Published: November 9, 2020
To the Thomas College Community,
As we look toward our Thanksgiving and winter holiday breaks, I want to reaffirm my commitment to students, families, faculty and staff that when we return for the final weeks of the fall semester, it will be with the same goals we have had since the beginning of the semester: In-person classes and a healthy and safe campus. We have already proven we can provide the in-person experience that students desire and do it safely, and we are laser-focused on keeping it that way through the remainder of the academic year.
With this in mind, and recognizing that the incidence of the virus is changing in Maine and nationally, I have three important updates to share:
- On Friday, the College reported the first positive test result in our Thomas College community. Today I want to reassure you, again, that there is no evidence of community transmission of the virus and that the Maine CDC concluded there was no identified close contact between the affected individual and others on campus. Please remember it is incumbent on all of us to protect the privacy of this individual so they can focus on their health. A positive test result does not mean we failed. It means our plan to identify and contain incidence on campus was a success. Our plan—thanks to your commitment—is working and we will continue to strive toward completing the academic calendar together on campus as we originally intended.
- Given the current situation in Maine, the College is instituting a more aggressive post-Thanksgiving return to campus testing regimen. These new procedures will help to ensure that our community can return to campus in the safest way possible.
Here is what you can expect over the break and when you return to campus:
RETURN TO CAMPUS
- All Resident Students: Must return to campus Sunday, 11/29 by 5 pm
- All Resident Students: Residents are expected to test upon arrival on 11/29 (testing hours: 9 am – 6 pm). Those who cannot arrive on Sunday are required to test on Monday, 11/30 (7:30 am – 4:45 pm). (Note: Residents returning from a non-exempt state must bring a negative test result with them to return to housing per our policy, attached)
- Commuters (including in-person graduate students): Must test Sunday, 11/29 (9am – 6 pm) or Monday, 11/30 (7:30 am – 4:45 pm)
- Faculty and Staff: Must test Sunday, 11/29 (9am – 6 pm) or Monday, 11/30 (7:30 am -4:45 pm)
- After your initial Sunday/Monday return to campus test, our entire community will resume the normal testing schedule for the remainder week of 11/30 (for example, if you normally test on Tuesday, you will test again Tuesday, 12/1, if you normally test on Wednesday, you will test again on 12/2, etc.)
RETURN TO CLASS
- All classes will be held virtually on 11/30 and 12/01
- Normal class schedules will resume Wednesday, 12/02
- For students who cannot travel during the break, we will be providing residence hall space so they can safely remain on campus at no additional expense. Residents must contact Hannah Gladstone by November 13th to request break housing
TRAVEL AND GUEST HOSTING POLICIES
- Community testing is only one way that we can protect our community. Another is exercising caution with where you go and with whom you visit when you are off-campus. Attached are two guides to help you understand our policies when traveling to non-exempt states and if someone from a non-exempt state (a relative, sibling, or partner) stays with you over the Thanksgiving break. Please take a moment to read them. It is important to understand that your off-campus activities can impact the safety of the entire Thomas College community.
3. In early December, I will be sending out the details about our return to campus in January. These plans will include key dates, testing procedures and schedules, and what return to residency will look like.
As we approach end of semester finals, I know the combined stress of work, school, and life may feel overwhelming. But I want to reiterate to every student that the College is fully committed to your academic success. Our instructors, faculty advisors, and academic coaches are ready to help you finish the semester strong and be ready for spring.
We Terriers have much to be proud of this fall. As the days get shorter and the air gets colder, the bright light of example we have cast to all corners of Maine and beyond will keep us warm, guide us forward, and keep us focused on finishing this semester as we started: Together as one caring community.
Finally, I once again urge you to please get your seasonal flu shot. More than ever, being proactive about protecting your personal health will help keep our community safe and healthy and will help ensure that we can remain together on-campus.
For the most recent updates from the Thomas College community, please visit our COVID-19 web page at https://www.thomas.edu/coronavirus. You can find more information about the Thomas College Return to Campus Safely Plan at https://www.thomas.edu/coronavirus/return-to-campus. If you have questions related to COVID-19, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Deep Respect,
Laurie G. Lachance