Frequently Asked Questions
Last Update: 1/10/23 | 9:30 a.m.
COVID-19 Exposure, Health and Wellness
According to the CDC, 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
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Please refer to the CDC website for the most current information on symptoms
Students are not required but are encouraged to be vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19. The only exception is students in health science programs who participate in clinical experiences.
If you are a student enrolled in a health science program with clinical experiences, please email a photo or copy of your vaccination card to email@example.com with your full name and Mercer ID number in the subject line. If you would like to request a medical or religious vaccination exemption, please contact Dr. Kelly Reffitt at (478) 301-5389 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The same measures that are urged to prevent the spread of any respiratory virus are increasingly important:
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine to prevent serious illness.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissues in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Frequently clean and disinfect high touch surfaces with household cleaning spray or wipes.
- For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls, consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.
- Practice social distancing (avoid shaking hands, maintain a 6-foot distance from individuals who are symptomatic and consider using teleconferencing instead of face-to-face meetings).
- Practice other good health habits, including getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing your stress, drinking plenty of fluids, and eating nutritious food.
No. The vaccine does not cause COVID-19. None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain the virus that causes COVID-19. It does take a few weeks after vaccination for your body to build up antibodies to protect you from the virus. This means that it is possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination.
Yes. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated because you can become infected more than once. Although you may have some short-term natural protection (known as immunity) after recovering from COVID-19, experts do not know how long this protection will last. Vaccination is the best protection. If you have had COVID-19, ask your healthcare provider when you should be vaccinated.
If you are exhibiting the following symptoms, you may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.
If you have any symptoms, immediately call the Campus Health Center 24/7 COVID-19 hotline at (478) 301-7425 for a testing appointment. It is critical that employees do not report to work while experiencing symptoms.
Please call 911 with a medical emergency.
If you are symptomatic of COVID-19, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, you cannot attend in-person classes, labs, orientations, clinical/field experiences, other on-campus activities, or work on campus. An instructor, supervisor, or event organizer may ask you to leave a class/job/event if you are symptomatic.
Yes. Mercer Medicine accepts off-campus PCR test results and positive antigen test (known as rapid) results from reputable testing facilities.
Mercer Medicine does NOT accept:
- negative antigen (rapid) test results;
- home test results; and
- antibody test results.
Please email your positive COVID-19 results to Campus Health at email@example.com. In the subject line of the email, type “Macon Test” (for Macon, Savannah, and Columbus students) or type “Atlanta Test” (for Atlanta, Henry, and Douglas students). Faculty and staff should type “Employee Test” in the subject line of the email.
Be sure to include your full legal name and your MUID in the body of the email.
Mercer University places a priority on the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, staff and visitors. To mitigate the risks of spreading the novel coronavirus, Mercer is emphasizing personal responsibility through the “Bears Care” initiative. For more information, visit COVID-19 Spring 2022 Plans.
As warranted, the University is sending emails to students, faculty, and staff to keep them apprised of developments that impact the Mercer community. These communications are also being posted on the University’s coronavirus website.
An important way that the Mercer family supports each other is through the spirit of community — whether that’s in person or virtually — and there’s no other community anywhere in the world like Mercer. We invite you to join The Den — an online gathering spot where you can follow the many good things that are happening across the University.
Residential Macon students who test positive for COVID-19 have the options of returning home to recover or isolating in place in their assigned rooms.
Commuter students who test positive for COVID-19 will need to stay home until the Campus Health Center/Mercer Medicine clears them to return to campus.
During this time, students should consult their own medical care professional regularly. Students must complete the daily Bear Check of symptoms while in isolation so that Mercer Medicine can monitor students’ symptoms. While in isolation, students will receive excused absences and academic accommodations by all instructors.
Faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19 should follow medical advice and isolate at home until cleared by the Campus Health Center/Mercer Medicine to return to work.
