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Messiah continues its in-person, on-campus experience for spring 2022

Messiah is all about community. It’s who we are! This spring, Messiah continues its full in-person, on-campus experience* providing face-to-face classes, robust co-curricular programs such as in-person chapel, athletics, clubs and organizations, as well as off-campus educational opportunities and travel, on-campus socialization and restored visitor access to campus. Messiah's ongoing response to COVID-19 continues to prioritize community health and safety with student learning, care and support.

*Messiah University's spring 2022 plans are tightly integrated with evolving state and federal authorities' guidance and directives, and as such, are subject to ongoing change. Messiah will notify students and employees of urgent updates via campus email and updates to our emergency blog.

 

Messiah University COVID-19 Dashboard 

Let’s keep going! #TogetherAtMessiah

Together at Messiah we can keep our campus community healthy, safe and moving forward. Messiah’s “best shot” for getting our campus life back to normal is for our students and employees to get fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Learn more

Messiah's best shot is community immunity

Messiah's COVID-19 Response Protocols

Spring 2022

The below information represents current policies as Messiah University responds to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. All policies are subject to change in response to local, state or federal directives, and/or a marked increase in the number of campus COVID cases and spread of illness. Updates will be made here, communicated to students and employees via their Messiah email or posted on the emergency blog

Student vaccination policy

Messiah is not requiring students to be vaccinated, or to receive a booster shot if already vaccinated, to be enrolled for the spring 2022 semester.* However, the University appreciates its students and employees who have already been vaccinated or boostered for COVID-19, and we continue to strongly encourage as many as possible to do so. 

*NOTE: some students due to their specific higher-risk placements, the campus health care center for example, do require vaccination. While Messiah is not requiring students to have the COVID-19 vaccination to enroll, some enhancement programs, such as but not limited to, cross-cultural experiences, service opportunities and other international travel, may require students to be vaccinated. Additionally, some off-campus program partners, such as school districts for student teaching or healthcare clinical sites, may require students to be vaccinated to participate. 

 Effective Feb. 15, 2022, any Messiah University program or protocol that required participants to be “fully vaccinated” will now require participants to be “up to date” with their vaccination for COVID-19, defined as individuals who have had a booster shot or those who are within 6 months* of completing a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series or within 2 months of a Johnson & Johnson vaccination. These protocol updates include university enhancement programs, such as but not limited to, cross-cultural experiences, service opportunities, and other international travel. Additionally, some off-campus program partners, such as school districts for student teaching or healthcare clinical sites, may require students to have their vaccinations up to date to participate.

*Since the release of Messiah’s updated spring protocols, the CDC has indicated that individuals are now eligible for a booster shot 5 months after completing a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series.

Free on-campus vaccination and booster shots

As a reminder, Messiah University students and employees can be vaccinated and/or receive a booster for free on campus at the Engle Center (with the Moderna vaccine). To set up an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, go to your HEALTH PORTAL, then choose MY FORMS from the menu bar and complete the form entitled COVID VACCINATION SCHEDULING FORM. Someone from the Health Center will be in touch to schedule your appointment.

Vaccine FAQs

More details and Messiah FAQs re: the COVID-19 vaccine (PDF)

On Feb. 25, 2022, the CDC announced a significant change in the way it defines community transmission of COVID-19 along with modified masking guidelines.  Accordingly,  Messiah University is now “mask optional” in all indoor facilities (Grantham campus and Winding Hill)—including employee workspaces, classrooms, chapel, dining facilities, athletic events, and other indoor large gatherings.

Note: By CDC exception, required masking will continue at health care facilities, including the Engle Center, and on mass transit which, for Messiah’s purposes, continues to include group institutional travel in campus vehicles.

There remain, however, members of our Messiah community who are more vulnerable to the virus than others or live with loved ones who are more health-compromised by COVID-19. As has been Messiah’s approach throughout the pandemic, we will continue to prioritize caring for others. Because of this, if a faculty member requests that students continue to wear masks in a particular classroom, or if students and employees are asked by one another or a campus visitor to wear a mask in meetings, other personal interactions, etc., it is expected that employees and students will comply accordingly. (As such, please continue to carry a mask with you while on campus so that you will have it available if needed.) We appreciate your respect of Messiah’s commitment to care for each other and our neighbors in this way.

It is important to note that the CDC updates do not change recommendations related to vaccination, testing, quarantine, isolation, etc. As a result, Messiah’s protocols related to these practices—including masking in situations related to exhibiting symptoms and/or known exposures to COVID-19—continue to remain in place. (Students and employees may continue to access these protocols on FalconLink.)

Messiah University’s COVID-19 protocols are tightly integrated with state and CDC guidance and local and campus conditions, and as such, are subject to ongoing change. Current CDC masking guidelines, in particular, are tied to the level of transmission in specific regions and may be adjusted accordingly.

Student testing plan

  • Symptomatic students, regardless of vaccination status,will be required to test on campus and provided instructions from the Engle Center on what to do while awaiting results. 

  • Testing of student athletes is coordinated through the Division of Athletics in compliance with the testing standards of the MAC and the NCAA. 

