Stephanie Day, a COVID-19 clerical assistant at Thomas College, gives Daniel Guarino of Wakefield, Mass., a wrist band after he took a COVID-19 test Saturday upon his arrival at the Waterville college. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

College students have been back on campuses for more than a month and the rigorous coronavirus-testing programs that have been implemented seem to be paying off, according to officials at three schools in central Maine.


Thomas College of Waterville has administered more than 3,500 tests since Aug. 19, all of which have come back negative.

This is great relief to Lisa Desautels-Poliquin, the college’s vice president for student affairs.

“I want to knock on like every piece of wood right now,” Desautels-Poliquin said last week in a telephone interview. “So far, so good. We’re pleased with our program and the way that our students and community have responded — really just trying to take care of one another. We’re just going to try and stay on that course.”

Desautels-Poliquin said the campus community has done well cooperating with the testing program and adhering to restrictions.


Thomas is testing its faculty, students and staff members on a biweekly basis, and its more “hands-on” staff members, including food service workers and full-time security guards, every week.


Of the 47,000 COVID-19 tests Colby College in Waterville has administered since August, 11 positive cases have been identified. Ten of those patients have recovered, according to college officials.

“The low number of positive cases has in large part been due to our students, who are doing an amazing job in prioritizing the greater good of the community to protect it and the exceptional opportunity they have to be together,” Colby officials wrote in a prepared statement.

“Given the college is just about midway through the semester, we feel the low number of positive COVID-19 cases identified and reported is a good sign, and we hope that will continue.”

College officials said most students and staff have been complying with restrictions.


“Colby stated before students arrived for the start of the semester, and repeatedly since, that noncompliance with our COVID-19 policies could result in disciplinary action,” college officials wrote.

“While the college has had to discipline a very small number of students for violating those policies, they are an exception in a student body that is doing a terrific job holding each other accountable and keeping our community safe.”

The college, which enrolls about 2,000 students, created a $10 million health plan to bring students back to campus for in-person instruction.

Colby tested all students, faculty and staff three times a week during the first two weeks of the semester and has continued testing all twice a week.

Colby has also launched a webpage that includes the total number of negative tests, inconclusive tests and positive cases, and the number of people in isolation.



Since implementing the first stage of its coronavirus-testing program in July, the University of Maine at Farmington has had no positive cases out of 2,148 tests administered.

Two positive cases have been identified as an adjunct faculty member and a student who lives off campus and has not been to the Farmington campus this semester. Neither individual took part in the school’s testing program.

The testing program has been divided into three phases, with the first tests being conducted on all students at the residence halls, including Maine residents, and out-of-state students on or off campus.

Phase two began in the first week of September and involved retesting all of the students who were tested in the first phase, but through a saliva-based test, which is easier to administer.

In the third phase, which began in mid-September, officials began to sample about 2,000 people across the University of Maine System every 10 days or less.

UMF officials said they have not had to take disciplinary action against students for breaking protocol during the pandemic, according to Christine Wilson, the university’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management.

“We are incredibly pleased with student participation and leadership in the safety practices and screening strategies we have established to keep our campus and our Maine communities safe,” Wilson wrote in a prepared statement.

“We have not had a single incidence of formal disciplinary action related to our pandemic protocols.  We take advantage of every chance we get to encourage and educate our entire community on the steps we all need to be taking to stay safe and together this semester.”

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