Fall 2020 Information for Students and Families

GMercyU's caring community looks forward to welcoming students to the fall semester in a hybrid format.  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.

This model makes 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.  However, all in-person courses will be ready to move to a fully remote learning environment in the event we need to close campuses due to an outbreak of COVID-19.

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, we are 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!  

Your Health and Safety
The Hybrid Academic Model
Learn Which Classes are Hybrid, Remote, or Online
Technology Needs
Keiss Library
Campus Spaces for Remote Learning
Academic Support for Remote/Online Learning
Pass/Fall Policy
Clinicals, Internships, Student Teaching
Fall 2020 Tuition
Residence Life
Dining Services
Parking Permits
New Student Orientation
Athletics
Health & Wellness Center

Your Health and Safety

It is our top priority. The University’s Emergency Response Team has developed 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.

Please see details here

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.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or are experiencing symptoms, please immediately contact the University’s Health and Wellness Center at 215-646-7300, ext. 21306.

The Hybrid Academic Model

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.
    • Remote courses will be noted with “REM” on your course schedule.

Learn Which Classes Are Hybrid, Remote, or Online

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. 

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.
  • The University is working to identify 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.

Technology Needs

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:

In need of an affordable internet service provider? Please see this Guide To Internet Plans For Low And Fixed-Income Households.

Keiss Library

The Keiss Library is open from 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Librarians and staff are available in-person and via chat and email for general library assistance and research and reference help. Librarians are also available virtually via email and chat Monday through Thursday from 4:30pm until 9pm. As always, all of the Library’s online resources are available on and off campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

General seating and group study rooms have been set up to allow for physical distancing. Food and drink are allowed in the library but there will be no microwave available.

Campus Spaces for Remote Learning

The University is identifying spaces on campus where students who are enrolled in hybrid courses can also participate in synchronous sessions for their remote classes. 

Students can participate in remote learning classes on campus in these locations: 

  • The 1st floor of the Keiss Library
  • Rooms 21 and 22 of St. Bernard Hall

More information will be forthcoming.

Academic Support for Remote/Online Learning

As always, help will be available when you need it! GMercyU 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.

Pass / Fail Policy

The University will not change our current pass/fail policy for online courses, 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.

Clinicals, Internships, Student Teaching

Students will be able to complete clinicals, internships, student teaching, and other experiential learning experiences off campus this fall – as long as the sites are open and available, and students are able to comply with any site-specific requirements related to COVID-19.

Although we completely understand that students want to know exactly how these experiences will be handled this fall, the continued uncertainty around the spread of COVID-19 makes it very difficult to predict what will happen throughout the fall semester.

For the health and safety of all concerned, we will continue to follow the recommendations of the CDC and state and local health officials, and abide by the rules set by our partnering organizations. This will require us all to be patient and flexible as many of these decisions will remain outside our control.

Please know that we are doing everything we can to create the best possible learning experience this fall, and deeply appreciate the care and concern that has been so much a part of our campus community’s response to this very difficult and uncertain time.

Fall 2020 Tuition

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 will be savings in some areas, there are significant additional costs associated with moving instruction to a remote learning format that are not being passed along to students, so tuition rates will not change.

We did change the meal plan options for students living on campus, including adding a low-cost 100-meal block option. More details are located on the Dining Services page.

We also reduced some student fees and absorbed substantial increases in fees charged by outside vendors for online exam software and other student services. We eliminated parking fees for the summer and fall terms, and reduced the 2020-2021 Comprehensive Fee by $170 (or $4 per credit for students who are enrolled part-time) since there will be some changes in the types of activities and services offered on campus this fall.

Students will still have unlimited access to counseling, career development, library, tutoring, academic advising, IT, and on-campus health and wellness services throughout the fall semester. Students also will be able to participate remotely in our many clubs and organizations, and take advantage of other co-curricular opportunities, including Campus Ministry and the Griffin Student Leadership Institute, among others.

Why am I paying lab fees if my courses are being held remotely this semester?

Laboratory courses offered in a remote learning environment will include virtual labs and may require kits sent to the student’s home. The fees associated with these virtual lab materials will be covered by the University’s normal lab fee. However, if students are required to purchase lab kits and supplies directly from an outside vendor for a particular course, the University lab fee for that course will be eliminated.

