COVID-19 testing, screening required for students returning to campus

Entrance to Mercer University

Mercer University is requiring COVID-19 testing for all Macon traditional undergraduate students prior to returning to campus or moving into University housing to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Additionally, all other students on all Mercer campuses and regional academic centers must complete a brief COVID-19 screening survey before they are allowed to attend fall classes. Faculty and staff also are required to take the survey.

The testing and screening, along with the creation of an on-campus testing lab, are key parts of the University’s plan to safely bring students back to campus during the pandemic. That strategy also includes public health measures such as requiring face masks, social distancing and increased sanitization.

“As a Mercer family, we must all do our part to uphold and adhere to newly implemented protocols to respect others and support the health and safety of all as we welcome our incoming and returning students to campus this fall,” President William D. Underwood said in emails to students detailing the required testing and screening procedures.

Testing of Macon traditional undergraduates

More than 3,400 Macon undergraduate students will undergo the required COVID-19 testing before the beginning of fall semester on Aug. 18.

These students have two testing options: Be tested in their hometown prior to returning to campus or be tested through Mercer Medicine on their move-in date. Commuter students also will be given dates and times when they can be tested on campus.

Move-in this year for first-year students living in Mercer-owned housing will take place over three days, Aug. 12-14, instead of one day to promote social distancing.

Small groups of students are assigned staggered move-in times to promote social distancing. Early arrival groups returned to campus beginning July 27. New and returning students will arrive Aug. 10-17.

Students who choose to be tested in their hometown must do so within 10 days of their move-in date and email their test results to Mercer Medicine by Aug. 12. Students will receive a testing verification email from Mercer Medicine that must be presented to the Office of Housing and Residence Life or Lofts staff at move-in.

Residential students, including students living in the Lofts, who choose to be tested on campus on their move-in date must schedule their testing appointment 30 minutes prior to their assigned move-in time. Students should log in to the MyMercer student portal to schedule a testing appointment. Students who are tested on campus will receive a testing verification card from Mercer Medicine that provides clearance to move into University housing or the Lofts.

Students who already have been tested, regardless of result, should contact Mercer Medicine at (478) 301-2696 for instructions on how to proceed.

Mercer Medicine will send an email to students who test negative giving them clearance to return to campus. Those who test positive may go home until they are cleared by Mercer Medicine to return to campus or move into a designated isolation area on campus. Accommodations will be made for academic instruction.

Screening survey

All other students, faculty and staff are required to take a COVID-19 screening survey between July 24 and 31.

Based on their results, a test may be required. However, any student, faculty or staff member who wishes to be tested may request to do so.

Students will access the survey through their MyMercer account. Faculty and staff were provided a link in a July 24 email from Underwood.

Those who are required by their survey responses or choose to be tested may be tested through Mercer Medicine or off-campus by a clinical testing provider.

Mercer Medicine has set aside two testing periods — July 27-31 and Aug. 3-7 — on the Macon and Atlanta campuses. To schedule an appointment in Macon, call (478) 301-7425; for Atlanta, call (678) 547-6130.

Those who wish to be tested off-campus must do so between July 27 and Aug. 7 and email test results by Aug. 14 to Mercer Medicine, which will provide clearance to return to campus.

Most insurance plans cover the testing costs without a deductible. Mercer Medicine will bill insurance providers.


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Jennifer Falk
Jennifer Falk is director of digital communications at Mercer. She edits and writes feature stories for The Den and examines web data and analytics to drive content decisions. She also creates and supervises the creation of content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters.