COVID-19 Response

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response

Mercy College of Health Sciences’ administrators are collaborating daily on campus-wide preparations and responses in accordance with federal, regional, and state authorities’ recommendations for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
 

COVID Guidance and Government Recommendations

Archive


August 19, 2021 | Student Vaccine Update

Dear Students,

In recent weeks, many healthcare facilities – including our clinical and preceptor partners at MercyOne, UnityPoint, and Broadlawns – have determined their employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. This requirement also includes physicians, volunteers, and others assisting with the care of patients within those facilities.

Mercy College of Health Sciences does not require the 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. Any student who does not comply with a location’s vaccine requirement will be unable to complete the learning experience at that location. This may, in turn, adversely impact the student’s academic progression.

Mercy College will review and consider requests for medical and religious exemptions. However, even if a medical or religious exemption is granted, there is no guarantee students will be permitted to complete a learning experience by the respective healthcare facility. Students who intend to request a medical or religious exemption should contact the Dean of Student Affairs, Lyneene Richardson, at lyneene.richardson@mchs.edu.  

More information about how students can provide vaccine documentation to meet the requirements established by the healthcare facilities will be provided soon.

As healthcare providers, we each have a responsibility to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. We are called to protect and serve the most vulnerable in our communities and all of us at Mercy College take this responsibility seriously. Help us build a healthier future by getting vaccinated to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your communities.

Please visit vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you. 

Blessings,

Dr. Kertz
Nancy K. Kertz, PhD, FNP-BC
Vice President of Academic Affairs & Provost

August 3, 2021 | Policy Update

Due to the community spread of Covid, Mercy College of Health Sciences is updating its masking policy. 

Effective tomorrow, Wednesday, August 4th, all vaccinated and unvaccinated employees, students, and guests will be required to wear a mask until further notice.  A mask is required unless individuals are alone in a personal office or when eating or drinking.

The nursing pinning ceremonies that were scheduled for Sunday, August 15, 2021, have also been moved to a virtual format. More details on this will be released in the following week.

May 25, 2021 | Updated Protocols and Policies

Dear Campus Community,

We are continuously monitoring CDC and IDPH guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As you know, the CDC recently updated their guidance to allow fully vaccinated individuals to be mask free in many situations. In our efforts to keep the Mercy College community safe while also following public health guidance, the following changes are announced. I encourage all of us to remain mindful that not everybody is, or will be, vaccinated. This is a personal choice and not one that should be questioned.

  • Effective immediately, students and employees who are fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination, will be allowed to be mask-free on Mercy College campus. To show proof of being fully vaccinated, you must complete the form and upload a picture of your vaccination card using this link. The information from the form will be kept in a confidential manner with access to the information limited. Very soon, students and employees who have uploaded their vaccination card will receive a sticker to be placed on their ID badges. Times and dates to receive the sticker will be announced by Anne Dennis shortly. It is after receiving the sticker and placing it on your badge, that you may be mask free. We anticipate stickers arriving within the next few days.
     
  • As a result of this new initiative and our continuing efforts to keep our campus community safe and healthy, all faculty, staff, and students will be required to have their ID badge on and visible at all times. If you have forgotten or misplaced your ID badge, you will be required to wear a mask on campus regardless of your vaccination status, without exception. 
     
  • Guests, visitors, and vendors will be required to wear a mask when on Mercy College campus.
     
  • Employees and students in clinical environments must continue following the mask requirements of that facility.
     
  • Of course, wearing a mask when you are near unvaccinated community members is always kind and appropriate, while no longer required.


Douglas J. Fiore, PhD
President

March 11, 2021 | Summer 2021 Update

Dear Students,

As the leadership of the college continues to monitor the ongoing COVID-situation, our highest priority is student safety. Looking forward to the summer term, we are planning to return some classes to in-person learning.

If a course is primarily didactic, you should be able to find an online section that fits your schedule. However, if you have classes with a clinical component, you should plan to be in-person to demonstrate necessary proficiencies.

Please refer to the summer schedule on the College’s website for further information: Mercy College of Health Sciences > Course Schedules & Registration (mchs.edu).

Due to the nature of the pandemic, the situation will remain somewhat fluid, as we continue to monitor case and hospitalization rates. If plans are altered, the college leadership will reach out immediately with an update on the situation. Those with questions about requirements for specific courses should contact their program chairs.

Please know that we are seeking what’s best for the entire community, while at the same time, recognizing the benefits that come with face-to-face interaction in the classroom.

Best wishes to you and yours during these challenging times.

Sincerely, 

Ryan “Bud” Marr, PhD
Academic Dean
p: 515-643-6679
f: 515-643-6626
e:rmarr@mercydesmoines.org

March 2, 2021 | Commencement Update

Dear Mercy College Graduate,  

As we draw to the end of another challenging year, I’d like to provide updates regarding Mercy College of Health Sciences’ annual Commencement ceremony. Without question, your Commencement symbolizes the culmination of your Mercy College career. It is the crowning achievement of any student’s academic journey, and we are especially proud of this year’s graduates as you conclude not only your respective degree program, but also a year of sacrifice, hardship, and untold challenges.  

