Preble Hall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Credit: Courtesy of University of Maine at Presque Isle

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The University of Maine at Presque Isle has canceled its Upward Bound program’s in-person activities this week due to 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The summer residential program for high school students began on June 19 and several positive cases were reported between June 25 and 29, said Rachel Rice, UMPI director of marketing and communications.

As normal activities resume in many public settings, the outbreak in UMPI’s Upward Bound program is a reminder that people still are at risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.  Maine reported 467 new COVID cases on Wednesday.

Upward Bound was the only program affected, Rice said. Campus staff are proceeding as usual and no other campus events were canceled, because the spaces Upward Bound uses are largely isolated from other people and activities.

One case was confirmed on June 25, and at that point all other students and staff on campus had tested negative, Rice said.

There were four more confirmed cases on June 29. That day was the scheduled permanent move-out day for all underclassmen for the extended July 4th holiday. All students are now off campus.

Six more positive cases have been reported since June 29, and Upward Bound officials decided to cancel in-person activities July 5-8.

“UB officials are keeping a close eye on the situation and will make a final determination about resuming in-person activities ahead of July 9, when the next student move-in is scheduled to take place,” Rice said.

In each case, COVID-19 health and safety protocols were followed, with people isolating/quarantining and given rapid tests if they were close contacts, Rice said.

Upward Bound and TRiO College Access Services seek to provide high school students the motivation and skills they need to get into college, and then to succeed and earn a degree.

Students in the popular Upward Bound residential summer programs live on campus, take courses, participate in work experience and get a taste of college life.

Started in 1980, the program serves students from all over Aroostook County.