University COVID-19 Policies
Updated: 12/14/2020 • 11 a.m.
Mercer University Face Covering Policy
Everyone on campus is required to wear an appropriate face covering in shared indoor settings and outdoors when appropriate distancing cannot be maintained. Indoor settings include classrooms, hallways, lobbies, communal offices, common spaces, public restrooms, meeting rooms, libraries, and other spaces where people tend to gather. Face coverings are also required outdoors when six-foot physical distancing cannot be maintained, or during a class or event that might be held outdoors or in a tent. The face covering requirement must adhere to the following best practices.
- Face coverings must be three-layer cotton, disposable surgical masks, or an enclosed mask with transparent panel. Masks with vents or exhalation valves may not be worn without an additional cloth covering over the vent or valve. Folded bandannas or gaiter masks or knitted masks are not allowable. While N95 masks without vents or valves may be worn, it is discouraged due to supply limitations.
- Face coverings must fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face covering the nose and mouth and extend over the chin.
- Students, faculty, and staff must have a face covering in their possession whenever they are on campus.
- A face covering must be put on prior to entering any campus building and worn in common areas, such as elevators, lobbies, hallways, bathrooms, when traveling inside the building.
- Face coverings must be worn in classrooms, study rooms, communal workspaces, theaters, auditoriums, and other shared spaces.
- Face coverings must be worn in outdoor settings whenever at least six feet of physical distancing cannot be maintained.
- Any branding, decoration, or labeling on face coverings must be appropriate to the professional University setting.
- Guests, visitors, vendors, and contractors are expected to honor these guidelines and provide their own face coverings.
- Each person will be responsible for keeping their facial coverings 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 this policy. Reporting of noncompliance to the appropriate personnel is sufficient.
The following in-building exceptions apply:
- Children under the age of two are not required to mask. Children under the age of five (including those developmentally under five) who refuse to wear a mask will be exempted without documentation.
- Students in their residence hall room or apartment.
- Employees working alone in their individualized office, enclosed workspace, or behind a protective barrier.
- Anyone participating in activities in which a face mask cannot be worn or would prohibit respiratory function (e.g., eating, drinking, playing a musical instrument or singing, playing sports). Please note that these activities are limited to appropriately designated locations.
- Students, faculty, staff, or contractor in a lab, clinical, or industrial setting where indicated face coverings pose a safety hazard or insufficient protection. Face covering requirements in such settings supersede this policy.
- Students who are studying individually in enclosed study spaces
An individual with a disability that impacts their ability to wear a face covering may request a reasonable accommodation. Employees should consult with their supervisor or contact Human Resources for accommodation. Students should contact the Access and Accommodations Office at https://access.mercer.edu/students/new to apply for accommodations.
General Protocols for all Student Events and Programming
Mercer University expects that all departments, programs, and student groups hosting events to comply with the following.
Before you host event
- Evaluate whether the event can be held outside whenever possible.
- For indoor events, work with reservations to evaluate appropriate capacity issues.
- Evaluate appropriate pre- and post-clean up procedures with National.
- Utilize masks for anyone involved in set up and/or take down.
- All groups should attend a virtual training session on COVID-19 safety with the Office of Campus Life before hosting an event.
- Limit number of attendees. Any student group that hosts a meeting or an event with 25 or more participants should obtain approval before the event from their advisor that includes a proper social distancing plan. The sponsoring organization will then have the event approved by:
- The Director of Campus Life or Director of Recreational Sports for undergraduate Macon students,
- By the Associate Dean of Student Affairs in Atlanta for Atlanta or Regional Academic Center students,
- Or the Student Affairs designee of their particular college or school for graduate programs before hosting the event.
- All events, regardless of participant number, must be registered. For on campus events, the reservations process serves as the registration for the event.
- Fraternity and sorority chapters should use the social event registration for all off campus social events, regardless of event size.
- Minimize common touch materials to be used at any activity (writing instruments, computers, etc.). If items are handed out, gloves are recommended.
