By: Haley Hersey, News Editor
On March 25, after more than two years of masking, the University of Maine System (UMS) and University of Southern Maine (USM) announced starting at midnight on March 26 masking on campus in non-classroom facilities would be optional, regardless of vaccination status indoors and outdoors. There are however, exceptions to the policy.
In order to be in compliance with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, anyone who is recovering from COVID-19 or has come into contact with someone who has the virus will be required to wear a mask.
The email from USM President, Glenn Cummings who announced in October that he will be stepping down as president and that June 30 will be his last day in the role, said, “Face coverings continue to be required in all classrooms, research spaces and instructional areas unless the requirement is waived by a faculty member. UMS also will require face coverings for public events in its facilities that welcome 75 or more persons, unless proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result is required. All UMS event organizers have the option to require face coverings.”
“All are welcome to choose to wear face coverings as a personal choice, and it is recommended that all UMS community members carry a mask at all times while on the university campuses and in System facilities to use as needed,” continued Cummings in the email.
In February, the masking policy was in effect and had been extended with the intention of being revisited and re-evaluated, leaving many students and faculty frustrated.
During the first week of the new masking policy, many professors opted to continue masking for a week or two as many students are sick following spring break, however some professors have moved immediately to making masking optional.
The new policy was announced after the decision to hold 2022 Commencement in person on May 7 at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland was announced.
Previously, Dean Mondor shared via email the plan for an in-person commencement and how it was dependent upon CDC, state, city and University policies and guidelines come May. There was no alternative plan for the ceremony at the time.
As of March 14, the Cross Insurance Arena revised their COVID-19 policies regarding masking and proof of vaccine/COVID test.
The Cross Insurance Arena’s website says, “Effective March 14, 2022, guests are NOT required to show a negative test or proof of vaccination to attend an event.”
Masks are not required when attending events at the Cross Insurance Arena. They do “strongly recommend” guests wear masks except for when eating or drinking, however, some events in the facility will require masking regardless of vaccination status.