Here’s what happens if a residential student tests positive for COVID-19

Aerial photo of Mercer's Macon campus

Mercer University students who test positive for COVID-19 and live in Mercer-owned housing or the Lofts may go home to recover or may isolate in special accommodations set aside for this purpose.

Isolating residential students who test positive for COVID-19 is part of the University’s multifaceted plan to stem the spread of the virus as students return to campus. The plan also includes access to an on-campus COVID-19 testing laboratory in Macon and public health measures such as requiring face masks, social distancing and increased sanitization.

Mercer has isolation units, consisting of a bedroom with bathroom access, in Macon and Atlanta for residential students who are unable to return home while they recuperate, said Dr. Douglas Pearson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.

For an affected student living in University-owned housing, an Office of Housing and Residence Life staff member will coordinate moving the student into an isolation room and will assist with academic and meal accommodations. An affected student living in the Lofts will also receive assistance with academic and meal accommodations while receiving direction on isolation from Lofts staff.

The Student Health Center will check on the student daily and monitor their symptoms, Dr. Pearson said. Students also will be advised to contact their own family physician.

Students will not be permitted to return to campus or leave isolation until they are cleared by the Student Health Center.

Those who may have been exposed to the affected student, including classmates, faculty, staff, roommates and suitemates, will be notified. The Student Health Center will evaluate each potential exposure, advise each person on what action to take, and determine if there is a need for additional sanitization, Dr. Pearson said.

Students — or anyone else on campus — who believes they are symptomatic or have concerns about being exposed to the coronavirus should call the 24/7 Student Health Center hotline at (478) 301-7425.


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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.