Updated August 13, 2020

Dear UMF community –

Fall 2020 will mark the beginning of a strange new time at Farmington and at institutions across the world. After months of committee meetings and research, learning and planning, the University of Maine System (UMS) announced that each of its seven campuses, including Farmington, will open and resume classes as promised in a statement made in late April.

Following the seven University of Maine System guiding principles, Farmington’s faculty, staff and administration have worked to re-imagine how we can continue to provide the education and service that our students and community expect from us.

We built our plan on four principles designed to inform the greater community and shape our behavior:

  1. Commitment to the health and safety of all members of the Farmington community.
  2. Stacking preventative measures to create the greatest possible protection against exposure and community spread of COVID-19.
  3. Flexibility that allows us to anticipate potential future challenges and adjust quickly as circumstances change.
  4. Awareness that we have a critical role to play in the successful return to on-campus and in-person activities. Our actions must be guided by concern for others.

By now, I am sure you are used to hearing that these plans are subject to change, as the circumstances around us are constantly shifting. And, we recognize that for some members of our community returning to campus may not be the best option. The following information is not comprehensive but it will help you understand what kind of changes you can expect and how we can work together to make Farmington a safe place to live and learn.


Classes at Farmington will resume on August 31, in a combination of in-person, blended and online modalities. All classes will shift to remote modalities after Wednesday, November 25 — the day before Thanksgiving. We do not yet have information on which classes will be available in which modality. We hope to have these details ironed out by early August.

Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Testing

In order to safely return to campus, students, staff and faculty will be required to wear an appropriate face covering and socially distance themselves at all times. A safety kit, including two face coverings, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes, will be given to each student upon their arrival. More details are available in the full Safe Return to Farmington — Your Maine Home Plan (pdf)

As you know, the University of Maine System entered into an agreement with Convenient MD and the Jackson Laboratories to conduct an Asymptomatic Testing Program in our community as one part of our comprehensive Safe Return to Campus efforts. The goal of the Asymptomatic Testing Program is to assure that we begin the Fall 2020 academic semester with as healthy of a campus community as possible.

Asymptomatic testing means testing people who are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.  It is designed as a preventative measure, as people may carry and pass on the virus without even knowing they have the virus.  

Who is required to be tested?

  • All students who will be living in the residence halls
  • All commuter students taking any classes on campus who have been out of Maine within 14 days before coming onto campus
  • All student-athletes, all seasons
  • Any faculty or staff members teaching or working on campus who have been out of Maine within 14 days before coming onto campus

When will the tests be administered?

We have two remaining days for testing on our campus, and have scheduled testing for the following groups:

Tuesday, August 18

  • All First-Year students living the residence halls, including First-Year student-athletes, will be tested on their Move-In Day, Tuesday, August 18
  • All First-Year commuter students and students residing off-campus and who have: (a) been out of Maine after August 7  and  (b) will be attending in-person Orientation sessions
  • All Transfer students living in the residence halls, including Transfer student-athletes, will be tested on their Move-In Day, Tuesday, August 18

Monday, August 24

  • All returning students living in the residence halls, including returning student-athletes, will be tested on their Move-In Day, Monday, August 24
  • All Commuter students and students residing off-campus who have been out of Maine within 14 days of returning to campus will be tested on Monday, August 24
  • All Commuter students and student-athletes residing off-campus will be tested on Monday, August 24.

Faculty and staff who need to be tested can sign up for any of these days, but must sign up 7 days before the Testing Date. To sign up, please fill out this short form.

  • August 11 Test Date – deadline to sign up is Aug 5
  • August 18 Test Date – deadline to sign up is Aug 12
  • August 24 Test Date – deadline to sign up is Aug 17

After the tests are administered, students, faculty and staff will be required to “shelter in place” (i.e. stay in their rooms or homes) until the results come back, anticipated to be within 48-72 hours.

There is no cost for this test to the students, faculty and staff being tested.

If you fall into one of the above-mentioned categories and therefore require testing, you do not have to participate in the University-sponsored asymptomatic testing program described above, but you still need to get tested and provide a negative test result before coming to campus.  

