For the first time in two years, the University of Maine commenced its first round of Accepted Student Days on April 1. Throughout April, prospective students for the fall will attend their respective programs to learn more about their academic future. The COVID-19 pandemic halted these activities starting in the spring of 2020, and their return marks a new transition back to normalcy here at UMaine.
In March of 2020, students were sent home and required to complete their semesters via remote learning. Upon returning in the fall of 2021, mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions were implemented, social gatherings restricted and many aspects of the typical college experience were put indefinitely on hold. Now, two years since the beginning, we’re finally beginning to see a return to normalcy as cases drop and vaccination levels increase.
The mask mandate was lifted on April 26, with students and faculty no longer required to wear masks in UMaine facilities except for in classroom settings. Nearly all students and faculty are vaccinated, and the immense efforts taken by all have allowed the school to ease the COVID-19 safety measures.
Removing the mask mandate may seem miniscule, but for students and faculty it means seeing smiling faces again, breathing more easily when working out and more audible conversations with peers. These small things are just reminders of the days before the pandemic, but slowly, even more rewarding experiences are returning as well.
Large gatherings were banned for much of the pandemic, suspending events like the Maine Day Parade, the Maine Event concert and even in-person commencement ceremonies. These important college events are thankfully scheduled to occur this year, bringing delight to many of those who missed out on these integral college experiences.
The Maine Day parade will take place on April 27 at 8:15 a.m., and the Maine Event, a concert sponsored by the UMaine Student Government, is scheduled for April 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Hilltop.
While UMaine has remained focused on looking ahead to a positive future, the community has not forgotten about those affected in the past by the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be graduation ceremonies held this year not only for the class of 2022, but also the classes of 2021 and 2020.
Commencement ceremonies for undergraduate and graduate classes of 2022, 2021 and 2020 will take place on Friday, May 6, Saturday, May 7 and Sunday, May 8 in the Alfond Arena. More information about dates, tickets and COVID-19 guidelines can be found on the UMaine website.
Many aspects of the university experience have changed drastically over the past two years, but finally UMaine is gradually entering into a new normal.
The student body and administration worked incredibly hard throughout the past two years to ensure everyone’s safety and to preserve UMaine’s educational standards. Moving forward, we’re all relieved to safely transition to no masks, larger gatherings and less COVID-19 restrictions and to provide graduation ceremonies for those who lost them to the pandemic.