By: Abigail Nelson, Community Editor
Students’ spring semester, and for some, their final semester, was cut short when they received an email stating the remainder of the semester would be taught online. COVID-19 sent students packing their bags and scrambling to figure out what their next six weeks would look like.
In an effort to slow the spread of the virus, students were encouraged to take all their belongings and school essentials and go home, if possible. According to the email sent by President Cummings on March 11 on behalf of the UMS Chancellor Dannell Malloy, “Residential and meal plan options will be available for those who must remain in or return to their on-campus residence during or from Spring Break due to extenuating personal circumstances, and those students should be advised to prepare for limited on-campus activity and interaction.”
For the students who had the option to reside off-campus, many were concerned with receiving a refund of the money already spent on housing and a meal plan. Thursday, March 12, Christina Lowery from the Residential Life office sent an email out to students which outlined a preliminary plan for what the office will be doing to assist students during this time. Students were told to complete a closure form and express check-out of their buildings.
According to Lowery in the same email, “The University of Maine System is working to resolve this matter. Mechanisms are being developed that will reimburse students and families appropriately and fairly according to all applicable legal and regulatory standards.” Students were then told to continue to check their emails for more information.
Resident Life sent an update to students on March 18. The email explained that students who have checked out of their resident halls will receive adjustments to their bill on MainStreet. The amount students may receive back depends on their housing and meal plans. If these adjustments result in a credit balance, the students would be refunded through the Student Financial office. To make this process easier for all, students were encouraged to enroll for direct deposit. The Resident Life office hopes to have this process completed by March 31, 2020.
In addition, to give the students more time to adjust and transition, the Housing Selection for the fall semester has been postponed. The dates now tentatively are as follows:
- April 21st – Honors Room selection (any current Honors student wanting Honors Housing in Philippi third floor east or Anderson)
- April 22nd – Rainbow Room Selection. Philippi third floor west
- April 23rd – Enhanced Occupancy Selection (selecting into triples and 6 person suites)
- April 27th – Current Seniors and Grads select housing
- April 28th – Current Juniors select housing
- April 29th – Current Sophomores select housing
- April 30th – Current First Year select housing
As these dates are subject to change, the Resident Life office encourages students to stay connected. They are open to questions and want to help students the best they can. Lowery said “Changing plans this quickly has been an enormous undertaking for our residential student population. We are so thankful for all of their cooperation. We will miss having our lively, robust campus community until Fall.”