UMA Phase 6 Weekly COVID-19 Mandatory Testing

Questions & Answers | Spring Semester 2021


What is the Phase 6 weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic testing that begins February 1?

With the resumption of in-person instruction for Spring 2021, community safety and well-being are of major importance.  The return to campus will include weekly mandatory testing, beginning February 1, and will continue throughout the semester.

Who has to participate in the weekly mandatory testing?

Mandatory weekly testing is required of all students, faculty, and staff who are engaged during the spring semester in University activities with a physical presence on campus:

  • Faculty who are teaching in-person courses or in-person components of courses;
  • Students enrolled in in-person courses or in-person components of courses;
  • Those engaged in in-person activities such as research, recurring appointments (i.e. tutoring), regular on location studying
  • Staff and student employees in positions for which they are physically on campus
  • Residential students and staff
  • Students participating in UMA Athletics

Will I be notified by UMA if I’m part of a group to be tested?

A list of the individuals meeting these criteria will be identified and scheduled for weekly testing on the Augusta and Bangor Campuses or at a UMA Center. Individuals will be contacted via university email with additional testing locations and details.

How much does the test cost?

There is no cost to you to participate.

What does the testing entail?

To do the weekly testing, UMA employs PCR diagnostic tests.  The Augusta and Bangor Campuses use the Shield T-3 test, and the UMA Centers use the Vault test.  For each test version, a saliva sample is collected under the supervision of a trained test monitor and then sent to a lab to be analyzed.

Augusta and Bangor Campuses:  Results are typically sent within 24 hours.

UMA Centers:  Results are typically sent within 48-72 hours or less.

What do I need to do to prepare for the test?

Augusta and Bangor Campuses:  Testers are encouraged to download and set up the Safer Community App by Rokmetro, which is now available through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store to manage your COVID-19 testing (scheduling your test, viewing locations, receiving results).  The Safer Community App supports Single-Sign-On, meaning you should be able to log in with your @maine.edu email address and password.  If you need assistance with installing and setting up the Safer Community App, please see the UMaine System’s Step-by-Step User’s GuideStaff at the test site will be able to assist individuals without the Safer Community App.

Sixty minutes before your test, brush your teeth and tongue, and refrain from eating and drinking colored liquids, such as coffee, milky, or heavily dyed beverages.  When possible, wait until after you test to consume those beverages!  Drink water to hydrate and rinse your mouth with water about 30 minutes before you test.  Please note that particles or discoloration from food, beverages, gum, tobacco, or other substances that appear in your saliva will result in the rejection of your test sample.

UMA Centers:   The Vault test requires that you do not engage in brushing your teeth or any eating, drinking, gum chewing, or smoking for 30-60 minutes before the test.  It is recommended that you hydrate well earlier in the day of your test.  Instructions on how to proceed with the test are provided at the test location.

How long will it take?

Most people complete the check-in/registration and saliva collection process within 15 minutes.  This time will typically be reduced to 5 minutes once a routine is established.

What should I bring to the test?

Please bring a photo ID.  Also, if you have a smartphone, tablet or iPad, please bring it to your appointment.  You will use your device to register/check in and must register using your maine.edu email address.

How will I get my results?

Results from the test will be sent to you via your maine.edu email.  If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they will receive a phone call to provide guidance regarding care and isolation.

Augusta and Bangor Campuses:  Results are typically sent within 24 hours.

UMA Centers:  Results are typically sent within 48-72 hours or less.

If I’m participating in the Shield T-3 test at either of the Augusta or Bangor campuses and my results indicate that my test was rejected or invalid, what do I do?

A rejected or invalid result will not impact your access to campus for the testing period.  If you receive a rejected or invalid result, plan to teach, work, attend courses, or go to athletic practices as scheduled. And then be sure to come for your next regularly scheduled test, keeping in mind that some of the reasons for a lab rejected or invalid results are:

  • presence of food, beverage, or makeup particulates in the saliva
  • presence of too much mucus in the saliva (being well hydrated helps to reduce this)
  • insufficient volume of saliva (under 1ml)
  • overfilled volume of saliva (more than 1.5 ml)
  • leakage during transit due to loosened cap on vial

What happens if I do not participate? Is it mandatory?

If you are contacted to participate in the Phase 6 testing, we would very much appreciate your cooperation.  The intention is to ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff who are frequenting our campuses and centers.  Your participation is key to helping us keep our campuses and centers safe, open, and vibrant.

