Vaccination

Will UNE offer vaccines to students, faculty, and professional staff?

We strongly urge all eligible individuals to sign up for a vaccination as soon as they qualify and to be vaccinated as soon as they can wherever vaccines are being offered. UNE is prepared to hold vaccine clinics for our students and employees if and when the state is able to provide us with the vaccine. We are in regular contact with the Maine CDC, and they are aware of our readiness to implement a UNE vaccine clinic. We strongly recommend, however, that students and employees not wait on an on-campus clinic, but move forward to get vaccinated at existing vaccination sites as soon as possible.

What are the Maine regulations guiding vaccine rollout in the State?

As of April 7, 2021, all Maine residents age 16 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. Please visit the state’s vaccine rollout website for the most up-to-date information.

Is the State of Maine going to allow out-of-state college students who reside in Maine to get vaccinated in Maine?

Yes. The Maine CDC has confirmed that out-of-state students, including international students, who reside in Maine to attend college will be eligible for the vaccine in Maine. Post-secondary students age 16 and older will become eligible on April 7. They can pre-register through Maine’s pre-registration and appointment system.

Where can I find a vaccination site?

You can find information on vaccine locations in Maine on the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination in Maine page. As all adult Maine residents becoming eligible for vaccination, demand is anticipated to be high. We encourage you to check multiple sites for vaccine appointment availability, and to continue to check these sites if you aren’t immediately able to make an appointment.

Here are some of the places to sign up:

Do I have to pay for a vaccine or will my health insurance cover it?

For people covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most commercial insurance plans, the vaccine will be covered by insurance with no out-of-pocket cost. For uninsured people, any administrative fees charged by participating providers will be paid for by the U.S. government through the federal Provider Relief Fund.

Why are vaccinated individuals being asked to follow the same public health protocols as unvaccinated individuals?

At this time, both the federal and Maine CDC recommend that vaccinated individuals continue masking and social distancing, for several reasons:

  • While greatly reduced, vaccinated individuals may still have some risk for contracting and transmitting COVID-19
  • Researchers are continuing to learn more about the long-term efficacy of the vaccine
  • Much remains unknown about existing and future variants of the virus

In addition, given that many members of our community have not yet been vaccinated, we are not in a position to know who has and who has not been fully vaccinated. We will continue to monitor guidance from the CDC, and will revisit our campus public health policies as the situation evolves. We will keep our community apprised of any changes. In the meantime, all members of the UNE community are expected to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the UNE Onward plan.

Where can I learn more about the COVID-19 vaccination program in Maine?

The Office of the Governor and Maine CDC have provided a comprehensive FAQ on this website.

If I am fully vaccinated, do I need to participate in any UNE testing protocols?

Students who are fully vaccinated (14 days out from receiving their final COVID-19 vaccine) do not need to test as part of any on-boarding or return-campus procedures, though they do need to upload their vaccination status to Medicat and may be asked to make a testing appointment at which their vaccination status will be verified and a bracelet will be provided. 

Fully vaccinated students may participate in UNE’s surveillance testing program if they wish.  

Surveillance Testing

Is the University doing surveillance testing?

The University is following current recommended best practices from the state and federal Centers for Disease Control and the American College Health Association. UNE's medical professionals are conducting targeted surveillance testing focused on any high-risk groups that might emerge.

In the interest of protecting the health and safety of the UNE Community, and given the current surge of COVID-19 cases in Maine and nationwide, UNE expanded our current testing protocols to include ongoing surveillance testing for the spring term. On January 25, UNE launched a new surveillance testing program, which consists of regularly scheduled, voluntary COVID-19 testing of our on-campus student and employee populations. Those employees who have been identified as having a particularly high risk of coming into contact with a COVID positive person are invited to test on a weekly basis. On-campus undergraduate and graduate students and a cross section of employees are also invited to participate in regular surveillance testing. These individuals have been randomly assigned to testing cohorts. Each of the five employee cohorts is offered COVID-19 tests every five weeks, and each of the four student cohorts is offered tests every four weeks.

It is our hope that this testing program, in conjunction with ongoing targeted surveillance testing, on-demand testing for students, and wastewater testing, will help to identify any potential outbreaks or clusters of infection among our campus populations that may guide our efforts in more targeted surveillance testing, if needed. This testing program, like the Onward plan in general, remains fluid, and we will continuously assess and readjust components of the program as necessary.

I have been assigned a testing cohort. Do I have to participate in UNE’s ongoing surveillance testing program?

