A rendering of the updates to the Memorial Gymnasium at the University of Maine. Credit: Courtesy of the University of Maine

Fully vaccinated students, staff and faculty at University of Maine System campuses throughout the state will be exempt from COVID-19 testing.

The move comes after the university system exempted fully vaccinated community members from quarantining following a close contact with anyone who tested positive for the coronavirus, and federal guidance has lifted some outdoor mask requirements.

The university system will offer asymptomatic testing throughout the summer for individuals who have not been fully vaccinated, and will continue to monitor COVID-19 on its campuses.

University officials continue to encourage students and faculty to get vaccinated.

“Vaccination is our path to normalcy,” Chancellor Dannel Malloy said. “Now everyone has one more reason to get their shots — a chance to be a part of the on-campus experience without having to participate in weekly COVID testing.”

The University of Maine saw the first campus-based vaccine clinic arrive in Orono, with UMaine nursing students and faculty administering 224 shots on Wednesday.

A survey conducted by the UMS Science Advisory Board and the Vaccine Planning and Partnership Task Force showed that 57 percent of respondents had already received at least one vaccine dose, and 73 percent planned to get a vaccine.

Depending on vaccine availability, other university system campuses may host campus-based vaccine clinics before classes end on May 8. The University of Maine at Fort Kent is making plans to host a clinic on campus that would be open to the public on Tuesday, May 4.

The university system has also issued new guidelines for mask requirements, and will not require that community members wear masks while they are outside in an area where social distancing is possible.

Masks will continue to be required inside university buildings, and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley, her puppy Percy and staying active in the Maine outdoors.