University of Maine Farmington by Sam Shirley.
By Daniela Lilly Rodiles, Staff Writer
Chancellor Malloy announced to faculty, staff, and students of the University of Maine System (UMS) the return to normalcy through traditional and in-person college experience in the coming fall 2021 semester.
The prioritization and continuation of COVID-19 asymptomatic testing together with mask wearing and physical distancing will continue to be in place as a way to assure student and faculty safety for the ongoing spring semester and commencement plans.
“We’re kicking our planning into high gear to provide the most traditional, on-campus college experiences this fall that we can safely manage,” said Malloy. This return to normalcy is focused on resuming in-class instruction, campus activities for the community, and residence hall occupancy resembling pre-pandemic conditions on campus.
UMF students have regained a sense of hopefulness and confidence regarding the plans to return to the conventional college experience that most students knew before the start of the pandemic, and that we all continue to miss. “I feel relieved,” said Anika Slowing-Romero, a freshman majoring in Rehabilitation and Psychology. “This year has been extremely hard and not what I expected at all, college-wise. But I am very hopeful and excited for what’s to come in the next semester.”
Chancellor Malloy’s email became the topic of discussion and conversation between peers, lighting up the possibility of brighter days around the corner, whilst acknowledging the outstanding resilience and commitment that has led all of us to this great news. “Your health and safety, and the health and safety of our university communities, remains our top priority,” stated Malloy, as he confirmed the plans that rely on the pandemic-ending vaccines and health safety practices imposed by the UMS Scientific Advisory Board, as well as Maine’s public health authorities as the basis to keep the UMS community safe.
The plans for commencement at UMF continue to uphold a remote ceremony to celebrate the class of 2021 and their achievements. “We promise to create a wonderful, albeit virtual, celebration experience and program with distinct recognition and personal touches especially for you and your achievements,” stated President Edward Serna.
The University will continue asymptomatic strategies and monitoring for COVID-19 throughout the semester to assure the safety of all students and staff until the last week of the semester.
By Samantha Pond, Contributing Writer
The Farmington Recreation Department by Sam Shirley.
While school-age children are finding themselves stuck at home without access to activities and sports, the Farmington Recreation Department has stepped up to bring the community together.
Farmington Parks and Recreation, also known as Farmington Parks and Recreation, is an organization that provides activities and facilities to all members of the community. This organization is where children often attend after school programs, sport practices, and fun activities. COVID-19 has created unforeseen struggles within the organization, but they have found a way to bring the community together through the Internet.
The Farmington Parks and Recreation Facebook page has become an outlet for the community to learn new things, have access to arts and crafts, and partake in fun activities. Marissa Goodwin, a second year student at UMF, has been a part of the Farmington Recreation Department for two years now. She has also been a part of providing an outlet for children online. “We started creating online videos of all sorts of things so that the kids could watch them and learn new things,” Goodwin said. “We have all kinds of things like cooking, exercising, ice fishing, sign language, yoga, and the list goes on.”
Each activity targets a wide range of people, not just the youth of the community. Parents can also learn new things from the short videos alongside their children.
The videos have become weekly for the recreation department. At the beginning of each week one can find a day-to-day schedule of activities to watch for free. The Facebook page also provides updates on sports opportunities and updates for the local ice skating rink.
COVID-19 has played a role in every decision this year and definitely brought some difficulties to the recreation department, as the usual activities for the recreation department came to a halt. “The [Recreation Department] decided that it was safer not to have the after school program,” said Goodwin. “So instead, we have been extremely busy trying to think of ways to keep the children active.”
Although this has overall been well-received by the local community, it will always be hard to replicate in-person activities because the energy isn’t the same. “Things are a lot quieter when I go in now. Normally there is lots of noise because of the kids,” Goodwin said. “I love going to work and joking around with the kids. I miss being able to run around and play games with them the most.”
The Farmington Recreation Department has been constantly coming up with new exciting ideas for the community. “We recently put together a February vacation box with a bunch of activities for the children to do over break.” Goodwin said.