Participation in UNE’s surveillance testing is voluntary. By voluntarily agreeing to participate in testing, you consent to a testing process that includes third-party processing and being informed of a positive COVID test by a member of the Student Health Services team.

I can’t make it to my assigned campus for surveillance testing. Can I switch to a different cohort or go to a different campus?

You may not switch to a different cohort or to a different campus. If you are unable to test during your cohort’s week on your assigned campus, you will need to wait until the next time your cohort is invited to test. Students may opt to request an on-demand test instead of waiting.

Which weeks does my cohort get tested?

Student Testing Cohort Schedule

  • Cohort 1: Weeks of  1/25-28, 2/22-25, 3/22-25, 4/19-22
  • Cohort 2: Weeks of  2/1-4, 3/1-4, 3/29-4/1, 4/26-29
  • Cohort 3: Weeks of  2/8-11, 3/8-11, 4/5-8, 5/3-6
  • Cohort 4: Weeks of  2/15-18, 3/15-18, 4/12-15

Employee Testing Cohort Schedule

  • Cohort 1: Weeks of 1/25-28, 3/1-4, 4/5-8
  • Cohort 2: Weeks of 2/1-4, 3/8-11, 4/12-15
  • Cohort 3: Weeks of 2/8-11, 3/15-18, 4/19-22
  • Cohort 4: Weeks of 2/15-18, 3/22-25, 4/26-29
  • Cohort 5: Weeks of 2/22-25, 3/29-4/1

Do I have to schedule an appointment for a test under the surveillance testing plan? If so, when are appointments available and how do I schedule?

Yes, appointments are required. Time slots are available Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Ludke Auditorium on the Portland Campus and Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Campus Center track on the Biddeford Campus. Testing can be accessed in the Student Health Center on the Biddeford Campus for those who have a mobility issue that will limit their access to the track. Please call to make an appointment if this accommodation is needed (207-602-2358).

Please note that the sign-up process for on-campus testing has changed. The University will no longer be using the Medicat portal for COVID-19 test scheduling. Rather, for all future appointments (including those offered under this program as well as those you may request on demand), please use the appropriate scheduling portal below:

Portland Campus: uneportlandtesting.youcanbook.me

Biddeford Campus: unebiddefordtesting.youcanbook.me

What if I have a mobility issue and can’t access the testing site at the Biddeford Campus Center track?

Testing can be accessed in the Student Health Center on the Biddeford Campus for those who have a mobility issue that will limit their access to the track. Please call to make an appointment if this accommodation is needed (207-602-2358).

If I have had COVID-19, should I participate in the surveillance testing program?

If you have tested positive at any point in the three months preceding your test, even if you have been cleared to return to work/school, please do NOT take a test.

If I have been vaccinated for COVID-19, should I participate in the surveillance testing program?

If you have been vaccinated for COVID-19, you may take the test, if you wish.

What can I expect at the test?

  • At a station outside of the building, you will be asked to blow your nose and wash/sanitize your hands.
  • You will proceed to a reception station where you will verify your appointment, answer screening questions, and have your temperature taken. (This information will not be recorded.)
  • You will pick up your test kit and conduct your own lower nasal swab test and place the swab in a test tube.
  • You will bring the test tube to a print station, where someone will collect and affix a label to your test tube.
  • You will exit the building and proceed with your day. 
  • If your result is negative, you will receive an email within 24 to 48 hours prompting you to finish the registration process to access your test results. If your result is positive, you will receive a phone call from a member of the Student Health Services team.

Other

Will I face conduct violation repercussions if I ask the Student Health Center for a test after violating the UNE Promise?

On September 16, in response to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases in York County, UNE’s COVID Response Team made the decision to enhance testing protocols by offering on-campus tests, free of charge, to any and all on-campus students – undergraduate and graduate, residential and commuter – who have found themselves in a situation in which they might have been at higher risk for contracting the virus. Students are asked to voluntarily go to one of the on-campus testing sites (Campus Center track in Biddeford and Ludke Auditorium in Portland) to be tested. All students are encouraged to take advantage of this resource without repercussions. Testing can be accessed in the Student Health Center on the Biddeford Campus for those who have a mobility issue that will limit their access to the track. Please call to make an appointment if this accommodation is needed (207-602-2358).

