© 2022 Maine Public
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

About Half Of Students In UMaine System Verify Getting COVID-19 Shots As Fall Semester Looms

University Enrollment
Robert F. Bukaty
In this photo made Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, blue-shirted upperclassmen help move items belonging to incoming freshman at the University of Maine in Orono.

With the start of the fall semester approaching, about half of the staff and students at Maine's public universities have verified that they've been vaccinated.

Chancellor Dannel Malloy says he's largely satisfied with that number and expects it to keep rising in the coming days.

"We're very satisfied with the progress we're making," Malloy says. "Each one of our universities is communicating with students in different ways,"

Malloy says percentages are a bit lower for first-time students, so officials are reaching out to that population.

Like most colleges in the state, the University of Maine System is requiring that all in-person students and staff be vaccinated this fall.

As part of its efforts, the system has been offering scholarships to vaccinated students. It will also be hosting clinics on all seven of the state's public university campuses. Malloy says the emergence of the delta variant has added a new sense of urgency.

"But with this more dangerous — at least, more spreadable — variant, we've stepped up our efforts to a greater extent," Malloy says.

Students who haven't submitted their vaccination status by this Friday will have to be tested and quarantine when they arrive on campus.

The system says more than 200 students and staff have applied for medical or religious exemptions from the vaccine requirement — but they will still be required to follow safety protocols include masking and regular testing on campus. Officials say that if a student isn't vaccinated and doesn't have an exemption by Oct. 15, they'll be asked to take classes remotely.