Classes will be covered by another instructor until the faculty member is cleared by the Campus Health Center/Mercer Medicine to return to work. In some cases, the class may be conducted by alternate means until the faculty member is cleared.
Students who are in classes taught by an infected instructor, as well as anyone else who has been in close contact with the instructor, will be notified by Campus Health on what precautions they should or can follow, including the option to be tested. Notifications will comply with HIPPA and FERPA regulations.
The Human Resources Office and the employee’s supervisor will be notified of the employee’s positive result. The supervisor will make arrangements for the employee’s work spaces to be cleaned.
Download the Mercer University COVID-19 Protocols Flyer.
All students have been asked to commit to the following pledge:
I pledge to protect myself and others by following the safety guidelines put forth by the University.
I pledge to protect myself and others by reporting immediately to the Campus Health COVID-19 Hotline (478-301-7425) if I become symptomatic of COVID-19. I pledge to test for COVID-19 as directed by the University and isolate until cleared by Mercer Medicine if I test positive for the coronavirus.
I pledge to protect myself and others by respecting the rights of others and acting responsibly to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Students are expected to monitor and adhere to all policies and guidelines pertaining to COVID-19. Violations of these policies can result in student code of conduct charges as well as the removal of a student from a particular activity until a violation has been evaluated. Violations of any policy should be immediately reported to the Student Affairs professional in your academic area, the Office of Student Affairs (478-301-2685-Macon/ 678-547-6823-ATL), or directly to Mercer Police (478-301-2970).
We recommend that all faculty, staff, and students take an active role in educating each other about safety protocols. We recommend the following steps for addressing perceived violations:
- ADDRESS the person by asking them to follow the expectations outlined by the University. Request in a polite and caring manner that the person follow the specific guidelines and correct their behavior.
- INFORM the person on the importance of following the expectations outlined by the University. You may reference the University’s COVID-19 policies on this website to support your efforts to obtain compliance, such as the requirement to wear a mask in class, etc. Share with the person the importance of protecting the Mercer community. Explain that we all play a part in helping to accomplish that goal by minimizing the spread of the coronavirus. If this is ineffective in achieving compliance, proceed to Step 3.
- REFER the person to the appropriate office. Violations of any policy should be immediately reported to the Student Affairs professional in your academic area, the Office of Student Affairs (478-301-2685 (Macon)/ 678-547-6823 (ATL)) or Mercer Police (478-301-2970).
If a student or employee is symptomatic of an infection, please call the hotline at 478-301-7425 to schedule a testing appointment at the Campus Health Center on the Macon or Atlanta campus.
If a student or employee is not exhibiting any symptoms but would like to be tested, click ongo.mercer.edu/covidappt to schedule an appointment at the Macon or Atlanta Campus Health Center.
Please note that there have been changes in insurance coverage for COVID-19. Most insurance carriers cover testing costs if the patient is symptomatic or has had significant exposure to a COVID-positive person. The University covers testing costs for Mercer on Mission, Study Abroad, and other University-related travel programs. Otherwise, the individual will be responsible for the $90 cost of testing.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you must remain in isolation for at least 5 days after your positive test result, regardless of your vaccination status. You may be cleared from isolation after 5 days if you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are improving. Once Mercer Medicine evaluates you after 5 days of isolation, Mercer Medicine will determine the length of your isolation.
Isolation will extend beyond 5 days if new symptoms develop or your symptoms worsen.
Students and employees must be cleared from isolation by Mercer Medicine in order to return to class or work on campus.
Campus Operations and General Questions
Masks are not required on campus, except at the Campus Health Centers on the Macon and Atlanta campuses. Of course, anyone who chooses to wear a mask on campus for their own protection is welcome to do so. Faculty may require masks when meeting in their individual offices with students, colleagues, or guests. Health science students and employees may be required to wear masks in clinical settings.
All official email communication from the University will be sent to your Mercer email account. You may also check your Mercer email via Office 365 online. Enter your Mercer University ID number followed by @live.mercer.edu (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and enter the same password used to access your MyMercer account.
