The University of Maine System is expanding plans to test for the coronavirus with a second round of screening of all asymptomatic students and staff from out of state, students in residence halls and other special groups upon the return to campus.

The followup screening will occur seven to 10 days after arrival testing and is part of a three-phase surveillance strategy recommended by a system advisory board to lower the risk of transmission from asymptomatic carriers. It is intended to identify infected people who may have gone undetected or who became infected when they returned to campus, the system said in a news release Tuesday.

Each of round of testing for these groups will involve approximately 12,500 individual tests.

Students and staff who are required to be tested on arrival can forgo that round by getting an approved COVID-19 diagnostic test within 72 hours of their scheduled arrival on campus.

“Our plans to bring students back to campus and limit the spread of COVID-19 will continue to evolve to reflect the best available science and safety practices,” said system Chancellor Dannel Malloy in the release. “Our Scientific Advisory Board recommended a second phase of screening and we are responding immediately with a plan to make that testing a reality.”

In addition to the two rounds of testing, the university system will also monitor the disease through testing surveillance and symptom tracking. Wastewater testing will also be used to monitor public health on campuses that are home to 78 percent of the system’s resident hall students. Campuses with the infrastructure needed for wastewater testing include Orono, Fort Kent and the University of Southern Maine.


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