COVID-19 Information for Students and Families

COVID-19 Information for Students and Families

On-campus spring semester classes will begin on Thursday, January 13, as scheduled. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus!

Resident students will be able to return to university housing on Wednesday, January 12, 2022 (unless specific Residence Life approval and clearance has been granted for an early move-in). Residents must submit your negative COVID-19 test results prior to moving in.

Covid-19 Testing

Unvaccinated staff, faculty, students, and all residential students must submit a negative COVID test (PCR or Rapid Test) to the email within 72 hours of your scheduled return to campus. An at-home test is not an acceptable form of testing. If you have any questions, please submit them to COVID19@gmercyu.eduPLEASE NOTE THAT TEST AVAILABILITY MAY BE LIMITED, SO IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY DONE SO, PLEASE SCHEDULE YOUR TESTING APPOINTMENT RIGHT AWAY. You will not be allowed on campus without submitting your negative test results. 

  • Free COVID tests for persons that are not symptomatic are available here:

  • To facilitate the campus entry process, please bring a physical copy of your test results with you to campus or keep a photo of your test results on your phone at all times.

  • The University-sponsored testing clinic for exempted community members will resume on Wednesday, January 19, 2022.

Spring 2022 Semester FAQs

What do I need to do if I'm coming to campus in January for the first time?

All students, staff and faculty members coming to campus for the first time must provide proof of vaccination or a completed vaccination exemption request form. If you have not already done so, please complete this process by January 4, 2022. Community members who do not submit this information will be restricted from campus.

Please use GMercyU's COVID-19 Proof of Vaccination Form and Request for Vaccination Exemption Form here. (You must be logged into the portal to view the form.)
If you have previously submitted an exemption and would like to change your status to vaccinated, please email

Do vaccinated students need booster shots?

Based on current CDC guidance which defines “fully vaccinated” as having one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the University is NOT requiring community members to receive a booster vaccine at this time. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND that all vaccinated community members receive a booster vaccine as soon as they are eligible. We will continue to monitor CDC, state and local guidance regarding the possibility of requiring booster vaccines.

If you have received a COVID-19 booster, please be sure to upload your proof of vaccination using this link.  

What else should I know about coming to campus?

Here are some additional steps we are asking all community members to take to ensure we keep our campus safe:

  • If you do not feel well, please do not come to campus.
  • Your University ID is required to access campus, so please be sure to have it with you at all times. Public Safety officers will scan your ID card at the Sumneytown Pike and Evans Road entrances.
  • Access to campus for Sumneytown Pike and Evans Road will return to two-way traffic starting January 4, 2022. Officers will be stationed at the passenger side of vehicles to scan ID cards. If you do not have a GMercyU ID card, please contact  
  • Please keep a copy of your vaccination card or approved exemption with you or in electronic format in the event Public Safety needs to verify your status. 


Will we still need to be masked indoors?

The indoor masking mandate remains in effect. Everyone on campus must wear a mask when indoors unless you are in your private office or residence hall room.

The University will provide free access to three-ply ASTM Level 3 masks since they have been proven to be most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. For the Common Good, we strongly encourage you to wear the new ASTM masks and continue to wash your hands frequently.

Can community members wear cloth masks or is everyone supposed to wear the 3-ply masks provided?

Can community members wear cloth masks or is everyone supposed to wear the 3-ply masks provided? 

We strongly recommend that everyone wear the Level 3 masks.  They will be handed out at the entry gates, and available at other key locations around campus, including the Library, Campbell Solution Center, Residence Halls and classrooms.  

 An N95 mask is an acceptable alternative. Anyone who would like to wear an N95 mask may bring their own. 

Are we still required to complete the health screening survey on the portal?

Student, staff, and faculty do not need to complete the screening tool before coming to campus. However, they should not come to campus if they have any signs of illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

In addition, some clinical sites require students to submit health screening forms. Students can continue to use the University’s online health screening form, as needed. Vendors also will need to continue to complete the online form. You can find the survey in the portal -- click on the  button. 

Are we still requiring social distancing?

Social distancing is a CDC recommendation. It is not currently a university policy, but strongly encouraged. 

Is the University allowing visitors to the campus?

Yes, visitors are allowed on campus. All visitors must wear level 3 masks.  And any visitor to the Residence Halls must provide proof of vaccination.

If I live in the residence halls, will my guests need to be vaccinated?

Guests of residential students will still need to provide proof of vaccination to enter the residence halls.

All other guests on campus will be required to wear a mask while inside buildings regardless of their vaccination status. 

Under what conditions will the whole campus go remote?