These activities have provided a break for parents who have become overwhelmed with remote learning and those who are struggling to find activities for children to be involved in. “I think the kids are getting entertainment from the videos and activities we have been putting out for them,” Goodwin said. “I think it is a really great thing, especially for the kids who don’t have a lot to do at home.”
If community members or UMF students are interested in getting involved with Farmington Parks and Recreation, Matt Foster can be reached via phone at (207) 778-6538 or you can email the Farmington Recreation Department at email@example.com.
By Paige Lilly, Contributing Writer
Before the pandemic, tutoring was one of the most readily available services for students at UMF. At almost any time, students could walk into the Mantor Library and there would be a tutor waiting to help them with their needs. Additionally, students could set up times to meet with tutors in specific subjects.
However, COVID-19 has made these services more difficult to access. Without searching, it would be easy for students to assume that tutoring services are currently available. However, tutoring is still a service that can be used by students if they need it. Cassidy O’Donnell, a sophomore actuarial science major who has been working as a tutor for the computer science department and the learning commons since the beginning of the academic year, has been a tutor since the beginning of this year. Therefore, pandemic-style tutoring through Zoom is all she has ever known.
The style of tutoring is different for each job. “The computer science department creates a flyer of all of their tutor’s zoom meetings and the times. Then the department emails it out to their students,” said O’Donnell. “Students are free to come to the sessions whenever they need help.”
There are multiple tutors for the department, most of which do not overlap with each other. O’Donnell says that this is convenient because students can check the list and find a time with a tutor that works for them.
With the Learning Commons, students control the schedule instead. “Students can schedule appointments using the Navigate app or online through Navigate, which is accessible through MyCampus,” O’Donnell said. In the Navigate app, students are able to select their tutor, the time for the session, what subjects they need help with, and any additional information they would like to provide to their tutor. This allows students and tutors to find times that work with their busy schedules.
Mullein Francis, a sophomore biology major and tutor, is also employed through The Learning Commons tutoring program. She highlighted a few challenges that tutoring on Zoom has presented. “It can be hard when tutoring subjects like math, when you really just want to point to something on the paper to show them,” said Francis. “When you’re on Zoom, you have to work with the camera, switching between writing things on your paper and holding it up to show the person you’re tutoring.” Although this is a struggle, Francis said that tutoring over Zoom has generally been a positive experience.
One thing that Francis likes about tutoring over Zoom is the flexibility that it offers for both the tutor and the student. “It’s nice because Zoom meetings can be a lot easier to fit into my schedule,” Francis said. “When you’re in person, it can be harder to find a time that works, because you have to factor in the time to physically get to the meeting, which can make it tricky.”
O’Donnell enjoys the positive impact that tutoring has on students. “The tutoring program is confidential so students don’t have to worry about tutors talking to each other or other students about them,” O’Donnell said.
Francis also encourages students who need some extra help to sign up for a virtual tutoring session. “School can be so stressful,” she said. “It’s rewarding to be able to help people get rid of some of that stress.”
To schedule a tutoring session with the Learning Commons, download the Navigate app on your smartphone’s app store.
Clefnotes President Gacie Vaughn by Sam Shirley
By Samantha Pond, Contributing Writer
Two of UMF’s acapella groups, Deep Treble and the Clefnotes, are finding ways to continue making music despite the pandemic.
In March 2020, both groups were thrown for a loop when schools started to close down and no one was able to rehearse together. All plans for Deep Treble and the Clefnotes were brought to a halt, as singing in groups was not recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Over the summer, both of UMF’s acapella groups worked online to plan for the fall semester. Working together was necessary for groups to stay positive. “We frequently Zoom to check in on each other and discuss future club plans,” said Gracie Vaughan, second-year student and the president of the Clefnotes.
Both groups on campus are not giving up on rehearsals and meetings during these challenging times. Third-year student and co-president of Deep Treble, Kaitlynn Tarbox, has shown great determination to help keep Deep Treble together. “We have still been meeting twice a week during the pandemic with heavily enforced COVID procedures to ensure everyone’s safety,” Tarbox said. “We have to keep 10 feet of distance between everyone while we sing and still be masked to follow CDC guidelines.”
