MAINE, USA — Editor’s note: The above video aired on Jan. 3.
The University of Maine System confirmed Tuesday that students will return to in-person classes on all campuses as planned on Jan. 18.
Several new requirements were also announced for students planning to return in person this semester.
UMS will require all in-person students who have not received a COVID vaccine booster to participate in weekly COVID testing starting Feb. 1. The current protocol only requires students who are not fully vaccinated to get tested weekly for the virus.
Following new recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anyone infected with COVID must isolate for five days.
The system also made changes to its quarantine and isolation requirements.
In-person students tested for COVID must limit their activities on campus until they receive a negative result unless they have received a booster. Any students, faculty, or staff considered close contacts of someone who tests positive for the virus, and who have not received a booster, will be required to quarantine for five days, with some exceptions.
“While all of our vaccination, exemption, and testing protocols continue from last semester, the pandemic’s evolution with the fast-spreading omicron variant demands that we take greater advantage of the extra protection that booster shots give us,” Chancellor Dannel Malloy said in a release.
Members of the UMaine System community who plan to travel outside of Maine for university-related matters or activities must receive the booster by Feb. 1.
“Even though booster shots have not yet been mandated by governmental authorities, the strong consensus of the medical, public health and scientific communities is that booster shots significantly increase our protection against COVID and its spread,” Malloy said.
Dan Demeritt, senior executive director of marketing and communications for the University of Maine System, said this “additional guidance is to help improve safety during the ongoing COVID pandemic and limit the spread of the delta and omicron variants.”
The system encourages its community to receive a COVID booster shot and update their vaccination status on the vaccine verification portal.