The university works in conjunction with Montgomery County as well utilizes CDC guidance to determine updates to existing campus safety protocols.  

We will continue to update you on our plans via the Portal and our COVID-19 pages of the website.

Are events allowed on campus this spring?

If the number of cases begins to spike in the area, we may need to limit campus guests to vaccinated individuals. Events on campus will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the Emergency Management Team.

All proposed events must be submitted via the Campus Event Calendar. If you need access to this site, please contact facilities at

Any consumption of food or beverages at events must be approved by Parkhurst. 

What are we doing to enforce the masking policy, especially among visitors coming to athletic games on campus?

All visitors are required to wear Level 3 masks while in University Buildings. A Public Safety officer will be stationed at the entrance of the Griffin Complex during games to hand out level 3 masks and assist with mask enforcement. 

Contact Public Safety at 215-641-5522 if you observe someone without a mask. There are also masks within Student Life Office in Rotelle if you wish to offer a guest a mask. 

Will the Bensalem campus be supplied level 3 masks?

Yes.  Masks will be delivered to Bensalem this week. 

Fall 2021 Vaccine Requirement Student FAQs

As of Monday, August 23, 2021, any student, staff, or faculty member who has not submitted a Vaccination or Exemption form will not be granted access to campus.

As of August 1, 2021, due to the Delta Variant, all students, staff, faculty, and guests are required to wear masks on campus while indoors, except when in your individual office or residence hall rooms.

Why is GMercyU requiring students to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our students. We believe requiring the vaccine is the best way to mitigate the potential spread of this terrible virus.   

Requiring the vaccine is not only consistent with the best available information from the Centers for Disease Control and local and state health officials, but it also is consistent with our Mercy values, which call on us to make decisions that consider the Common Good and respect for all human life.  COVID-19 has proven to be a highly contagious and often deadly virus, and we want to be sure we’re doing everything we can as a community to end this pandemic. 

As an institution of higher education, we also are committed to making evidence-based decisions.  The science around the COVID-19 vaccine indicates that it is a safe and effective way to help prevent the spread of the virus.

I plan to commute to campus in the fall. Do I still need to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. All students who take courses on any GMercyU campus will be required to show proof of vaccination prior to coming to any campus in the fall. 

I would prefer not to get the vaccine. Can I just fill out an exemption form?

All GMercyU students who will take courses on any campus will be required to show proof of vaccination prior to coming to campus in the fall. Students can request an exemption for religious or medical reasons only. The exemption form is available here. (You must be logged into the portal to view the form.)

It’s also important to remember that students who are required to participate in clinicals, student teaching or other field experiences in order to graduate will very likely be required to show proof of vaccination in order to report to their site locations in the fall. Most area hospitals, for example, have already announced that students must be vaccinated in order to complete their clinical experiences.  Students who choose not to be vaccinated may not be able to complete these degree program requirements, which could delay their time to graduation. 

If I have tested positive for COVID-19 do I still need to get the vaccine?

The CDC has indicated that contracting COVID-19 may provide immunity for a period of time, but vaccination provides the best protection against the spread of the virus.  Our top priority continues to be the health and safety of our students, and we believe requiring the vaccine for the fall is the best way to mitigate the potential spread of this virus.  

If you contract the virus over the summer, prior to receiving the vaccine, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor on the appropriate timing for vaccination.  Please be sure to contact GMercyU’s Health and Wellness Center if your doctor recommends that you delay vaccination for a period of time.   


If I don’t want to get the vaccine, will I be able to take courses virtually instead?

Unless you are already enrolled in a fully online program, it is very unlikely that you would be able to take all of your courses in a virtual format this fall.  GMercyU’s course registration site shows which courses will be available in an online format, but the majority of campus undergraduate and graduate courses will be offered on campus in the fall.  


I don’t want to get the vaccine. If I decide to take a year off or transfer to another school for the coming academic year, will I still be eligible for my current scholarship when I return to GMercyU for Fall 2022?

If you decide to leave the university for a year or more, you will need to re-apply for admission and follow the degree program requirements in effect at the time of your re-admission.  Upon re-admission, you would be eligible for a transfer student scholarship, which may not be the same as your current scholarship.

What if I can’t get an appointment for the vaccine by August?

Appointments are much more widely available now than they were even a few weeks ago. Please be sure to check your County’s Office of Public Health website for details on where you can make an appointment.  Local pharmacies and grocery stores also have been offering vaccine appointments.  Gwynedd Mercy University also hopes to be able to offer some vaccine clinics over the summer.  Be sure to continue to check your GMercyU email and the portal for potential dates and times.  

