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Maine colleges look ahead to fall semester as remote learning continues during coronavirus pandemic

University of New England hopes students will be on campus, but it's one of the many colleges planning for different scenarios.

MAINE, USA — Editor’s note: You are hearing the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means.

UPDATE TUESDAY, APRIL 21

Click here to watch Maine's Public University Presidents discuss plans to welcome students back to class and campus safely in the Fall of 2020. University leaders will also discuss how our admission offices and policies are adapting to support Maine high school seniors and their families.

Original story:

Maine college students are learning remotely for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus, but college administrators are already starting to think and plan about what will happen in the fall.

"It all depends where the virus is at that point," University of New England (UNE) president James Herbet said.

Herbert said while he remains hopeful students will be back on campus, he and his staff are looking at all options. They include ways to quarantine students if they become sick, the size of the classes, and continuing remote learning.

"We're looking at contingency plans," Herbert said.

UNE isn't alone. 

Bowdoin College released a statement reading in part: "We are looking at all contingencies but have made no decisions and don't expect to until June."

Bates College said it's forming a working group to determine plans for the fall semester.

Colby College released a statement, in part saying, "Colby has not made a decision about the upcoming fall semester, but the college is preparing a variety of scenarios, including pushing back the start of classes if necessary."

The University of Maine System also released a statement: "The University of Maine System is making plans to safely welcome students, staff, and faculty back to class and to our campuses in the Fall of 2020. Maine's public universities will continue to operate in compliance with state health parameters -- the health of our students and employees must come first. If state guidance in August permits group gatherings and interaction we will be ready with operational plans and protocols that safely permit the university community to return to our campuses for face-to-face instruction."

Meanwhile, Herbert said the safety of his UNE students is his number one priority. He said the administration is holding off on putting a date on its decision, because of the unknown.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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