We are eagerly anticipating your arrival to our beautiful campus for the fall 2021 semester!
The COVID-19 landscape continues to shift, but we are confident that our community will enjoy a vibrant living and learning experience here on the mountaintop. The experience will include athletics, social activities, residence and commuter life events, and an engaging in-person learning environment.
In order to enhance our year and mitigate the risks of COVID, the College will continue to review CDC guidance and strongly encourage all community members to get vaccinated! More on this below.
This communication provides important information regarding many of the questions you may have related to COVID-19 and our processes this fall. This message will be followed by email announcements from Residence Life tomorrow (August 13) for our residential students, grouped by arrival dates.
These policies may change as the Delta variant affects our regional landscape. We will continue to communicate updates as they occur.
Mount Aloysius College strongly recommends that all members of our community be fully vaccinated prior to the start of classes. While a COVID-19 vaccination is not currently required, research has demonstrated the authorized vaccines are the most effective combatant against the COVID-19 virus. Mount Aloysius College believes that obtaining the vaccine shows a strong commitment to our Mercy values and reflects our mission.
In addition to exemption from regular testing pools on campus, vaccinated individuals (students and employees) will be eligible for weekly prizes such as cash offerings, priority housing, free parking permits in designated spots, room coverage, and more!
On July 27, the CDC updated its mask recommendations. The CDC “recommends all unvaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings. Based on emerging evidence on the Delta variant, CDC also recommends that fully vaccinated persons wear masks in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.” Cambria County is currently a “substantial” transmission area.
Based on this guidance, effective Monday, August 16, the College is requiring masking for everyone in classroom settings, hallways, offices (when not alone), and meetings on campus. Fully vaccinated individuals may unmask when meeting together with express mutual consent, and in large/open indoor spaces such as Bertschi when distancing is possible. Certain areas in the library, such as tutoring areas, may require masking. Masking policies may shift through the semester in light of CDC guidelines, as well as our community vaccination rates. Get vaccinated!
Residence Hall masking policies will be addressed in the follow-up email to residential students.
Athletic masking will be defined by the NCAA for practice and play.
Masking is required for all employees during indoor group activities related to Employee Development Days.
We believe that our in-person success last academic year was due at least in part to the amount of COVID testing conducted at the College.
Residence hall students will receive a follow-up email related to testing that must occur for unvaccinated students prior to arrival on campus.
Our COVID website will be updated shortly with specific testing plans for the upcoming year. For now, unvaccinated employees and students should count on regular testing.
Classrooms – Classrooms will be arranged in their pre-COVID format. Based on COVID trends throughout the semester, we are prepared to quickly transition to distanced classrooms and utilization of our large, indoors spaces for classes.
Residence Halls – Guests are allowed in residence hall rooms, however, not more than 2 guests are allowed in a room/suite at one time. All guests must be members of the Mount Aloysius College community. All residence hall lounge areas are open for student use (students should mask and/or distance depending on available space). We also encourage students to use available outdoor spaces for social gatherings that will exceed the 2 guest limit.
Dining Hall – The dining hall layout has been slightly modified from last year, however, distanced seating remains available. There will be some self-serve stations in the cafeteria along with pre-packaged items to provide a variety of meal options.
Outdoor Spaces – We will again have outdoor tents for certain activities (weather permitting) and the Ihmsen Breezeway will also be available for use. We will also have our adirondack chairs and hammocks. All Mounties are encouraged to take advantage of the nice fall weather as much as possible for events and activities!
Additional protocols such as cleaning, transportation, communications and other areas will be detailed on the COVID website shortly. Again, residential students can expect a follow-up email detailing their return to campus.
As we noted repeatedly last year, remember the personal protocols that help to mitigate the risk of COVD on campus and in the community:
If you have questions, students should email Tracy McFarland (firstname.lastname@example.org) and employees should email Tonia Gordon (email@example.com).
Stay tuned to your email and the COVID website for future updates. We look forward to an active semester with opportunities to engage with your peers at every turn. Check out this Mountie Student Events Google Calendar for a look at the first few weeks of the semester, and add it to your calendar (bottom right) to stay up to date throughout the semester!
Be Well, Live Mercy,
President, Mount Aloysius College