We strongly recommend that you schedule your appointment in June, or July, so you can be fully vaccinated no later than August 12, 2021.  Remember, you need both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines in order to be fully vaccinated.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose. 

Is it possible that the University will eliminate this requirement before the fall semester begins based on new information?

The start of the fall semester is still several months away and we know things may continue to change.   Similar to the way we have handled decisions over the past year, we will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation carefully.  It is possible that we will make adjustments to our campus safety protocols based on new information.  But, for now, we believe this is the safest course of action based on the scientific information available to us today.  

Students do not need to show proof of vaccination until two weeks prior to coming to campus or August 12th, whichever comes first.  So, you have a little time to schedule your appointments. However, we strongly recommend that you schedule your appointments for no later than mid-July so you can be fully vaccinated by the August 12, 2021 deadline. Remember, you need both doses of a two-dose vaccine regimen or one dose of a single vaccine regimen in order to be full vaccinated.

Where can I get more information about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine?

In addition to the many resources available on the CDC website, you may find it helpful to take a look at the information in this panel discussion, which was provided by members of our science, public health, and nursing faculty.  

What if I was vaccinated outside the United States?

People who were vaccinated outside the United States with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine and have received all the recommended doses do not need any additional doses. People who received the first dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses do not need to restart the vaccine series in the United States but should receive the second dose as close to the recommended time as possible.

Some people may have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently authorized in the United States. No data are available on the safety or efficacy of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized in the United States after receipt of a non-FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine. However, in some circumstances people who received a COVID-19 vaccine not currently authorized in the United States may be offered revaccination with an FDA-authorized vaccine:

  • COVID-19 vaccines not authorized by FDA but listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO)2
    • People who have received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is listed for emergency use by WHO do not need any additional doses with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
    • People who have not received all the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine listed for emergency use by WHO may be offered a complete FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series.
  • COVID-19 vaccines neither authorized by FDA nor listed for emergency use by WHO
    • People who received all or some of the recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither authorized by FDA nor listed for emergency use by WHO may be offered a complete FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine series.

The minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine or a WHO-listed vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine is 28 days. Only people who have received all recommended doses of an FDA-authorized or WHO-listed COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated for the purpose of public health guidance.

COVID-19 Vaccines and Experiential Learning

Will requesting a medical or religious exemption impact my ability to complete clinicals, student teaching, internship or other experiential learning requirements?

If you are granted an exemption, you will be able to participate in classes and other activities on our campuses, as long you follow all other safety protocols.  However, any exemption from the University’s vaccine requirement may impact your ability to participate in clinicals, student teaching, internships, etc.

Many hospitals and other clinical sites, as well as other area employers have already announced that they are requiring the vaccine.  We have no control over the vaccine requirements of site locations.  Although we will try to place students with an exemption in a site location where the vaccine is not required, we cannot guarantee that this will be possible.

In addition, it is best practice to put students at different sites throughout their program.  We may not be able to find enough sites that do not require the vaccine to accommodate you, which could limit your ability to complete degree requirements and potentially delay your time to graduation.

If you plan to seek an exemption from the University’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement, I encourage you to contact your program coordinator right away.  A list of contacts for on campus programs that require clinicals and field placements is below.  

Undergraduate Education Programs:
Mary Jo Pierantozzi,

Graduate Education Programs:
Jamie Bowen,

Medical Laboratory Science:
Joy Fox,

Main Campus BSN:
Laraine Amoia Waters,
Mary Hermann,

Mary Ann McLaughlin,

Weekend BSN:
Tiffany Ciocci,

Graduate Nursing:
Denise Vanacore,

Occupational Science/MSOT:
Tom Mernar,

Radiologic Technology:
Joy Fox,

Radiation Therapy:
Rose Troutman,

Respiratory Care:
Bill Galvin,

If I don’t get the vaccine, can I complete my clinical requirements via virtual simulation?

No. Unless the University must move to fully remote learning based on the spread of the virus or based on state or local requirements, we will not offer virtual simulations.

What is the refund policy for students who need to drop a clinical course?

The University’s Tuition Refund Policy is located here. The policy also is accessible on the Bursar’s page.  If you choose not to get vaccinated and cannot be placed in a clinical site, you must drop your course(s) by the stated deadlines or you will be responsible for tuition charges, as outlined in our Tuition Refund policy.

If I drop my clinical course(s), will I be able to take it in the spring semester?

We cannot guarantee that your required clinical course(s) will be offered in the spring semester.  Not completing your clinical requirements as scheduled will very likely delay your time to graduation.