We are within days of reopening our campuses. The steps and actions you take now will help us remain together this fall and avoid the forced closures occurring at universities in other parts of the country.
We have worked tirelessly for months developing plans to bring our students, faculty, and staff Together for Maine this fall on our campuses and in our classrooms. Now it is up to you.
Taking the common-sense steps to stay free from infection in your last days at home and adhering to campus safety guidance once on campus will determine if we complete the semester together.
OUTBREAKS CLOSING CAMPUSES ACROSS THE NATION
It is in the news and all over social media. Campuses are closing in regions of the country where people are not taking precautions and gathering in large numbers without face coverings. Just this week, the University of North Carolina abruptly cancelled in-person classes after significant virus outbreaks in three residence halls and a fraternity house.
We can do better.
So far, Maine has been an outlier in the global pandemic. The state's low COVID case count and limited virus transmission are currently the envy of the nation, but it hasn't happened by luck. Maine's people are doing what they need to do -- wearing masks, physically distancing, washing their hands, and avoiding prohibited large gatherings of people of any kind, anywhere.
STUDENTS: LEADING OUR SAFE RETURN
We want your safe return to our universities to be the envy of the nation too. You -- our new and returning students -- can start leading and caring right now to make that happen.
# 1 Lead by staying home and safe now:
Stay home as much as you can;
Do not go to end-of-summer or going away parties;
Do not go to bars and avoid crowds at all costs;
Keep your distance socially -- six-feet minimum -- and always wear a mask; and,
Wash your hands frequently.
# 2 Lead by wearing a mask: Face coverings save lives. Wear a mask whenever you should, even when others around you don't. Masks will be required on campus at all times. If you are not used to wearing a mask start practicing now.
# 3 Lead by bringing a negative COVID test to campus if you can: Students arriving to campus from outside of Maine and students living in a residence hall must have a negative COVID test before going to class and engaging in campus activities. If you can, bring a negative test taken within 72-hours of arrival or plan to honor our testing quarantine requirements until you have a negative test in Maine.
# 4 Lead by staying safe on campus: Adhere to campus pledges and commonsense practices developed to keep you and our campuses safe. Plan to limit your travel and stay in our communities throughout the entire semester.
We have one chance to get this right, and you can lead the way and care for one another by your actions. You know what to do. Prove to the country that Maine's public universities and their students can return and stay together safely this fall, engaging in the on-campus activities and in-person instruction that so many of our students want as part of their college experience.