This dashboard provides updated case and vaccine info every Tuesday and Thursday on the current status of the health of the Saint Joseph’s College community. Please check back regularly for the latest news and information. For info about COVID-19 in our region, please visit Covid Act Now or the CDC’s County Tracker.

October 4, 2022

Community Health Status:

25 active COVID-19 cases

99% fully vaccinated

2022-23 COVID-19 Guidelines

  • All individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate at home for seven days.
  • A positive test on day seven will add three additional days of isolation at home. Students will be provided with a home test.
  • Contact tracing will continue. Close contacts will wear a high-quality mask for five days and be tested on day five.
  • SJC will not be providing asymptomatic or surveillance testing. Symptomatic testing and entry testing will continue.
  • Those with vaccine exemptions no longer need to wear a mask or test weekly.
  • SJC will be mask-optional, while remaining a mask-positive community.

Latest Campus Health Updates

Educating the SJC community about monkeypox

August 25th, 2022|

The appearance of the monkeypox virus in Maine is an opportunity for the Pandemic Response Team to keep our community informed and educated about this new public health challenge. Like COVID-19 before it, this is another moment that can help us reaffirm our commitment to the spirit of community that is so strong within all of us.

We will focus on the specific symptoms and treatment of this virus; how SJC is preparing for it; and what you can do to keep yourself and each other healthy and safe. There have been no confirmed cases of monkeypox at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine to date.

First, monkeypox is not COVID-19. It does not spread as quickly or easily, and it carries a different set of symptoms. Based on current information, it will not require the College to institute the same kind of large-scale changes to our daily experience – like campus-wide quarantining, masking, and testing.

You can learn a great deal about the monkeypox virus from FAQs provided by public health experts. The following is adapted from a recent example from Drexel University:

Q: How does it spread?
A: Anyone can get monkeypox after having close physical contact with someone who has the infection, especially contact with sores, bodily fluids, or other contaminated surfaces. Most often, it spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing. It can also be spread by respiratory secretions (talking, coughing, sneezing, breathing) during prolonged, close, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox can spread through touching materials used by a person with monkeypox that haven’t been cleaned, such as towels and bedding. Although the monkeypox virus has been found in semen, it is not yet considered a sexually transmitted disease. Monkeypox is not spread through casual conversations or walking by someone with monkeypox. Skin-to-skin, intimate contact remains the most common mode of viral transmission at this time.

Q: What are the symptoms and how long do they last?
A: Once infected, a person may be asymptomatic for one to two weeks, during which the virus is believed by health experts not to be contagious to others. Fever and flu-like symptoms may precede or follow the appearance of a blister-like rash that goes through different stages – usually lasting 1-4 weeks – and is sometimes very painful. The rash could appear as one isolated lesion, or it can cover numerous parts of the body including the mouth, face, hands and genital region. A person is infectious to others from the onset of symptoms until all lesions have crusted over and new skin has formed.

Q: Should I be concerned?
A: It’s important to note that the monkeypox virus does not spread through casual contact and is easier to contain than the airborne COVID-19 virus. Additionally, the medical community has tools for testing, treating and vaccinating monkeypox that were lacking when the coronavirus emerged.

Read the full FAQ for info about treatment, vaccines, and more.

SJC will be closely monitoring members of our community who report monkeypox symptoms to the Health and Wellness Center. As always, if you feel sick, please visit Sheri and her team immediately. While we are currently able to test for monkeypox, there are no vaccines available to the College at this time. We will let you know if and when that situation changes.

Outside of extraordinary circumstances, anyone on campus that contracts monkeypox will be required to isolate at home. The duration of symptoms means that the College cannot generally provide space for isolating on campus, nor meet the day-to-day needs of those who need to isolate. Just as with any illness, academic accommodations should be arranged between students, professors, and the Office of Academic Affairs.

While the spread of a new virus may cause understandable anxiety and fatigue after the past two plus years of COVID, our community is always prepared to exercise our core values of respect, integrity, and compassion. We are always at our best when we look out for each other.

If you have questions about monkeypox or any other health-related concern, please contact the Health and Wellness Center at healthcenter@sjcme.edu.

Community COVID Update

August 23rd, 2022|

A few days before Welcome Weekend, the College is seeing a rise in cases of COVID-19 – a trend that we have expected as students, faculty, and staff are returning to campus from their homes and summer vacations. SJC currently has 16 positive cases across our community, including a segment of our Resident Advisor group.

All of the affected community members are isolating at home for seven days, per our existing guidelines. Our Health and Wellness Center is currently tracing all contacts. Every close contact who tests negative will be tested again in five days, while wearing a mask in the interim.

The good news is that our community is currently 94% fully vaccinated, a very high percentage that will prevent the most serious effects of COVID for most people. Our vaccination rate will not impact our vigilance, but it should provide some measure of reassurance as we come back together.

We will continue to keep you updated on our community health status via email this week, and you can always find the latest on our web dashboard.

Upcoming Safety Protocols at SJC

May 31st, 2022|

We’re getting into the swing of summer here on campus, and we’re passing along the latest COVID-19 guidance for your continued health and safety. Please read the following carefully, and enjoy these warm months while they last!

The SJC Pandemic Response Team

Welcome Back to Sebago!