  • The University uses a combination of point-of-care (POC) testing, and/or external lab testing based on a student's individual situation, symptoms or exposure.  

  • The University is closely following the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) Guidelines. For those who test positive, we contact the DOH immediately according to HIPPA guidelines.

Employee testing plan

  • Symptomatic employees, regardless of vaccination status,will be required to test and have the option to test on campus through Human Resources. 

  • The Engle Center is not currently available to conduct employee testing ( asymptomatic or symptomatic) due to staffing and student services/demand issues.   

On Jan. 5, Messiah University communicated to undergraduate students the following changes to its spring 2022 COVID-19 mitigation protocols based on several updates announced by the CDC on Dec. 27, 2021.

Quarantine update

Changes in quarantine protocols for students identified as on-campus close contacts:

  • Messiah will no longer be requiring asymptomatic close contact students, regardless of vaccination status, to quarantine (either at home or on campus).
  • Instead, these students will be required to wear a KN95 mask for 10 days when around others on campus after their initial exposure.
  • If symptoms develop, students are required to report on the Falcon Health Check-In and will receive personalized instructions from the Engle Center regarding testing and enhanced health and safety protocols.

Isolation period update

Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19—regardless of vaccination status—will continue to be required to isolate at home*. However, the CDC has shortened the recommended time for isolation. Students and employees with COVID-19 should isolate at home for 5 days (versus 10 previously). If after 5 days students and employees are asymptomatic, or they have been free of symptoms and fever for at least 24 hours, they may  return to campus, followed by 5 days of wearing a KN95 mask when around others to further minimize any risk of infection.

*Note: Limited isolation housing is available to students who demonstrate circumstances that would prevent them from isolating at  home. Regardless of their isolation location, the University will work with students to continue their coursework remotely. 

Student and employee protocols available on FalconLink

Messiah University provides detailed instructions for students and employees on what to do when have symptoms, test positive for COVID, or are identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive individual. Students and employees may access the most current protocols on FalconLink under "Spring 2022 Campus COVID Protocols." 

Regarding Messiah's spring 2022 semester 

The CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health continue to advocate the isolation of all individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and quarantining individuals who are symptomatic or identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive person.  

If a student becomes symptomatic, exposed or COVID-positive and they are required to isolate/quarantine, will they receive a housing or dining refund? 

Students who become symptomatic, exposed or COVID-positive who must isolate/quarantine will not be provided refunds for housing or dining. 

Questions regarding this policy, or an individual student’s account, may be directed to Student Financial Services at studentfinsvcs@messiah.edu or 717.691.6004.  

Messiah University will be restoring its own schedule of public events, as well as facility rentals for the 2021-22 academic year. All guests and attendees are required to follow the university’s posted protocols for masking, social distancing and other health and safety measures.  

Masking protocol for indoor events at Messiah University

Messiah University is currently "mask optional"  in all university buildings, including indoor events. (See "Masking" accordion above for additional details.)

The University daily monitors the situation on campus and in our community and quickly adapts protocol as needed.  Please check this website before your scheduled event to confirm the most current masking policy. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work together to keep our campus and community healthy.

 

 

 

 

General travel protocols (students and employees) 

  • Messiah University expects students and employees to follow CDC guidelines when travelling, whether travel is for institutional or personal purposes. 

  • Regardless of vaccination status, students and employees who travel should wear masks when required (including but not limited to public transit), practice social distancing, avoid large crowds, and practice vigilant hand hygiene. 

  • Regardless of vaccination status, all students and employees should still be careful to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if symptoms develop before, during or following travel. 

Institutional travel (students and employees) 

Note: for purposes of the below protocols, effective Feb. 15, 2022, Messiah's definition of having your vaccination up to date followed the originally announced CDC standard  of: 1) Having been boosted OR 2) Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months** OR 3) Completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months.

  • There are no restrictions on institutional travel (Messiah-sponsored/funded) at this time for students and employees whose vaccination is up to date.

  • The University reserves the right to limit the institutional travel of unvaccinated students and employees or those whose vaccination is not up to date. For instance: 

  • Students are required to have their vaccination up to date to participate in cross-cultural travel and other university trips as specified by Messiah's Integration and Response Team. 

  • Unvaccinated employees, or employees whose vaccination is not up to date, are permitted to travel for job-required travel* only but not optional, professional enhancement travel. 

  • For job-required travel, unvaccinated employees, or employees whose vaccination is not up to date, are required to mask at indoor events and when interacting indoors with others. 

  • Note that for unvaccinated employees, or employees whose vaccination is not up to date, some personal cost related to isolation or quarantine while traveling may be incurred.    

*as determined by an employee’s supervisor/dean 

**The CDC has sinced announced individuals are eligible for a booster shot 5 months after a Pfizer or Moderna vaccination series. 

Classrooms will generally be set up with three-foot spacing between seats. Some spaces will be set at pre-COVID capacity in order to avoid rotations and to release the non-traditional classroom spaces for their regular use (I.e., Parmer Hall, Boyer Atrium, etc.). Faculty will assign student seating for the semester in order to facilitate any necessary contact tracing and may ask students to mask, particularly where there is a known vulnerable person/contact or in classroom spaces where three-foot distancing cannot be maintained.   

