ORONO — As the fall semester continues, the University of Maine is continuing its asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Five hundred students, faculty and staff were randomly chosen to be tested on Wednesday.
“It was very simple, very easy,” said Mason Hepner, a UMaine graduate student. “You just walked up. You gave them your ticket. They had you fill out forms, and you walked to the back, and they did just a quick nasal swab. It took about five-10 seconds.”
The University of Maine System’s asymptomatic COVID-19 testing is now in its third phase.
“Faculty, staff and students who work here on the campus and who are on site have been chosen randomly,” said UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “We are just delighted that people are coming through and doing this testing because this lets us get a good look at what the rates might be like across our system.”
Chancellor Dannel Malloy said students have been cooperating to keep the university’s positivity rate low.
“Students want to be in school,” Malloy said. “They want to be here and they understand that being here means that we can’t have a rate of infection that will overwhelm us.”
Hepner said he feels safe on campus.
“The campus has done everything it can,” Hepner said. “I’m also an employee here, so I work in an office. I think the school in terms of employees have done everything necessary that they can to make it feel like a safe and welcoming environment still for the students and employees themselves.”
Ferrini-Mundy and Malloy are pleased with how everyone has responded.
“It’s a community health matter, and people get that, and they want to protect each other,” Ferrini-Mundy said. “Faculty, staff and students alike have just been great and have been committed to this.”
“We want to make sure that we’re keeping Maine safe, as well as our students, faculty and staff on our campuses,” Malloy said.
According to Malloy, the plan is to continue randomly sampling students, faculty and staff until in-person classes conclude prior to the Thanksgiving break.