We are excited to welcome our neighbors in the Lakes Region and beyond back to campus this summer! Our lakefront swimming and paddling area will be open to the public. We encourage all visitors to the lake to be vaccinated and to maintain safe social distancing between parties. However, vaccines and masks will not be required to use the lakefront.

Summer Events

All campus event hosts will be responsible for passing along the following guidance about public health and safety protocols to their guests:

Vaccines are encouraged but not required for all guests at SJC during our summer events. Any guest that has not been fully vaccinated (two initial doses + at least one booster) should consider wearing a mask in all public indoor spaces on campus. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately wear a mask and get tested.

IMPORTANT: Guests who will be staying five or more nights on campus will be required to present verification of a negative COVID test to the event host within 72 hours before arriving on campus.

Fall 2023 Semester

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine prioritizes the health and safety of our entire community – students, faculty, and staff. All members of our community, including any residential or commuter student without a medical exemption, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before Fall Semester begins. 

What does fully vaccinated mean?

  • Two Moderna or Pfizer vaccine doses, plus one booster shot, or
  • One Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose, plus one booster shot.

Students planning to attend in-person classes at SJC for the coming Fall semester must submit proof of full vaccination to the SJC Health and Wellness Center via this encrypted form by August 1, 2022. If you have not yet begun the vaccination process, you must receive your initial round of vaccine dose/doses by the same date.

If you have a valid medical reason for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact our Health and Wellness Center to discuss the process of validating your exemption. SJC does not accept religious exemption requests.

Additional booster shots may be required at a later date. The Pandemic Response Team will make those determinations based on a variety of factors, including new recommendations from public health authorities as they become available.

COVID Vaccine Message for New Students 2022

May 10th, 2022|

COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements

Saint Joseph’s College of Maine prioritizes the health and safety of our entire community – students, faculty, and staff. All members of our community, including any residential or commuter student without a medical exemption, are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

What does fully vaccinated mean? 

  • Two Moderna or Pfizer vaccine doses, plus one booster shot, or
  • One Johnson & Johnson vaccine dose, plus one booster shot.

Students planning to attend in-person classes at SJC for the coming Fall semester must submit proof of full vaccination to the SJC Health and Wellness Center via this encrypted form by August 1, 2022. If you have not yet begun the vaccination process, you must receive your initial round of vaccine dose/doses by the same date.

If you have a valid medical reason for not receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, please contact our Health and Wellness Center to discuss the process of validating your exemption. SJC does not accept religious exemption requests.

Additional booster shots may be required at a later date. The College’s Pandemic Response Team will make those determinations based on a variety of factors, including new recommendations from public health authorities.

COVID Update: 10 Days of Mask-Positivity

May 4th, 2022|

Happy May, Saint Joseph’s College of Maine!

Trees are budding. Flowers are opening. Monks are winning. Yes, it’s May in Maine – and it’s wonderful.

Everyone at SJC is ready to celebrate our smart, resilient, wonderful class of 2022. A successful commencement means that our students must be healthy for their big day, and our staff must be healthy to ensure continuity of operations on campus. 

Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are rising again as new, highly contagious variants make their way into our area. Ten days from graduation, important public health metrics are once again starting to move in the wrong direction.

Today, the PRT is encouraging everyone in our community to consider masking up in public indoor spaces. This is not a mandate, but our recommendation and your personal choice. We are not in the same transmission environment as we were a few months ago, but we want to make everyone aware that the risk level is higher than it was a few weeks ago.

We hope you’ll join us in being mask-positive, at least for another 10 days. Because if we keep COVID at bay, we’ll make this a May to remember.

COVID Update: Boosters + Spring Ceremonies

April 26th, 2022|

Just a quick note to let you know that our Health and Wellness Center now has Pfizer vaccine boosters available for all community members eligible for their second COVID booster shot (the fourth shot overall). This population currently includes anyone 50 years or older, and people who are immunocompromised. The eligible age range may expand as immunity decreases for other groups.

If you are eligible for the booster, please contact the Health and Wellness Center at 207-893-6634 to set up your appointment. Let’s keep our community immunity strong for graduation!

One other important item – unvaccinated guests at all Spring induction and awards ceremonies will be required to wear a mask indoors. Signs will be posted at the event entrances, and surgical masks will be made available.

Thank you for continuing to take care of yourself and others. Just a few short weeks till summer!

Masks in Class

March 17th, 2022|

The Pandemic Response Team met this week to discuss our classroom mask policy. The result: the College will make masking in classrooms optional, and up to the discretion of individual faculty. This step will be in effect immediately.

Please take note of the discretionary nature of this new guideline. Some faculty will prefer to maintain a mask requirement in their classes. Please respect their individual circumstances and motivations – some SJC faculty have unvaccinated toddlers or immunocompromised family members.

You may also encounter classmates who have similarly good reasons to request that you keep a mask on – please respect their wishes whenever possible. In short, we strongly recommend that you still carry a mask with you when you go to class.

We will remain a mask-positive institution. Any person who feels more comfortable wearing a mask to class (or anywhere else on campus) is encouraged to do so.

As always, this relaxation of our guidelines will be in effect until the virus tells us otherwise. We have enjoyed low-risk moments of the pandemic before, and while we hope it lasts, we will maintain our flexible approach going forward.