Mercer is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to all students in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Students requesting accommodations for a diagnosed physical, medical (chronic health condition), psychological or learning disability and temporary injuries must first self-identify by applying online for accommodations with the Office of Access and Accommodations. Through the verification process reasonable accommodations providing an equal opportunity are determined. Examples of reasonable accommodations are (but not limited to): housing with no carpet, private bedroom, 1st floor, note-taking accommodations, attendance accommodations, extended time on tests, auxiliary services and aids.
Students with a medical condition in need of accommodations due to COVID-19 would do one of the following two things to have their situation evaluated:
- Students already receiving accommodations from the Office of Access and Accommodations can request new accommodations through the department’s website.
- Students not yet receiving accommodations will need to complete the process to become approved for accommodations. Please go to https://access.mercer.edu/students/new/ and follow the procedures (online application, interview, submit documentation and a meeting to discuss accommodations approval).
For further information on this topic, a student should contact:
Director of Access and Accommodations
Connell Student Center, 2nd Floor
Yes. Student organizations may hold events on or off campus. Organizations should utilize the COVID-19 Event Recommendations for events and travel.
Recently, most medical insurance providers changed their coverage for COVID-19 testing and are only covering the cost of testing if the patient is symptomatic for COVID-19 or has been significantly exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. Otherwise, the student or employee will be required to pay $90 for COVID-19 testing at Campus Health.
Please note that the University covers testing costs for Mercer on Mission, Study Abroad, and other University-related travel programs.
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call:
- 9-8-8 (Suicide and Crisis Lifeline)
- Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225 (Georgia only)
- Mercer Police – MERPO (478-301-4357 for Macon-campus residents)
- Mercer Police – MERPO (678-547-6358 for Atlanta-campus residents)
Mercer’s Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff continue to support actively-enrolled Mercer students, including providing services via telemental health services:
- Macon-based students, including all School of Medicine students, may contact CAPS Macon by calling 478-301-2862 or visiting https://counseling.mercer.edu/macon/ for additional updates and information.
- Atlanta-based students and Atlanta-area Regional Academic Centers students may contact CAPS-ATL by calling 678-547-6060 or visiting https://counseling.mercer.edu/atlanta/ for additional updates and information, including WellConnect, a new resource for Douglas and Henry RAC students.
- Due to licensing laws and knowledge of resources, students continuing their studies online who are now residing out of Georgia are encouraged to visit the CAPS website for help in locating referrals or resources in your area and call CAPS if additional assistance is needed.
Please consult each individual CAPS website for additional resources and information.
- The CDC provides multiple resources on taking care of your emotional health.
Online Teaching and Learning
Visit the IT website and use the Search feature to search any topic you do not find on the home page. Contact the IT Help Desk via phone (478) 301-7000 or via their IT Service Portal for further assistance. In-person support may be available by appointment, if needed. Visit our Contact Us page frequently for our current hours of operation.
The student should first contact the instructor to explain the connectivity situation. If connectivity remains an issue, the instructor can accommodate the student by providing alternate activities and communicating regularly with the student.
Mercer’s credit hour policy provides guidelines for compliance and activities that count toward direct instructional time, many of which are asynchronous.
Yes, student success in an online course includes regularly logging into your course and staying connected. Check your course announcements and communications to ensure that you stay up to date on assignments, exams, and other course requirements.
Visit the IT website for information on accessing and using Canvas.
Contact the IT Help Desk via phone (478) 301-7000 or via their IT Service Portal for assistance with Canvas.
Zoom Video Conferencing is a simple-to-use, cloud-based video communications tool that is available to all Mercer students. This software solution offers many features including integration with Canvas, online meetings, video conferencing, webinars, questionnaires within meetings, and much more. Zoom allows you to conduct a video meeting or webinar directly from your computer, mobile device, or Zoom Configured Classrooms. Check out this quick video for an overview of Zoom Video Conferencing.
All students have Zoom accounts that can be used for classes or personal meetings/study sessions.
