Six hundred personal care boxes are packed and ready to be distributed to our Bears. Forty faculty and staff volunteers assembled the Bears Care kits at Penfield Hall in Macon on Thursday. 

“It’s just what we do at Mercer; we jump in wherever we are needed,” said Campus Services Coordinator Michelle Beavers, one of the volunteers. “I am here to serve Mercer and ‘Be the Bear.’ I think the Bears Care kits will bring some comfort to our students, faculty, staff and parents. It shows we care for our people and their well-being.”  

The boxes were packed with a Mercer cloth mask, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a digital thermometer, a Bears Care button, a sticker with the Student Health Center hotline number and a list of COVID-19 symptoms, an information card on proper mask usage and personal hygiene tips, and a Bears Care pledge card. 

“The health of my advisees is so important that I really want to be a part of what the University is doing to protect them,” said Dr. Carol Bokros, director of Pre-Health Professional Programs advising and one of the volunteers. “I thought it was important to show support for the health of our students.”

The kits, part of the University’s Bears Care health initiative, will be given to students and faculty who will be on Mercer’s Macon and Atlanta campuses for Summer Session II, which begins June 22. A handful of classes are set to take place in person while following special precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Students enrolled in classes for the fall semester and the rest of Mercer’s faculty and staff will receive kits in August. 

“I think it’s an important service for our students,” said Shawna Dooley, who helped assemble the kits Thursday and is the associate vice president for University Advancement. “I think it underscores Mercer’s commitment to their safety. We want to provide in-person classes but we want our students to be safe, first and foremost.”

The Bears Care kits are just one of the measures being employed to maintain a safe campus, said Larry Brumley, Mercer’s senior vice president for Marketing Communications and Chief of Staff.

A COVID-19 testing facility on the Macon campus will be in operation later this month, and classrooms and labs for summer courses are being configured to allow for appropriate social distancing. In addition, hand sanitizer stations will be set up in facilities where classes are held, and cleaning and disinfecting schedules have been expanded. 

“The goal of Bears Care is to cultivate a culture of personal responsibility among Mercer University students, faculty and staff by promoting healthy behaviors to mitigate the risk of coronavirus spread,” Brumley said.


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