After careful deliberation, and upon the recommendation of the Commencement Committee, we have decided to conduct this year’s Commencement exercises virtually. Every decision made over the last year has been done with your safety in mind. This choice to host a virtual Commencement ceremony is no different. The date and time of the Commencement exercises remain unchanged. Our virtual ceremony will be hosted via Zoom and streamed on Facebook Live on FridayApril 23, at 6 p.m. CST. This year’s graduation fee will be waived due to these unforeseen circumstances. Any fees already paid will be refunded.  

Despite the unfortunate circumstances we face, we are committed to celebrating your achievements and upholding as many of our traditions as possible. To accomplish this, please fill out this Virtual Commencement form and submit a picture of yourself by the end of the day on April 9, 2021. You will also have the option to include a brief message to any individuals you would like to thank for their support, as well as additional photographs of your time at Mercy College. The information and pictures you provide will be utilized during our virtual ceremony on April 23.  

Additionally, please confirm your current mailing address on MyMercy and submit a Change of Address form if needed. Any graduation fees will also be refunded via check and mailed to the address listed on your MyMercy. More information on how to participate in your virtual graduation ceremony will be emailed to you in the coming weeks. Please continue to check your student email and the website for more details. 

Finally, please accept our sincere congratulations on your accomplishments at Mercy College thus far. You have overcome so much in the past year, and we are proud to call you a Mercy College graduate.  

For questions regarding Commencement, please contact Maureen Smith, External Engagement Coordinator, at msmith11@mercydesmoines.org or (515) 635-1226.  

Nancy Kertz, PhD, FNP-BC
Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs

November 9, 2020 | Clinical Update

Nov 9, 2020 | Clinical Update

Due to the increasing numbers of hospitalized COVID patients in Iowa, Mercy College students will no longer be permitted to participate in in-person clinical and preceptor experiences beginning Monday, November 16, through the remainder of the fall semester.

Utilizing current campus safety protocols, clinical experiences will instead be supplemented with on-campus or virtual learning options.

Faculty will be providing additional details as they become available.

October 7, 2020 | Spring 2021 Update

Dear Campus Community,

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt our daily lives, Mercy College of Health Sciences continues to monitor federal, regional, and state guidance as we prepare to return to campus.

Spring Semester 2021
With the anticipated increase in cases during the winter months, our commitment to your safety remains paramount. As a result, Mercy College has elected to remain predominantly virtual through the spring semester. The virtual class formatting will remain the same as what has currently been conducted throughout the fall semester. When you register for spring classes in the coming weeks, you will note that virtual versus in-person instructional methods are denoted on the course schedule.

To accommodate this change, our spring calendar has been updated. We have delayed the start of the spring semester until January 11, 2021. As a result of this delay, spring break has also been canceled to minimize travel and enable the spring term to conclude as previously scheduled on Saturday, April 24, 2021.

Commencement Ceremony 2021
At this time, we are still anticipating to host our annual Commencement Ceremony in-person at the Iowa Events Center as scheduled on the evening of Friday, April 23, 2021. The appropriate safety precautions will be in place for this event and greater details will be shared in the coming months.

Summer Semester 2021
Mercy College will return to full face-to-face classes beginning in the 2021 summer semester.

Continual Monitoring
In the upcoming months, Mercy College will continue to monitor public health recommendations to ensure the continued safety of our campus community. Should changes be necessary to the Commencement ceremony or summer schedule, those decisions will be finalized by March 15, 2021.

Circumstances surrounding that decision will be reviewed based on the available data from the following factors:

  • Iowa Case Growth Rate
  • Iowa Positive Case Rate
  • Status of a Vaccine

The College’s main goal is to uphold our legacy of quality while ensuring the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. I continue to applaud your grace, resilience, and compassion for members of our community during these difficult times and hope this advanced decision enables all to prepare for successful spring and summer semesters.
 

Stay well,

Douglas J. Fiore, PhD
President
Mercy College of Health Sciences

September 4, 2020 | Fall Semester Update

From the Office of the Provost


Dear Mercy College Students,
 

The fall semester is officially set to begin for Mercy College students on Tuesday, September 8, and Monday, October 5, for MercyPLUS students. I am thrilled to begin a new semester with both our new and returning students!

We’ve prepared a number of activities to help you get acquainted with the many resources available at Mercy College. Please familiarize yourself with the vital information below:
 

  • Student Success Seminars

    Learn About Microsoft Teams
    Tuesday, September 8 | 11:30 am – 12: 00 pm | 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm
    Sign-up Here

    Deep Dive into D2L
    Wednesday, September 9 | 12: 00 pm – 12:30 pm | 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm
    Sign-up Here
     
  • Week of Welcome: September 14 – 17

    Week of Welcome (WOW) is Mercy College’s start-of-semester tradition that welcomes all new and returning students.  The week-long event helps familiarize students with campus tools and resources and provides many opportunities to win Mercy College SWAG! This year’s event will be completely virtual. See more details here and use #MercyCollegeLife on social media to participate.
     
  • COVID-Related Updates and Guidelines

    As select clinicals and labs take place on campus, it is important to review campus procedures and protocols for being safe while on campus. Be sure to view updated guides and information here: mchs.edu/health.
     
  • Helpful Departments to Know

    The following departments are available to serve you in a number of capacities. Please utilize our numerous campus resources as you prepare for the start of the semester:
     

Business Office: LWaldrop@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1591

Campus Ministry: bbonner@mercydesmoines.org | (515) 643-6736

CastleBranch: bcupp@mercydesmoines.org | mkellogg@mercydesmoines.org | (515) 635-1133

Financial Aid: FinancialAid@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1133

IT Support: mchs.edu/Students/Contact-IT-Support | (515) 473-8158

Library Assistance: libguides.mchs.edu/library/help

Norkaitis Student Success Center: studentsuccess@mchs.edu | (515) 346-8454

Registrar: registrar@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1133


I would like to conclude by assuring you that we are continuously working to create a safe educational experience that will uphold our high standard and legacy of quality. Please continue to take care of yourselves and prepare to have a wonderful semester!

Sincerely,

Nancy Kertz, PhD
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

August 28, 2020 | Fall Semester Update

From the Office of the Provost


Dear Mercy College Students,

As we wrap up summer and head into the fall semester, please remember that I will be providing weekly updates with important information every Friday through the start of the term. I want to ensure you are well-prepared and informed prior to the start of classes.

Please familiarize yourself with the vital information below:

  1. Bookstore Delay Due to COVID
    We have been informed textbook publishers and our textbook retailer (Follett) are experiencing processing delays due to Coronavirus. In an effort to improve your chances of not having text books on the first day of class, we encourage to you to complete your book order as soon as possible. You can find book information via our virtual bookstore at www.mchs.edu/bookstore.
     
  2. Review your Financial Aid for Fall 2020 Semester
    Log on to your MyMercy student portal to review your fall 2020 financial aid award. For assistance logging in to your student accounts, please submit an IT support request. When viewing the MyMercy Financial Aid Checklist, make sure to select the 2020-2021 year from the drop-down menu in the upper left corner. Please watch this YouTube tutorial for more specifics on how to navigate MyMercy and view your information.
     
  3. Tuition and Fees Bill Posted
    If you have registered for classes, the Business Office has posted your bill on MyMercy. You can access this through the View Accounts/Make Payments section of MyMercy. For questions or more specifics, please reach out to Business Office Manager, Laurie Waldrop, at LWaldrop@mchs.edu, or visit our tuition and fees page.
     
  4. Fall 2020 Course Schedules
    As we continue in an online and hybrid learning format, please familiarize yourself with the course schedule and the different types of instructional methods being utilized for fall at mchs.edu/Schedule.
     
  5. Helpful Departments to Know

The following departments are available to serve you in a number of capacities. Please utilize our numerous campus resources as you prepare for the start of the semester.
 

Business Office: LWaldrop@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1591

Campus Ministry: bbonner@mercydesmoines.org | (515) 643-6736

Financial Aid: FinancialAid@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1133

IT Support: mchs.edu/Students/Contact-IT-Support | (515) 473-8158

Norkaitis Student Success Center: studentsuccess@mchs.edu | (515) 346-8454

Registrar: registrar@mchs.edu | (515) 635-1133

Admissions: admissions@mchs.edu | (515) 643-6715

 

Sincerely,

Nancy Kertz, PhD
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

August 21, 2020 | Fall Semester Update

From the Office of the Provost


Dear Mercy College Students,

I know the last several months have been challenging and unique in many ways. Rest assured: Mercy College of Health Sciences is ready to serve, educate, and guide you toward your future in healthcare.

The College’s Return to Campus Task Force continues to develop plans tailored to meet the needs of our campus community with the health and safety of you, our students, in mind. While we know this fall semester may look different, our commitment to your education remains the same.

I want to ensure you are informed and well-prepared for classes this fall semester. I will be providing weekly updates with important information every Friday through the start of the term.
 

Please familiarize yourself with the vital information below:
 

  • Fall semester starts Tuesday, September 8, 2020. MercyPLUS classes begin Monday, October 5, 2020.
     
  • All classes will be held online until further notice with select clinicals and labs held in-person.
     
  • The instructional method posted on the College’s course schedules is crucial to understanding your specific course delivery modality. You can review these methods at www.mchs.edu/schedule.
     
  • All on-campus experiences and clinicals will follow our COVID-19 protocols and procedures which can be found at www.mchs.edu/forward.
     
  • Some students have had incorrect fall tuition and fee charges posted in their MyMercy account. We are aware of the error and are working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. Once resolved, all students will be sent an email from the business office. We apologize for the inconvenience.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact Mercy College at 515-643-3180. We look forward to a successful and productive fall semester. 

Sincerely,
 

Nancy Kertz, PhD
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

July 14, 2020 | Clinical Policies and Procedures

Student Count
The number of students permitted at Clinical Site at any given time shall be unlimited. It shall be the duty of College to ensure compliance with this requirement is met at all times.

Clinical Experience Permitted Hours
Students shall be permitted at Clinical Site during scheduled clinical hours, Sunday through Saturday.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Students shall be required to wear facial PPE at all times while at Clinical Site. Clinical Site and College shall have the joint responsibility of ensuring students comply with this requirement. Any student who fails or refuses to wear facial PPE may be asked to leave by either Clinical Site or College. Facial PPE may include a face mask and/or face shield or goggles. Clinical Site shall not be obligated to supply facial PPE for students. Additional PPE, beyond facial PPE as deemed necessary by Clinical Site may be required on a case-by-case basis (hereinafter Supplemental PPE).

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer
Clinical Site shall provide appropriate facilities to ensure students and College faculty are fully able to wash hands before and after every patient experience. Clinical Site shall also supply Hand Sanitizer for student and College faculty use.

