Return to Campus Plan for Fall 2020

Messiah University is in session this fall with flexible in-person and remote learning options, health and safety protocols and student care and support.

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FAQs for everyone

FAQs for everyone

Messiah University will be reopening in August for an on-campus, in-person start to its undergraduate fall session*. Campus administrators and educators have been thoughtfully hard at work to develop and implement Messiah’s reopening strategy. We are collaborating with local healthcare systems and authorities on a reopening plan that places health and safety at the forefront, focuses on optimal student learning—and complies with state, CDC and other public health standards.
 
Please read a summary of our reopening plan, or view highlights by topic at our Bridge to Reopen Messiah website to learn more about how we are living out our distinctive Christian educational mission in different ways this fall while protecting the health and safety of our community during the challenges of COVID-19.
 
*It is important to know that while it is our firm intent to proceed with the above reopen calendar, Messiah’s plans may be subject to change based on fluid public health directives related to COVID-19. If changes are necessary, students and their families will receive notifications as quickly as possible via email, text alert, and via our emergency website.
Residential undergraduate students will begin to return to Messiah’s Mechanicsburg campus on a rolling basis starting the week of August 17. 

Our relationship with the local community is important to Messiah University. Messiah’s campus is private property, but as good neighbors, we have been pleased to provide access to the public as we are able, including the library, areas for walking, use of the fitness trail, and access to the Yellow Breeches Creek by way of Messiah University’s Starry Athletic Complex.

However, as we navigate the significant safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority is the health of our students, employees and surrounding region. As a result, we need to limit current access to Messiah’s campus to students, employees and authorized visitors only. We regret that public access to Messiah University’s campus is currently closed until further noticeThis includes a temporary restriction on access to the library, areas for walking, use of the fitness trail, Starry Athletic Complex, and access to the Yellow Breeches via campus property. We appreciate your cooperation as we care for our campus community, and we look forward to being able to open campus to the public again as soon as health and safety measures permit.  

The best way to stay current on updates and changes related to Messiah’s response to COVID-19 is via the University’s emergency blog.

Yes, Messiah University is publicly disclosing the number of confirmed positive on-campus cases of COVID-19 on its dashboard website, which is updated every weekday by 5 p.m.

There is not a simple specific number the University can provide because there are a variety of integrated and changing factors involved. Messiah has a senior administrative team, called the Integration and Response Team, which provides ongoing leadership to the University’s response to COVID-19. This group has developed parameters that would guide Messiah’s ability to remain open at various residency capacities for an in-person educational experience. Those parameters include integrated, changing factors such as the number of positive on-campus cases, occupancy levels of available quarantine and isolation space, employee positivity and absence rate, testing capacity, PPE supplies, COVID-19 cases in the surrounding region, etc. This team daily monitors all of these factors as they relate to each other, and the impact on the University’s operations. If Messiah were to begin to approach these levels, we would clearly and quickly communicate any necessary changes to Messiah’s residential or educational experience directly to student and parents.

Research has clearly shown that the COVID-19 virus spreads very efficiently at large gatherings.  Specifically, epidemiological analyses of COVID-19 have determined that indoor spaces in which people are in closer proximity leads to “superspreading.” The University expects any community members who live, study or work campus to avoid such risks.  Therefore, as agreed to in the Messiah Community Promise, students and employees are expected to avoid large gatherings (defined as 25 or more people indoors or 250 people or more outdoors).**

For all gatherings and events, regardless of size, the following parameters must be in place:

  1. Masks must be worn by attendees at all times.
  2. Social distancing of six feet must be practiced by all attendees.
  3. Increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols must be in place.
  4. Good respiratory etiquette should be encouraged and practiced.
  5. Everyone must wash their hands frequently and hand sanitizer must be readily accessible for times when hand washing may not be immediately possible.
  6. If the event involves children’s programming, it should also follow these same guidelines.
  7. Everyone must commit to staying home when not feeling well.  

Employees: If these standards cannot be met, employees whose work requires them to be present on campus may not attend the event, as the required 14-day quarantine would prevent them from fulfilling their employment expectations.

Students: Any student who lives, studies or works on campus must follow the guidelines as outlined above. Failing to follow the guidelines will result in referral to the student conduct process which may result in jeopardizing your enrollment for the term.

**Note: Churches have been granted an exception to exceed the number of people allowed for a large gathering, but all other parameters must still be followed. View Messiah University’s parameters for off-campus, in-person church attendance.