Message from President Underwood Regarding Spring COVID Protocols

January 7, 2022

Mercer Community,

As president, my greatest joy is seeing the successes of our students, faculty and staff, and I anticipate another very successful spring semester. We must also remain vigilant with safety measures that will protect the University community. I want to provide you an overview of our spring COVID-19 protocols that are based on guidance from public health officials and infectious disease experts. Additional details will be posted shortly on our COVID website.

Instruction

The University has been successful in offering in-person instruction during the pandemic, and we will continue to offer in-person instruction during the spring semester.

Masking

As we begin the semester, given current circumstances, all students, employees, and guests are required to wear masks on campus in indoor common spaces. Masks are not required while individuals are eating, drinking, exercising, or working or studying alone. Residential students in their own rooms without guests are not required to wear masks.

Testing

Students and employees who are symptomatic must test immediately either on campus at the Macon or Atlanta Campus Health Center or off campus at another testing facility. We will evaluate the scope of our testing program throughout the semester.

Isolation

Based on the CDC’s recent guidance, the University is changing the isolation period to five days, regardless of vaccination status, if the person is asymptomatic or symptoms are improving with no fever for 24 hours without medication. Mercer Medicine will evaluate when an individual receives clearance. Isolation is followed by five days of wearing a well-fitting mask.

The University has on-campus isolation units, consisting of a bedroom with bathroom access, in Macon and Atlanta for residential students who are unable to return home while recuperating. We have also partnered with a Macon hotel for additional isolation housing. In certain situations, COVID-19-positive students residing in University housing or the Lofts may isolate in place as determined by Mercer Medicine and the Office of Residence Life.

Vaccination

Currently, the University must comply with the OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard with required vaccination and testing. I encourage you to get vaccinated and boosted for COVID-19 to prevent severe illness. The vaccine boosters are offered on campus and at other locations.

We will continue to monitor conditions, guidance from public health and infectious disease experts, and federal guidelines. Our protocols will evolve as conditions warrant.

I look forward to having another successful semester at Mercer University. Go Bears!

Bill Underwood