HEALTH AND SAFETY PRACTICES

DURING COVID-19

Mercyhurst has created a team of staff members to serve as first responders for all COVID-19 related questions, concerns, and suggestions. If you have questions, or see something that needs to be addressed (sanitizer machine empty, someone needing a mask, etc.), please contact us at covid19@mercyhurst.edu or 814-824-3600.

Last Updated: August 14, 2020, 10:32 a.m.

Keeping Yourself and Others Safe

face mask

Wear Face Coverings

Use your mask properly, covering your nose and mouth.

hand sanitizer

Clean Surfaces

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and thoroughly.

6 foot distance

Practice Social Distancing

Stay at least 6 feet from others; do not gather in groups. 

coughing person

Cough and Sneeze Safely

Do so into a tissue, sleeve, or elbow, not your hand.

washing hands

Wash Your Hands

With soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently. 

doctor visit

Know When to Stay Home

Monitor for symptoms, and stay home if you are sick. 

Arriving on Campus

Students who will be residing on campus in the fall should not arrive prior to their appointed date and time. Freshmen and transfer students will be able to begin moving into their living spaces on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. Returning students will be able to begin moving into their living spaces on Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. You will need to reserve a specific move-in time through the Housing Portal. (The Office of Residence Life will send additional details regarding how to reserve your check-in time to your Mercyhurst email by July 24, 2020.) 

Quarantine Procedures for Arriving Students

Students planning to reside on campus traveling from certain regions will be required to quarantine for 14 days before coming to campus. These procedures apply for all international students as well as domestic students from states indicated as “hot spots” by the Governor of Pennsylvania. Please read the Frequently Asked Questions for additional information on students quarantining. 

Quarantine locations will vary, depending on the student population and history of travel. Individuals returning from another country will quarantine upon arrival to the U.S. Individuals arriving from a “hot spot” as defined above must quarantine in a state that is not listed as a designated “hot spot” by the Governor of Pennsylvania. Mercyhurst will provide quarantine locations at both the Erie and North East campuses. If you believe you should be quarantined upon arrival at campus, please complete the Travel and Required Quarantine Information Form as soon as possible.

Cohen Student Health Center

As the Cohen Student Health Center staff will be busy assisting students and families throughout the move-in process, it will officially reopen for the fall semester on Monday, August 17 at 1:00 p.m. Even during a pandemic, the primary goals of the Health Center remain to assist students in learning how to become good stewards of their own health, develop lifestyles that support wellness, and advocate for health practices that promote the good of our common community. 

The normal hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Students must call 814-824-2431 to make an appointment; no walk-ins will be accepted. Additional screening and triage processes will be used and temperatures will be taken prior to entering the Health Center. The Health Center space has been expanded to allow for better directing and separating students based on health concerns. All visitors must wear a face covering. While the Health Center has the capacity to test for COVID-19, Erie has several testing locations located close to the university and the Health Center prefers to refer students to these sites.

Personal Protective Equipment

Face masks are effective tools to help protect against the spread of the virus, especially by asymptomatic individuals. All students, faculty, and staff in a university campus space will be required to wear face coverings at all times when they are, or may be, in the presence of other individuals, except when alone in a private room (office, residence hall room) or in a private vehicle. 

Please wash or sanitize your hands prior to handling your mask. If using a cloth mask, please wash your mask after each daily use. 

All students will be provided a welcome kit upon return to campus that contains one reusable mask, two disposable masks, hand sanitizer and other helpful items.

Face Coverings

Both federal guidance and state guidance agree that the wearing of face coverings is an effective method to limit the spread of COVID-19. As of July 1, 2020, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has required face coverings when an individual leaves their home.

As per the COVID-19 Prevention, Mitigation, and Response Policy, Mercyhurst University is requiring that all members of the campus community wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when on campus. There are a limited number of exceptions listed below. Students may use their own face coverings or those provided by the University. A student in need of a face covering should email covid19@mercyhurst.edu or call 814-824-3600 to find the nearest location where face coverings are available.