Cleaning of Clinical Site Facility and Equipment
Clinical Site shall be solely responsible for all necessary and appropriate cleaning of facility and equipment belonging to or under the control of Clinical Site and represents and warrants to College it has policies and procedures which are followed to ensure all necessary and appropriate cleaning is performed.

Policies and Procedures
Clinical Site shall be responsible for making students and College faculty aware of any Novel Coronavirus policies and procedures which must be followed by students and College faculty.

June 26, 2020 | PPE for Lab and Clinical Settings

June 26, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

As we prepare to welcome students back to campus and clinical settings, Mercy College of Health Sciences remains committed to ensuring the safety of our community. As a result, we have purchased personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce exposure to the greatest extent possible. The following PPE Guidelines have been adopted from MercyOne Central Iowa and will be required for individuals in various scenarios. 


Face Shields

One face shield will be provided to every individual participating in lab or clinical settings.

Scenario: If an individual is in a clinical or lab setting where social distancing is not permitted, or they are providing direct patient care, they may choose to wear a face shield. 

Duration: Unlimited

Maintenance:

  • Clean after each patient encounter.
  • Face shields may be used by multiple individuals if cleaned between each use. 
  • If the face shield becomes damaged or no longer offers protection, it will be the individuals’’ responsibility to provide another face shield or obtain one from the clinical site if they are providing PPE. 
  • Face shields may be worn with a simple surgical mask in all patient-facing interactions. 
  • Remove shield and store when not in use during patient care.
Surgical Mask

Two surgical masks will be provided to every individual participating in lab or clinical settings.

Scenario: All students attending clinical settings are required to wear a surgical mask. 

Duration: Extended Use (Multiple Uses / Clinical Experiences).

Maintenance:

  • Wear the mask during direct patient care. 
  • When not providing direct patient care, place the mask in a paper bag for storage. 
  • Do not wear the mask around the neck when not in use. 
  • Use an ear loop or cotton cloth mask outside patient care areas.
  • Discard when mask becomes visibly soiled, or damaged. After individuals have discarded both masks, it is their responsibility to provide a new surgical mask or obtain one from the clinical site if they are providing PPE. 
Cloth Mask

All individuals are required to wear a mask when on campus. A cloth mask is permissible while on campus. Each individual is responsible for providing their own cloth mask. Individuals should launder the mask at home when it becomes soiled.


We are grateful for the many individuals across campus, our healthcare affiliates, and public health experts who have provided input into how we can best strive for safety across our all of our educational settings. 

We look forward to welcoming students back to campus and clinical sites in a safe manner.

Nancy Kertz, PhD, FNP-BC
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

 

June 19, 2020 | Return to Campus Plan (Clinicals)

June 19, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

After diligently working alongside our clinical partners to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff, Mercy College of Health Sciences is excited to announce that students may begin returning to clinical settings on July 6, 2020. 

As safety remains our number one priority, it is important to recognize how we are working alongside our clinical partners to ensure everyone’s safety during this time:

  • Students will not provide direct care to confirmed COVID-19 patients or any patient under investigation.   
    Each clinical site may have varying PPE requirements, which will be shared with students by their instructor prior to being assigned a clinical rotation. 
  • Due to limited PPE supplies, students are responsible for providing any PPE required by a clinical site if the clinical site will not be providing it to students. 
  • At a minimum, all students are required to don a self-provided face mask. Homemade face masks and other cloth masks are permissible. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with CDC guidelines for the cleaning of multi-use face coverings.
  • If your course is returning to a clinical site your instructors will provide you with greater details and instructions in the coming days. We will be prioritizing students who are closest to completing their studies until our entire affiliate network is accepting students. 
  • All clinicals and labs will be virtual after Thanksgiving. 

Mercy College will continue to utilize virtual, as well as on campus, simulation labs, to supplement instruction wherever possible, while maintaining the standards outlined by our numerous accrediting bodies. We remain dedicated to upholding our commitment and legacy to ensuring students receive a high-quality education. 

We look forward to welcoming students back to their numerous clinical sites in a safe manner.

Nancy Kertz, PhD, FNP-BC
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs

June 5, 2020 | Return to Campus Plan & Protocols
April 29, 2020 | Student Senate Meeting Notes from Meeting with Mercy College Leadership
April 23, 2020 | A Letter to Future Students

Dear Future Student,

We’re so excited for you to begin your Mercy College of Health Sciences journey! I hope that you and your loved ones are remaining safe and healthy. At this time, I wanted to update you on some of the changes being made that may impact you as a future Mercy College student.

As a health sciences institution, our number one priority is the health and safety of our students. We know the importance of following the recommendations of public health experts to ensure everyone stays safe and healthy. Following spring break, all classes were moved online for the remainder of our spring semester. In order to enable our students, faculty, and staff to plan for a successful semester, the decision was also recently made to keep all courses online for the summer semester. 

Mercy College is currently implementing a robust suite of virtual simulation tools that we are confident will enable you to receive the quality of education our legacy demands. The summer schedule remains unchanged. The Accelerated BSN program will begin courses on Monday, May 18, followed by all other programs one week later, on Tuesday, May 26. Mercy College faculty and staff continue to work remotely from our homes to support our future and current students during these times.

