Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 19, 2020
MMA moves to remote learning
Virus cases rise
A visit to campus Tuesday, November 17, found a statue titled “The midshipman Looking out to Sea” appropriately masked but alone on the nearly empty campus. With only a week left to go in the semester, Maine Maritime Academy has decided to transition to fully remote instruction.
by Eli Forman
With only a week left to go in the semester, Maine Maritime Academy has decided to transition to fully remote instruction.
The decision comes on the heels of a sharp rise in active cases of COVID-19 discovered on campus.
As of Monday, November 16, the Academy is reporting 13 active cases of COVID-19, with 23 positive results overall.
Due to privacy restrictions, it remains unclear whether these cases represent faculty or students.
The Academy has maintained a strict testing regime with logistical support from Jackson Laboratory throughout the 12 week semester, which has helped to mitigate potential outbreaks and allow proximity instruction to continue for as long as possible.
But with the rise of COVID-19 cases on campus reflecting the exponential increase throughout the state, the most sensible course of action, according to MMA president Bill Brennan, was to send the students home to finish out the semester.
“Our decision to pivot now is due to an abundance of caution about potential impact upon our campus and the local community,” wrote Brennan in a statement obtained by the Patriot.
Other small colleges across the state have also seen an increase in cases, including six active cases at Colby College in Waterville and 12 active cases at Bates College in Lewiston.
As it currently stands, MMA students will be home until January 11, when they will return to start spring semester classes in person after following the same quarantine and testing guidelines that ushered in the fall semester.
“At this time, our plan for January remains the same: to operate in person, on campus,” wrote Brennan.