Questions about the Spring Semester

For the Spring Semester, SMCC is offering a mix of in-person and online learning opportunities with a variety of safety protocols.

Our top priorities for the spring are to:

  • Protect the health and safety of our employees and students
  • Deliver on our mission of providing educational excellence
  • And provide support services to our students to ensure their success

These FAQs attempt to answer your questions in more detail.

Q: Is SMCC open for in-person instruction this spring?

A: SMCC will offer in-person instruction in hundreds of classes this spring, with safety protocols in place. There will also be hundreds of classes available online.

Q: Do I have to be vaccinated to attend classes?

A: Per the Maine Community College System, as  a condition of enrollment and attendance, all learners, with the exception of learners enrolled exclusively in online courses who will not be physically accessing MCCS owned or controlled indoor spaces, shall provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19, subject to the medical exemption recognized under applicable laws. Learners will be required to provide proof of receipt of at least one dose of a vaccination prior to attending their first in-person class and provide proof of any required second dose by the start of the following semester.

Further, boosters are strongly recommended for all learners but not required at this time, however, the System President is authorized to enact a booster requirement, based on CDC guidance and in consultation with the College Presidents, to maintain the safety of the Colleges.

Q: How do I submit my vaccination information?

A: Students can submit proof of all required vaccinations by uploading a photo of their vaccination card through a secure dropbox link, www.smccME.edu/vaccines. Students who have already submitted proof of their vaccinations to the Advising Office do not need to resubmit proof.

Q: Where can I get a COVID 19 vaccine?

A: For a list of vaccination sites, visit the State of Maine COVID-19 Response website.

Q: How do I request an exemption from the vaccine protocol?

A: Students may request an exemption from the vaccination protocol. Students seeking a medical exemption can download and submit the COVID-19 Medical Exemption Form to the Advising Office secure online dropbox. Approval of exemption is not guaranteed.  MCCS will be following CDC guidelines in reviewing requests for exemptions, and any request for exemption will be reviewed each semester. Any student granted an exemption will be required to take weekly COVID tests and provide the test results to a designated college official. MCCS will not consider exemptions based on religious or philosophical beliefs.

Q: Can I receive an exemption for religious or philosophical beliefs?

A: The MCCS will not consider exemptions for religious or philosophical reasons, in line with Maine’s post-secondary vaccination law that took effect Sept. 1, 2021.

Q: Do I have to wear a mask?

A: Masks are optional on SMCC property except for individuals who are recovering from COVID.

Q: What protocols do I need to follow when I come to campus?

A: Students and employees must complete a health screening available on the SMCC app before coming to class each day. Once you are on the app, you can complete your daily screening by clicking on the “Health Screening” tile. Then click on “Daily Health Screening” and answer the questions. If you are clear, you will get a green pass you can present on campus.

Q: I have symptoms and the health screening has told me not to come to campus. What should I do?

A: Stay home and make arrangements to be tested.

Q: How does an SMCC employee know if a person is approved to be on campus?

A: Employees must ask to see a student’s campus pass at each point of entry in campus buildings (entry into an office or a classroom). Students should complete the health screening daily. If they pass, they will get a “You are clear” pass that includes a green check mark and the date. If they fail, they will not a get clear pass and will instead have a red X and the date.

Q: How do I find the campus pass?

A: Open the SMCC app and click on the profile (small person) icon in the lower right corner. Select the “Health and Wellness” menu. Then selected “My Campus Pass.”

Q: What do I do if I hit (or a student hits) the wrong button when completing the health screening?

A: Email deanofstudents@smccME.edu, tbentley@smccME.edu or lhall@smccme.edu. Resubmitting the health screening after you fail will you give you a red X that has to be manually removed by an administrator.

Q: What do I do if I don't have a smart phone?

A: Prepaid smartphones can be purchased for less than $100 and do not require purchased minutes to use if they are Wi-Fi capable. Students can request funds for a purchase like this through the President’s Fund if they find the cost to be prohibitive. Employees can request a paper health screening from tbentley@smccME.edu. The form is for the employee’s benefit only, so that you know when you can be on campus and when you should stay home. You do not need to turn the form in anywhere.

Q: What do I do if I test positive for COVID-19?

A: Stay home. In the SMCC app, on the same menu as the health screening, there is an option to “Report a COVID-19 test result.” This is the preferred method to submit notice of a positive test. You can also email deanofstudents@smccME.edu, tbentley@smccME.edu or lhall@smccme.edu. Stay home for five days (the date of the positive test is day zero). Retest on day five using an antigen test (a rapid or home test) and upload those results using the app. It is important to not use a PCR test as people can test positive for up to 90 days on PCR tests. On day six, if you tested negative on day five, have been fever-free for 24 hours and your other symptoms have improved, you may leave isolation and return to campus. You must be masked at all times when in public on days 6-10 after your positive test.

Q: Do I need a negative test to leave isolation and return to in-person activities on campus?

A: Yes, you do need a negative test to leave isolation and return to campus. Use an antigen test (a rapid or home test) and upload the results to the SMCC app. It is important to not use a PCR test as people can test positive for up to 90 days on PCR tests.

Q: What do I do if I have symptoms?

A: Get tested. A PCR test will yield the most accurate results, especially early in the infection. Stay home for five days. On day six, if you have been fever-free for 24 hours and your symptoms have improved, you may return to campus. Follow the instructions in the “if I test positive” instructions if you test positive.

Q: Are there any requirements for entering buildings?

A: Students and employees must show faculty and staff their campus pass that is issued through the daily health screening in order to enter offices and classrooms.

Q: What is a close contact?

