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 spring 2021 has been pushed back to January 25, 2021 as recommended by state health officials.
Below please find our COUGARCARE plan developed to manage the pandemic on campus. A new version of COUGARCARE for spring 2021 is almost complete. Nearly all of the recommendations and requirements from fall such as mandatory mask wearing, socially distanced and hybrid classes, avoiding large groups, limits on visitors, modified dining, hand washing, etc. are still in place. The important new change is testing, including re-entry testing and additional testing during the semester.
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 -- our COUGARCARE 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? 1/7/2021
Spring 2021 COVID Re-entry Testing Requirements
In alignment with recommendations from federal, state, and local medical officials, Misericordia University will require entry screening testing of all students at the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester to mitigate COVID-19 transmission. This requirement is for all students who intend to live on campus, will attend any in-person classes, and/or plan to use any campus facilities during the Spring 2021 semester.
Classes resume January 25. 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 living with/caring for a COVID-positive person, or are in quarantine for a confirmed exposure.
Please read carefully the information below.
All students returning to the Dallas campus should begin a 10-day self-quarantine on January 15, 2021 and complete the MU Daily Symptom Tracker each day beginning the 15th and through the entire semester. The intent is to limit your exposure to others and reduce the risk of bringing COVID to campus.
RE-ENTRY TESTING DALLAS 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. “Rapid” or antigen tests will not be allowed.
2. You must have your negative test results uploaded to Medicat (our University’s Health Center software) COVID clinic or have uploaded proof that you have received both parts of the two-part COVID-19 vaccination to the Medicat COVID clinic no later than January 21, 2021. If your test result is positive, you must upload this as well and report your status to Cougar Care. Do not come to campus if you are positive for COVID-19. Cougar Care will provide guidance to you if you report a positive test.
3. Any student who does not submit their test results to Misericordia as directed will not be permitted on campus.
4. 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 November 1 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 November 1, you must upload a copy of your positive test result to the University’s Medicat COVID 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 OPTIONS PRIOR TO START OF SEMESTER:
A. We strongly encourage you to get a test on your own if you can. Check for testing options through CVS, Walgreens, Rite AID, or through your medical provider. You can also purchase an at-home test through Vault, Costco, or Amazon and submit the results to MU. Other at-home tests may be available as well. Test results must be uploaded by January 21. The state recommends that test results be no older than 72 hours when they are submitted. We recognize this could be challenging.
B. Because of the possible challenges in getting tested, the University is planning to have a block of re-entry COVID testing opportunities available on campus between January 19 and January 22 for those students who can’t obtain testing elsewhere. A separate email will be sent with a link to register for the on-campus testing. The registration links will only be active for a limited amount of time once they are released. Students will have opportunities for tests between January 19 and 22. It is IMPORTANT to note that the number of on-campus tests is limited and that students will not be able to remain on campus following the test as the results will take approximately 48 hours. This process will be done as “pool” testing where samples will be processed in groups. If you are in a positive test group, you will be required to return to campus for another test or obtain a second test on your own with a negative result in order to return to campus. For more details regarding the on-campus testing program, please click here.
TESTING FOLLOWING START OF SEMESTER:
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. 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.
Masks (PPE), Daily Health Check, Handwashing
Our students should plan to wear a mask or face covering at all times in hallways, classrooms, and all public spaces inside of buildings. Please prepare your student to have several masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) so she/he has a clean one to wear when required. Please consult the COUGARCARE document above for detailed instructions on PEE and other safety procedures.
Dining on Campus
Meal plans will be activated on Monday, August 17. We have adapted our procedures to correlate with what the CDC recommends including dining staff temperature checks, increased sanitation procedures, social distancing signage and instructions on flow of travel.
We have extended the times of hot meals in the dining hall (to go available), incorporated to go options out of the Chopping Block retail area, as well as implemented an online ordering program for specific retail locations to allow for more flexibility during meal periods.
The following information will remain fluid as we continue to abide by CDC directives. Click here to download the full plan for dining on campus this fall. The document will be updated if conditions or guidance dictates.
- CARES Act Relief Funds Report - Institutional Portion Quarterly Report (September 30, 2020)
- CARES Act Relief Funds Report - Student Portion Quarterly Report (September 30, 2020)
- August 28, 2020 - CARES Act Relief Funds Report
- July 17, 2020 - CARES Act Relief Funds Report
- June 8, 2020 - Update for Students on Fall 2020 Academic Calendar from President Botzman
- June 5, 2020 - CARES Act Relief Funds Report
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, Ed.D., SBA
Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Education
Curtis Wiseley, Psy.D.
Director of Counseling and Psychological Services
George Godlewski, PhD., MSW
Health Sciences Program Director