Participation is mandatory.  Consequences for non-participation of employees are determined through HR and the respective bargaining agreement.  Students who do not participate will be referred to UMA’s conduct officer.  In most situations, a student will receive a written warning for an initial non-compliance.

An exemption may be granted (for example, individuals who are 100% remote/virtual may be exempted).  An individual may also be excused from a specific round of testing. Please view the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form should you wish to request an exemption from all testing or excused absence for a specific week.

It would be easier for me to test at another UMA location. Can I do this?

Yes, UMA is testing at both campus locations and most of its center locations.  Contact the location you wish to test at for information on scheduling. The Augusta test site is located in the Fireplace Lounge of the Randall Student Center and is staffed from 8:00 AM -4:00 PM, M-Th and 8:00 AM- 1:00 PM on Fridays.  Walk-ins are welcome on a space available basis.

Is it okay that I test somewhere else besides a UMA location and just send you my results?

You may submit documentation of a negative test result in lieu of participating in testing through UMA for any individual week during Spring 2021. Tests must show that the sample collected was within the week of the testing from which you wish to be excused. For example, if you wish to be excused from testing with UMA the week of April 5th, you must submit test results from a sample collected from the following date range: April 5-9th.

Results can be uploaded through the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form.

I’m only on campus every other week for a class/lab.  Do I have to come in every week to be tested?

You can test just the weeks that you are on campus.

I am on campus every week.  I am tested through my work every other week.  What would be the process for me?

UMA will exempt you from university testing once you provide documentation of your bi-weekly external testing.  Documentation may be sent through the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form.   If you are a student in a population of special concern such as dental hygiene or campus housing, you need to test at UMA on the off weeks.

What if I previously tested positive for COVID-19?

Individuals who tested positive are exempt from testing for 90 days.  A copy/snapshot of your positive test should be uploaded to the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form or directly to UMA’s Incident Commander and Contact Tracer, Rob Marden at robert.marden@maine.edu.  Your information will be entered into our system which will prompt you when it is time to start testing once the 90 days are up.

Am I exempted after getting the vaccine?

The University of Maine System has determined that individuals with the vaccine will not be exempted from the Phase 6 weekly testing.

I do not attend in-person classes this semester but I do have a lab at a hospital location.  Do I still need to test weekly or is that for people who attend on-campus grounds only?

Students participating in off-site experiences such as clinical rotations, student teaching and internships, should follow the testing requirements of their placement site.  If the site does not require or offer testing and the student would like to be included in UMA’s testing program, we can add them to the roster.

I missed my appointment.  Can I still come in?

First, please explain your missed test by completing the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form.  Rescheduling options vary by location.  The Augusta test site is located in the Fireplace Lounge of the Randall Student Center and is staffed from 8:00 AM -4:00 PM, M-Th and 8:00 AM- 1:00 PM on Fridays.  Walk-ins are welcome on a space available basis.

My test was cancelled due to a snow day.  What do I do?

If your test was scheduled on the only day of the week you are on campus/center, or the last day you are on campus/center for the week, you are excused from testing for the week.  Please complete the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form.   If you will be on campus/center again during the week, check with your location about rescheduling.  The Augusta test site is located in the Fireplace Lounge of the Randall Student Center and is staffed from 8:00 AM -4:00 PM, M-Th and 8:00 AM- 1:00 PM on Fridays.  The Bangor site is located at the Fitness Center, appointments are scheduled from 9:00 AM – 2:30 PM, M-F; from 5:00 – 6:00 PM on M, T, and Th.  Walk-ins are welcome at both locations on a space available basis.

Can my significant other/friend/family member also get tested?

The UMA testing program is restricted to UMA/UMS students and employees.  Friends/family members may explore testing through DHHS supported and other local testing options.  Information is available on the Keep Maine Healthy website.

If I’m feeling ill on the day of my appointment, should I still attend the testing?

No, do not come in for testing if you are feeling symptomatic.  Consult with your Primary Care Physician. Report your missed test by completing the Special Circumstances/Exemption Request form.

I don’t have any in-person courses or job responsibilities but I need to pick something up from my office or the Spirit Store, do I need to test?

UMS personnel whose presence on campus is truly incidental will not be included in testing rosters for weekly spring testing. To be truly incidental, the presence must be a brief, one-time event or extremely infrequent (i.e. one or two unanticipated visits during the semester) and not involve in-person interactions with others on campus.

I am under 18.  Can I be tested?

Individuals who are under 18 years of age and are not accompanied by their guardian/parent, may bring a photo of their parent/guardian’s license as documentation that they have permission to test.