 

Messiah will return to its regular, robust schedule of campus cleaning, while providing extra cleaning supplies in commonly used spaces, such as offices, classrooms, restrooms and residence halls, so that students and employees may additionally wipe down shared surfaces, technology and equipment. 

Messiah University Dining Services has a solid reputation for outstanding food, great service and an award-winning food safety program. All of Messiah’s campus dining facilities will be returning to their pre-pandemic operations.  

All undergraduate students are subject to the most recent update of campus policies. While the 2021-22 Student Handbook does not reflect any ongoing expectations for student behavior related to COVID-19, current expectations have been communicated via mass email and other Messiah University communication channels such as the emergency blog and the Together@Messiah website. Students are required to abide by these expectations; failure to do so will result in referral to the student conduct process. These COVID expectations are subject to change (based on changing local, state and federal directives or a marked increase of illness on campus). Changes will be communicated via the channels above.

Questions can be directed to the Division of Student Success and Engagement, located in Eisenhower Campus Center 207, or by phone at 717.796.5234. 

Student protocols available on FalconLink

Messiah University provides detailed instructions for students on what to do when have symptoms, test positive for COVID, or are identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive individual. Students may access the most current protocols on FalconLink under "Spring 2022 Campus COVID Protocols." 

Reporting and accountability on Falcon Health Check-In

  • All employees, regardless of vaccination status, are required to report a positive COVID-19 test result via the Falcon Health Check-In on FalconLink.   

Employee protocols available on FalconLink

Messiah University provides detailed instructions for employees on what to do when have symptoms, test positive for COVID, or are identified as a close contact to a COVID-positive individual. Employees may access the most current protocols on FalconLink under "Spring 2022 Campus COVID Protocols." 

Remote work and sick time 

Remote work may be possible while an employee is isolating or quarantining, depending on that individual’s status of symptoms, health and/or individual job responsibilities, and with approval in advance from the employee's supervisor. Teaching faculty in quarantine or isolation must communicate with their department chair and dean about remote teaching or course coverage requests. When not able to work remotely, employees will use their regularly allocated sick time while isolating or quarantining.    

General Employee Public Health Practices 

Unfortunately, the threat of COVID-19 continues, and it will be essential that all Messiah University employees practice good health hygiene: 

  • Vaccination remains your best defense against COVID-19 and your best protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death. All employees and their family members (age 16 or older) can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot free of charge at the Engle Center.

    • To set up an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, go to your HEALTH PORTAL, then choose MY FORMS from the menu bar and complete the form entitled COVID VACCINATION SCHEDULING FORM. Someone from the Health Center will be in touch to schedule your appointment.
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water. 

  • Use hand-sanitizer if soap and water are not available. 

  • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with either a tissue that is disposed of immediately or with your elbow. This needs to be followed by washing hands.  

  • Avoid meeting and congregating in smaller spaces. However, if not possible, employees should wear KN95 masks at all times. Open windows as often as possible. 

  • All employees are encouraged to get a flu vaccine.  

  • Employees should not share work or personal equipment.  If unavoidable, employees should disinfect after each use.

  • Wipe down work surfaces freuqently and shared spaces after meetings   

 

 

General public 

While on campus, all guests are expected to follow CDC guidelines regarding masks and social distancing, as well as any other campus-specific signage. 

Messiah University does reserve the right, as needed, to restrict access to campus and the Yellow Breeches.  As we manage events and crowds on campus, creek access will be limited or closed for access on the following dates found on the Department of Safety website.   

We appreciate your cooperation as we care for our campus community as we open Messiah’s property to the public once again.   

Undergraduate admissions visits 

The Undergraduate Admissions Office is currently hosting a limited number of on-campus visits each week for prospective students and their families. Learn more about undergraduate campus visits and events.  

Graduate enrollment and campus visits 

Prospective students who desire to visit campus should schedule an advance appointment with the graduate enrollment staff.    

  

 

 

How we'll communicate with you

Messiah University is utilizing a mix of the following communication tools to keep its campus stakeholders--including current undergraduate and graduate students, current parents, employees, prospective students/parents, and the appropriate government/health authorities--informed about its campus reopening strategies and related COVID-19 health and safety measures: 

  • Messiah’s institutional social media platforms 

  • Student and parent portals (current students and parents) 

  • Canvas Learning Management System (current students and employees) 

  • Campus health and safety signage (particularly in common areas like dining halls, gyms, classrooms, labs) 

Timely updates

In addition to communicating Messiah’s COVID response protocols via this website, the University will use the above methods to continue to update stakeholders about breaking developments, news and changes in a timely and transparent manner. 

Clery Act Compliance 

In compliance with The Clery Act, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education regarding Clery’s intersection with COVID-19, Messiah University will issue a campus Emergency Notification (EN) to students and employees at the start of the academic year informing them about COVID-19, along with the necessary health and safety precautions, as well as where to obtain ongoing information about the number of on-campus COVID cases, and how to connect to the resources of regional health authorities and the CDC. The University will also provide a banner on messiah.edu that will provide this information to the broader campus community.