By Malcolm Langner, Contributing Writer
During phase four of COVID-19 testing, three cases of COVID-19 were reported on the UMF campus. The phase four testing round included 100 randomly selected off-campus students, faculty, and staff.
Gracie Vaughan, a sophomore, experienced the panic caused by the virus first-hand when she found out she had tested positive for COVID-19. “I was extremely worried. I work at a place with patrons who may have a very difficult time if they were to catch the virus,” Vaughan said. “My main worry was that I could have infected other people.”
Vaughan was asymptomatic, meaning she didn’t show any of the symptoms of COVID-19, but still tested positive for the virus. Despite this, she was concerned for her health and those who were around her. “I’m very lucky that my symptoms didn’t progress for me, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will have the same luck,” said Vaughan. “It was scary not knowing exactly what it could turn into and that alone was even hard on my mental health.”
The various COVID-19 protocols and safety measures may seem tedious and have left some with sour tastes in their mouths, but Vaughan was adamant that such measures are for the good of the community. “Just because people our age have a less difficult time with the virus doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. I would be in a very different position if everyone on campus was following the protocols set forth by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and by the University,” said Vaughan.
Vaughan mentioned that she was like most others in that she didn’t believe the disease could ever touch her, but she wants to use her experience as a positive, rather than a negative. “I think if people see someone they know has the virus, it will become more real to them,” said Vaughan.
For the students on campus who haven’t contracted COVID-19, seeing that UMF isn’t immune to the virus was a wake up call. For Mackenzie Dyer, a sophomore, this was especially true. “Seeing these cases really opened my eyes. Even though I follow the guidelines, I never really thought that the virus would, or even could, get to UMF,” Dyer said. “I can’t even imagine being told that I have COVID-19.”
Dyer isn’t just worried about her own health, but of UMF as a whole. “I love it at UMF. I would hate to see the campus close down early–or even worse, get closed down for the entirety of the spring semester–because we couldn’t follow safety protocols,” said Dyer.
Not only do the ramifications of a COVID-19 outbreak cause closures on campus, but they could put the lives of family members at risk. “If we get sent home and there have been several cases of COVID-19 on campus, I worry especially about the possibility of bringing it back to my house,” said Dyer. “Just because it might not give me any problems doesn’t mean my family members will have a similar fate.”
As UMF is receiving its first COVID-19 cases, Maine as a state has been increasing once again in positive cases. On Oct. 31, Maine totalled 101 new cases; the most new cases in a day since May 23, with two cases from Franklin Country “If we all work together now that means this whole situation will be a lot shorter in the long run. Please think of other people before deciding not to follow safety protocols,” Vaughan said.
by Brittney Lee, Contributing Writer
The Landing has been a staple venue for student-lead events on campus.
Photo courtesy of Sam Shirley.
The Landing has been the small event venue at UMF for years, but COVID-19 has had a significant effect on the traditional weekly happenings this semester.
Throughout the years, The Landing has been a staple venue for student-lead events on campus. Events such as mug painting, tye-dying, and many others have been held in The Landing as a way for students to participate on campus when classes aren’t in session.
Before the pandemic hit, students were able to freely go to these events without worrying about social distancing guidelines or wearing a face covering. In previous years, The Landing also had couches and chairs throughout the entire room. However, that’s not the case this year because the entire layout of the room has gotten a makeover in order to abide by the schools social distancing guidelines.
Going forward, the events and their safety precautions are set to stay consistent. The events have been reported to be going very well. “When I attended an event [at The Landing] students seemed to have easily followed the social distancing requirements and everyone was cooperative for the most part,” said Harley Carter, a second-year student.
This year the student-lead events have been occurring rather regularly and have had great student attendance. These happenings have been held on some weekends and most weeknights as a way for students to take a step back from their coursework and enjoy a stress-free evening. However, it’s hard to ignore the impacts the new changes to The Landing have made on how events are led.
Students are enjoying the events and have thought of them to be a “great way to deal with the new world we live in today,” says Carter. Some students mentioned that with the stress of the new school year, these events have been a positive distraction.
Dude…. this mask acne…. I can’t anymore. My chin hasn’t seen a breakout like this since the middle school days of bad patchy peach fuzz and a constant oil sheen over my face. The hell do I do? Look I know we’re all wearing masks 90% of the time but there’s gonna be at least a minute or two when someone’s gotta see this face and it may as well be pretty.
All of us are going through the same exact thing, I promise you no one is going to judge you or your broken out face. My best advice is to take a trip to Walmart (as if you weren’t going to go this weekend already) and get yourself some CeraVe scrub and invest in a clear mask. As embarrassing as it may seem at least your peers will be able to see your shining face (and you’ll feel better too).
With fall coming, so are my seasonal allergies. And the moment someone sneezes these days everyone dives for cover like it’s a war zone. What do I do when I sneeze in class and everyone thinks it’s corona?
-you know which dwarf I’d be
Allergies suck, point blank period. I say that you hold in every single urge to sneeze until you explode. There may be another route where you just stop caring in class and sneeze until your heart’s content along with keeping a secret stash of Claritin in your backpack as well.