Rehearsals for the Clefnotes are looking a little different than Deep Treble’s rehearsals. “We no longer have full group meetings and meet instead in smaller groups of less than six people,” Vaughan said. “While it has created some physical challenges, it has truly shown many of our members’ determination to keep Clefnotes fun.”
With constant changes in regulations, members not able to attend, and not being able to find spaces for each group to rehearse and perform as a whole, both groups have faced challenges. “It has been difficult to find performance opportunities that were not virtual,” said Tarbox. “It is very difficult to put together a virtual concert so in-person performances are preferred if we can.”
For the acapella group, Clefnotes have felt differing struggles as they continue rehearsals in small groups and on Zoom. “Additionally, the stress of the pandemic itself has only intensified the stress of being in college, as many of us are juggling jobs, clubs, and social lives,” said Vaughan.
Despite the hoops the Clefnotes and Deep Treble have had to jump through to be able to practice together, singing acapella has kept members optimistic about the rest of the semester. “We are remaining a positive, safe space…so that our members can have a break from academics and still be able to see each other,” Tarbox said. “All of our decisions are run by not only our [executive] board members, but by the group as well.”
Auditions have become a struggle for both groups, as there is no place for them to be held when taking into consideration the conflict of safety when doing so. “[Deep Treble] held auditions last semester and filled some of our available spots, but this semester, with COVID-19 getting worse, we decided to hold off on auditions until next fall,” said Tarbox. The Clefnotes accepted video submissions for their auditions. Those who have auditioned and qualified for callbacks will receive their callback confirmation via email by Feb. 12.
If students would like more information about either group on campus, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for information on Deep Treble or email@example.com for Clefnotes or DM them on Instagram (@umfclefnotes).
I have recently been at home, due to everything that has been going on. While I love my family and all, I can’t help but go absolutely insane when dealing with them. I have a part time job while I’m here, and while it gets me out of the house, I don’t know what’s worse–my family or my coworkers? Is there any way for me to last through these next few months without killing someone, or is that just crazy to think in itself?
I completely understand where you’re coming from. I too am back at my dam and I swear I’ve gnawed through at least 3 trees already. I’ve been coping by buying my little miracle in a bottle otherwise known as melatonin. That’s right, hibernation is coming early this year folks. Three of them and I’m out like a light, they really have been a saving grace during this time.
I have run myself into a small dilemma (or I should say my heart has). I have started becoming more interested in my teacher than the lesson, if that makes sense. My heart throbs for him and I can’t help but almost drool over him while he lectures. I have gotten to the point where I have to turn my camera off while in class because it’s THAT obvious. Any suggestions…?
-Heart Eyes For Him
Dear Heart Eyes,
Ask to stay after class for “extra help” on Zoom. Profess (no pun intended) your undying love for him, what’s the worst that could happen? He feels too awkward to fail you and risk having you in class again, so he passes you? Yes please! You got this, and remember, Zoom calls are recorded just for future record 😉
I am a faculty member here at UMF. Lately my students have been leaving my Zoom calls early. I feel like I’m just talking to an empty space (it doesn’t help that their cameras are off). Is there any way to engage my students more than I already am?
-Fuming While Zooming
I think you could benefit from reading this article. We have a student who can’t stop staring at her professor during Zoom and yours are running away from you. May I suggest taking more so a Magic Mike method of teaching. Now I’m not saying full on strip for your class (but I’m sure it would help) but just give them a little eye candy during the lecture and I assure you attendance will skyrocket.
I am currently in the Journalism class and I feel like no one reads my pieces. It feels like I’m putting my readers to sleep. Am I not interesting? Do the students at UMF not care about the rising water levels of the Sandy River during the rainy season? What can I do to make my articles more interesting?
As an old soul with The Farmington Flyer I often preview articles before they make it into the paper and let’s just say that I find your articles riveting, but your audience doesn’t. I can attest to the falling asleep bit because, well, I have taken a small nap while reading your articles. Try writing about some hot gossip, it’s what the readers want (dare I say need). Or you can stick to writing your dry articles and putting our readers to sleep. I mean, we all need help getting to sleep sometimes.