Although some things have changed, our commitment to your success has not. Our student services and 
resources are, as always, free to use and available to you when you need them. With the click of a mouse, you’ll have access to:

    •    Tutoring
    •    Academic and Personal Counseling 
    •    Academic Advising 
    •    Library Services and Support
    •    Disability Services 
    •    Writing Support 
    •    Career Services 
    •    Steps to Success Seminars

As we all gear up for the summer semester, be sure to complete your online orientation and register for your classes via MyMercy. Don’t forget to explore our Purple & Green Info Series, during which our Admissions team dives deep into a variety of Mercy College-related topics via a live Q&A session. I encourage you to check out these important resources, and to visit our website frequently for future updates and resources!

We know these are confusing times, but don’t worry! You’re a part of the Mercy College family, and we are always here to help you through phone, video chat, email, message in a bottle — you name it. However you want to connect with our team, we will make it happen so you never have to leave the safety and convenience of your home. 

Chart Your Course!

Andrew Gress
Director of Admissions
Mercy College of Health Sciences
 

April 21, 2020 | A Message from President Fiore

April 21, 2020

Dear Mercy College Students,

During these unprecedented times, I know all of us are working to adjust to the impacts of the Coronavirus 
pandemic in our community, on our campus, and in our homes. I recognize the added weight these transitions place on each of us, and I pray for your understanding as we navigate the difficult decisions ahead of us while continuing to uphold our Core Values. 

Summer Courses
In order to enable our students, faculty, and staff the ability to plan for a successful semester, all courses will 
remain online for the summer semester. We are in the process of implementing a robust suite of virtual 
simulation tools that we are confident will enable students to receive the quality of education our legacy 
demands. The summer schedule remains unchanged and students are encouraged to register online via
MyMercy.

Commencement
One of the greatest recognitions of completing your degree or certificate is participating in a commencement ceremony. We recognize the ongoing public health concerns will likely limit our ability to host a large gathering for our 2020 graduates. Given this uncertainty, it is with an extremely heavy heart that we have decided to cancel Mercy College of Health Sciences’ 2020 Commencement ceremony. This is not a decision I take lightly. I know how meaningful it is to walk across that stage after years of commitment, hard work, and determination.

Students who have paid a graduation fee will receive a full refund of $110. A check will be mailed in early May to the address listed in your MyMercy account. Please verify your address is accurate within MyMercy to ensure you are able to receive your refund promptly.

Although we cannot gather as a community to celebrate your Commencement, you are still a Mercy College of Health Sciences graduate. We want to honor you and your hard work and recognize your accomplishments. As a token of our heartfelt congratulations, we will be sending you a Mercy College Graduation Bundle to your address listed in MyMercy. This package will include the following contents and will arrive in late May:

  • Official Mercy College of Health Sciences Diploma
  • Official Mercy College of Health Sciences Diploma Cover
  • Honor Cords, if applicable
  • Commemorative 2020 Commencement Program 
  • Commemorative Commencement Gift

In addition, we will be announcing ways that you can celebrate with us on our social media in the coming days. Please follow all our social media accounts so you don’t miss this important information. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. All of us at Mercy College are here to help. We are in this together.

Respectfully,

Douglas J. Fiore
President, Mercy College of Health Sciences

April 17, 2020 | A Letter to Future Students

Dear Future Students,

I hope this message finds you well. I am happy to report to you the faculty and staff at Mercy College of Health Sciences are continuing to support our students in these challenging times. Our classes have gone online and our staff is remotely working.

As we move through truly new challenges higher education is facing, we are continually reviewing our policies and procedures to make sure we are doing our best to support our current and future students. Many other institutions are doing the same, and we are trying to make sure the decisions we make take into account what is happening across higher education.

Students coming to or transferring to Mercy College of Health Sciences that receive specialty grades (pass, satisfactory, etc.) in the Spring Semester of 2020 will be awarded transfer credit. If particular courses are required to meet program admission, academic leadership will review those applicants using a holistic admissions approach reviewing all academic transcripts submitted through the admissions process.

It is our intention to not let the challenges students are facing today negatively impact their decision to come to Mercy College of Health Sciences and pursue a career in healthcare. I would encourage you to contact your admissions counselor with any questions and to visit with our admissions team at a virtual campus visit day.

Chart Your Course!

Andrew Gress
Director of Admissions

P.S. Don’t forget to visit www.mchs.edu/help for questions!

April 15, 2020 | FAQs: Temporary Grading Policy Changes for Spring and Summer 2020

FAQs | TEMPORARY GRADING POLICY CHANGES FOR SPRING AND SUMMER 2020


Why are temporary grading policy changes occurring?
Due to COVID-19 and the temporary delivery change, students should have selected options which empowers them to have some academic choices.

What is the temporary grading policy change? 
Students will have flexibility in how they are graded resulting in a temporary Pass/Unsatisfactory grading option for students will be available.

How will the policy work?
Faculty will enter letter grades at the end of the course.  

How will a student elect to change their letter grade?
Students will have 5 business days following the end of the term to elect to change their letter grade(s) to a Pass “P” grade or Unsatisfactory “U” grade by submitting a form through their academic advisor. If no form is submitted, the letter grade will be recorded for the course.

What is the process for students to apply for P/U grades?

