Graduates make their way to Alfond Arena at the University of Maine in Orono in 2015. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Maine’s public universities are seeing COVID-19 cases rise as students take final exams and prepare for graduation ceremonies that are just days away.

The University of Maine System has seen 187 positive tests at its campuses across the state in the past 14 days, according to the system’s COVID-19 dashboard, which was updated Monday morning.

That’s up from 54 less than a week ago, on April 26.

The increase in cases has prompted the system to enforce a mask mandate in all academic and lab settings, including during final exams this week, spokesperson Margaret Nagle said.

In addition, universities will evaluate this week whether to require face coverings at upcoming commencement ceremonies.

So far, only the University of Southern Maine is requiring that those attending commencement wear masks, Nagle said. That university’s commencement is set for Saturday.

The universities are seeing a rise in cases just as the state sees a similar phenomenon.

Avatar photo

Sawyer Loftus

Sawyer Loftus is a reporter covering Old Town, Orono and the surrounding areas. A recent graduate of the University of Vermont, Sawyer grew up in Vermont where he's worked for Vermont Public Radio, The...