COVID-19

MCCS Information and Updates

As we navigate the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine’s community colleges are focused on the health and safety of our students, employees, and communities and the teaching and learning underway.

Since the pandemic began, our colleges moved in-person coursees to online/distance education; closed campus student housing and held virtual graduations in the spring. Additional actions are detailed in the FAQs.


Guidance and information for MCCS employees


Guidance and information for students: Frequently Asked Questions

Will Maine’s community colleges be open for in-person instruction this summer?

The colleges are offering several summer sessions and early summer programs will be delivered online. The colleges hope and will be prepared to offer some in-person instruction beginning with sessions that start in July. As with all planning, we will be guided by government and public health officials, and will announce the format for late summer programming in the coming weeks.

Will Maine’s community college be open for in-person instruction this fall?

That is our goal, but we are preparing for three possibilities:

  • Courses that have traditionally been offered in-person, will be delivered face-to-face in the colleges’ classrooms and labs and will incorporate online instruction when it benefits student outcomes;
  • Courses will be offered online with some in-person delivery to accommodate labs and hands-on instruction when and where we can;
  • We begin the semester in-person but need to shift quickly to online instruction for a period of time for public health reasons.

We will be ready for each of these possibilities.

Will the dorms be open this fall?

We hope so and that is what we are planning for, but do not know yet. Decisions about how and when to welcome students back to the residence halls will be made in consultation with state officials and public health experts.

Will I be required to wear a mask if I'm in a campus building?

Yes, cloth face coverings are required inside buildings owned or controlled by MCCS other than private employee residences. There are very limited exceptions, such as children under two years old and in private offices. Under the most recent state order, cloth face coverings are required in any public setting – including outdoor spaces – where you cannot consistently maintain a six-foot distance from others.

Will I be required to wear a mask if I'm outdoors on campus?

In some situations, yes. You must wear a cloth face covering if 1.) you cannot consistently maintain a six-foot distance from others, or 2.) if you are part of a “large gathering,” defined by campus officials as any group of more than 10 people.

I hear there’s federal emergency aid money available for college students - how do I apply for that?
  • If you are a Maine community college student facing financial challenges that are threatening your ability to remain in school, please reach out to the financial aid office at your college.
  • Applications for the federal emergency aid money are available at the financial aid offices. In addition, each of the colleges has some emergency assistance that has been made available through private donations.
  • All of these funds are targeted to students who experience COVID-19 related hardships that make it difficult for them to continue their education.
  • Keep in mind, these funds are meant to help students continue their education and training. Emergency assistance is available to help with costs that might make it difficult for you to stay in school. This includes short-term support to help with immediate needs related to food, housing, child care, books, supplies, and computers.
If I don’t have access to reliable wifi, what should I do?

Your college may be able to help. Contact your instructor or advisor to learn who at your college can discuss your needs and what options exist.

Can I still receive tutoring or disability services?

Yes. Tutoring and disability services continue to be available to students. Please contact the disabilities coordinator at  your college or your instructor or advisor if you need help in accessing these services.

What if I am sick or caring for others and can’t complete my coursework?

Contact your instructor. They will work with you to extend deadlines and modify assignments if necessary to address your specific needs. You can also discuss with them the option of taking an incomplete and developing a plan for finishing the course at a later date.

If you have questions about the status of a specific course, please contact your instructor for the most up-to-date information.

 

Staying Safe: Information about the COVID-19 virus 

Where can I get reliable information and updates about COVID-19?

MCCS encourages you to stay-up-to-date on developments by seeking information through credible sources, such as the Maine Center for Disease Control and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC has also issued specific guidance regarding higher education institutions.

If you have a question that is not answered here, visit the Maine CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.

In addition,  211 Maine is a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.

What precautions can I take to protect myself from COVID-19?

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. People should avoid travel to affected areas, practice social distancing, and follow general respiratory prevention measures:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after using the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When in public, wear a cloth face covering over your nose and mouth.
  • Avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19 and when do they appear?
  • Signs and symptoms include: fever, cough, difficulty breathing/shortness of breath, and can range from mild to severe and even death.
  • Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
What should I do if I become sick with COVID-19 or suspect I am infected with the virus that causes it?

The Centers for Disease Control provides the following advice. More detailed information about each of these recommendations is included in the CDC’s information sheet: What to Do if You are Sick:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • As much as possible, you should stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. Also, you should use a separate bathroom, if available.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor: If you have a medical appointment that cannot be postponed, call your doctor’s office, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.
  • Wear a cloth face covering when you are around other people.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Avoid sharing dishes, cups, eating utensils, towels, and bedding. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces daily.
  • Monitor your symptoms: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g., difficulty breathing). Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a facemask before you enter the facility.
What if someone in my home is diagnosed with COVID-19?

If someone in your home has been diagnosed with COVID-19, immediately check with a medical professional for guidance. Contact your instructor or supervisor if the medical advice you receive will require you to miss class or work.

What if someone in my home has been asked to self-monitor for symptoms?

If someone in your home has been asked by the Maine CDC or a health care provider to self-monitor for symptoms, you should also self-monitor.

Self-monitoring means people should monitor themselves for fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

If the person in your home becomes symptomatic, please check with a medical professional for guidance. Contact your supervisor if medical direction will require you to be out.

References 

CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019

Maine CDC COVID-19