11/24/20 | Message from the President to Students

Dear MMA Students,

I hope your trip home was safe and that you and your families enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

As we plan for the Spring 2021 semester, we continue to work toward balancing three fundamental goals: the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff; MMA’s educational mission; and the whole student experience.

What we know today, November 24, 2020, is that COVID-19 cases are increasing in number in the U.S. and here in Maine.  In both instances, cases are expected to grow over the holidays.  Due to this trend, we have made the decision to start the spring semester on January 11, 2021 with two weeks of remote instruction.  Remote instruction means you will not be on the MMA campus as the residence hall and Commons will remain closed. This does not change our plans for the rest of the semester at this point, but we are continuing to plan for an unknowable future, and we all need to stay flexible and adapt to circumstances as they evolve.

Facts to know include:

  • All Spring 2021 classes begin on Monday, January 11 via remote instruction.
  • We will incorporate one week of transition time without any classes into the academic calendar so that everyone may return to campus before those classes which are planned to be taught face-to-face or in a hybrid format resume. Courses which are designed to be remote for the full semester will also break for this transition week.  This transition time will include testing and quarantine periods for all students.
  • If necessary due to the virus, remote learning may be extended by a week or more.  If we must extend remote instruction beyond the first two weeks, we will let you know as soon as possible as that will further delay when we pivot to on-campus/hybrid instruction.
  • We are still operating on a 12-week academic spring semester calendar with an additional week for final exams, but that may be amended. Cruises, Cadet Shipping and Co-ops, will commence after the semester concludes.  If the semester is pushed out further, these events, as well as Commencement and Coast Guard exams will be scheduled to follow.
  • We will be billing for room and board for 10.5 weeks allowing for the remote start.  Please know this is also subject to adjustments.
  • Starting the week of December 28 or before, we will provide weekly updates via email. CHECK YOUR EMAIL REGULARLY.

I understand that adapting to change during uncertain times can cause anxiety and concern.  I encourage you to reach out to your professors, student life staff, or our counselors if you have questions or need help.

The fall semester proved to be more challenging than any of us could have imagined at the start of the school year. Our 12 weeks were cut short as a result of a number of community members contracting COVID-19 and I want to make two points clear: a handful of individuals who tested positive, both on campus and off, caused the Academy to quarantine over 100 other individuals who were close contacts.  Make no mistake about this: one individual’s careless behavior jeopardizes the health of others.  We are all shipmates here and we have responsibility to look out for each other and this campus.  The extent to which all assume this responsibility will determine if we can successfully complete the next semester and all the work necessary for the degree you seek.

This coming spring we will be relying on everyone’s good judgment and compliance with health and safety guidelines, even more so than we did this fall, in order to fulfill our mission. We must do it.

Please take time to relax and enjoy the break over the holidays. Take every precaution to stay safe and to keep your families safe so that we can bring you back to campus in person.

Warmest regards from Castine.


Dr. William J. Brennan
Maine Maritime Academy