The University of New England will move to a hybrid model of instruction for the fall, the university announced as part of a return-to-campus plan released Friday.

The fall 2020 plan also calls for a four-tiered COVID-19 testing program that includes initial broad-based entry testing of all undergraduate students, ongoing symptomatic testing, focused surveillance testing of certain asymptomatic individuals and testing of wastewater emerging from each residence hall.

In addition, all undergraduate students will be required to bring evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their arrival on campus and will be tested again shortly thereafter.

The testing strategy is made possible through partnerships with the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and MaineHealth’s NorDx Laboratories.

The university, which enrolls about 7,000 students, is allowing students to return to its campuses in Portland and Biddeford but is making accommodations for social distancing, including designating one of its residence halls as a quarantine location should any students contract the virus.

The hybrid learning model will provide a mix of face-to-face and online instruction. Some classes that cannot be accommodated in a single classroom will be split into subgroups of students who will alternate between taking class in person and through remote means.

In a news release Friday, UNE President James Herbert noted that the plan is flexible and will continue to be updated throughout the summer.

“While we have developed a robust strategy for safely welcoming students back to campus, we recognize that, as conditions evolve, our community cannot completely eliminate risks associated with the virus until an effective vaccine is available,” Herbert said.

“Our institution, with its diverse array of programs that draw students from all walks of life, cannot completely isolate itself from the rest of the world. This being the case, UNE’s plan is inherently flexible, and we will continue to make updates throughout the summer months and beyond.”

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