By: Cullen McIntyre, Web Editor
This article has been updated on 6/25 following more information from Christina Lowery.
In an email from Christina Lowery, Director of Housing and Residential Life, she confirmed that a resident on the Gorham campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The email, sent to current residential summer students, stated that “those initially identified as a close contact have been notified.”
The university has followed CDC guidelines to determine close contacts in situations like these. Those identified by residential life were asked to quarantine. Students are currently living in their own apartment or suites with their own air returns, allowing for students to quarantine or isolate.
This is the first student at USM to test positive for COVID-19, as students have been residing on campus for summer classes. Lowery addressed concerns for the current residential students further in her email, “Passing in the hallways or lobby carries low risk of transmission. Additionally, since individual air returns are in each apartment or suite, different suites and apartments do not share air.”
Staying in the same building with other students is low risk, as long as you maintain social distancing, wear a mask when interacting with others, wash hands frequently and avoid groups. If you’re a residential student experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as shortness of breath, fever, dry cough and sore throat, contact Health Services: (207) 780-5411.
According to Lowery, this will not impact how many students are allowed to live on campus in the Fall. In a recent email from Rodney Mondor, Dean of Students, it was announced that “residence halls will open with lower density and increased protocols for health and safety per CDC and University of Maine System guidelines.”
Lowery also added that residential life has learned from this experience. “We’ve learned a lot about how we’d like to educate students about COVID-19, the importance of following CDC guidelines about social distance and mask wearing, and the real cost of not adhering to these,” she said. “There is so much information and misinformation about COVID-19 out there… We will be looking critically at how we disseminate information to students in the Fall, and helping them understand the critical importance of making good decisions for the good of the community. We can make many plans for safety, but they mean little without student buy-in for a campus focus on safety in the fall.”
The University of Maine System is yet to officially announce whether students will be returning in the fall, as well as details on how the fall semester will work, but should expect an announcement on or around July 1.