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Health and Safety

Overview

Thomas College is committed to providing a safe campus environment for all faculty staff and students. Thomas invites and expects all members of the campus community to assist in exercising and respecting the range of risk mitigation strategies that are designed to promote a healthy campus, recognizing that individual actions help contribute to the community’s overall experience. The College intends to follow local, state and federal guidelines, to provide support to the members of the community, to remain flexible to respond to changing circumstances, and to communicate with the campus on an ongoing basis.


Masks, Face Shields, and Social Distancing

The College will require that face masks be worn at all times in classrooms and public spaces. See paragraphs below for more information. Individuals who may need to seek accommodations for this requirement are required to contact either Michelle Joler-Labbe at michelle.jolerlabbe@thomas.edu (for faculty and staff) or Lisa Desautels-Poliquin (for students) at lisa.desautelspoliquin@thomas.edu for more information.

Face Masks

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear face mask in public areas, inside all buildings,  and outdoors. 

Acceptable Face Masks:  The College considers a 3-ply (or 3-layered material), non-vented facemask to be in compliance with our policy.  Face masks with exhalation valves or vents do not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others and Maine CDC does not recommend using these masks.  Therefore, vented masks are not permitted for use on campus and considered out of compliance with our face mask policy.

Other mask types including but not limited to:  Gators, bammies, bandannas, and handkerchiefs are not as effective or protectiveas a 3-ply (or 3-layered) face mask and are not recommended to be used on campus.

Proper Wear of a Facemask:   A mask is only effective as a preventative measure when worn over both the mouth and nose.  Wearing a mask below the nose is not acceptable and any individual wearing their mask in such a fashion will be considered out of compliance with our face mask policy.

General Facemask Exceptions: When alone in an individual office or space; within resident students’ own residence hall room when alone or with roommate and the door is closed; within the dining center, Jeanie’s Café, or Dog Pound face covering/mask can be removed only while seated at the table for the purpose of eating.  Resident students, please refer to your housing policy for additional information.

Athletic Exception:  Only during official Thomas College athletic practices and events athletes are exempt from the 3-ply (or 3-layered material) mandate.  The moment an athlete leaves the playing field, they are required to replace their athletic bammie with a 3-ply (or 3-layered) facemask that covers both the mouth and nose.  Please note that any unofficial athletic activities (e.g. a pick-up game of basketball in the gym) still require a 3-ply (or 3-layered) mask worn by all participants.

Face Shields

Face shields may be an alternative for those individuals with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks/face coverings. Students or employees seeking an accommodation to use a face shield should contact Lisa Desautels-Poliquin, VP Student Affairs, or Michelle Joler-Labbe, Chief HR Officer, respectively to discuss individual situations.

Face Shield Exception: Face shields may be used by a faculty member when teaching class from the front of the room and maintaining a 6-foot social distance from students. The faculty member will need to wear a face mask into the class and replace with the shield when at the front of the room. Likewise, faculty should remove their shield and replace with a face mask when leaving the room. In the auditorium only, individuals (faculty/students) may use face shields when presenting from the stage and socially distancing.

Face shields worn in place of a face covering must extend below the chin and back to the ears.

Social Distancing (6-feet)

We are modifying common spaces with reduced density and occupancy limits, creating buffer zones, and adding some physical barriers to allow individuals to work and learn while still maintaining a healthy physical distance from others.

In outdoor spaces, such as the quad and trails, social distancing is encouraged. Outdoors, facial coverings should always be worn. For this reason, at all times, individuals should carry a mask with them.


Testing policy

Students will be expected to participate in the College’s testing program related to COVID-19 in order to physically attend classes. Students who test positive for the virus or display any symptoms should seek guidance immediately from the Health Center at 207-859-1401.

What is the testing strategy this spring?

Thomas College will provide a comprehensive COVID-19 testing regimen to our entire College community for the fall term. All Faculty, Staff and Students will be tested as we return to begin the Spring semester and regularly throughout the semester. Regular testing of our students, faculty, and staff will enable us to respond quickly to any incidents identified on our campus. The actual testing will be self-administered (while observed by a trained professional), and is the less-invasive, front interior of the nose test.

Do I need to pay for COVID-19 testing?

Students, faculty, and staff will not be charged for testing.

How the testing process be administered?

Under the guidance of the Health Center, the College has hired dedicated staff to oversee the development of our testing schedule and collection site on campus.  The actual testing will be self-administered (while observed by a trained professional), and is the less-invasive, front interior of the nose test.

If I test positive can my parents pick me up from campus?

At this time and according to the Maine CDC, anyone testing positive will be allowed to go home.  We will follow all guidelines by the Maine CDC.

How is my privacy around testing being protected?

The transmission of testing information is via a secured system.  Negative test results will be sent from the testing company via email to the student as well as the Health Center.  Any result that is positive, invalid, or unable to be processed will be sent to the Health Center who will follow up directly with the student.  Any positive test results will be sent automatically to Maine CDC.


Isolation and Quarantine Definitions

Close Contact/Exposed: Generally defined as being within 6 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour time frame

Quarantine: When you separate people from others because they may have been exposed or in close contact to the COVID-19 virus but are not currently symptomatic

Isolation: When you separate people who are infected with the virus (with or without symptoms) from people who are not infected


Guest Policy

GUEST PROTOCOL

Please review this page each time you plan to host a guest on campus as policies are subject to change.