A:A close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period. The 24-hour period needs to have occurred in the 48 hours before the COVID-19-positive person became symptomatic or, in the event that s/he is asymptomatic, tested positive. A close contact is also anyone who is taking care of a household member who has tested positive, or who has been sneezed or coughed upon by a person who has tested positive.

Q: If I am a close contact, do I need to quarantine?

A:If you 1) are fully vaccinated and eligible to be boosted and are boosted OR 2) were diagnosed with and have recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days AND have NO SYMPTOMS, you do not need to quarantine if you are a close contact. Everyone else need to quarantine. SMCC considers everyone who was in a class who meets the criteria to quarantine a close contact. You need to test on day five and provide the results using the SMCC app before returning to campus.

Q: How long do I need to quarantine if I am a close contact and meet the criteria to quarantine?

A:Close contacts who need to quarantine should quarantine for five days from the last date of exposure (day zero), test for COVID-19 on day five and upload the results to the SMCC app. A PCR test is recommended for best results in asymptomatic close contacts, but SMCC will accept all tests. Do not test earlier unless you develop symptoms. As long as you are asymptomatic, you may return to campus on day six even if you have not yet received your test results.

Q: How are close contacts notified?

A: Close contacts are notified via SMCC email and possibly by phone. It is not possible to reach everyone by phone since many people don’t answer calls. Please set up your voicemail and check it regularly.

Q: I am taking all online classes. Do I need to be vaccinated?

A: If you are taking only online classes, you do not need provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. However, if you decide to attend any on-campus or on-site classes or enter any buildings, you will need to provide proof to do so.

Q: How do I apply for admission to SMCC?

A: Applying for admission is free and easy. Simply visit our Steps to Apply webpage to apply online or download an application. You can visit the Admissions Office in-person, or contact the office at admissions@smccME.edu or 207-741-5800, ext. 1.

Q: How do I apply for financial aid?

A: To apply for financial aid, students first need to fill out a FAFSA online by visiting the Federal Student Aid webpage. If students need to submit additional documentation to SMCC, the Financial Aid Office now uses a service that allows you to send documents securely. Simply take a clear picture of the document on your phone and upload it to the website. To access the website, log in to My Maine Guide, select My Money and click on “Upload Financial Aid Documents” in the Things to Know section.You can visit the Financial Aid Office in-person during normal business hours, or contact the office at finaid@smccME.edu or 207-741-5518.

Q: How do I pay my bills?

A: SMCC offers payment plans and accepts checks and credit/debit cards (MasterCard, Visa and Discover) for payment. Our Student Accounts Office is open during normal business hours for in-person visits, or students can pay online, through the mail or by telephone. The Billing Office can be contacted at studentaccounts@smcc ME.edu or 207-741-5530.

Q: Will the Spring Semester calendar change in any way?

A: The Spring Semester calendar will remain the same. Spring classes began Tuesday, January 18, and end on Saturday, May 14.

Q: Will you continue to offer Workforce Training and Career Skills classes?

A: SMCC continues to offer short-term and customized workforce training to those who are looking to gain job skills that lead to employment. SMCC also continues to offer a selection of Career Skills courses, primarily for people interested in beginning new careers or enhancing their current professional skill sets.

Q: Will residence halls be open?

A: SMCC’s three residence halls — two in South Portland and one in Brunswick — are all open this spring. Residence hall students must provide proof they are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 prior to moving into the residence halls.

Q: Will dining services be available?

A: Oceanview Dining Hall on the South Portland Campus will be open to residence hall students. The SeaWolves Café on the South Portland Campus will be open to residence hall students, commuter students and employees, but only for take-out meals ordered through an app called The Bite at Sodexo, which can be downloaded for free through the app store on your mobile device. Limited seating will be available in the lower lounge in the South Portland Campus Center for people to eat take-out orders.

Q: Will the bookstore be open?

A:  The bookstore is open during normal business hours, but students are strongly encouraged to purchase books and supplies online through the SMCC bookstore website.

Q: How are services, typically available on campus, being offered?

A: The Admissions, Advising, Financial Aid, and Student Accounts offices, as well as the Learning Commons, are open for in-person service during normal business hours. They will also offer services remotely online, by phone, email and/or video conferencing.

The Admissions and Advising offices, and the Learning Commons, are still located in the Campus Center, but the Financial Aid and Student Accounts offices have moved to the Captain’s House, a red-brick building located at the corner of Fort Road and McKernan Center Drive just a short walk from the Campus Center.

Q: Will there be sports this spring?

A: The Athletics Department is planning for athletic competition for spring, as United States Collegiate Athletic Association, Yankee Small College Conference and Maine Community College System safety guidelines allow.

Q: Will the Student Senate, club meetings and other activities be held in the spring?

A: Student Life will continue to offer a full slate of virtual and in-person activities for student engagement. These include Student Senate and student club meetings, Open Mic sessions, leadership programs, outdoor events and more.

Q: What will online classes look like?

A: Synchronous online classes meet live online at scheduled times. We will also offer asynchronous online classes that have no scheduled meeting times with a schedule of work to be completed. Instructors may require you to do any of the following on BrightSpace, our online classroom learning system:
• Participate in live online meetings with your classmates
• Watch recorded lectures
• Read course materials
• Watch videos
• Participate in discussion boards/chats
• Take quizzes and exams
• Submit assignments and homework online
• Log into BrightSpace regularly
• And take part in other strategies to maximize student learning

Q: Where can I get updates and information about COVID-19?

A:  For SMCC-specific information, check your student email regularly, and check this page for updates. SMCC encourages you to stay-up-to-date on developments by seeking information through credible sources, such as the Maine Center for Disease Control and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
If you have a question that is not answered here, visit the Maine CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions.
In addition, 211 Maine is an option for Mainers to get answers to questions about COVID-19 at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing info@211maine.org.