After testing positive for coronavirus, around 50 students will be spending Thanksgiving at the campuses of the University of Maine System. This recent development comes after the entire university system conducted mass testing on 6,300 students before they intended to leave for the holiday.
While the safety measure is protecting the families of those who tested positive, school officials know that it will be difficult for quarantined students to spend the holidays away from their loved ones.
To keep the festive spirit alive, the university arranged for isolated students to receive free Thanksgiving meals and care packages. School administrators are also providing students access to counseling services and invitations for virtual events until they are authorized to go home.
For University of Southern Maine (USM) President Glenn Cummings, everything is ready. He even mentioned that his staff at USM are set to assist those who are stuck on campus.
“We think we have eight students that will need a lot of our care and extra attention over the next 10 days. It’s hard to be quarantined in general. To be quarantined over the holidays creates an exceptional hardship,” Cummings told WMTW.
In an interview with News Center Maine, Emily, a UMaine Orono Freshman, said officials were “really, really helpful throughout the whole thing. I’m surprised they haven’t done this before because they were really efficient, and people knew what they were doing, and people were in contact with me.”
A Positive Holiday
After extensive coronavirus testing, the university reported 48 asymptomatic cases among students and staff. There are around 15 people in quarantine at the Orono campus, 15 at USM, and 10 at UMaine, Presque Isle.
“We did departure testing to make sure when students head back to Presque Isle, Dover-Foxcroft, or Hartford, Connecticut that they have a test that they know they’re negative,” Cummings said.
Students of the University of Maine System will return to campus on January 25, the planned start of the second semester, and go through similar testing procedures once they come back.