Latest Update from Laurie G. Lachance – Greatest 2020 Holiday Gift – A Negative COVID Test! MacKenzie Riley Young | November 19, 2020

Published: November 19, 2020

To the Thomas College Community,

As the end of our fall semester draws near in an “anything-but-typical” year, I find myself again proudly reflecting on all we have achieved together and—despite the data coming from the Maine CDC—truly optimistic about what we will accomplish together this December – and beyond.

Looking back, we knew investing in a rigorous testing regimen was one of the most powerful ways we could safely remain together on campus this fall. We believed that we would be successful in mitigating the spread of the virus—if and when it found its way to campus—because we knew our fiercely dedicated community would take their personal safety and community pledges seriously and earnestly.

Time has validated both our planning and our deepest beliefs. Our powerful combination of thorough planning, steadfast execution, and a focused and unified community has allowed Thomas College to achieve what few, if any, other higher education institutions have been able to do:

  • Stay together throughout the semester
  • Live on campus with our friends
  • Take in-person classes and get to know your professors and classmates
  • Truly enjoy college life – to the fullest extent possible during a global pandemic

Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this possible!

Now as our collective thoughts turn toward our well-deserved Thanksgiving break next week, I wanted to remind our community that we now face the greatest challenge yet, a holiday that will require all of our resolve and dedication to safeguard our personal and community’s safety.

We are up to this task. It begins with our safe departure from campus to families and home communities, and continues with a safe return to campus after the Thanksgiving break.

These plans will continue to evolve in response to the situation in our state. For example, since last week we have made a major update in our post-Thanksgiving testing plan.

Beginning the week of November 30 and ending December 18, every member of the Thomas College community will be tested twice a week (additional details below and attached).

TESTING BEFORE LEAVING CAMPUS FOR THANKSGIVING

  • In this seasonal time of giving, the best gift you can give to your friends and families when you go home for the holidays, is your negative COVID test result. I implore all of our community members to test prior to leaving campus to protect your loved ones and your home communities
  • Testing Schedule: The College is offering testing on Monday, 11/23 (7:30 am – 4:45 pm) and Tuesday, 11/24 (8:00 am – 3:45) for any community members who would like to be tested prior to leaving campus for Thanksgiving
  • BREAK HOUSING: 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 20 by noon to request break housing

TESTING SCHEDULE POST-THANKSGIVING RETURN

    • 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. Residents returning from a non-exempt state must plan ahead. See our testing policy and Maine CDC guidelines for more details.
    • Commuters and 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)

TESTING TWICE WEEKLY

Please see the attached PDF for complete details for testing twice weekly

RETURNING TO CLASS POST-THANKSGIVING

    • All classes will be held virtually on 11/30 and 12/01
    • Employee offices will be open and employees on-campus 11/30 and 12/01
    • Normal class schedules will resume Wednesday, 12/02

TESTING BEFORE LEAVING CAMPUS FOR WINTER BREAK

    • Again, the greatest holiday gift you can give your family and home community is a negative COVID-19 test result
    • Testing Trailer: The College will offer testing for any community members who would like to be tested prior to leaving campus for the December holidays. We encourage all community members to take advantage of this additional testing to help protect your families, friends, and the communities to which you are returning. Hours will be provided in December

TRAVEL AND GUEST HOSTING POLICIES FOR THANKSGIVING AND HOLIDAYS

    • 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. The College prepared 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 during the break can directly impact the safety of the entire Thomas College community
    • Any community members returning from a non-exempt state must plan ahead. See our testing policy and Maine CDC guidelines for more details.

After we return from Thanksgiving, I will send out the details for our return to campus for the spring semester. It’ll look similar to how we returned to campus this fall.

You have all shown that we can achieve what was considered impossible just a few short months ago—a rich and full semester on campus. We have shown Maine what we can do when we work together. I believe that by following the procedures outlined above, we can and will successfully conclude our fall semester and prepare for a safe return for our spring semester.

We have a lot to look forward to this spring. I encourage you to get a jump start on pre-registering for your classes today. Registering by Friday, November 20 will give you the best chance to choose the classes that match your passion and your academic needs.

As I have said before, I urge you to get your seasonal flu shot. Now more than ever, being proactive about your personal health will help keep the Thomas College community safe and will help ensure that we can remain together on-campus.

We are all in this together. Communication is so important during these times of uncertainty and we welcome your thoughts, questions, and concerns so we can all find peace of mind together. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

With deep respect,

Laurie G. Lachance
President