The University of Maine system ends the COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 3:19 PM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) - The University of Maine system recently announced that they are ending the COVID-19 vaccination requirement for its students and employees. News Source 8′s Isaac Potter spoke with UMPI President Ray Rice on the news and how it impacts the campus.

New changes will be coming for University of Maine at Presque Isle students. The University of Maine system will no longer be requiring the COVID-19 vaccinations for students and employees. The changes go into effect in May. UMPI president, Ray Rice, says this news will be good for the University.

Ray Rice: “It was very good news to be honest with the University, because one, it reflects the continued recovery both in the state of Maine and Aroostook County and across the country. It allows us to relax some of the policies, and some of the procedures that we are so grateful that students have followed them. But we know it can be barriers to enrollment, and can be problematic at times for students.”

This decision comes a month after the news that Maine Community College would be lifting their COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Rice said this decision came down to watching closely to the weekly updates of the University of Maine system about the state of the pandemic, and seeing the pandemic ease.

Ray Rice: “Especially the high rate of vaccinations and even boosters. So the combination of the populus here in the state of Maine, really doing its due diligence and protecting each other. And the continued evolution of this situation really allowed us to make that decision that now is the time to decide we are not going to require a proof of vaccination.”

Rice says that spring semester has been going well, and with this news he hopes it brings more excitement to the university in the fall.

Ray Rice: “We have had strong enrollments both on our campus and our athletic teams have done great. Our athletic teams are now on the road, baseball and softball, playing down south during break week here. Great engagement in the classroom, and kind of an optimistic feel for this spring. So I think this news will just make people feel even more confident about what’s to come in the fall.”

Though the University of Maine system will no longer require the vaccine, they are still encouraging the students and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or booster. Isaac Potter News Source 8.