COVID-19: The Plan for a Safe Return to Campus

GMercyU looks forward to welcoming students back to campus for the Summer II and the Fall semesters. Please see below for details on our hybrid approach. 

   

  

For All Campus Visitors: The GMercyU Pre-Screening Survey

Everyone is required to undergo the daily temperature screenings and must complete the survey above to assess signs of possible COVID-19 infection before being allowed to access Main Campus. When possible, please complete the survey prior to arriving to campus.

General Campus Re-Opening Questions 


Will campus re-open in the fall?

Yes! GMercyU will welcome students back in a hybrid format for the Summer II semester and the Fall semester.  Our “Hybrid” approach will make it possible for students to take some courses on campus and complete others in a remote learning environment that will include virtual face-to-face and fully online instruction.

What is the University doing to keep students safe?

The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority! The University’s Emergency Response Team is developing detailed health and safety protocols that comply with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and local and state health officials. All students, faculty, staff and visitors to campus will be required to comply with these protocols. 

What safety measures must I follow on campus?  

Everyone on campus will be required to follow Safety Protocols, per the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local and state health agencies. Some of these requirements include:

Entering Campus

  • Everyone will enter campus via Sumneytown Pike and leave campus using Evans Road.
  • A short screening questionnaire and temperature check will be required to enter campus.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Face masks will be required while on campus. You may bring your own or use one provided by the University. Face masks can be removed when you are alone in your residence hall room or by yourself in a private office/other space.
  • Hand Sanitizer and Cleaning Supplies/Protocols will be provided throughout campus.
  • Students participating in clinical, internships, and other off-campus experiential learning will abide by the safety protocols at those locations. More information will be provided to those students.

Physical Distancing

  • People on campus will be required to obey all posted health and safety signage. This will include maintaining the required 6 feet of distance between individuals.

More details will follow.

What will happen if the University is required to close its campuses again because of a COVID-19 outbreak?

That’s a really good question.  Part of the reason we have decided on a Hybrid approach to the fall semester is to allow for maximum flexibility in the event we need to close campuses down due to an outbreak of COVID-19.  All in-person courses will be ready to move to a fully remote learning environment if the need arises.

Why isn’t GMercyU going to fully re-open campus this fall like other schools?

As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff remain our top priority.

As much as we would love to be able to welcome everyone back to campus at the start of the fall semester like normal, this “new (temporary) normal” requires a more measured approach that is based on the best available information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and state and local health agencies on how to mitigate the continued health risks associated with COVID-19.

This model will make it possible to adhere to physical distancing requirements and limit the potential spread of the virus among students, faculty, staff, and their loved ones.  It also will lessen any disruption to students resulting from a potential need to suddenly close campus down again based on a resurgence of the virus in our area.  

Although we understand that this is not the fall college experience you were planning on and we share your frustration that this crisis has lasted longer than any of us would have predicted, I am confident that this short-term approach will put you on the path to success.  And it’s important to remember that this change is temporary.  It won’t be too much longer before we will be able to return to our normal routines!  

Health & Wellness Center

How do I contact the Health and Wellness Center?

You can reach us at 215-646-7300, ext. 21306 or email ferguson.d@gmercyu.edu.

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, please contact the Health and Wellness Center prior to coming to the Health Center for a phone screening. The Health and Wellness Center staff will be following CDC guidelines and utilizing appropriate PPE for a safe opening in Fall 2020.

Where is the Health and Wellness Center located?

We are located in Loyola Hall. Enter through St. Brigid Hall and we are on the right through the double doors. You will need to sign in or use your student ID to enter the building.

When is the Health Center open?

Our hours are Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30pm during the academic year.

Nurses are available Monday through Friday, and doctor hours for the semester are posted on the Health and Wellness Center door.

What if I have an emergency outside of office hours?

Please contact Public Safety at 215-646-7300, ext. 21300 in the case of an emergency.

What services do you offer?

We are an acute care facility. Please refer to our web page for available services.

Is there a fee to be seen at the Health Center?

There is no cost to be seen in the Health Center. Nurse and doctor visits are free, as well as many over-the-counter medications. There is a minimal cost for the annual flu vaccine, PPD (tuberculosis) testing, and some antibiotics.

*Please contact Donna Ferguson, M.Ed, RN Director of the Health and Wellness Center at ferguson.d@gmercyu.edu if you have any further questions.
*Please note that all visits are private and confidential.

 

Fall Academic Plan

What exactly does a “Hybrid” learning format mean?

A Hybrid format means that some courses will be offered in an in-person, on-campus format, but may also include some remote learning components. Other courses will be offered in a fully remote learning format, and will include a combination of virtual face-to-face instruction and online learning.

