Latest Update from Laurie G. Lachance – Important Updates on COVID-19 Testing Policy MacKenzie Riley Young | November 3, 2020

Published: November 3, 2020

To the Thomas College Community,

Despite being in one of the safest regions of the safest state in the country, the Maine CDC recently reported the number of COVID-19 cases in Maine is on the rise. In this new time of increased uncertainty, I want to be clear: As new recommendations are issued, our goal is, and has always been, to remain together on campus. Indeed, many of our higher education partners across the state have already experienced what we have not: Positive cases reported on campus. While our ability to remain virus free is a testament to the dedication of our students, staff, and faculty to our shared Terrier Pledge, we must acknowledge with honesty that the likelihood of remaining a virus-free campus grows smaller every day.

The Thomas College community is small and nimble and that gives us the opportunity to adapt quickly to the changes that remain outside of our control. Therefore, in response to the rise in infections in our region, effective November 9, 2020, we will increase the frequency of community testing to weekly instead of bi-weekly. Our new community testing schedule will be distributed by the COVID testing group on Wednesday, November 4 to your Thomas College email account. Please look for the subject line: IMPORTANT: NEW WEEKLY TESTING SCHEDULE.

I want to assure you that when (and if) we do detect a positive case we are prepared to act swiftly to contain the spread of the virus in our community.

While there are many factors that will dictate specific actions, at the highest level, our multi-step plan to contain the spread of the virus contains six-steps:

  1. Isolate and support the infected individual
  2. Work with Maine CDC to perform contact tracing
  3. Alert others who need to quarantine
  4. Evaluate mitigation protocols, updating where needed
  5. Continue testing the community
  6. Ongoing, frequent communications with the community to provide updates

The news of cases on the rise underscores that we must remain vigilant and fully committed to making our campus as safe as we possibly can by remembering our Terrier Pledge:

  • Self-screen daily for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing
  • Wear a facial covering when appropriate
  • Practice social distancing by remaining 6-feet from others
  • Help to keep shared spaces sanitary
  • Participate in campus testing and contact tracing
  • Observe and follow posted signs and instructions
  • Regularly monitor campus communications for updates
  • Actively encourage others to adhere to our Terrier Pledge
  • Show leadership and kindness in service to our community

I know the stress and strain of this time may feel overwhelming. But I want every student to remember that the College is committed to your academic success. Instructors, faculty advisors, and academic coaches are ready to help you get organized and stay organized so you can finish the semester strong and be ready for spring.

Finally, the College is working hard to finalize Thanksgiving and end-of-year plans as well as our spring return to campus protocols. Please be on the lookout for another email from me in the next week with additional details.

Our fight against the spread of the virus is far from over, but we will all face it as one committed community. We are all in this together.

For the most recent updates from the Thomas College community, please visit our COVID-19 web page at https://wwwold.thomas.edu/coronavirus. You can find more information about the Thomas College Return to Campus Safely Plan <.i>at https://wwwold.thomas.edu/coronavirus/return-to-campus. If you have questions related to COVID-19, please email us at [email protected].

With deep respect,

Laurie G. Lachance
President