Mercyhurst University officials continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving news about the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), following ongoing updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, and other external stakeholders and partners. 

In January 2020, President Victor empaneled an ad-hoc university task force to manage the university's response to this dynamic and ongoing crisis. The task force is led by Dr. Laura Zirkle, who leads the university's Critical Incident Response Team (previously the Emergency Response Team), and includes Dr. Judy Smith, Dr. Leanne Roberts, Atty. Meredith Bollheimer, Joseph Howard, Jeanette Britt, Jamie Breneman, David Myron, Dr. Gregory Baker, Dionne Veitch, and Deb Morton. Other campus partners – including the health center, provost's council, residence life, athletics, and international student services – participate as warranted to unit-specific needs and concerns.

The task force is charged with:

  • Assimilating regularly changing guidance, in coordination with local partners, including public health officials and authorities, into university practices and policies
  • Ensuring the university complies with guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and other external stakeholders
  • Implementing interim policies to mitigate the introduction of COVID-19 on our campuses 
  • Ensuring, where possible, continuity of normal operations
  • Establishing remote teaching, learning, and, where possible and needed, telecommuting policies for current employees
  • Providing regular, on-going updates and communications to university constituents during this fluid, dynamic event
  • Preparing for contingencies, including procedures, policies, and communications in the event that suspected or confirmed cases are identified in our region or within our community
  • Implementing a wind down of on-campus operations, transition to virtual instruction and work, and continuity of critical operations
  • Developing plans for a resumption of normal operations, when circumstances allow

The COVID-19 Response Updates website serves as the official mechanism for vetting Mercyhurst-specific information. We will continue to communicate regularly and in as transparent a manner as we are able.