  • Student submits P/U form to their Academic Advisor
  • Academic Advisor discusses P/U options with student, then signs form
  •  Student submits form to Registrar for review
  • Student will be shown their calculated GPA for the term with letter grades, as well as their
  • calculated GPA with P/U grades, before their final decision is implemented.

What are the grading details?

  • Neither a Pass “P” grade nor an Unsatisfactory “U” grade will count in the student’s GPA.
  • Students would be permitted to use this grading option in more than one course.
  • The Pass “P” grade reflects a course grade of “C” or higher.  
  • The Unsatisfactory “U” grade reflects a course grade of “C-” or lower.
  • The Pass “P” will be earned credit and the Unsatisfactory “U” will not be earned credit.  

How will faculty grade students?
Faculty will grade students as usual during the semester, and submit the letter grade to the Registrar’s Office following the standard submission process. 

Who should utilize this policy?
Students planning to attend graduate school should consider this option carefully. Students trying to improve their GPA to a certain level may not benefit by making this switch.

Will Mercy College accept “P” grades for incoming students?
Yes. All P grades will be accepted for extracted GPA requirements for both transfer students and Mercy College students for only summer and fall admissions (2020) and program progression requirements for summer and fall (2020) terms.  

How will a denied admitted student review be conducted?
A holistic review for the admissions process will be conducted for denials which result from this method. 

What course does this policy apply to?
The Pass/Unsatisfactory option applies to all courses. Courses taken for P/U grades during spring/summer 2020 will count towards curricular, major, academic progress (with exceptions for 
programs who have required extracted GPA requirements), and graduation requirements.

How will this reflect on a student’s transcript?
This Pass/Unsatisfactory designation on students’ transcripts will indicate the extraordinary circumstances encountered in the 2020 spring/summer semester.

How does this affect incoming students?
For incoming summer and fall 2020 students, the College will accept all P grades as the same. The College will not require that a “P” grade is equal to a “C or higher” to bring it in as a P grade. The rationale for this is to recognize that colleges have differing grading scales and it is        anticipated there will be an unprecedented number of P/F grades coming in. As with other P/F grades, it will not impact the GPA.
 

April 15, 2020 | Temporary Grading Policy Changes for Spring and Summer 2020

April 15, 2020

MERCY COLLEGE OF HEALTH SCIENCES 
TEMPORARY GRADING POLICY CHANGES FOR SPRING AND SUMMER 2020
Effective April 15, 2020

During this unprecedented pandemic, the College must be mindful that not all students may be affected the same academically and/or personally. 

Rationale for Temporary Policy Changes: Students should have selected options which empowers them to have some academic choices.

Policy: Students have flexibility in how they are graded. A temporary Pass/Unsatisfactory grading option for students will be available.

Faculty will enter letter grades at the end of the course.  

    • Students will have 5 business days following the end of the term to elect to change their letter           grade(s) to a Pass “P” grade or Unsatisfactory “U” grade by submitting a form through their           academic advisor. If no form is submitted, the letter grade will be recorded for the course.

        ○ Process for students to apply for P/U grades:
            - Student submits P/U form to their Academic Advisor
            - Academic Advisor discusses P/U options with student, then signs form
            - Student submits form to Registrar for review
            - Student will be shown their calculated GPA for the term with letter grades, as well as their calculated GPA with P/U grades, before their final decision is implemented.

    • Neither a Pass “P” grade nor an Unsatisfactory “U” grade will count in the student’s GPA.
       Students would be permitted to use this grading option in more than one course.

    • The Pass “P” grade reflects a course grade of “C” or higher.  

    • The Unsatisfactory “U” grade reflects a course grade of “C-” or lower.

    • The Pass “P” will be earned credit and the Unsatisfactory “U” will not be earned credit.   

        ○ Faculty will grade students as usual during the semester, and submit the letter grade to the Registrar’s Office following the standard submission process. 
            - Students trying to improve their GPA to a certain level may not benefit by making this switch. Students planning to attend graduate school should consider this option carefully. 
            - All P grades will be accepted for extracted GPA requirements for both transfer students and Mercy College students for only summer and fall admissions (2020)  and program progression requirements for summer and fall (2020) terms.  
                +  A holistic review for the admissions process will be conducted for denials which result from this method. 

    • The Pass/Unsatisfactory option applies to all courses. Courses taken for P/U grades during spring/summer 2020 will count towards curricular, major, academic progress (with exceptions for programs who have required extracted GPA requirements), and graduation requirements.

    • This Pass/Unsatisfactory designation on students’ transcripts will indicate the extraordinary circumstances encountered in the 2020 spring/summer semester.

    • For incoming summer and fall 2020 students, the College will accept all P grades as the same. The College will not require that a “P” grade is equal to a “C or higher” to bring it in as a P grade. The rationale for this is to recognize that colleges have differing grading scales and it is anticipated there will be an unprecedented number of P/F grades coming in. As with other P/F grades, it will not impact the GPA.
 

March 26, 2020 | A Message from President Fiore

March 26, 2020 – 11:00 am

Mercy College of Health Sciences continues to monitor ongoing developments related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As the situation continues to change rapidly, our top priority remains the health, safety, and well-being of our College community. The following information provides answers to many of your
questions and instructions on how to access numerous campus resources.  

COUNSELING  
During these challenging times, we encourage you to utilize our counseling services available through the
Norkaitis Student Success Center by contacting Maria Mattiace at (515) 635.1214 or
mmattiace@mercydesmoines.org.

