UNE comes up with plan for return to campus

UNE comes up with plan for return to campus
Liz Gotthelf, Publisher

BIDDEFORD— The University of New England has announced a hybrid plan for the the fall semester that combines on campus and remote learning.

University of New England has campuses in Maine in Portland and Biddeford, with residential halls on the Biddeford campus.

All students coming on campus in the fall will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival. Students will be tested again shortly after arrival. COVID-19 testing will be conducted through partnerships with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and MaineHealth’s NorDx Laboratories, according to a press release from UNE.

There will also be focused surveillance testing of symptomatic individuals and testing of wastewater from residence halls.

 

The university developed a plan called UNE Onward with guidance from leading health professionals as well as the college’s own scientists and public health professionals.

The plan asks all students to follow Center for Disease Control recommended COVID-19 safety precautions.

According to the UNE Onward plan, adjustments are being made that will result in a 40 percent reduction in classroom capacity. Most undergraduate courses will follow a Monday through Wednesday or a Tuesday through Thursday schedule.

The academic year will begin with face to face classes on Aug. 26 and will run without interruption until Nov. 20. School will be held on Labor Day, Veterans Day and the Friday before Veterans day. Face to face classes will end on Nov. 20, as will most on campus residency. The semester will continue with remote learning from Nov. 30 to Dec. 4.

The UNE Onward plan can be seen in its entirety at www.une.edu/onward .

“While we have developed a robust strategy for safely welcoming students back to campus, we recognize that, as conditions evolve, our community cannot completely eliminate risks associated with the virus until an effective vaccine is available. Our institution, with its diverse array of programs that draw students from all walks of life, cannot completely isolate itself from the rest of the world,” said UNE President James Herbert in a written statement. “This being the case, UNE’s plan is inherently flexible, and we will continue to make updates throughout the summer months and beyond, consistent with the evolving information from government agencies, the scientific literature, the higher education community, and the shifting conditions in our surrounding communities.”

The UNE Onward plan expands upon a framework for opening Maine’s higher education institutions, Sustaining Higher Education and Sustaining Maine: A Framework for Reopening Maine’s Colleges and Universities in Fall 2020, which was developed in collaboration with all of Maine’s private colleges, the University of Maine System, and the community college system, according to university officials.

Publisher Liz Gotthelf can be reached at [email protected]