COVID-19 Information for Students and Families

COVID-19 Information for Students and Families


Important Updates: 

Learn about our COVID-19 vaccination requirement for fall. See our FAQs below, and if you have any questions, please email covid19@gmercyu.edu.

Complete 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.)

GMercyU's Summer 2021 semester will operate with a hybrid format, but will welcome all students back to campus for Fall 2021. 


    Fall 2021 Vaccine Requirement Student FAQs

    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.  

    Education
    Undergraduate Education Programs:
    Mary Jo Pierantozzi, pierantozzi.m@gmercyu.edu

    Graduate Education Programs:
    Jamie Bowen, Bowen.j@gmercyu.edu

    Medical Laboratory Science:
    Joy Fox, Fox.j@gmercyu.edu

    Nursing
    Main Campus BSN:
    Laraine Amoia Waters, AmoiaWatters.L@gmercyu.edu
    Mary Hermann, Hermann.M@gmercyu.edu

    ABSN:
    Mary Ann McLaughlin, Mclaughlin.m1@gmercyu.edu

    Weekend BSN:
    Tiffany Ciocci, ciocci.t@gmercyu.edu

    Graduate Nursing:
    Denise Vanacore, Vanacore.d@gmercyu.edu

    Occupational Science/MSOT:
    Tom Mernar, Mernar.t@gmercyu.edu

    Radiologic Technology:
    Joy Fox, Fox.j@gmercyu.edu

    Radiation Therapy:
    Rose Troutman, Troutman.r@gmercyu.edu

    Respiratory Care:
    Bill Galvin, Galvin.w@gmercyu.edu