The University of Maine at Presque Isle's Preble Hall. Credit: Melissa Lizotte / Presque Isle Star Herald

Three Maine universities temporarily moved to remote learning on Friday amid a statewide surge in coronavirus transmission.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle, the University of Southern Maine and the Maine School of Law expect to welcome students back to their respective campuses on Monday.

The Presque Isle university learned Friday morning that a “campus community” member tested positive for the virus, according to an email sent to students. That person is asymptomatic and currently in good health while in quarantine.

It was not clear if the positive case was a student, faculty member or someone else connected to the university.

The case comes amid a broader spike in coronavirus cases in Aroostook County. The rise has heavily affected educational institutions, including K-12 schools in Mars Hill, Caribou and Limestone.

There are currently 12 active cases in Aroostook County, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As of Friday, there have been 7,444 cumulative coronavirus cases reported across the state since the pandemic began in March.

At USM and the Maine School of Law, the decision to move to remote learning there came after a “higher than expected” level of the virus was detected in the wastewater system at USM’s Gorham campus, according to Dan Demeritt, the university system’s spokesperson. That will undergo additional testing over the weekend to verify the results

“A one-day transition to remote work and learning creates immediate awareness of our need to be even more vigilant in our commitment to safety practices and gives our team the weekend to assess our incoming asymptomatic testing results and the plans we already have in place to test students early next week,” USM President Glenn Cummings said.

Meanwhile, five employees at the system’s flagship campus in Orono have tested positive for the coronavirus. Analysis of the wastewater in Orono shows levels of the coronavirus in line with the known caseload there, according to Demeritt.