CASTINE – Maine Maritime Academy will begin welcoming students back to campus later this month and the college’s faculty and staff are preparing for a busy semester. In addition to a continued focus on academic excellence and hands-on, minds-on learning, health and safety remain a key priority in planning for what many hope to be a normalized campus experience this fall.
“We were very much hoping to have a return to campus that resembled a traditional ‘back to school’ experience,” explains President William J. Brennan. “Unfortunately, the emergence of the Delta variant has complicated our plans and required continual adjustments in how we think, learn, and work.”
Despite the challenges, President Brennan notes that the campus community has responded to the ongoing challenges with creativity and resolve.
“The sense of responsibility we have towards one another is profound,” he says. “Since the beginning, our students, faculty, and staff have been committed to ensuring the health and safety of our community and their dedication never lagged. The endurance is remarkable.”
Today, the college announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for students this fall. Students will be required to complete the vaccination process by October 1, 2021.
“Over the past many months, our stance has been to strongly encourage vaccination. So far, we’ve had great luck in getting folks on board with the vaccines and we’re truly very grateful for that. Still, the situation has changed, and we now feel that a vaccine requirement is a necessary next step in our fight against COVID-19.”
For many students at the academy, vaccinations were already required by host companies as part of their summer training experiences. Similarly, over 80% of MMA employees have already verified their vaccination status.
For those who are not yet vaccinated, the school will host a Community Vaccine Clinic on August 27. Students who participate in the clinic will be automatically entered into the college’s Vaccine Lottery, a series of weekly giveaways designed to promote vaccinations and generate excitement for the upcoming school year.
The upcoming clinic is designed to help students meet the new vaccine requirements, but it will be open to all members of the campus community and the public as well. Both the Johnson & Johnson and the Pfizer vaccine will be available. A follow-up clinic for those needing a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be scheduled later this fall.
While today’s announcement relates only to students, President Brennan acknowledges that the school’s position might soon change in regard to employees. “We are currently evaluating contractual obligations, but it is my hope that our employees recognize their responsibility to our community – and to our students in particular – and make their decision to get vaccinated without an employer or government mandate.”
Additional information about the upcoming semester can be found on Maine Maritime Academy’s Fall 2021 page.
Edit: The Community Vaccine Clinic on August 27 will only include the Pfizer vaccine. For information about off-campus sites that will offer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please visit the Maine CDC website.