Here’s a little more detail on what remote learning will mean for you:

Courses that will be held remotely will include a combination of:

  • Virtual face-to-face instruction, meaning you will meet with your professors and classmates at the same time as you would if on campus.  These “synchronous” sessions will all be held using a high-quality interactive video conferencing platform.
  • Online instruction, which means you will be able to complete your assignments at a time and place that best suits your schedule, as long as you meet assignment deadlines.  These “asynchronous” sessions will still provide you with opportunities to interact with your professors and classmates via the University’s Learning Management System, Blackboard.
    • Training on how to get the most out of these experiences will be provided to both students and faculty.
    • Within the next several weeks, remote courses will be noted with “REM” on your course schedule.

How do I find out which classes will be offered in a hybrid, remote, or online format?

Please log in to GMercyU’s Student Self Service portal using your GMercyU username and password, and click the Colleague Self Service icon . Once logged in, you will be able to view your course schedule, which has been updated to include information on modality. Here’s how to determine the learning modality of each of your courses:

Modality   Description Schedule - Calendar View on Self Service                    
Hybrid

Some or all of your class sessions/labs will be held on campus.*  

You will attend class at the appointed days/time, as directed by your professor. This information will be available in Blackboard at least one week before the semester begins.

Example:

Times: M/W/F 10:20-11:20 AM

Location: University Hall W112

Remote

Your class will be held remotely with at least some sessions held via live video conference on the scheduled day/time (synchronous).  

You will attend the synchronous sessions at the appointed days/time, as directed by your professor.

Example:

Times: M/W/F 10:20-11:20 AM

Location: REMOTE

Online

Your class will be held entirely online without a specific time and location (asynchronous).  

You will be able to complete your coursework at a time that best suits your schedule, as long as you meet assignment deadlines and requirements.

Example:

Time: 11:58-11:59 PM (generic) Location: Online

*Everyone on campus will be required to follow Safety Protocols, per the guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and local and state health agencies.

Regardless of whether a particular course will be held on campus or remotely, you will learn with the same faculty, receive the same quality of instruction, and earn the same credits as you would in any other semester. This hybrid model makes safety a top priority! Structuring our fall class schedule in this way makes it possible to adhere to physical distancing requirements and limit the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus among students, faculty, staff, and their loved ones. It also will lessen any disruption to you that could result from a requirement to close campus suddenly based on a resurgence of the virus in our area.

Here are a few other important things you need to know:

  • You will benefit from personal attention in both in-person and remote courses.
  • The Library, Academic Resource Center (including tutoring and accessibility services), Health & Wellness Center, Counseling Services, and other key student services will be available to students either remotely or on campus in adherence to physical distance guidelines.
  • Testing accommodations will be available on campus to students who are registered with the Office of Accessibility Services. Please contact ARCtesting@gmercyu.edu with any questions.
  • Remote courses will include virtual face-to-face instruction, meaning you will meet with your professors and classmates at the same time as you would if on campus. These “synchronous” sessions will all be held using a high-quality interactive video conferencing platform.
  • Online instruction means you will complete your assignments at a time and place that best suits your schedule, as long as you meet assignment deadlines. These “asynchronous” sessions will still provide you with opportunities to interact with your professors and classmates via the University’s Learning Management System, Blackboard.
  • We are in the process of identifying spaces on campus where students who are enrolled in hybrid courses can also participate in synchronous sessions for their remote classes. More information will be forthcoming.
  • Training on how to get the most out of these experiences will be provided to both students and faculty.

See entire 6.23.20 portal message on this topic.

What if I don’t have access to the needed technology to complete my courses online?

Please reach out to your academic advisor or the Dean of your school if you are in need of technology to complete coursework online.  That way, you can determine the best way to move forward successfully together.

Here is the contact information for the appropriate Dean:

What if I find it difficult to complete coursework in a remote format?

As always, help will be available when you need it! We will continue to offer a wide array of student support services, and we encourage all students to take full advantage of them. If you find you’re having difficulty in one or more of your courses, please reach out to your professor and/or the Academic Resource Center (ARC) right away.  As always, we will do everything we can to help you achieve your goals, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Will the University change the pass/fail policy for online courses?

We will not change our current pass/fail policy, which applies only to open elective courses taken by junior- and senior-level students; however, requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please know that for many students, the move to pass/fail would not be in their best interest with regards to meeting accreditation standards, pursing certifications, and/or applying to graduate school. If you have a question about whether a specific course qualifies and/or if it is in your best interest to pursue pass/fail, please contact your academic advisor. All pass/fail requests require final approval from the Dean of your school.

What if students cannot come to campus because of health concerns?

We understand that health concerns may make it inadvisable for some students to come to campus while the risk of the spread of COVID-19 still exists.  Please contact your academic advisor if you will not be able to come to campus so you can work together to determine the best path forward.

Will students be able to complete Clinicals, Internships, Student Teaching and other Experiential Learning experiences off campus this fall?

Yes, as long as the sites are open and available, and students are able to comply with any site-specific requirements related to COVID-19.  

Will tuition costs be decreased because not all courses will be offered on campus?

