Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As you know, Governor Kathy Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams recently announced plans to relax state and city mask policies. In addition, the CDC now classifies our communities as areas of low transmission.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made decisions in line with federal, state and local guidance to prioritize the health and safety of our community members. Accordingly, I write today with updates to our on-campus masking, testing, and vaccination policies.
Mercy College will lift its indoor mask mandate in offices, meeting rooms and public spaces effective Monday, March 7, and in classrooms, effective Monday, March 28.
Please note a few important qualifications to this policy:
- All members of the campus community are expected to respect individual decisions to continue wearing a mask.
- Specific courses, including lab-based ones in the School of Health and Natural Sciences, will continue to require masks. This is to simulate the experience of working in the health professions and to maintain student safety when working in close proximity with others.
- Masks are expected to be worn by individuals who were recently exposed to confirmed cases of COVID-19 and are subject to quarantine or isolation requirements. Masks are also required in the Student Health Office and at COVID-19 testing sites.
Additionally, I encourage you to be aware of the latest guidance on mask effectiveness. This indicates that certain types of masks (such as well-fitting disposable surgical masks, N95s, and KN95s) are more effective than others.
Throughout the pandemic, the Student Health Office has consistently operated testing sites for individuals with approved medical or religious exemptions to the vaccination policy, student athletes, residential students and other individuals who wish to obtain a test.
Over the next several weeks, we will begin scaling down these testing operations and shifting individuals who are subject to testing requirements to use self-tests. More information will be communicated to those who are required to participate in on-campus testing soon. The Health Office will continue testing symptomatic students.
The College will continue to enforce its vaccination and booster policy for students, faculty, and staff. This means that all faculty, staff and in-person students are required to be vaccinated (or to have received an approved medical or religious exemption). As previously announced, booster doses are also required as you become eligible.
Soon, checkpoints at Mercy building entrances will be removed, meaning that community members will no longer be required to display the Mavericks Safe app upon entering campus buildings. Proof of vaccination will continue to be required at large-scale, indoor events, however.
I thank you for your cooperation with these policies for the last two years. Your actions – our collective actions – have enabled us to continue operating safe, high-quality teaching and learning environments for our students.
We will continue to monitor the public health outlook and will re-evaluate these policies if local public health metrics indicate we are back at a high level of transmission.
Timothy L. Hall