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Messiah's COVID-19 Response Protocols

Fall 2022

Messiah is all about community. It’s who we are! During the 2022-23 academic year, Messiah continues its full in-person, on-campus experience providing face-to-face classes, robust co-curricular programs, on-campus socialization and visitor access to campus. The below protocols equip the Messiah community to respond to the ongoing challenges of living, learning and working together during COVID-19.

All policies are subject to change based on local, state or federal directives, and/or at the discretion of the University in response to campus needs. Updates will be made here, communicated to students and employees via Messiah email or posted on the University's emergency blog
 
 

On June 15, 2022, Messiah University announced to undergraduate students its COVID-19 protocols for fall 2022--including requested pre-arrival testing. Read the full announcement 06.15.22. 

Student vaccination policy

Messiah is not requiring students to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to be enrolled for the 2022-23 academic year.* However, the University greatly appreciates its students and employees who are up to date with their vaccination for COVID-19, and we continue to strongly encourage as many as possible to do so. 

*NOTE: Some students due to their voluntary selection of specific higher-risk campus employment opportunities (i.e., the campus health care center), do require up-to-date 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 up to date with their vaccination. Additionally, some off-campus program partners, such as school districts for student teaching or healthcare clinical sites, may require students to be up to date with their vaccination to participate.

 

Messiah University is  “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 continues to be recommended on mass transit which, for Messiah’s purposes, continues to include group institutional travel in campus vehicles.

Community expectations for masking

There remain 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.) The University will also continue to make KN95 masks available at multiple locations throughout campus. We appreciate your respect of Messiah’s commitment to care for each other and our neighbors in this way.

 

Student testing 

  • Symptomatic students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to test and will be provided instructions from the health center staff on what to do while awaiting results. 

  • Students also have the option to pick up a free self-administered COVID-19 test at University Dispatch. 24/7.

  • 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 

  • Symptomatic employees, regardless of vaccination status, are required to test and have the option to either test on their own off-campus or 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.   

Isolation for COVID-positive individuals

Students and employees who test positive for COVID-19—regardless of vaccination status—will continue to be required to isolate at home for 5 days*. 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. 

Quarantine 

For students and employees identified as on-campus close contacts:

  • Messiah does not require asymptomatic close contact students or employees, regardless of vaccination status, to quarantine (either at home or on campus).
  • Instead, these individuals are 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. Employees who develop symptoms should follow the appropriate protocols as outlined on FalconLink.

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, starting July 15, under "Fall  2022 Campus COVID Protocols." 

The CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health continue to advocate the isolation of all individuals who test positive for COVID-19. Students who become symptomatic, exposed or COVID-positive who must isolate/quarantine will not be provided refunds during this time 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.  

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, 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) 

  • 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 and employees 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. 

  • 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.   

All undergraduate students are subject to the most recent update of campus policies. While the 2022-23 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 at the discretion of the University based on campus need). 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, starting July 15, under "Fall 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, starting July 15, under "Fall 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 as supply and staffing levels permit.

    • 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 

Messiah University is pleased to restore its full schedule of academic-year campus events as well as summer conferences and camps. While on campus, all guests and attendees are expected to follow Messiah University's COVID-19 response protocols as outlined on this website. 

Undergraduate admissions visits 

The Undergraduate Admissions Office has restored its full schedule of undergraduate campus visits and events for prospective students and their families. 

Graduate enrollment and campus visits 

Prospective students who desire to visit campus should schedule an advance appointment with the School of Graduate and Professional Studies 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 and how to connect to the resources of regional health authorities and the CDC. The University will also provide this information to the broader campus community with a link from messiah.edu.