Residence Life

Despite these challenging times, Residence Life is dedicated and committed to providing a fun, warm, and supportive residential experience. We are excited to welcome both new and familiar faces back to campus soon!

As announced in June via email, the Office of Residence Life has assigned students to rooms – with no roommates – in all four of GMercyU’s residence halls. Assignments for all residents were issued via email on Friday, July 3, 2020 and Tuesday, July 7, 2020. First-year and transfer students had their assignments emailed to both their personal and GMercyU email accounts.

To keep everyone safe and healthy this fall, residents can expect the following:

  • Masks will be required when residents are not in their own bedrooms.
  • All residence hall lounges and laundry facilities will remain open with posted occupancy limits and physical distancing signage.
  • While there will be no restrictions on residents visiting each other, guests (anyone who is not a resident) will not be allowed in the residence halls.
  • Community kitchens in Siena and Alexandria Hall will be closed.
  • Resident Assistants (RA’s) will continue to be present to provide caring support and encouragement, programming, and other initiatives to engage and contribute to the growth of our residents.

To help protect our commuity while around campus, residents will also be expected to follow the University’s health and safety protocols
 

Move-In/Drop Off

Due to the need for physical distancing, we will be staggering our move-in schedule. You'll sign up for a specific day and time to bring your belongings to your room and then return home until we officially open the residence halls for the semester. Detail on this process will be sent via email.

What to Bring/What Not to Bring

Students may be required to leave housing with short notice due to state-mandated COVID-19 closure requirements or an on-campus outbreak; please consider this when deciding how much to pack. In addition, Residence Life has put together a recommended list of items to bring and a list of items that you cannot bring. Find more details on that here.

If you are interested in living on campus and have not yet submitted your housing application or deposit, please contact Residence Life for next steps as soon as possible at reslife@gmercyu.edu.

Dining Services

This fall, students can find healthy and delicious options in the Waldron Dining Hall and the Pepperazzi. The University is also launching Mobile Order Pick Up this fall as an alternative to in-person dining. 

Find meal plan options, hours of operation, and more on our Dining Services page.

Parking Permits

The University will not charge students to park on campus during the summer and fall semesters, but all students MUST register their vehicle and display a permit while on campus or be subject to a parking violation.  You will be required to register your vehicle with the Public Safety Department online at the link below and display your 2019-2020 tag, if available.

Please register your vehicles by Sunday, August 23, 2020.

Register your Vehicle

When registering enter LAST YEAR'S PERMIT # into the NOTE SECTION of the Registration form. This will allow for the data base to have current vehicle contact and vehicle information. If you DO NOT HAVE last year's permit, please add "NEED NEW PERMIT, RESIDENT STUDENT" or "NEED NEW PERMIT, COMMUTER STUDENT" into the Note section of the registration form on the last screen.  Permits can be picked up at the main entrance gate the first two weeks of the semester.   

All vehicles on campus must be registered per University policy. The Public Safety Department will be enforcing parking regulations at the onset of the semester for our community’s safety. Campus parking enforcement will begin on Wednesday, September 9, 2020. 

Public Safety is asking anyone who cannot register online to call the Public Safety dispatcher to make alternate arrangements to register your vehicle.  If you have any questions, please call 215-641-5522.

At this time, a decision has not yet been made on parking permits for the spring semester.  Please check your email and the portal for future announcements for parking this spring.

New Student Orientation

The University 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!

Athletics

Please see the latest news regarding fall sports.

Health & Wellness Center

Students must contact the Health & Wellness Center immediately if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or feel you have symptoms.

Contact: 215-646-7300, ext. 21306 or email ferguson.d@gmercyu.edu.

Due to the potential spread of COVID-19, please contact the Health and Wellness Center for a phone screening prior to coming to the Health Center. The Health and Wellness Center staff will be following CDC guidelines and utilizing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for a safe opening in Fall 2020.

Location: 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.

Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30am-4:30pm during the academic year. If you have an emergency outside of these hours, please contact Public Safety at 215-646-7300, ext. 21300. Nurses are available Monday through Friday, and doctor hours for the semester are posted on the Health and Wellness Center door.

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

Fees: There is no cost for students 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.