Woodward Hall, where the resident resides on campus. Cullen McIntyre / Editor in Chief

UPDATE: As confirmed by Bensler, she tested negative for the COVID-19 coronavirus and is allowed out of self-isolation from her home.

Kayla Bensler, a freshman music major, developed pneumonia after a class trip to Rochester, New York last week. Following her visit to health services this morning at 9:30 am, she was put into quarantine after collapsing.

Bensler said that health services are on the side of caution. “They said I’m very low risk, but since I’m immunodeficient it was better to get ahead of it.” She was held in health services until being moved to the home of President Glenn Cummings until her family can bring her home to Massachusetts tomorrow.

Bensler is a resident of Woodward Hall, a freshman dorm on the Gorham campus. She also works at the register at Brooks Dining Hall on the Gorham campus, and was working this past weekend.

When she returns to her home in Massachusetts she will be held in self-containment in her room until she gets her results back on Friday.

Along with her classmates, she returned last Friday from New York City. She felt like she had allergies over the weekend, until feeling more ill Monday. “Monday I went to a couple classes but bowed out after 12 when it felt like it might’ve been a cold. I called out of all classes yesterday because it still felt like a nasty cold…” she said.

Bensler is the first student reported to be quarantined at USM, and was taken in on the side of caution following her illness. As of Wednesday, there have been no reports of the coronavirus in the state of Maine, but colleges across the state have taken measures against it. Bowdoin College along with the entire University of Maine System are moving to remote online classes following Spring Break.


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