connecting with faculty and staff remotely.
I would like to emphasize the fact that all of these efforts are being undertaken Systemwide to ensure the health and well-being of our campus communities, and that, while this does create disruption for many of us, we believe it is still less disruptive to our Spring semester than other alternatives. It is, quite simply, the moral and responsible thing to do. Please visit the UMS COVID-19 Public Health Advisory page for the latest updates and guidance from the University of Maine System, and please feel free to call the COVID-19 University Info Line at (207) 581-2681 for UMS updates, answers to frequently asked questions, and information on resources. The UMS press release is included below and the Chancellor’s Directive is attached to this email.
On a personal note, I must state that this is a particularly difficult moment, and it will be hard for me as well as my entire family not to see so many of our wonderful students on a near-daily basis around our campus. But please know that UMPI will be functioning throughout this entire crisis; we will be in constant contact with you; we care for you all; and we will see you again on our beautiful campus as soon as possible.
COVID-19 Concerns Surrounding Spring Break Travel Prompt University of Maine System To Transition Face-to-Face Classes to Remote Instruction and Significantly Limit Occupancy of Residence Halls
Universities remain open but the prospect of travelers returning to Maine after spring break prompts operational and academic changes to limit exposure of COVID-19 now deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System will transition all of its in class academic programming to distance modalities when classes resume March 23 following spring break. The universities will also be notifying on-campus residential students to make plans to depart campus by Sunday, March 22, with personal and educational belongings necessary to complete their semester requirements remotely.
The universities will provide housing and meal options to students who must remain in or return to their on-campus residence due to extenuating personal circumstances.
The prospect of university students traveling domestically and internationally over spring break in the face of the World Health Organization’s pandemic declaration for COVID-19 prompted Chancellor Dannel Malloy to direct the transition to remote instruction and take steps to significantly limit occupancy in the university’s residence halls. The academic and operational changes are being made to limit exposure to the coronavirus and limit travel back to Maine following spring break.
“The University of Maine System, with many of its 23,000 students expected to travel over spring break and 5,800 students living in close proximity in resident halls, is a unique Maine institution,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “We are fortunate that there are still no coronavirus cases in Maine and we must take all appropriate steps to limit exposure to the virus in the interest of preserving public health.”
Chancellor Malloy issued a Directive to Transition to Remote Instruction Effective March 23, 2020 to the University of Maine System Presidents. The universities will remain open and operational with appropriate measures to limit the potential transfer of the coronavirus.