planning for a safe and healthy academic year

during covid 19

mercyhurst university administrators have instituted a number of guidelines and precautions to allow for our students, faculty, and staff to experience a successful fall 2020 semester. this plan requires a shared commitment to health and safety, considerable changes in policies and practices, and new risk mitigation strategies embraced by every member of the mercyhurst community. our shared sense of responsibility to ourselves and one another compels us to embrace resilience and resolve in the face of these challenges.

the safety and well-being of the mercyhurst community remains our top priority, and this operating plan aligns with local, state, and federal health guidelines. this website serves as the official outline of the university plan for the fall 2020 semester. all elements of the university plan are subject to change based on our evolving understanding of covid-19 and its effects. 

the phone number 814-824-3600 will serve as a 24-hour hotline to which you can report potential exposure, as well as direct all covid-related questions and requests. it is critical you call the hotline immediately if you suspect you’ve been exposed to someone with covid-19, or you begin exhibiting symptoms. when you call, you will be connected to someone, available 24/7, who will direct you on how to proceed. you can also call the hotline if you would like to request a covid-19 test, need a new face covering, notice an empty sanitizing station, or have any other covid concerns.
you may also email your inquiries to

last updated: september 10, 2020, 8:45 a.m.

what you need to know

arriving on campus

here’s what you’ll need to do and know in advance of your arrival and/or campus move-in.

personal protective equipment

get the details on face coverings and their required use, and other protective gear.

daily health screening

know what symptoms to look for, how to monitor your health, and when to seek help.

resolve to be ready

wear face coverings

use your mask at all times – indoors and outdoors – while on campus. your mask must cover your nose and mouth.

practice social distancing

stay at least 6 feet from others. do not gather in large groups.

wash your hands

with soap and water for at least 20 seconds frequently.  

clean surfaces

disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly and thoroughly.

cough and sneeze safely

do so into a tissue, sleeve, or elbow, not your hand.

know when to stay home

monitor for symptoms, and stay home if you are sick. 

blueprint for fall 2020 video series

site information

covid-19, the virus responsible for the current global pandemic, is a highly contagious and potentially lethal virus. current research suggests that the virus primarily spreads through respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. however, the full extent of how the virus transmits is unknown.

community spread of covid-19 is occurring nationally, including in erie county, pennsylvania, meaning the virus is spreading through the community in a way that cannot be attributed to travel to a specific location or exposure to a person known to be infected. in addition, many people who contract the virus may be asymptomatic and unknowingly spreading the virus. there is no vaccine currently available for the virus. there is no known treatment for all of the adverse effects attributed to covid-19.  

the university is engaged in numerous efforts to prevent, mitigate, and respond to the spread of covid-19 on our campuses. efforts include increased cleaning, implementation of mask-wearing protocols, social distancing measures, and other recommended mitigation strategies. the university does not require or perform widespread covid-19 antibody or virus testing of students, employees, or visitors.  

despite the university’s best efforts, it is impossible to eliminate the risk of positive cases or an outbreak on our campuses. we cannot guarantee that people present on our campuses will not be exposed to and become infected with covid-19. the risk of exposure and possible infection is real and present in any community environment where large numbers of people are regularly interacting, including college campuses.