CAMPUS MINISTRY  
The Diocese of Des Moines has provided a website with numerous spiritual resources you can use to 
meditate on and process the situation we are all facing together. You can find these diocesan resources at 
www.dmdiocese.org/resources/worship/coronavirus. Additionally, our campus ministry department is still available to serve students of all faith backgrounds and can be reached by emailing Bo Bonner at bbonner@mercydesmoines.org.

SCHEDULING  
Our faculty and staff are prepared for a seamless transition to online coursework beginning on Monday, March 30, 2020. The spring semester will conclude on Saturday, May 2, 2020, except for the Accelerated BSN, which will conclude on Saturday, May 9, 2020.  

At this time, Mercy College is expecting to offer our regular on-campus and clinical experiences in the summer semester. In furtherance of this objective, we have decided to delay the start of the term. The summer semester will utilize the following schedule:  

12-Week Summer Term: May 26 - August 15  
14-Week Summer Term: May 26 - August 29  
Summer Accelerated BSN: May 18 – July 3 (Term 1), July 7 – August 22 (Term 2) 

REGISTRATION AND ADVISING  
Registration is currently open and available online for all current Mercy College students. Please work with your academic advisor to register for courses through MyMercy or contact the registrar’s office at (515) 635.1133 or registrar@mchs.edu. Transcripts can still be ordered at www.mchs.edu/Transcript-Request.  

VETERANS BENEFITS  
All questions regarding veterans benefits can be directed to Carolyn Bucklin at cbucklin@mercydesmoines.org. 

TUTORING  
Our online, comprehensive tutoring services are available for free through D2L via Smarthinking. Our tutors are available for individual appointments. More details can be found at www.mchs.edu/tutoring. Please contact Keri Stripling for additional resources at kstripling@mercydesmoines.org or (515) 635.1250.  

LIBRARY SUPPORT  
Many of the library’s resources remain online through our normal channels. Should you need assistance, you are encouraged to text (515) 303.4275, chat online via the library’s webpage, or email library@mchs.edu as needs arise.

TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT  
If you are in need of technological assistance, please complete the IT request form on our website or contact the IT department at IT@mchs.edu or (515) 473.8158.  

FINANCIAL AID AND SCHOLARSHIPS  
The scholarship application deadline has been extended to April 15. All current and future students who are looking to receive funding during Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 are encouraged to apply. Our
financial aid team can be reached at financialaid@mchs.edu or (515) 635.1133.

COMMENCEMENT  
Due to Governor Reynolds’s restrictions on gathering sizes, and in coordination with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we have elected to delay our commencement ceremony. We recognize the symbolism of this important ceremony and are committed to ensuring students are able to participate at a later time when appropriate.   

Please know that these changes and resources have been made available to you after much thought and careful consideration for the wellbeing of all our students, faculty, and staff. We are dedicated to making the most of our time together, both on- and off-campus. It is our commitment to ensure you are able to advance your
education toward becoming a successful healthcare professional.

During this challenging time, I leave you with the words of our foundress, Mother Catherine McAuley.  

THE SUSCIPE OF CATHERINE MCAULEY  
 My God, I am yours for time and eternity.   
Teach me to cast myself entirely  
into the arms of your loving Providence   
with a lively, unlimited confidence in your compassionate, tender pity.   
Grant, O most merciful Redeemer,   
That whatever you ordain or permit may be acceptable to me.   
Take from my heart all painful anxiety;   
let nothing sadden me but sin,   
nothing delight me but the hope of coming to the possession of You  
my God and my all, in your everlasting kingdom.  

Be well,  

Douglas J. Fiore, PhD  
President, Mercy College of Health Sciences  
 

March 23, 2020 | A Letter to Future Students

Dear Future Students,

Thank you for your interest in Mercy College of Health Sciences. I want to provide an update on our admissions operations given the current outbreak of COVID-19. While we have no reported cases of the virus among the Mercy College community, we are taking every precaution we can for the safety of our current and future students, staff, and faculty. Effective Wednesday, March 18, all staff operations moved to telecommuting and the campus is not accepting students or visitors. Classes will resume on March 30 and all courses will be administered in an online format.

The Mercy College admissions team will continue our operations remotely and receive phone calls at (515) 635-1133 from 8:00am – 4:30pm Monday through Friday (except holidays). Our admissions team can also be reached via email at admissions@mchs.edu. Not sure where to start? Visit www.mchs.edu/help to have all your questions answered.

We have taken additional precautions in our operations to ensure we are able to deliver our services in a safe way. We have made the following changes:

  • All high school and college transfer recruitment is on hold.
  • All Campus Visit Days will move to an online, video-based delivery.
  • Orientation sessions have been converted to an online orientation (asynchronous) class.
  • Supplemental webinars will be offered to help students prepare for summer and fall classes.
  • Admissions counselors will continue to take calls and meet with students virtually.

On behalf of our college community, I thank you for your understanding and patience. We look forward to supporting you through the admissions process and your preparation for classes.
 

Chart Your Course!

Andrew Gress
Director of Admissions
Mercy College of Health Sciences

March 17, 2020 | A Message from President Fiore

Dear Campus Community,

I write to offer assurances that college operations, although drastically reduced and/or modified, will continue. While the situation all of us face is serious and unprecedented, we have successfully pulled together, involved experts, sought advice, and created plans. Please continue reading these plans on our website, offer your guidance, ask questions, and feel confident.

