University of Maine officials announced this week that they plan to welcome students back in the fall for in-person learning.

I remember my first day at the University of Maine's Orono campus. It was so exciting to be "on my own," moving out of my parents' house, and meeting new people. I've thought about that many times, over the past year, as students have been stuck at home. Their classroom has been their living room or kitchen, as they've dealt with remote learning.

But it looks like they'll be getting that full college experience, starting in the fall. University of Maine administrators held a media conference on Wednesday, during which they announced that the plan is for classroom learning next semester. Not only that, but students will be welcomed back to their dorm rooms to move furniture into creative configurations and annoy their neighbors with loud music.

At this point, the University is not requiring vaccinations for students, but it could be something to consider in the future. The state's current vaccination plan would make the shots available to all age groups before classes begin in the autumn.

A new directive, posted this week on the University of Maine website, instructs faculty, staff, and students to prepare for more in-person instruction and activities; and for students to be in residence on campus. It goes on to say that administrators will be working with health officials to determine things like social distancing and safety protocols.

These plans may change, obviously, depending on the progression of the pandemic. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to keep an eye on the university's website for any updates.

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