- Visit Zoom: http://mercer.zoom.us
- Click the Sign in button.
- Enter the same username and password used to access your computer, Mercer email, or MyMercer.
Once you have used the link above to log in and complete your Zoom account setup, you may also access Zoom from any Canvas course menu. Visit the IT website for additional Zoom resources.
Visit the IT website for instructions on how to install Zoom on your computer or mobile device.
Click here to test your audio and video equipment at your convenience. If you have problems accessing or using Zoom, contact the IT Help Desk or visit the IT website for information and tutorials about Zoom.
Yes, you can still join and host meetings, and you’ll be able to see and hear the video and audio from the other participants. Zoom also provides a telephone number to call in to a meeting. Zoom meetings include a chat feature, so even without audio or video, you can still communicate with the participants by typing. Visit the IT website for answers to Common Zoom Questions.
Yes, visit the IT website for instructions on how to install Microsoft Office on your computer or mobile devices.
Mercer IT has created the following online software portal to accommodate specialty software needs: https://onlineapps.mercer.edu. Check here first to see if the software your students need is already available. You will log in with your Mercer credentials.
If you do not see what you need, contact the IT Help Desk via phone (478) 301-7000 or via their IT Service Portal for assistance. The IT staff will work with you to assess specific software needs.
For instructional questions, contact Dr. Susan Codone (email@example.com), 478-301-4185 to schedule an online session.
To schedule a training session, contact Jerome Gratigny (firstname.lastname@example.org).
View Mercer IT’s Working & Teaching from Home site for instructions.
Mercer University is currently not restricting any travel that is not already restricted by federal or local governments. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State for detailed travel information.
Access and Accommodations
- Students already receiving accommodations with The Access Office can log into Accommodate to request new accommodations.
- Registered students are requested to communicate with their instructors about the accommodation and implementation in the online environment.
- Students not yet receiving accommodations will need to complete the process to become approved for accommodations. Please go to https://access.mercer.edu/students/new/ and follow the procedures.
Please contact the Access and Accommodation Office. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Staff can be reached at 478-301-2810 or by email at email@example.com.
Access and accommodations can be implemented in the online environment. Canvas training can provide guidance on how to change settings to provide extended time on tests, exams, and quizzes. Many classroom accommodations will be managed by the student and in coordination with the Office Access and Accommodations if needed.
Accessible materials will need to be used in course development including text-based documents, description of images that are content related, videos with captioning/transcripts, and websites.
- To check a website, use www.Wave.webaim.org.
- Captioning: Visit EASI for programs that will assist in adding captions to your own videos. For videos produced by others, be sure that there are captions or a transcript (double check the captions for accuracy).
- You can produce transcripts of Zoom recordings. See this website for directions. Please use this feature to have a transcript with each of your videos.
Faculty intending to use Zoom for live meetings and are aware of a student with hearing impairment should contact Katie Johnson in the Access Office to discuss.
The Access Office is contacting individual faculty regarding specific student needs with tips and resources.
The Access Office has information on remote accommodation implementation as well as information on how to ensure your online content is accessible, including applying extra time for exams. Contact Katie Johnson for any questions or concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-301-2810.
Faculty and Staff
Employees may request an accommodation to work remotely by completing a formal request for accommodation as provided under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The employee must complete the Request for Accommodation form and submit official medical documentation, as outlined in the instructions on the request form. Employees may contact Candace Whaley (email@example.com) in Human Resources with additional questions.
Employees who do not work their full schedule must take leave in accordance with the University’s Sick/Vacation Leave policy.
Employees must communicate with their supervisor when they will need to be absent from work for qualifying reasons under the sick leave policy or request vacation leave in advance. Also, staff should continue to use the appropriate leave code to track their leave usage on their timesheet (non-exempt staff) or via the online leave tracking system (exempt staff).
View Mercer IT’s Collaboration Tools website for further information.
Human Resources has shared some helpful information designed to support employees and supervisors on their website.