RETURN TO NORMAL: OUR PLAN FOR FALL 2021
Mercyhurst University is planning for a return to our traditional on-campus environment this fall, including fully in-person classes, academic opportunities, student life experiences, and social activities. The safety and well-being of the Mercyhurst community remains our top priority, and this operating plan — newly updated for Fall Semester 2021 — 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.
August 16, 2021 — Please keep in mind that these protocols are based on federal, state, and local guidance, and can and most likely will change before the start of the fall semester. All elements of the university plan are subject to change based on our evolving understanding of COVID-19 and the progression of the virus. Continue to monitor this page for updated 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 May 21 update requiring COVID-19 vaccines for community members.
Mercyhurst has an exemption process for individuals who have a medical, religious, or philosophical reason that they cannot vaccinate.
Most Recent Campus Communication
COVID-19 Update for the Holiday Weekend
September 3, 2021
Dear Members of the Mercyhurst Community,
Thank you to everyone for helping us begin the academic year on a strong note. With the Labor Day weekend approaching, I want to remind everyone of some best practices we can all take to lessen our risk and help keep our community healthy.
On campus, we have identified 19 current positive COVID-19 cases among students and employees, both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Even with our strong vaccination rates, increased testing procedures, and precautions in place, this early rise in cases is not unexpected. It is a good reminder that we must remain vigilant and continue to take precautions in our day-to-day lives.
I understand that many will be looking to relax and have fun over the long weekend. Please exercise good judgement and take extra precautions, even if you are fully vaccinated. Especially with the Delta variant, breakthrough infections are possible, though symptoms are most often mild in vaccinated individuals. Please limit your public interactions and avoid crowded spaces, staying outdoors, if possible. If you do go out, be sure to wear a face covering and try to maintain physical distancing.
Frequently Asked Questions
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, religious, or philosophical 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.
Yes. While we are still learning how long immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19, and how long it will last after vaccination, studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19. In addition, vaccinations have been shown to provide protection against the current COVID-19 variants. However, it is not known whether a person who recovered from a particular strain of COVID-19 in the past will find that strain able to provide a level of immunity to current variants commensurate with what vaccination provides.
Mercyhurst has lifted the majority of its COVID-19 restrictions. This includes capacity limitations, mandatory social distancing, required completion of a daily self-screening form, and restrictions on campus facilities, including dining facilities and the Recreation Center. Mercyhurst will still observe a strict cleaning schedule and recommends appropriate social distancing and good hygiene practices, like handwashing. For more information on what mitigation efforts are still in place, please refer to the COVID-19 Policies and Procedures webpage.
The NCAA does not require players to be vaccinated to compete in NCAA events. However, routine testing is still required for unvaccinated individuals, while vaccinated individuals are exempt from NCAA routine testing requirements. Student-athletes must still adhere to all other COVID-19 restrictions, in accordance with local public health guidance and university guidelines.
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. As of June 23, 2021, the 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)
The Vatican's doctrinal office has declared it ‘"morally acceptable" for Catholics to take any of the vaccines. For more information, refer to this video from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which addresses moral and ethical concerns about COVID-19 vaccines, including concerns about the potential use of fetal stem cell lines.
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.