Mercer offers COVID-19 testing in advance of Thanksgiving travel

Mercer University opened a COVID-19 testing laboratory on its Macon campus.

Mercer University students, faculty and staff who would like to be tested for COVID-19 before heading home or traveling for Thanksgiving will have several opportunities to do so. 

In Macon, testing will be offered 8 a.m.-noon and 1-4 p.m. Nov. 19-20, as well as 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Nov. 21 and 8:30 a.m.-noon Nov. 22. Testing will take place at the Student Health Center in Drake Field House. 

Atlanta students, faculty and staff may be tested 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. Nov. 19-20 at the Student Health Center in Sheffield. 

“We want to offer this testing so that it gives students and their families peace of mind knowing that students can go home for the Thanksgiving holiday with a COVID-19 result,” Vice Provost Dr. Kelly Reffitt said. 

Students who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 may make an appointment for the test through MyMercer. From the dashboard, go to action items to schedule the test. Students who have symptoms should call the COVID-19 hotline at (478) 301-7425 for an appointment. Faculty and staff should call the COVID-19 hotline for an appointment.

The COVID-19 test will be filed to insurance, and most insurance plans cover the testing costs without a deductible. Students who test positive may isolate on campus under current University protocols before returning home, Dr. Reffitt said.

For more information about COVID-19 testing before the holidays, please call the COVID-19 hotline at (478) 301-7425.

Earlier this year, Mercer adopted a revised academic calendar for the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the revised calendar, the last day of classes for fall will be held Nov. 24. Final exams will be administered online only Dec. 3-4 and Dec. 7-9. 

Students will not return to campus until the start of the spring semester on Jan. 7. 

Before the start of the fall semester, Mercer implemented strict COVID-19 protocols, including a mask requirement, social distancing, enhanced sanitization and the opening of an on-campus COVID-19 testing laboratory

In addition, all residential undergraduate students in Macon were required to be tested as they returned to campus. Surveillance testing has been ongoing throughout the semester. 

Between Aug. 20 and Oct. 29, Mercer tested 5,279 students, faculty and staff in Macon and Atlanta for COVID-19. Of those, 185 tested positive, for a positivity rate of 3.5%. This indicates coronavirus transmission, relative to testing, has been low during the fall semester. 

“We want to thank students and employees for their diligence in adhering to the COVID-19 protocols this semester, and we hope that the students take advantage of this testing opportunity before the holidays,” Dr. Reffitt said. “We look forward to seeing students in January.” 

The University will follow a similar re-entry process for the spring semester as it did for the fall semester, including requiring Macon residential undergraduates to be tested prior to the start of classes and requiring all other students, faculty and staff to complete a health screening. 

More details on the re-entry plans will be communicated before the end of fall final exams.


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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.