COVID-19 Response

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response

Beginning on April 8, 2022, Mercy College will follow the CDC Community Levels for safety protocol. COVID-19 Community Levels are a tool to help communities decide what prevention steps to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds being used, hospital admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area. Mercy College employees and students are required to take precautions to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 based on the current COVID-19 Community Level. 

Mercy College's mask requirement is subject to change pending changes in the CDC Community Levels.

Masks must be worn by all colleagues, regardless of vaccination status, in MercyOne settings where healthcare is provided

 
  • Mask Policy: April 8, 2022

    In accordance with CDC guidelines, masks must be worn by all colleagues, regardless of vaccination status, in MercyOne settings where healthcare is provided. Masks are optional in locations where care is not administered and only when the COVID-19 level is identified as LOW.

    COVID-19 levels can be tracked here: 

    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/covid-by-county.html

    Polk County Iowa COVID Community Level is LOW and therefore masks are currently optional.  

  • Student and Employee Expectations: Updated January 23, 2022

    The following expectations apply to all individuals on Mercy College's campus. We all mutually benefit from a campus community that remains healthy and encourage students and employees to do their part and follow the policy.

    Masks:
    Masks are required at all times when in general-use areas (for example, classrooms, conference rooms, lobby, restrooms, breakrooms, and hallways).

    On 1-14-22 the CDC provided updated mask guidance. In response to the guidance, cloth masks, which provide the least protection, should not be used while on campus or clinicals. Employees and students should wear disposable surgical masks, KN95s, or NIOSH-approved respirators (including N95s).


    Masks may be removed in classrooms, conference rooms, and break rooms:

    • If you can remain at least 6 feet away from others at all times. 
    • ​To eat or drink. We encourage students and employees to eat and drink when they can remain at least  6 feet away from others.

    Employees are not required to wear a mask if he/she is in the office by themselves. 

    Masks are not required when outside campus buildings.

    Any individual may choose to wear a mask at all times while on campus. 

    Symptom Monitoring: 

    Individuals must conduct their own symptom monitoring each day before coming to campus and be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19.

    Close Contact: 
    If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19:

    • Close Contact: Per CDC, close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
    • Unvaccinated or More than 6 months out From Second Vaccination and Not Yet Boosted:  Must quarantine for 5 days if exposed directly with someone who has COVID.  After the 5 day quarantine, masks must be worn for an additional 5 days.

    Positive COVID-19 Test: 
    You must isolate for 5 days since symptoms appeared or the day the positive test was received. After the 5 day isolation period and no fever, employees and students may return to campus but must wear a mask for an additional 5 days.

    Exemption: 
    Students who have an approved exemption must conduct weekly COVID testing. Students should contact the Student Success Center for more information.

  • Employee Vaccine Policy: December 21, 2021

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requiring all employers with more than 100 employees to develop, implement, and enforce a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

    Currently, we are requiring all employees, including all new employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on or before January 10, 2022 or have an approved exemption from the vaccine on record as indicated in Iowa law. 

    Each employee who is not fully vaccinated is required to be tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if away from the workplace for a week or longer).

    Employees must provide proof of the weekly testing to Human Resources. More information regarding the testing process will be communicated. If an employee receives positive test results, the employee must quarantine for 10 days and until all symptoms have disappeared. Prior to returning to campus, a negative test must be received in Human Resources.

    Mercy College is required to maintain records of employee’s vaccination status or test results. The records kept are considered medical records and are kept in a confidential manner. These records will not be disclosed as required or authorized by the regulation or other federal law.

  • Student Vaccine Policy: Updated January 13, 2022

    Dear Students:
    Mercy College of Health Sciences does not require the COVID-19 vaccine for students on our campus. However, each student participating in a learning experience – including preceptorships and clinical experiences – at a location that mandates the vaccine must comply with that location’s vaccine requirement. Students who are in a clinical setting must be compliant with CastleBranch requirements, e.g. COVID-19 vaccine information uploaded into CastleBranch, or a verification of an approved exemption uploaded into CastleBranch.  

    On November 1st: 

    • MercyOne: Students who are in clinical at MercyOne must be vaccinated or have an approved exemption.  These documents must be uploaded into CastleBranch prior to starting clinicals. Students without proof of vaccination or an approved exemption are not allowed to attend clinical at MercyOne.
    • UnityPoint: Students who are in a clinical setting at UnityPoint must have either their COVID-19 vaccine information uploaded into CastleBranch, or a verification of an approved exemption uploaded into CastleBranch. Students who are not compliant with the CastleBranch requirements ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ATTEND CLINICAL.
    • Broadlawns: Students who are in a clinical setting at Broadlawns must have their COVID-19 vaccine information uploaded into CastleBranch. No vaccine exemptions will be permitted. UNVACCINATED  STUDENTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ATTEND CLINICAL 
    • VA: Students who are in a clinical setting at the VA must have their COVID-19 vaccine information uploaded into CastleBranch. No vaccine exemptions will be permitted. UNVACCINATED STUDENTS ARE NOT PERMITTED TO ATTEND CLINICAL

    My best,

    Dr. Kertz

  • Clean Hands

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

     

  • Symptom Monitoring & Social Distancing

    • COVID 19 can be spread in various ways, including by someone who is asymptomatic. Therefore, social distancing measures will be practiced whenever possible. Visual cues will be placed around campus to indicate proper distancing. When on Campus employees and students should:
      • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people whenever possible.
      • Not gather in groups of more than 10.
         