We completely understand the reason for this question. It’s important to remember that regardless of whether a particular course will be held on campus or remotely, you will learn with the same faculty and earn the same credits toward the same degree as you would if on campus. Although there are significant additional costs associated with moving instruction to a remote learning format, we are taking a close look at what services we will be able to offer on campus, based on health and safety requirements.  Depending on the results of that review, we may adjust some of our fee structures for the fall. As we have more information, we will share it with you.

Residence Life

Will students still be able to live on campus?

Yes! The Office of Residence Life is hard at work developing plans to make it possible for students to live on campus. Because we will need to adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including physical distancing requirements, we need to rethink how and how many students we can house in our Residence Halls.  As soon as we have more details, we will share it with you via email, the University Portal and the COVID-19 page of the website.  Please stay tuned!

Cares Act Funding

How will the University distribute the CARES funding to students?

Beginning in mid-June, the University will distribute CARES Funding to eligible students to help defray education costs associated with the pandemic. If you already signed up for Electronic Funds Transfer since we implemented our new system on April 6, 2020, the payment will be sent directly to the account we have on file for you. If you have not yet signed up for Electronic Funds Transfer, we encourage you to do so no later than June 5. Instructions are located here. Otherwise, we will mail a check to your home address. Paper checks may be delayed if the University must remain closed during the summer months based on state or local requirements. 

How can I tell if I’m eligible for CARES funding?

On-campus undergraduate students who are eligible for Title IV federal financial aid will be eligible for funding under the CARES Act.

The University will automatically distribute CARES funding to all students who were enrolled in an on-ground undergraduate degree program in spring 2020 on or after March 12, 2020, and were eligible for Title-IV funding based on the results of their FAFSA.

Under federal guidelines, students enrolled in fully online programs are not eligible.

NON-FAFSA FILERS:

If you were enrolled in a campus undergraduate degree program and chose not to file your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), but believe you meet Title-IV eligibility requirements, you will have the option of submitting a FAFSA. Your completed 2020-2021 FAFSA must be submitted by June 5, 2020 in order to be considered for this funding.

To be eligible for Title-IV funding, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Have U.S. citizenship or be an eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid U.S. Social security number
  • Be registered with Selective Service (for male students)
  • Have met Satisfactory Academic Progress standards
  • Are not currently in default for federal student loans

In order to verify that you meet these requirements, you will need to submit a FAFSA by June 5, 2020.

How much funding will I receive?

Based on current available information and federal guidelines, funding amounts will be as follows. Funding amounts are based on your Spring 2020 enrollment status.

  • Less-Than-Half-Time (fewer than 6 credits): $138
  • Half-Time (6-8 credits): $276
  • Three-Quarter-Time ( 9-11 credits): $414
  • Full-time (12 or more credits): $552

Funding will be sent to eligible students beginning in mid-June. For more information on CARES Act funding, please see below.

CARES Act: Required Public Disclosures:

a) The University acknowledges that it has signed and returned to the Department the Certification and Agreement and the assurance that the institution has used, or intends to use, no less than 50 percent of the funds received under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

b) The total amount of funds that the University has received from the Department pursuant to the institution’s Certification and Agreement [for] Emergency Financial Aid Grants to Students was $836,538.

c) The total amount of Emergency Financial Aid Grants distributed to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 22, 2020 was $0. The initial disbursement is anticipated before June 30, 2020.

d) The estimated total number of students at the institution eligible to participate in programs under Section 484 in Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and thus eligible to receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act is approximately 1,500.

e) The total number of students who have received an Emergency Financial Aid Grant to students under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act as of May 22, 2020 is zero. The first disbursement is anticipated before June 30, 2020.

f) The method(s) used by the institution to determine which students receive Emergency Financial Aid Grants and how much they would receive under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act was based on enrollment status. 

New Student Experience

Will I still be able to attend New Student Orientation at the end of August?

Yes!  We will still hold a New Student Orientation event. Our Orientation Planning Team has been working on the best way to provide our incoming students with all the opportunities to meet their fellow classmates and learn more about how to be a successful student that we typically offer while still adhering to all necessary health and safety guidelines.  We will share more information on how Fall Orientation will work in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

How will I be matched with a roommate?

The Office of Residence Life is hard at work developing plans to welcome new students to the Residence Halls. Because we will need to adhere to strict health and safety protocols, including physical distancing requirements, we need to rethink how we will house students in our Residence Halls. At this time, we don’t anticipate housing more than one student in a room, so you would not have a roommate your first year on campus. We will definitely share more information about housing soon, so be sure to check your email regularly.

If you already completed a housing application and submitted your housing deposit, you will receive an email from the Office of residence Life with next steps soon.  

If you are interested in living on campus and have not yet submitted your housing application or deposit, please do so as soon as possible since opportunities to live on campus will be limited.

Additional Resources

For additional information and FAQs, please visit our Spring 2020 COVID-19 FAQs Archive.

For current information on the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and recommended travel restrictions, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and/or World Health Organization (WHO) websites:

Find details on GMercyU's Health & Wellness Center here.