In an email to the college community on Friday, President Clayton Rose announced that the college’s fall re-opening plan will remain mostly unchanged, even as the COVID-19 Delta Variant continues to spread.
While stressing that the college will closely monitor the recently rising number of COVID-19 cases nationwide, Rose wrote that he remains encouraged by the high number of vaccinations in Brunswick and throughout Maine. He also announced that, as of Friday, 100 percent of the faculty and 97 percent of other College employees were fully vaccinated. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 95 percent of those eligible in Brunswick are fully vaccinated, while just over 68 percent of those eligible are fully vaccinated statewide.
Rose also said that student life would be largely normal, with some caveats, during the fall semester. The college will run a surveillance COVID-19 testing program, with all students required to undergo rapid antigen testing upon arrival. Additionally, students, staff and faculty will be tested once a month throughout the semester, and contact tracing will be conducted on campus.
In April, President Rose announced that vaccines would be required for students, faculty and staff. All visitors to campus buildings, including those assisting students on move-in day, must also be vaccinated. Due to their ineligibility, unvaccinated children will not be allowed to visit campus buildings.
A religious and a medical exemption to the vaccine were offered to faculty and staff, whereas for students, only a medical exemption was offered. In an email to the Orient, Director of Communications Scott Hood clarified that this decision was made in order to have the most stringent possible requirements.
“The simple answer…is that we are required to consider both medical and religious exemptions for employees. With students, we are required to consider medical exemptions only,” Hood said.
“We believe that having the entire campus vaccinated, with only a few permitted exemptions, is critical to protecting our community.”
Students with a medical exemption to the vaccine will be required to wear a mask at all times and will be tested twice a week. A small number of international students will arrive to campus unvaccinated, be quarantined for seven days and given access to the vaccine.
While optimistic for the fall, Rose preached patience and flexibility from the campus community during yet another semester complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We will be learning to navigate the Delta variant and whatever other ‘curveballs’ the pandemic throws at us over the course of the semester,” Rose said. “We will all need to be flexible and understand that it is possible that the guidance and protocols could change based on circumstances.”