SAFE START: SPRING 2022 RETURN TO CAMPUS
Mercyhurst University is diligently planning for a full return to campus in the spring semester via our Safe Start plan. The safety and well-being of our community remains the top priority, and this operating plan — newly updated for Spring Semester 2022 — aligns with local, state, and federal health guidelines. This website serves as the official outline of the university's policies and guidance in regards to COVID-19 response.
The phone number 814-824-3600 will serve as a 24/7 hotline to which you can report potential exposure, as well as direct all COVID-related questions and requests. You may also email your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please keep in mind that these protocols are based on federal, state, and local guidance, and can and most likely will change throughout the academic year. All elements of the university plan are subject to change based on our evolving understanding of COVID-19 and the progression of the virus, including the variant.
Current university guidance encourages students to isolate/quarantine at home, or at an off-campus location. University provided quarantine/isolation space is extremely limited and will be assigned only to students who demonstrate an urgent need for such accommodations. Review the FAQs below for more information.
Share a photo or scan of your COVID-19 vaccination record with Mercyhurst through a secure online form, if you haven't already.
Learn more about Mercyhurst's vaccination policy, including a recent update requiring COVID-19 boosters for community members.
Mercyhurst has an exemption process for individuals who have a medical or religious reason that they cannot vaccinate.
Most Recent Campus Communication
Important - Return to Campus Policy Adjustments
January 11, 2022
As the highly transmissible Omicron variant becomes more prevalent, members of our community are increasingly having difficulty finding resources and appointments to receive a booster or pre-arrival tests in a timely manner. As a result of these issues, the university is making some necessary adjustments to the requirements for boosters and pre-arrival testing.
- Boosters – A Booster is no longer required to return to campus. We are asking everyone who is eligible, to receive one if possible. We strongly encourage getting the booster before returning to campus. Please upload booster documentation via our secure online form.
- Pre-Arrival Testing – Testing is no longer required to return to campus. Testing remains an important part of controlling the spread of COVID-19 on our campus, and we ask that those who are able to take a test (including an at-home or rapid test) to do so prior to returning to campus. Most communities still have testing appointments available at sites such as CVS, Walgreens, and Giant Eagle.
Note: Do not come to campus if you are COVID-19 positive, symptomatic, or subject to isolation or quarantine; contact The COVID-19 Response Team at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
Students must mask in all public indoor locations or crowded outdoor locations. N95 or KN95 masks are strongly recommended. The Omicron variant is extremely transmissible, and medical experts are recommending the use of these masks to reduce its spread. Please visit the CDC website to stay up to date on the most recent guidance regarding masking.Students may remove their mask while eating in the student dining venues or in their private residences.
All residential students should make a plan to isolate or quarantine off campus. University-provided quarantine/isolation space is extremely limited, and will be assigned only to students who demonstrate an urgent need for such accommodations. Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are housed in designated isolation spaces will likely be placed with other students who have also tested positive.
Quarantining or isolating at home is often the best, most comfortable, option for students. If factors prevent a student from returning home, there may be other relatives or friends who are able to offer those accommodations. University-provided facilities are limited, and will be assigned to students who demonstrate an emergent need for isolation or quarantine space.
If you are deemed a close contact and are...
- Fully vaccinated and asymptomatic, you are not required to quarantine.
- Not fully vaccinated, you must quarantine or isolate as directed.
- Experiencing symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, you must be evaluated and may be required to quarantine or isolate.
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a FDA EUA two-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a FDA EUA single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine. If a person does not meet these requirements, regardless of age, that person is "not fully vaccinated".
Recent CDC research indicates that the booster offers the best protection against the Omicron variant. While booster vaccines are strongly encouraged, they are not required to be considered fully vaccinated.
Isolation is for individuals who are positive for COVID-19. Quarantine is for individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are unvaccinated, or are experiencing symptoms.
All international travelers should follow CDC recommendations and requirements for travel.
Travel during the 2021-22 academic year for university purposes, (e.g., conferences, student trips) may resume through normal departmental approval procedures.
If travel is approved, the individuals representing MU on this trip must abide by the regulations for travelers entering the destination and upon return. These regulations vary greatly from one location to another but may require the visitor to quarantine for some period upon arrival or return.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the first week of Spring 2022 classes (January 17 through January 23) will be be held virtually. Only Mini 3 and evening classes will be held on August 17, in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
We are planning to resume in-person instruction on Monday, January 24, as long as regional conditions allow. Students will be able to move back into Residential Life housing beginning on Saturday, January 16.
Students are not required to return to campus until in-person classes resume, but are more than welcome to.
For the short period following our return to campus, we will be taking additional measures to ensure the safety of our community, with the intention of lifting restrictions as soon as possible when it is safe to do so, and we fully expect these measures to be temporary.
These measures include:
- Reduced capacity in dining halls
- Encouraging takeout from the dining halls
- Occupancy limits in buildings
- No outside guests on campus or in residential areas
In addition to the already-required vaccines, Mercyhurst will require all students taking courses on campus and all university employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose series (e.g., Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (e.g., Johnson & Johnson). Exemption requests for those with documented medical or religious objections are available by submitting the Vaccination Exemption Request Form.
You can upload your COVID-19 vaccination documentation via our secure online form. You must enter all seven digits of your Mercyhurst ID number (including any leading zeros). That number can be found on your OneCard, in Self Service, or your Admissions Portal if you are a new student.
Mercyhurst will accept any vaccine series that has been authorized by the FDA or those authorized by the World Health Organization for any student coming to campus from another country. The current list of approved vaccines consists of:
- Janssen COVID-19 (Johnson & Johnson)
- Janssen–Cilag International (Johnson & Johnson)
- COMIRNATY- BioNtech Tozinarmeran
- COVISHIELD – Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd.
- VAXZEVRIA – AstraZeneca/SK Biosciences Co. Ltd.
- AstraZeneca – Sweden/EU, Sweden/Japan, and Sweden/Australia Approved
- Sinopharm/BIBP - ChinaCoronaVac – Sinovac (China)
Johns Hopkins University provides a Coronovirus Resource Center, which hosts helpful answers to the most common vaccination questions, a vaccine tracker, and the most recent news on COVID-19 vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offer responses to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 vaccines.