The University of New England has announced that it’s bringing students back to its Biddeford and Portland campuses for the fall semester and, in some cases, even earlier.
UNE President James Herbert says school officials began thinking about how to reopen the campuses as soon they were closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
“Even though we have the broad outlines sketched out of what the fall will look like, there’s a lot of details that still have to be worked out, and some of those details will depend upon what we learn,” he says.
Herbert says one such detail involves the kinds of personal protective equipment needed by students and faculty in various activities.
He says UNE feels it’s important to bring it’s students back to campus because of the school’s emphasis on hands-on, experiential training.
"You can't learn how to intubate a person, for example, online. You can get the basic instruction online but, at the end of the day, you actually have to have to hands-on training with a simulator and then eventually with actual patients," Herbert says.
And for some of UNE’S health professions programs, which begin classes over the summer, the school is developing a process to bring those students back to campus even earlier than the fall. Herbert says all of UNE’S decisions will be consistent with the governor’s emergency orders.