Our faculty is working tirelessly to ensure that the highest quality educational experiences continue for our students once our extended Spring Break concludes. All student supports are continuing to the greatest extent possible because our support staff share our faculty’s laser-like focus on student success. Our operational staff are preparing to work remotely and accomplish every task possible to continue college operations. In short, the entire Mercy College workforce remains dedicated and committed to ensuring operations.

Please look for regular updates from the administration, and please remember that your opinions, guidance, and questions are welcomed. Most importantly, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones, follow CDC, MercyOne, and Public Health guidelines, and pray for our students and each other. Mercy College of Health Sciences is here for you.

My best,

President Douglas J. Fiore, PhD

March 16, 2020 | Campus Update

March 16, 2020 – 1:30 pm

As we continue to mitigate the impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our campus, beginning Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Mercy College of Health Sciences will no longer permit faculty, staff, students, or visitors on campus. All clinical and preceptor experiences have also been all canceled. This precaution will continue until further notice. All classes will return fully online on March 30, 2020. Please note, this change extends spring break by an additional week.

During this time, Mercy College has made investments in our technology resources to ensure staff and faculty can continue to provide support to all current and prospective students remotely. All classes and support services will be made available online and, as always, are free to utilize.

The academic calendar has been revised to accommodate these calendar adjustments:

Spring Break: March 16 - March 29
Sophomore / Freshman Registration: March 23 - March 27
 Last Day of Spring Semester: May 2
Last Day of Accelerated BSN Spring Semester: May 9
12-Week Summer Term: May 26 - August 15
14-Week Summer Term: May 26 - August 28
Summer Accelerated BSN: May 18 - August 21
Fall Semester: September 8 - December 19

If you have specific questions, you are encouraged to contact your instructor, academic advisor, admissions department, or other areas of the College as appropriate.

March 13, 2020 | Prospective Students Update

Hello!

Mercy College of Health Sciences is proud to prepare future healthcare heroes. Current events have certainly shown how critical trained professionals are to the health of populations, and we are excited for you to Chart Your Course at Mercy College as you pursue your career in healthcare.

Out of an abundance of caution regarding the recent developments with COVID-19, Mercy College has begun restricting events and courses held on campus. These precautions are being taken in order to limit both our prospective and current students’ exposure to and transmission of the disease, and will remain in place until further notice.

Beginning March 23, 2020, all courses will be conducted online. Mercy College offices will remain open at this time, and all scheduled on-campus events will still take place. We are excited to see you and show you everything Mercy College has to offer; however, registration for events will be limited to fewer than 50 attendees. These restrictions apply to all Campus Visit Days and New Student Orientation and Registrations. Students who are planning to attend either of these events are encouraged to limit the number of guests they bring with them. If students who have registered for Orientation are uncomfortable doing so on-campus, they will be required to complete Online Orientation instead. Please contact your admissions counselor to coordinate this change.

College administrators are working daily to coordinate responses and preparations in accordance with local, state, and federal authorities’ recommendations. All campus updates, frequently asked questions, and additional resources can be found here.

We plan to regularly provide updates to our campus community. Mercy College will still offer courses in the Summer and Fall semesters. We look forward to working with you and seeing you on campus soon!

Chart Your Course,

Andrew Gress
Director of Admissions
Mercy College of Health Sciences

March 11, 2020 | Campus Update

March 11, 2020 – 4:30 pm

As individuals continue to test positively for COVID-19 in Iowa, Mercy College of Health Sciences’ administrators are collaborating daily on campus-wide preparations and responses in accordance with federal, regional, and state authorities’ recommendations. Currently, there are no known cases of COVID-19 in the Mercy College community.

Upon returning from spring break on Monday, March 23, 2020, out of consideration for the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff, all classes will be conducted online. The campus will remain in operation for faculty and staff during this period unless we receive alternate guidance from MercyOne, the Iowa Department of Public Health, or the Polk County Health Department. This precaution will continue until further notice. All campus gatherings that expect an attendance number greater than 50 participants have been canceled. This includes the College’s upcoming Research Symposium.

In addition, all travel has been suspended until further notice. This includes the College’s Ireland immersion trip and all travel to conferences and meetings. Any exceptions must have President Douglas Fiore’s written approval. Students traveling to China, Iran, Italy, South Korea, or Japan must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to campus. Please reference the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (www.cdc.gov), as the list of countries deemed unsafe may be updated. Any students who plan to take a cruise over spring break may also be asked to self-quarantine upon their return.

“The safety of all students and employees is always our top priority. The College is working closely with state and local public health partners as we prepare for an uncertain immediate future with COVID-19,” stated President Douglas J. Fiore, PhD. “Please remember, there is no reason for panic. Normal procedures for infection control are warranted, and we do not take this decision to alter our academic calendar lightly.”

Mercy College will provide weekly COVID-19 updates to the campus community until such a time as they become unnecessary. More frequent communication may occur as the situation continues to develop.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, indicates that some people are at higher risk from this illness, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to avoid the spread of respiratory diseases. These recommended precautions include staying home when sick, avoiding contact with ill individuals, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces with a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths, and to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the restroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing their noses.

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EMAIL
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PHONE
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General: (515) 643-3180

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