    • Employees and students are encouraged to maintain good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.  Hand sanitizers will be placed throughout campus. Employees and students may want to consider bringing a personal container of hand sanitizer.
       
      • Handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of the elbow. Used tissues should be thrown away after each use and hands should be washed immediately with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
         
    • Employees and students who have been instructed to return to campus:
      • Must conduct their own symptom monitoring each day before coming to campus and be free of any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19.
      • Must quarantine for 14 days after your last close contact with the person with COVID-19 and not return to campus during the quarantine.  Employees should contact Human Resources when exposed to COVID-19.  Students should contact Student Services.  Faculty will work with students regarding classes, labs and/or clinicals that may be missed.
      • Per CDC, close contact is defined as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated.
      • Must isolate themselves for at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared; and at least 24 hours have passed with no fever and without fever-reducing medication; and symptoms have improved.  Employees should contact Human Resources when exposed to COVID-19.  Students should contact Student Services.  Faculty will work with students regarding classes, labs and/or clinicals that may be missed.
      • Must stay home if feeling ill.
         
    • Per the CDC, at this time, symptoms include one or more of the following:
      • Fever/Chills
      • Cough
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle or body aches
      • Headache
      • New loss of taste or smell
      • Sore throat
      • Congestion or runny nose
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Diarrhea
  • Avoid Close Contact

  • Stay Home if Sick

  • Cover Coughs & Sneezes

    • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
    • Throw used tissues in the trash.
    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting

    • Facilities staff will follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of campus rooms approved for use. They will maintain hand-sanitizer stations at various areas of the campus, including high-traffic areas.
       
    • Equipment and supplies, such as computers and phones assigned to one person will not be cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis. Employees and students who use this equipment, should clean and disinfect the equipment.
       
    • Diagnostic equipment, manikins, and reusable supplies used in lab must be cleaned and disinfected by faculty after each individual use in a manner specified by the manufacturer.
       
    • CDC Guidelines: Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • Students & Classes

    WILL ALL CLASSES BE HELD ONLINE OR IN-PERSON?

    Currently, classes are being conducted online and in-person. Virtual versus in-person instructional methods are denoted on the course schedule. Students should follow the course instructor’s guidance for class details.

    WHO SHOULD I TALK TO IF I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT RETURNING TO CAMPUS AND CLINICALS?

    Students with concerns regarding returning to campus or clinicals should work directly with their faculty. The College recognizes each individual's circumstances and comfortability returning to these settings may differ. Mercy College has safety guidelines to make these scenarios as safe as possible for all individuals present, and will work to accommodate students to the greatest extent possible.

    WILL TUTORING SERVICES BE AVAILABLE?

    Yes, tutoring is available in-person or online and, as always, is free of charge for students to utilize. 

    WHAT REMOTE RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE? 

    Remote Student resources, login details, and more are available to all students at mchs.edu/Remote-Students

    ARE CLINICALS AND PRECEPTOR EXPERIENCES CANCELED?

    Starting July 6, 2020, students may begin returning to clinical settings with safety guidelines in place between the College and our clinical partners that ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff.

    ARE STUDENTS ALLOWED ON CAMPUS?

    Yes. Students, faculty, staff, and guests are welcome on campus while wearing a mask. 

    ​WILL THE COLLEGE PROVIDE UPDATES? 

    Yes. Updates will be made regularly as notifications are made from MercyOne, the Iowa Department of Public Health, and the Polk County Health Department. Please monitor your employee or student email and urgent notices will be made via our emergency communication protocol. 

    I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS 

    This page will be updated regularly as the situation in Iowa evolves. If you have specific questions you are encouraged to contact your instructor, academic advisor, admissions department, or other areas of the College as appropriate.

     

  • Training Center

    IS THE TRAINING CENTER UP AND RUNNING?

    Yes. The Mercy College Training Center is open and offering courses. View available continuing education courses.

    ARE TRAINING CENTER COURSE REFUNDS AVAILABLE?

    Yes. However, individuals should please wait until they receive a class cancellation notice to request a refund.

    WHO SHOULD MERCYONE EMPLOYEES CONTACT FOR QUESTIONS?

    Please contact Human Resources at (515) 247-3100.

  • Employees with Children

    • We know that there are situations where children will be learning remotely, and parents may be needed to help with this learning. 
    • Employees in these situations should visit with their immediate manager to determine if their work can be performed outside of the time needed to help their children.  
    • Managers will be as flexible as possible with these situations, at the same time, ensuring the work is completed timely and meeting the needs of the Colleges. Employees must continue to perform their job in a satisfactory manner.
  • Postive COVID-19 Test

    If you test positive for COVID-19:

    • Isolate from others for 5 days.
    • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
    • No fever for 24 hours.
    • Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days. 
    • However, if you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.

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EMAIL
Admissions: admissions@mchs.edu

PHONE
Admissions: (515) 635-1133
General: (515) 643-3180

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Mercy College is a Catholic, accredited, nonprofit institution of higher learning.