ORONO, Maine — A negative COVID-19 test. That is now a pre-requisite for many University of Maine students coming back for in-person classes this fall.
The University of Maine laid out on Monday its plans for re-entry this fall. Those details include proper physical distancing at all times, wearing face masks, and testing students. Many students must have a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus.
A nasal swab COVID-19 test is the type of test many students can expect to get from Convenient MD.
"We have a scientific advisory board which is the lead, that has been guiding us for several weeks," says President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.
UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy tells NEWS CENTER Maine it's a system-wide plan.
"It's a comprehensive effort, it's system-wide, it's science-based and it is meant to be and keeping with civil guidance in the state," says President Ferrini-Mundy.
3 cohorts or groups of students need to get tested:
- Out of staters or staff who live off-campus
- Students living on campus
- 'Specialty students' like nursing and college athletes
"We've taken those cohorts, and we've actually split them into the daily testing dates and times, and then we've communicated through a mailing," says Dick Young, Associate Executive Director of Auxillary Services at UMaine.
Students have to be enrolled in at least one in-person credit or more to get the free test. Maine residents studying on campus do not have to be tested.
Convenient MD is in charge of collecting about 12,000 test samples from students on the eight UMaine campuses the first week before school starts.
"They actually take the test samples to Connecticut to Jackson labs testing Laboratory in Connecticut and the results come back typically around 36 to 48 hours," says Lynn Derocher, the Director of Business Development and Medical Community Relations at Convenient MD.
The cohorts or groups of UMaine students need to get that negative test result back in order for them to attend their in-person classes.
Convenient-MD has set up designated spaces on all of the U-Maine campuses.
Students enrolled for in-person classes this fall have or will be receiving emails by UMaine telling them when they need to be on campus for their COVID-19 swab test.
Convenint-MD will then ship those samples to Connecticut and students can expect a result within two days.
If negative, students can attend any in-person classes on their schedule.
If positive..."We have on-campus isolation rooms, if its a positive, and we would look to move that student into an isolation room as soon as we are notified and can get the arrangement and contact them to get them into that space," says Young.
UMaine in Orono currently has 6,642 students enrolled for in-person classes this fall.
“Screening asymptomatic members of our community will allow us to identify infection, isolate it, and slow or prevent COVID-19 transmission,” said Dr. Melissa Maginnis, a UMaine virologist and assistant professor in microbiology leading the UMS Scientific Advisory Board.
“Our plans to bring students back to campus and limit the spread of COVID-19 will continue to evolve to reflect the best available science and safety practices,” said Chancellor Dannel Malloy.
“At the University of Maine and across the System we are engaged in an unprecedented health and safety campaign to do our best to keep our students and communities safe,” said President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “Our screening strategy, safety practices, personal pledges, and innovation in instruction are all part of a comprehensive plan to be together this fall and to fulfill public higher education’s essential mission for Maine.”
In June the University of Maine System announced a partnership with The Jackson Laboratory and ConvenientMD to provide testing and testing support services.