Guests will be permitted on campus and must be hosted by an individual or department.

A guest is defined as an individual who is not a current employee or student of the college.  Guests include friends and family of current students, faculty or staff, prospective students and their families, alumni, and other individuals coming to campus for official campus business or meetings.

For the purpose of this policy:

  • Guests are not permitted in the Dining Center
  • Guests are not permitted in the Athletic Center
  • Guests, including non-residential Thomas students, are not permitted within residential housing. Residents must host their guests outside of their residence.

For those who are hosting a guest, it is your responsibility to inform your guest of the College’s guidelines.  When your guest arrives on campus, please review screening questions, and remind them of the following:


Print/Download Guest Screening Questions

Guidelines for hosting a guest on campus (minimum requirements)

Screening

  • Guests should be given Thomas’ screening questions prior to
    their visit.
  • Guests must answer our screening questions prior to coming onto campus. If they answer “yes” to any question they should not come to campus.
  • Guests who have been exposed directly in the previous 14 days to someone confirmed with COVID-19 or someone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 may not come to campus.
  • Guests who are from a non-exempt state (Not ME/NH/VT) must have a negative COVID19 test result within 72 hours of arriving in Maine or have quarantined for 14 days.

Guests must be registered in the guest log.

  • Upon arrival, the host should review each screening questions with the guest(s). Any guest who comes to campus exhibiting symptoms, should be asked to leave immediately.
  • After screening, the host should contact Safety and Security and provide the following information:
  • Name of host; Name of visitor; date/time of visit; location(s) on campus where guest will visit
  • Exception: candidates for employment should be registered with HR

NOTE:  registering your guest confirms that they understand and have met screening requirements

Visit Safety

  • Guests must always wear a face mask. Disposable masks are available at the Welcome Center, Safety and Security office, Student Affairs and Human Resources Office, if needed.
  • Guests must practice social distancing while on campus, staying 6 feet apart from others.
  • For on-campus meetings, occupancy guidelines and protective measures should be followed.
  • Guests must adhere to hand washing, hand sanitizing and hygiene protocols.
  • Resident students must host their non-resident guests outside the residence hall.

Disinfectant

  • The host is responsible for disinfecting and/or assuring all areas used by the guest are disinfected after the meeting/visit.

Will friends be allowed in my residence room?

Residents who live on campus will have opportunities to visit with each other with new room occupancy limits and guidelines.  Unfortunately, for the safety of our residential community, non-residential students/guests won’t be permitted in campus housing.


Campus Access

Is the campus open to the general public?

The campus remains closed to the general public until further notice. This includes the turf fields and walking trails. For example, campus tours for prospective students which will be announced via email the day of the tour.

What is our policy with vendors coming on campus?

Vendor relationship owners are obligated to contact all of our outside vendors who we anticipate coming to campus through the Fall semester and ask them for copies of their screening protocols that we then keep on file. These vendors would include FedEx, UPS, Fred’s Vending (water), all Physical Plant vendors, etc.

Ask all vendors to complete our screening questions BEFORE arriving to campus. If they answer “yes” to any of the questions they should not come.

All vendors (except daily deliveries) must be signed in using the process below.

The Thomas College employee hosting/overseeing a vendor must contact the Safety and Security Office when the vendor arrives to campus and provide the following information:

  • Name of each person
  • Name of Vendor Company
  • Time of arrival
  • All location(s) where they will be when on campus
  • Safety and Security will maintain a daily log of all
    vendors

All vendors must wear protective face coverings when inside campus buildings and outside.


Travel policy

Please download Thomas College travel guidelines are available for all community members who are traveling or hosting individuals from states that are not currently exempt.  As of November 16, 2020, the only states that are exempt from travel are Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire

View/Download (PDF)


COVID-19 FAQ

Can I do anything to protect myself?

This information comes from the CDC website:

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you do not have a tissue, use your elbow/sleeve (not your hand).
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

Should I use a face mask?

In response to the Governor’s most recent announcement requiring the use of face masks in public, effective May 4, 2020 we are requiring employees to wear masks when coming to campus.  The expectation is that you would bring your own masks.  If for some reason you are unable to procure a mask and need to come to campus please contact:

  • Lisa Desautels-Poliquin, Vice President for Student Affairs: 207-859-1220
  • Michelle Joler-Labbe, Chief Human Resources Officer, 207-859-1240

If you have your own office space you do not need to wear the mask if you are alone.  However, you should have it with you when using common spaces or walking in the hallway should you come in contact with another person.  Additionally, if you share an office space or suite with others and cannot social distance you need to be wearing your mask at all times. The masks should to be 3 ply or multi layered cloth masks to be effective.  The requirement will be in place until further notice.

What if I exhibit symptoms of this virus?

If you are a resident student and you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please call Health Services at: 207-859-1401.

All others in the Thomas College community who suspect they may be symptomatic are asked to call their primary care physician and should not come to campus.

Who can get tested for COVID-19?

Based on advice from the CDC, current healthcare practice is that healthcare providers will determine, based on each patient’s symptoms, if a test is warranted.

What are other helpful resources?

If you are seeking more information, we recommend referring to sources considered credible and informed. This includes the following websites:

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