On Monday, May 4, UNE President, James Herbert, announced that UNE would open for the fall pending no major regressions in combating the coronavirus in Maine. His plan included online options for students with compromised immune systems, a dorm dedicated to house any students who contracted the coronavirus, using available testing and contact tracing.
He announced, “although there continues to be much that we do not know about the novel coronavirus, we are learning more every day, and we have now reached a point at which I feel confident in our ability to resume on-campus operations by the fall semester.”
President Herbert also shared his reflections on the value of higher education in the midst of enduring the coronavirus. As colleges have moved to online education, critics have drawn conclusions that the coronavirus has revealed if not highlighted the problems with traditional college education.
Herbert writes: “But there is mounting evidence that the pundits’ core conclusion – that traditional learning is on its deathbed – is simply wrong. As a university president during this unprecedented time, I have made a point to stay connected with our students as they study remotely from their homes. And these young people are telling me, passionately and unequivocally, that they desperately want to get back to campus as soon as possible. They tell me their experience over the past few weeks has made them realize more than ever just how much they value being on campus. While acknowledging the heroic efforts of faculty and staff to engage them online, they recount that virtual learning is no substitute for the intellectually invigorating and socially enriching campus experience.”