ORONO – The leaders of the University of Maine System are committed to bringing students back to campuses this fall.
By the middle of the spring 2020 semester, all classes at the University of Maine System’s seven campuses were being held remotely.
The system’s chancellor says students and parents have been waiting for the July 1 announcement to decide whether they’ll attend any of Maine’s public universities.
“We felt that we needed to do all our work and be making an announcement on or before July 1 … to let students and families plan. They now know that we plan on being open,” said UMaine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy.
Nearly 30,000 students attend the campuses spread across the state.
“We will reserve rooms for the set aside that students might be moved into if we got a positive test on that student,” Malloy said.
Malloy said various campuses are likely to be treated differently based on the number of COVID-19 cases in their regions.
“We understand that so many of our students desire and, quite frankly, have requested an in-classroom experience as they move through the educative process,” said Malloy.
The chancellor said he’s confident they’ll be able to follow social distancing guidelines, including facial coverings.
“It’s a very smart tool to press into service in an environment where we’re putting people into rooms for an extended period of time,” Malloy said. “It’s an inconvenience. It doesn’t make people happy. My glasses fog up, and I have to clear them, but that seems to be a reasonable sacrifice.”
Only the president of the University of Maine in Orono said neighboring town leaders have expressed interest in their plans.
“Particularly because so many of our students live off campus in Orono and Bangor, there’s great interest in what we’re doing,” said president Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
The chancellor said they are doing what they can to offer students the college experience they expected before COVID-19 changed the educational landscape.