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UMaine student suspended following off-campus party

School officials want students to know they take COVID-19 guidelines seriously
COVID-19 testing is underway in Orono as students return to UMaine
COVID-19 testing is underway in Orono as students return to UMaine(WABI)
Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 5:17 PM EDT
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - The University of Maine System reports a fifth student has tested positive for COVID-19.

The latest diagnosis is that of a student who lives in a UMaine fraternity house where a previous case was also reported.

Two other UMaine students who share an off-campus apartment have also tested positive. The fifth case comes from a student at the University of Maine Law School in Portland.

“We’re actually looking for cases,” says University of Maine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy. “No one should be surprised that we find them.”

Now that UMS has found cases, the next task is keeping numbers low and stopping the spread of coronavirus. In an effort to do that, UMS recently issued strict guidelines concerning off-campus parties.

“We’re working very closely with our off-campus housing facilities and with the local towns and municipalities to besure that everyone understands that we’re very clear about that guidance, we’re serious about it,” says UMaine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

University officials say seven students have been referred to the Student Conduct Office for violations of Maine CDC and University guidelines.

“We had another student who was involved in a party and other behaviors, and that student was suspended,” UMaine Vice President and Dean of Students Robert Dana tells TV5. “We’re serious about this because failure to be serious about it could result in lackadaisical behavior, and we can’t have that.”

The university is asking all students sign a Black Bear Pact, signalling they have read and understand the expectations.

“This is a time to understand that it’s not just about self, it’s about the other,” says Dana. “But if ego drives people, if self-interest drives people, it’ll hurt everyone. It’s not a way to live. We expect more from our students, and I fully expect that’s what we’ll get.”

“Hopefully people respect the fact that we’re trying to keep everyone safe, keep everyone healthy so that we can have a great semester, and be the school that lasts through the whole semester,” said UMaine junior Vincent Scott, who is also assisting with the Maine Welcome.

Move-in at UMaine continues until Sunday, August 30th. Classes officially begin the following day.

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