An alternative would be to get your own COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test through a non-University health care provider. Within 72 hours of receiving the result, you must provide documentation which will allow you to move on to campus, return to work or classes on campus. 

A note from the UMF Student Health Center: For more information on isolation and quarantine procedures check out our helpful Isolation and Quarantine Planning Guide For Students (pdf) and the UMF COVID-19 Decision Tree (pdf).

Campus and Classroom Modifications

Facilities Management has been working non-stop on the herculean task of modifying campus as we know it, into an appropriately distanced and sanitized environment, that we can return to and feel safe in. Classroom layouts are being adjusted to allow for a minimum of 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals. Hand sanitizer stations are being placed all over campus, and each classroom will be equipped with hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes.

Building access across campus will be through key card doors only to allow for contact tracing. Pedestrian foot traffic will be differentiated by direction in some areas. This may include designating areas of 1-way foot traffic, Enter-Only and Exits-Only classroom and building access points (except in the case of emergencies) and physical separation devices. Where possible, staircases have been designated UP or DOWN with proper signage.

Learn more about what safety enhancements you can expect to find on campus in our Safe Return to Farmington – Your Maine Home Plan (pdf)

Residence Halls

Residence Halls will be open this fall with a complement of living options. Dining Services will be provided, and the dining halls and retail operations have been updated for social distancing and safety. Self-service options will no longer be available.

Athletics, Sports, Fitness and Recreation

Varsity Athletics: After careful consideration of health and safety data, protocols, sports medicine guidelines and the increased risk associated with competition, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our fall 2020 competition schedule for varsity sports. This difficult decision was recommended by the UMF Department of Athletics, with the full support of the University’s senior leadership team.

We will continue to monitor the pandemic and health implications closely and work with our athletic conferences, the NCAA and local opponents to determine what is possible as the academic year progresses.

Waivers to preserve seasons of student-athlete eligibility have already been approved and other ideas and legislative proposals are being developed for consideration.

UMF Fitness & Recreation Center: The Fitness & Recreation Center will be open to students, staff and members of the public. It will have different operating hours and new protocols. Initially, the facility will be open Monday – Friday: 6am – 1pm and 3pm – 8pm. Saturday & Sunday: Closed. Cloth face coverings are required in the facility at all times, even when working out. The hours of operation will continually be reevaluated and we will expand them as we are able and permitted. During the initial phase of opening, the pool, locker room/showers, walking-jogging track and basketball courts will be closed. There will also be no Cradles & Crayons program or Children’s After School Program.

Mainely Outdoors Program: Gear rentals will be available. Days and hours of operation TBA.

Club Sports A decision regarding club sports will be coming soon.

We held two Virtual Town Halls for students July 2 and two for employees on July 27. If you missed them, we invite you to click thru below to see them.

In addition, the University of Maine System has provided information on Employee Training (pdf).

We still have details to work out and we are ready to adapt as circumstances change. The most important thing to remember is that each of us plays a vital role in our ability to minimize risk as we return to campus. Each day we must live our obligation to each other as members of this community. Wear a mask, wash your hands, check your symptoms and keep your distance — we’re in this together, even at six feet apart.

All the best,

Edward Serna
President, University of Maine at Farmington


We are developing a series of Frequently Asked Question pages to help guide you on our Return to Campus plans. Please check back frequently as we will update FAQs over the next several weeks.

FAQ for Students & Parents FAQ for Employees FAQ for General Public & Visitors UMaine System's Together for Maine site

Contact Us

We are working to develop additional FAQs. In the meantime, if you have questions or concerns, please contact us at: umf.safereturn@maine.edu

The University consistently seeks to take steps to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections (or any other spread of disease) in accordance with applicable law, regulation, and guidance provided by health authorities. These efforts may include policies and safeguards implemented by the University such as symptom checks, social distancing, use of facial coverings, and isolating and quarantining when required. Despite these efforts, the University cannot categorically guarantee that any person entering University campuses or facilities will not contract COVID-19 or any other communicable disease and any such person must assess and accept the risks of illness or injury for themselves.