If one has not already been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days or if one has not been cleared by a medical professional after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days, examples of such higher risk situations would include:

  • Travel to any state that is not among those which are exempt from Maine’s testing/quarantining requirements. Exempt states currently include New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island.
  • Attending a party or other gathering, a religious service, or other social event in which social distancing or masking was not consistently maintained.
  • Contact with an individual who is known or suspected to be positive for the virus, even if the level of contact does not technically qualify as “close” per CDC standards.

Students who volunteer for such testing will be granted immunity from any potential conduct violations related to the activity that puts them at increased risk. For example, students who volunteer that they have attended an off-campus gathering and who seek testing will not be punished for revealing their attendance at the gathering. Likewise, any other individuals, identified by the volunteer(s), or others, as participating in such an event through a contract tracing process, will also be exempted from conduct violation processes in order to accurately ascertain the extent of the potential exposure. We are taking this approach to encourage students to come forward for testing as needed, without fear of incurring conduct violations, in order to prioritize the health of our community.

Conversely, students who do not voluntarily come forth and self-identify, and who are otherwise found through normal processes to have violated student conduct policies, will be subject to the normal conduct violation processes and consequences. For example, if a gathering is discovered by UNE staff in a dorm or off-campus-location and participating individuals have not self-identified, they might be subject to facing conduct violations, whereas if one or more participants come forward and identify that they participated, no one who attended the event will be subject to conduct violation repercussions.

Are students allowed to ride in vehicles with one another?

To comply with CDC recommendations that call for limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle to only those necessary, students should only travel with peers for essential purposes and should only do so with members of their “household,” including roommates/suitemates. All passengers should wear masks at all times in the vehicle.

May students choose to study remotely for the semester?

With the exception of fully online graduate and professional programs within the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, all UNE programs will be delivered through a hybrid learning model — courses will be campus-based and built around face-to-face classes supplemented with electronic materials via our learning management system. We will not be offering parallel, fully online courses this academic year.

The University is using this model, combined with reduced classroom density, rotation of in-class attendance between class sub-groups, and a set of community health and hygiene practices, to support community health while providing a full educational experience.  

Students who are immunocompromised may request accommodations regarding participation in on-campus classes and other activities by completing a process through the Student Access Center. Please email the Biddeford Student Access Center or the Portland Campus Student Access Center for more information.

Are visitors allowed on UNE’s campuses?

To avoid risks of potential exposure to COVID-19, UNE restricts outside visitors on its campuses, unless they have reason to be present for official business. The general public is not allowed in campus buildings or residence halls, the libraries, fitness centers, and dining areas; to attend lectures/athletic events or similar functions, or to visit friends in residences for daytime or overnight stays. 

Allowable exceptions to the restriction on visitors include pre-scheduled, approved visits of students’ family, admissions tours, athletics recruitment visits, contractors, and other visitors conducting essential business with the University.

Conference services may resume scheduling events on a limited basis in accordance with CDC and state guidance. Conference services will consider bookings where possible to utilize low traffic areas and will schedule events during off-peak hours to reduce density in campus spaces and mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for the UNE community. Signage has been placed throughout the campuses to inform the general public of temporarily restricted access to UNE facilities.

Are students allowed to go home on the weekends?

Once students have returned to campus to begin the term, travel outside of Maine during the term is strongly discouraged. Unless fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for at least 14 days or cleared by a medical professional after being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days, all community members are advised against travel outside of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island until further notice. If individuals do travel out of these specified states and do not meet vaccination or recovery criteria they must follow the 10-day self-quarantine/testing guidelines outlined in the UNE Onward plan upon their return to Maine. Read more about student travel during the term on the Health and Safety webpage.

Will students be able to study abroad in the fall term of academic year 2021-2022?

In the best interest of our students, UNE’s fall undergraduate semester-abroad programs in Spain, France, and Morocco as well as all of UNE’s short-term travel programs and the Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems program in Iceland were canceled due to unexpected viral surges and travel restrictions. The undergraduate semester abroad in Iceland, however, is continuing as scheduled. 

As part of the Office of Global Affairs’ contingency plan, all students who signed up for study-abroad programs also registered for our Maine-based courses and on-campus housing for the fall semester, and therefore, students who have been impacted by canceled programs abroad are having their educational and housing needs met on our Maine campuses.

The decisions made for the fall semester related to UNE’s study-abroad programs will be carried over into the spring semester as well, with only the undergraduate semester abroad in Iceland continuing as scheduled. All other travel abroad programs for spring semester, including all of UNE’s short-term travel programs; undergraduate semester-abroad programs in Spain, France, and Morocco; and the Professional Science Master’s in Ocean Food Systems program, are cancelled.

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