MAINE, USA — The University of Maine system said Wednesday it will transition all of its in-person classes to remote classes after students' spring break, which is next week, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Classes will resume remotely starting March 23.
The universities will be notifying on-campus residential students to make plans to leave campus by Sunday, March 22, with personal and educational belongings necessary to complete their semester requirements remotely.
The universities said they will provide housing and dining options to students who must remain in or return to their on-campus residence due to personal circumstances.
The schools in the University of Maine system are:
- University of Maine in Orono
- University of Maine at Augusta
- University of Maine at Farmington
- University of Maine at Fort Kent
- University of Maine at Machias
- University of Maine at Presque Isle
- University of Southern Maine
The UMaine system had previously said they were taking the opposite approach and were asking students to stay on campus over spring break if possible, to avoid people traveling to possibly infected areas and back to their university.
The prospect of university students traveling domestically and internationally over spring break in the face of the World Health Organization’s pandemic declaration for COVID-19, which was made Wednesday, prompted Chancellor Dannel Malloy to direct the transition to remote instruction and take steps to limit occupancy in the university’s residence halls. Malloy said academic and operational changes are being made to limit exposure to the coronavirus and limit travel back to Maine following spring break.
“The University of Maine System, with many of its 23,000 students expected to travel over spring break and 5,800 students living in close proximity in resident halls, is a unique Maine institution,” Malloy said. “We are fortunate that there are still no coronavirus cases in Maine and we must take all appropriate steps to limit exposure to the virus in the interest of preserving public health.”