The University of Maine Chancellor Dannel Malloy has announced that the University of Maine System will be transitioning to remote, online-only class formats, effective March 22. The decision was made after the World Health Organization announced on March 11 that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, has become a pandemic.
Currently, the state of Maine has not had any reported cases of COVID-19. The decision to move to online classes is seen as a preemptive measure to promote the safety and wellbeing of students, faculty and administration. In an attempt to meet the responsibility of the administration to ensure the health and wellness of the UMaine community, the following guidelines have been presented.
First, UMaine administration has decided to transition all in-class academic instruction to an online format, or a format that is most appropriate for the course. This is to encourage community members to stay away from public gathering areas.
Second, the University of Maine System has advised all on-campus residential students to make plans to depart from the University of Maine System campuses by Sunday, March 22 with all their personal and academic belongings. Students who have already departed from campus will be provided with the opportunity to gather their belongings before the deadline of March 22. However, those students who are unable to move off-campus due to extenuating personal circumstances will be provided with housing opportunities during and after the scheduled spring break. The University of Maine System will be providing resources for dining options for those students who are unable to move off campus.
Lastly, as of March 11, the University of Maine System universities will continue to keep campuses open and operational. Those who are still active on campus are advised to take precautions, such as social distancing, to protect community health. Social distancing, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that all persons in a public area attempt to maintain a distance of at least five feet from other persons in that public area. This distance will help to prevent the spreading of mucus droplets. The CDC also encourages everyone to continue to wash their hands regularly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
The University of Maine System recommends that all non-essential UMaine-sponsored travel be suspended as of March 11.
UMaine sporting events have not been affected and are planned to proceed as anticipated. The UMaine men’s ice hockey team will anticipate hosting the University of Connecticut this week. The UMaine women’s basketball team will anticipate traveling to play Stony Brook this week.
“The safety of our community is a paramount concern,” Robert Dana, vice president for student life and dean of students, told the Maine Campus. “These are anxiety producing times and it is important that we support each other. We will continue to update as possible and I want students, faculty and staff to know that all hands are on deck to get us through this uncertain and difficult time.”