My roommates have been non-stop doing the WAP dance and it’s becoming a problem. In the car, in the dorm, through headphones on the way to class. Literally everywhere! I just so empowered when I hear the Cardi B tell me she wants that Big Mac truck in that little garage.
Dear WAP addict,
As a fellow WAP addict I completely agree with your pain and frustration in regards to listening to that damn song all the time. I myself have managed to wean myself off of the song by listening to some Megan Thee Stallion (Captain Hook is a personal favorite). While still feeling empowered I get the thrill of catchy words while not constantly hearing Cardi B on loop
by Ashley Clark Contributing Writer
Near the end of summer break, UMF made the decision to allow student athletes to participate in their sports season; however, these seasons have been altered to align with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.
The athletics department came to this tough decision after watching numerous videos and Zoom calls from the National College Athletic Association (NCAA), led by medical professionals.
The department is also keeping up to date with COVID-19 trends in Maine in order to protect incoming student athletes returning to school in the fall.
Julie Davis, Director of Athletics, worked with coaching and sports medicine staff on campus, in addition to attending meetings with athletic directors from within the sports conference. “You have challenges as a director anyway, but probably the hardest thing is dealing with uncertainty and ambiguity for a sustained period of time,” said Davis.
The athletic department was determined to develop a plan of action that would allow student athletes to participate in sports. They have also made it mandatory that all student athletes living on and off campus must participate in the early testing program provided by a COVID-19 testing company in the Fitness and Recreational Center (FRC).
Fall sports such as field hockey, soccer and cross country are not able to compete, but athletes are still able to attend practices.
The department has developed a month long process with differing levels of intensity for each week, with the intention for safe team practices.
The first week of practice involved routine temperature checks with no equipment use— conditioning exercises only. All practices must also consist of physical distancing at six feet, wearing a face mask and sanitizing when possible.
Jade Petrie, a junior and Early Childhood Education major, participates in both field hockey and lacrosse. Wearing her mask during her practices has been hard enough, even at the start of her fall sports season. “It’s really hard to wear because when you start to run, you breathe heavily and suck in the mask,” Petrie said. “It makes it almost impossible for you to catch your breath.”
Liz Ouellette, senior and Elementary Education major, is also a member of the field hockey team. Her last season has been impacted by the changes to the fall sports season. “There’s no team bonding, such as having dinners together, because there are too many people to be in a house. We can’t have bus rides, games, anything really,” said Ouellette.
The athletics department is working hard to assure that athletes are able to at least practice. Many are just grateful to even be able to participate with one another. “I think it is better to have something than nothing,” says Ouellette. “It’s my senior year and having practices with a team I’ve spent the past three years with is better than not being able to at all.”
Petrie praises all the department’s work and planning. “I’m thankful that they are letting us have an opportunity to pick up my field hockey and lacrosse stick, regardless of playing games,” says Petrie.
COVID-19 guidelines are changing continuously, which makes it difficult to predict how the winter and spring sports seasons will look for student athletes. While fall sports already have a plan in motion, winter and spring sports are still being discussed. Winter sports are scheduled to start practicing soon. The athletic department is “planning [these seasons] with optimism,” says Davis.
by Malcolm Langner Contributing Writer
The UMF Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) is taking measures to ensure a safe gym environment for its members, students, and employees.
Alison Thayer, Assistant Director of the FRC, believes that following policy changes during the pandemic start with the employees. “It has been very challenging for our staff to come up with new and creative ways to have PHE [physical education] under the new restrictions and guidelines,” Thayer said.
The FRC is now requiring face masks to be worn inside, litming guest numbers, and only allowing PHE students to visit once per week. At all times a professional staff member must be present. The latter of the regulations has prevented the FRC from opening on the weekends, “due to Coronavirus, we have lost three of our five professional employees, so we just haven’t had the manpower to do it,” Thayer said. “We are trying to get the regulations changed. UMF is the only UMaine system to enforce the guidelines. There already isn’t much available to do on the weekends on campus, and we feel like students and community members alike should have the opportunity to be here.”
Working at the FRC has changed for the student workers as well. “The biggest change for me is having to wear a mask all of the time and having to stay away from the people who go there,” said Derek Bowen. He is a senior at UMF, and was PHE instructor last semester, now he is completing a student internship. “We all have to be separated now and it’s been awkward getting adjusted to the new environment.” The changes don’t end there, “ So much of the work is done on my own now. On top of that, it’s hard to get a lot of hours because the FRC is closed on the weekends.”
Students working as employees at the FRC have experienced increased responsibility as well. In each section of the gym, an employee must be present to spray down and clean the used machines. “It used to be a very laid back place to work, but now we all have added responsibilities and must take precautions with anything that we do,” Bowen added.
As for students who regularly go to the FRC, such as Danny Terhune, a catcher for the Beavers baseball team, change has been evident. “I understand why they had to implement certain rules, but some of them really make it harder to get a good workout in,” Terhune said. “Masks make sense, but obviously I would be a lot happier not having to wear one.” Still, Terhune remained positive, “At least the FRC is open this semester, considering how tough things have been this year.”
Despite the hardships that have come from COVID-19, Thayer and the employees at the FRC are staying positive. “We have gone as far to have outdoor group fitness sessions, which seem to have gotten great responses from those who have attended,” Thayer said. “At this point, all we can do is try and push through as a community.”