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6/26/2020 – Message from President Rice to campus

Dear UMPI students,

We have been busy with planning and preparations for your safe return to campus by the time the fall semester starts on Aug. 31. I’ll be sharing more information with you about that planning next week, but please know that we’re taking everything into account to ensure your health and safety–from hybrid course delivery to traffic flow and cleaning protocols to housing and dining plans–and we will align all of our planning with the timetable and guidelines of the Maine CDC and the Governor’s Office.

My thanks to the campus leads in our Safe Return planning work, especially our Director of Facilities, Joe Moir; our Associate Dean of Student Life, Sarah Coyer; and Barb Blackstone, the Dean of Professional Programs.  Safe Return planning covers every aspect of our day-to-day campus operations and has required many variables to be taken into consideration. Our promise to you as we go through this planning process is to communicate clearly and often, to share updates as we refine our plans, and to seek your feedback on ways we can strengthen these plans.

In regards to our academic programming, we are working to ensure that students will have the option of different modalities of distance education courses to select (including courses with “live time” components through Zoom technologies and those that you can access and do work at any time and require no “live” pre-set schedules).  We are ensuring live, in-classroom courses that meet social distancing guidelines and safety protocols for both faculty and students.  And our residential halls are also being prepared with such protocols.  Our promise to you is to offer the course offerings that meet your personal safety wishes and requirements.  Thus, whether you are a returning student or a new student to UMPI, we will provide you with dormitory housing, should you so choose, but that will always be an option for you, never a requirement.  Your safety and your choice is always our first priority.

In the meantime, I’d like to make you aware of our July plans for some of our facilities, such as the Center for Innovative Learning (CIL). We will be opening select facilities in the same way we closed them–in a phased manner to best ensure health and safety. Starting July 8, the CIL will be open to those on campus (e.g, students currently in the residence hall, staff that live on campus, and faculty/staff approved to work on campus right now). On July 15, the CIL would open to faculty, staff, and students within the local area. If this “soft opening” proceeds according to plan, we hope to look at a wider opening to the community in August, though we will assess as we go.  We will also evaluate re-opening other facilities as these plans and policies warrant.  Staff are just returning to these spaces now to prepare them for opening and we look forward to bringing them back to full operations.

All of these plans, of course, are subject to change, but, with your help, we hope to make your return to campus in the next two months the very safest it can be.  Please look for more specific plans from the University of Maine System and the University of Maine at Presque Isle in regards to a Safe Return for the Fall 2020 semester– and beyond– on July 1.

Best regards,

Ray