Our commitments

Messiah is all about community. It’s who we are!  We are deeply grateful to our students and employees for finishing a safe and healthy in-person fall 2020 semester. And we look forward to Messiah University's on-campus, in-person spring semester return in January 2021.* Whether students engage Messiah on-campus, as commuters, or fully remotely, the University's response to COVID-19 continues to prioritize community health and safety, and student learning, care and support.

*Messiah University's reopening plans are tightly integrated with evolving state and federal authorities' guidance and directives, and as such, are subject to ongoing change. Messiah will notify students and employees of urgent updates via campus email and weekly updates to our emergency blog.

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Health and Safety

We're implementing clear protocols for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, quarantine care, plus PPE, social distancing and campus cleaning to keep the Messiah community healthy.  

Academics icon

Academic Quality and Flexibility

Messiah is offering its full range of spring 2021 courses in a high-flexibility, high- quality model providing effective learning whether students take courses in person or remotely based on their individual needs.

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Student Care and Support

Students' needs are central to all that we do at Messiah, now more than ever. We have a temporary new way of living, learning and interacting together. And we're providing the resources, people and flexibility to help students adapt and succeed. 

COVID-19 Dashboard

Let’s keep going! #TogetherAtMessiah

View our photo gallery from fall 2020 to see why it's good to be part of a special community like Messiah in times like these.

Social distancing in campus buildings

Adapting life and learning at Messiah

We learned many creative new ways to carry out our mission this fall. And while Messiah’s authentic Christian educational community remains at our core, how we live, learn, worship and work together continues to be different during COVID-19. But we're here and ready to help you--and to welcome you back for the spring 2021 semester!

Messiah has prepared the below checklists, and COVID-19 testing requirements, as resources for on-campus undergraduate and graduate students to help them organize and complete important action steps students must take before physically returning to campus in January 2021 for the start of the spring semester.


Undergraduate residential and commuter students

Spring return master checklist for Undergraduate Residential and Commuter Students (PDF)

Undergraduate COVID Testing Requirements: Pre-arrival Spring 2021 (PDF)

Graduate students (on-campus)

Spring return master checklist for On-campus Graduate Students (PDF)

Graduate COVID Testing Requirements: Pre-arrival Spring 2021 (PDF)

It is important to know that while it is our firm intent to proceed with the below adjusted academic calendar, Messiah’s plans may be subject to change based on fluid public health directives related to COVID-19. If changes are necessary, students and their families will receive notifications as quickly as possible via email, and via this website.

Undergraduate adjusted academic calendar spring 2021

Key dates:

  • Winter break: December 12, 2020 – January 20, 2021
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Monday, January 18, 2021 (during winter break; holiday for employees)
  • New student Orientation and Move-in: January 19-20, 2021
  • Returning Students Move-in: January 19-20, 2021
  • Start of Classes: Thursday, January 21, 2021
  • Spring Long Weekend (no off-campus travel): March 11-14, 2021; No Classes
  • Good Friday: April 2, 2021; No Classes (no off-campus travel)
  • Last Day of Classes: April 30, 2021
  • Finals Week: May 3 – May 6
  • Undergraduate Commencement Weekend: May 7-8, 2021
  • May Term: May 17 – June 4

View the full undergraduate academic calendar 2020-21 (PDF)

Some important changes to note:

  • Winter break is extended, so that students are not returning to campus after potential holiday travel or exposure to extended family groups.
  • There is no week-long spring break; restrictions on off-campus travel are anticipated to continue.
  • Good Friday is a holiday (no classes); Easter Monday is not.
  • The semester ends a week earlier than had been originally planned (pre-COVID).
  • Undergraduate Commencement is a week earlier than had been originally planned (pre-COVID); Graduate Commencement will move one week later to May 15, 2021.
  • May Term will begin a week earlier.
  • Summer Online Sessions I and II are currently planned to remain unchanged.


