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Updated: 8/27/2021

We appreciate all that our students have done to adapt to the necessary changes brought on by the pandemic. We know that families are key in providing the support and encouragement students need to persist through challenging times. The start of classes for Fall 2021 is August 30, and we expect to operate in an in-person format.

Cooperation among all members of the community and commitment to health and safety are the most important issues as we return to campus. The University’s plan will succeed only if every single one of us participates fully and with a sense of community.  Health experts consistently agree that personal responsibility is critical to limiting the spread of the virus.  Any plan we prepare will fail unless we all embrace our individual responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.

What is happening now? 8/27/2021

Please click here for a PDF copy of the latest guidance issued by the University regarding the vaccine requirements following the recent FDA announcements. This is effective August 27, 2021.

 

Please click here for the latest COUGARCARE guidance document issued on August 13, 2021 to help with COVID management for Fall 2021.

 

Vaccine Status Reporting
The University asks all students to report their vaccination status to the university as soon as possible. Upload your vaccination card to the Medicat health information system. This should be done as soon as possible if the student is already vaccinated or as soon as the final dose of the vaccination series is complete. Those who do not upload cards will be considered unvaccinated. Procedures for unvaccinated students at the start of the semester are outlined below as well as on the current student COVID web page and were sent by email on August 5 to all students.
 

Normal Classroom Set Up for Fall - Masks Required for all Persons in all Indoor Spaces

The University will return to fully in-person teaching and learning for the Fall 2021 semester.  This means that we will resume normal seating in classrooms, eliminating last year’s 6-foot social distancing. Effective August 9, 2021, and in light of the updated CDC masking guidance and challenges posed by the Delta variant of COVID-19, all members of the Misericordia community, vaccinated and otherwise, must wear masks in classrooms and in all indoor spaces (except when alone in a private space or vehicle).  We will employ this approach and follow CDC guidance as they review the emerging data on transmission and infections. The situation remains very fluid.

 

Vaccination Requirement

At this time, the University strongly encourages all students and employees to get vaccinated. Once any of the COVID vaccines receive approval from the FDA, Misericordia will require all students, faculty, and staff to be vaccinated within 45 days. [See update to this posted August 27. Click here.] Community members can request a waiver due to medial or religious reasons. These waivers can be found in Medicat. If a student has been vaccinated, they should upload a copy of their vaccination card into Medicat as soon as possible. 

 

Fall 2021 COVID Re-entry Testing Requirements for Unvaccinated Students

 

In alignment with recommendations from federal, state, and local medical officials, Misericordia University will require entry screening testing of all unvaccinated students at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. This requirement is for all unvaccinated students who intend to live on campus, will attend any in-person classes, and/or plan to use any campus facilities during the Fall 2021 semester.

 

Classes begin August 30. Do not come to campus for any reason (move in, classes, COVID testing) if you are known to be COVID positive, if you have active COVID-like symptoms, are unvaccinated and living with/caring for a COVID-positive person, or are in quarantine for a confirmed exposure. Resident students must have proof of negative test upon move in.

 

Please read carefully the information below.

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RE-ENTRY TESTING DALLAS CAMPUS UNVACCINATED STUDENTS:

1.    Must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 laboratory-reviewed PCR test to Misericordia’s Health and Wellness Center prior to your arrival on campus. Unvaccinated students living in University residence halls must provide a copy of their negative test at check-in. “Rapid” or antigen tests will not be allowed. Resident students must have proof of negative test at move-in.

2.    Any student who does not submit their test results to Misericordia as directed will not be permitted on campus.

3.    If you test negative but later develop symptoms or have confirmed exposure to a COVID positive person (15 minutes or more, less than 6 feet) within 48-hours of returning to campus, please remain at home and report your situation to the Cougar Care team.

Exceptions:  1. Any student who tested positive for COVID-19 after May 31 and is currently free of any symptoms does not need to get tested again prior to the spring semester.  The CDC guidance says that testing is not a priority for those who have had a positive COVID test result in the last 90 days. If you tested positive after May 31, you must upload a copy of your positive test result to the University’s Medicat clinic software as managed by the Health and Wellness Center. This is the same system that students use to upload other health information. Students who were positive for COVID will become part of the surveillance testing pool and be tested again if selected at random later in the semester. 2. Any student who is exclusively online with no in-person campus contact is also exempt from re-entry testing.

 

 

TESTING FOLLOWING START OF SEMESTER FOR UNVACCINATED STUDENTS:

Once the semester begins, the University will begin what is referred to as “surveillance testing.” Each week, a sample group of students will be directed to receive a COVID-19 test on campus. Please watch for more details later on how the surveillance testing procedure will be implemented in Fall 2021. This process is recommended by health officials to help keep outbreaks in check. More details are forthcoming.

 

Testing is helpful and a new, important step in COVID protection.  However, please remember to wear your masks, stay socially distant, wash your hands, avoid large groups, and do all the other things that have been proven helpful in keeping people free from COVID infections. ###

 

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Reporting
 

Mental Health Intervention Strategies to Promote Student Wellness & Academic Success

In this very challenging time, with civil unrest, racial injustice, and COVID 19, we heard concerns across campus that faculty felt a need to be better able to support students. And not only support students in their academics but in their resiliency and their ability to cope with these situations. As such, Barbara Schwartz-Bechet, Ed.D., Curtis Wisley, Psyc.D., and George Godlewski, Ph.D. worked together to provide a workshop for faculty, and staff, that shares some insight about what mental health resources exist on campus and some ideas on how to recognize signs that a student may need some assistance. It also provides some basic ways to talk with students and how to help during non-school hours. It is our hope that this will open a dialogue across faculty and students and faculty and the CAPS center and may lead to further workshops on specific topics related to mental health.

Barbara Schwartz-Bechet headshot

 

 

Barbara Schwartz-Bechet, Ed.D., SBA
Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education


 

Curtis Wiseley

 


Curtis Wiseley, Psy.D.
Director of Counseling and Psychological Services

 

 

Godlewski

 

 

George Godlewski, PhD., MSW
Health Sciences Program Director