Expect New Guidance Before End of Day Wednesday
I know we’re all looking forward to as normal of a fall semester as we can offer our students around the state. Even as we enjoy the Maine summer now, many of you are involved in the work to make that fall return as safe as possible. The fall return is only weeks away, and I continue to be grateful for all of your efforts.
It’s been impossible this week to miss the fast-changing news about the COVID-19 Delta variant. Today’s Washington Post reports on its severity and highly contagious nature. We received a sobering update Wednesday on Delta and its transmissibility from the UMS Science Advisory Board. We met the same day with faculty leaders to discuss COVID and vaccine protocols, and had an extended discussion Thursday with our university presidents and Law School dean about pandemic and public health planning and practices.
From the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve prioritized student, faculty, staff and community safety, followed the science, and acted quickly and transparently to protect public health. That necessarily remains our priority and strategy. While we all want the pandemic to ease, the need for vigilance remains. COVID, and particularly the Delta variant, demands that we always be ready to respond to new information and guidance from public health officials, and adjust our own protocols.
The University of Maine System is committed to providing our students, faculty and staff with an on-campus experience this fall that is as normal as it can safely be. The virus is not going away, and vaccination, face coverings and testing will be necessary parts of our ongoing multi-layered strategy to prevent COVID, as much as we reasonably can, from risking campus and community health.
I want to be clear: We will do everything necessary to protect our campus communities from the Delta variant. We will consider the best currently available science and medical information to adjust our COVID protocols, and we’ll be announcing updates to fall semester safety practices for our in-person population before the end of the day on Wednesday, August 4.
Thanks for continuing to work together for the public health and safety of our campus communities and all of Maine. I hope you enjoy the weekend.