By: Haley Hersey, News Editor
Effective Tuesday, February 1, students who have an in-person presence across the University of Maine System (UMS) will be required to have a COVID-19 booster, and will have to test weekly until they do.
“All in-person students need to get a booster shot and upload their updated vaccination records,” read the email from University of Southern Maine (USM) President Glenn Cummings on Wednesday, January 19. If students do not receive a booster shot by February 1, they “will be required to take a campus-based COVID test weekly until they receive a booster shot.”
Similar negotiations are being discussed in regards to UMS employees.
Additionally, the update in the definition of being fully vaccinated requires a booster shot to avoid having to quarantine if one becomes a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
In an email sent from Cummings on Thursday, January 27, the details of an on-campus booster clinic are disclosed. All members of the USM community are invited to attend the booster clinic on the Gorham campus being held on February 8. The clinic is going to be located in the Ice Arena Alumni Reception Room. Both Pfizer and Moderna booster shots will be available. Hours for the clinic and how to register are still being finalized, but more information will be available soon.
Those looking for booster appointments sooner can check the CDC’s vaccination sites website or local pharmacies. After receiving a booster, students need to upload photos of their vaccine cards to the Point-N-Click website.
On August 4, 2021, Chancellor Dannel Malloy announced starting August 18 masks are required indoors on UMS campuses again, that students must verify vaccination status, or be in the process of being vaccinated by August 20, or they would not be allowed on campus in the fall.
At the time of that announcement, masking along with vaccination was a way of safely returning to campus, with the potential of being reevaluated as the semester progressed. Now in the Spring 2022 semester, masking is still currently required on university property.
Furthermore, USM Residential Life has updated their policies this semester as well. In the fall, students were allowed to travel between residential halls and eventually vaccinated off campus guests were allowed too. With the return to campus following winter break, Res Life temporarily prohibited travel between residential halls. Off campus guests are not permitted for the time being and will be reassessed as the semester progresses.
According to the Together for Maine Daily Briefing website, as of January 25 across the entire University of Maine System (UMS) there is a “95.3% Vaccination Verification Rate among projected in-person spring population.”
At the same time, there were 124 known and active cases of COVID-19 across the UMS’s “more than 30,000 students, faculty, and staff in the University of Maine System community.” Of the 124, twelve are part of the USM community. These numbers are down from the January 18 numbers stating there were 252 known and active cases of COVID-19 across the UMS. 33 of the 252 were members of the USM community.
Senior Executive Director of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maine, Dan Demeritt said, on January 26 USM had a 96.6% Vaccination Verification Rate among projected in-person spring population. 5,890 students, faculty and staff currently projected for in-person population. Among the 1,078 residence hall students, there is a 98.4% vaccination verification rate.
Additionally, for the University of Southern Maine, 1,953 Verified Booster Shots have been uploaded to the University of Maine System (UMS) vaccination portal.