- Consider with your advisor (and/or Student Affairs designee or the Office of Campus Life) whether the event should implement temperature checks, mandatory masks, screening questions, and/or risk signage at check-in. (Groups must comply with the current institutional Face Covering Policy).
- Limit events to Mercer faculty, staff and students only. If you are considering an event with outside groups or guests of any kind (alumni, parents, vendors, speakers etc), please include all details of outside guests in the reservation request. The event request will then be sent to the provost by the reservations office for formal approval.
At the event
- Implement appropriate screening procedures at check-in as agreed upon with your advisor.
- Implement appropriate social distancing safeguards.
- Hand sanitizer of at least 60% isopropyl alcohol should be present at all events.
- All persons attending events should wear masks in accordance with the Mercer University Face Covering Policy. This includes event organizers and attendees. Exceptions for recreation and fitness events may be made with appropriate approval from the Recreation Sports and Wellness Office on the applicable campus.
- When possible, leave doors to venues open at indoor events to promote air circulation.
- Signage should be put up promoting COVID-19 safety precautions. The Office of Campus Life will provide a generic template for multipurpose use, per approval from the Marketing Communications Office.
- Sign in sheets should not be utilized at any event or meeting. Events should use the Mercer app to electronically sign in to an event. Contact the Office of Campus Life for details.
- No food is allowed at any on campus event unless Aramark or a third party vendor that is trained in safe food preparation and distribution is providing and serving the food or it is prepackaged by a commercial vendor.
After the event
- Ensure proper clean up.
- Report any COVID-19 related concerns immediately to the Mercer Student Health Center Hotline (478-301-7425)
Additional Guidance on Travel, Tailgates, and Sports Clubs
Student Group Travel Guidelines
- Student organizations and club sports will only be permitted to travel with the pre-approval of their advisor and professional department overseeing the group (Campus Life, Recreational Sports, academic department, etc.).
- Approval of travel for conferences, tournaments, and trainings will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Travel for social events will not be approved.
- Prior to traveling to an event 60 miles or more from the Mercer campus, all organizations must provide a detailed safety plan to the advisor and governing office (see above). This plan should address all safety measures, including but not limited to:
- COVID-19 testing plan prior to departure/arrival (testing is recommended before and after travel)
- Mode of transportation and safety measures taken during transportation. If traveling by rental or charter bus, obtain the companies’ COVID-19 policies and specify our requirements before booking modes of transportation (i.e. vans, buses, etc.)
- Lodging plan and safety measures for hotel (if applicable)
- Local/state regulations for destination including possible quarantine requirements.
- Safety measures to be followed at the event site
- Plan for meals (if applicable)
- Safety plans may be submitted by email and provided along with applicable travel forms a minimum of seven business days prior to travel. Submission of travel forms and a COVID safety plan does not guarantee approval. The university reserves the right to withdraw approval for travel at any time based on current local, state and national guidance for travel. All organization travel will be re-evaluated seven days prior to departure.
Tailgating Guidelines for Student Organizations
- Tailgates should be properly spaced out to promote social distancing.
- All tailgates should have hand sanitizer available by the sponsoring organization.
- All people cooking or handling tailgate food should wear gloves and a mask.
- No food should be left out uncovered.
- When possible, groups are encouraged to hand out prepackaged food items.
- Cups and plates should not be shared at any time.
- Sports Clubs must comply with travel policies set forth above.
- Each Sports Club must have an appointed Safety Officer to oversee all aspects of safe operations for the club, including, but not limited to, COVID-19. Safety Officers must submit safety measures and obtain approval from their advisor and the Office of Recreational Sports and Wellness prior to hosting meetings or practices.
- Clubs should take measures, where practical, to limit direct contact and limit the sharing of materials.
- In order to host events or visiting teams, groups must complete a plan approved by the advisor of the club and the Office of Recreational Sports and Wellness.