Updated Campus Vaccination and Mask Policy

August 12, 2021

The University strongly encourages students and employees to be vaccinated for COVID-19. If you are fully vaccinated, your risk of serious illness from COVID-19 is remote, as confirmed by current data provided by area hospitals. If you are unvaccinated, you are at far greater risk of serious illness and hospitalization.

The University does not currently require fully vaccinated students, employees, and guests to wear masks in indoor spaces on campus, except at the Campus Health Centers in Macon and Atlanta. Nonetheless, even vaccinated individuals are encouraged to wear a mask while inside campus facilities.

Unvaccinated students, employees, and guests are required to wear masks while in indoor public spaces on campus. Current conditions are fluid and may necessitate a change in this policy depending on the conditions on our campuses and the needs of individual programs. Please check this policy regularly for changes.

Instructors and event organizers may require masks in classes or campus activities regardless of vaccination status.

The University does not require masks for individuals in outdoor settings.

Health sciences students and employees in clinical settings may be required to wear masks, even if vaccinated. Students in health science programs with clinical experiences are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

When wearing a mask, you must follow these guidelines:

  • Masks must have two or more layers of breathable fabric and completely cover your nose and mouth. Your mask must fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps, and you should choose a mask with a nose wire along the top of the mask to prevent air leakage. Masks with vents or exhalation valves, folded bandannas, gaiter masks, and knitted masks are not allowable. If wearing a face shield, you must also wear a mask of two or more layers of breathable fabric that completely covers your nose and mouth.
  • Any branding, decoration, or labeling on masks must be appropriate to the professional University setting.
  • Guests, visitors, vendors, and contractors are expected to honor these guidelines and provide their own masks.
  • Each person will be responsible for keeping their masks clean and properly mended.
  • Student non-compliance is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and will be reported accordingly. An incompliant student – who blatantly disregards the policy – will be referred to the Office of Student Affairs.
  • Employees failing to comply are to be reported to their immediate supervisor or Human Resources.
  • Under no circumstances should a student, faculty, or staff member initiate a verbal or physical altercation to force compliance with the mask policy. Reporting of noncompliance to the appropriate personnel is sufficient.

Masks may pose a safety hazard or insufficient protection in some labs, clinical environments, and industrial settings.

An individual with a disability that impacts their ability to wear a mask may request a reasonable accommodation.  Employees should consult with their supervisor or contact Human Resources for an accommodation. Students should contact the Access and Accommodations Office at https://access.mercer.edu/students/new to apply for accommodations.