The face coverings may be cloth or disposable. Those wearing a cloth face covering shall follow CDC guidance on routinely cleaning the face coverings. Disposable masks should be discarded daily to avoid contamination. Individuals should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer prior to handling the face covering whenever possible. Avoid touching the front of the face covering, and do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth when removing the face covering.

Times when face covering is not required:

  • Employees may remove face coverings when alone in their office
  • Students may remove face coverings in their own residential unit (their room in a residence hall or apartment building). Face coverings are to be used in all common areas (hallways, lobbies, etc.)
  • Specific and pre-approved academic requirements such as vocal or music performance, etc.
  • Face coverings may be removed when eating at a table in the dining facilities, however, face coverings should be worn when walking into and around the facility (i.e. getting a drink refill).

This guidance shall apply to all members of the campus community to include visitors, guests, and contract employees. Individuals who are unable to wear a cloth face covering due to medical or behavioral condition must contact Human Resources at hrinfo@mercyhurst.edu to register and learn more.

The use of face coverings is everyone’s responsibility and is a proven method to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please join us in this critical time to keep each other and our greater Mercyhurst University community safe.

COVID-19 Testing

If you are concerned that you may have COVID-19 and want to be tested, talk with your healthcare provider or, if you are a student, contact the Cohen Student Health Center at 814-824-2431.

Health Center staff are prepared to assist any student who requires COVID-19 testing. Health Center staff can help students determine whether testing might be indicated; refer or direct students to appropriate community testing sites; and help with transportation if needed. Mercyhurst works closely with medical personnel and local health officials to determine the most effective testing strategies.

Per Erie’s community standards, individuals who are tested for COVID-19 are to quarantine until test results are available. If a student needs to quarantine or isolate due to concerns relative to COVID-19, the student may do so from home in some circumstances, or in dedicated space at the Erie or North East instructional site.  The Health Center will follow students who are placed in isolation on campus via telehealth services, and will coordinate with the campus contact tracing program and the Erie County Department of Health.

Daily Health Screening

Each day, before coming to campus or leaving your residence hall or campus apartment, please conduct a daily health check, including a temperature check. Campus community members should use the Daily Self-Screening Form to proceed through each question. Employees should complete this screening any day they are reporting to campus, and students should complete it every day.

If your temperature is 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or greater, please stay home/stay in your residence hall or campus apartment. 

If you have a temperature or any of the following symptoms associated with COVID-19, contact your health care provider or the Cohen Student Health Center at 814-824-2431

COVID-19 Symptoms

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. This list will be updated as CDC continue to learn more about COVID-19; for the most recent information, please refer to the CDC website.

Physical Distancing

While on campus, all students, faculty, and staff are required to practice social distancing, staying at least 6 feet (about two arms’ lengths) from other people. Do not gather in groups, and avoid crowded spaces and mass gatherings. 

Healthy Habits

Practicing good personal hygiene is an important part of staying healthy and slowing the spread of the virus. One of the most important things you can do is wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Wash/sanitize your hands frequently, including when entering common areas, and while using shared workspaces.

Other healthy habits include:

  • Clean your living area/work area daily, disinfecting frequently touched spaces
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or elbow (not your hands)

Campus Cleaning

Mercyhurst University and our campus cleaning staff have been very busy since students departed campus in March. The entire campus has not only undergone traditional summer cleaning, but efforts were intensified to deep-clean each area using hospital-grade disinfectant. As campus reopens this fall, the cleaning crew’s daily schedule includes full cleaning of all classrooms, locker rooms, restrooms, and common areas. Other high-touch areas will be frequently cleaned multiple times per day, and additional attention will be paid to trash containers, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers, and other key safety practices.

Please take a moment to read through our campus cleaning update published on July 31, 2020.