Graduate students adjusted academic calendar (2020-2021)

View the full 2020-21 adjusted School of Graduate Studies academic calendar (PDF)

Role of the Engle Center

Messiah's Engle Center is coordinating the University's COVID-19 screening, testing, quarantine/isolation, contact tracing and medical care protocols—including serving as the liaison with government and health care authorities. The University has added additional staff hours at the Engle Center and aligned its resources to continue to provide for the routine health of our students, while simultaneously navigating this public health crisis.This includes:

  • providing resources and developing clear, concise procedures for COVID-19 testing (both symptomatic and asymptomatic), screening, surveillance and containment
  • identifying locations and support protocols where students who need to be isolated or quarantined may be cared for on campus
  • proactive stocking of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • expanding on-campus telehealth and 24/7 telehealth resources for students

Testing protocols

Summary of spring 2021 COVID-19 testing plan:

  • Prior to arrival: All residential and commuter students were asked to self-quarantine for 10 days prior to the start of the semester. All on-campus students are also required to provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival on campus.
  • On-campus students will participate in a mix of asymptomatic full population testing and asymptomatic population sampling testing throughout the semester, as coordinated by the University.
  • Once on campus, all students will use the daily FalconLink check-in procedure to register their temperatures and presence of symptoms with the Engle Center.
  • Symptomatic individuals or individuals with known exposure to a confirmed positive case will be tested and housed in quarantine while awaiting test results.
  • The University uses a combination of point-of-care (POC) testing, and/or external lab testing based on a student's individual situation, symptoms or exposure. 

The University is closely following the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) Guidelines. For those who test positive, we contact the DOH immediately according to HIPPA guidelines, and follow the appropriate contact tracing and notification protocols.

Read the University's full COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

Visit the University's COVID-19 dashboard 

Messiah FAQs re: the COVID-19 vaccine 

Undergraduate students: isolation and quarantine care

While we are working hard to promote a healthy and safe campus environment, Messiah University is also prepared to care for the needs of students who may have been exposed to, or who test positive for, COVID-19. The below plans reflect our commitment to students' individual health needs and the safety of the campus community.  

For the purposes of this student care section, the following definitions apply:

  • Quarantine - Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health and temperature, and follow directions from the health center.
  • Isolation - is used to separate people presumed infected with the virus (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others.

         Quarantine and Isolation Care FAQs

         Watch the video: Entering Quarantine or Isolation Care

Undergraduate quarantine and isolation housing

Smith Apartments, Sections A and B and the Climenhaga Homestead have been reserved for on campus quarantine and isolation housing. These facilities have separated entrances from other living spaces and accidental access can be precluded by blocking card access or locked doors. Each person in quarantine/isolation will be designated a room with access to a private bathroom. 

Read more details about the Engle Center's testing, quarantine and isolation protocols on this page

Caring for vulnerable students

Since the CDC considers persons with certain chronic illness to be at higher risk for COVID-19, members of our community with the chronic or uncontrolled illnesses listed below are encouraged to consider Messiah's fully remote learning option. In addition, this option is important to consider for individuals who have severe or uncontrolled anxiety or depression that could make the anticipated challenges of the semester particularly difficult to navigate. The chronic conditions that put a person at increased risk include the following:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions Immuno-compromised (e.g., cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow/ transplant, immune-deficiencies, prolonged use of steroids or immune-weakening medication)
  • Severe obesity (BMI 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease

If you self-identify as a member of one or more of these vulnerable population groups, but do not wish to be a fully remote student, it is important that you contact the Engle Center for Counseling and Health Services to discuss your situation and your options for care and support. On-campus graduate students should also contact their respective program director.

Caring for vulnerable employees

We recognize and support the need to provide accommodations for employees who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or employees who live with individuals who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Currently, per the CDC, an individual falls into the vulnerable category if they are over age 65 and/or have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • Serious heart conditions Immuno-compromised (e.g., cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow/ transplant, immune-deficiencies, prolonged use of steroids or immune-weakening medication)
  • Severe obesity (BMI 40 or higher)
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • Liver disease

Employees should contact their supervisor and human resources at  if they need to request and explore their options for an accommodation. Note: Accommodation requests are processed via human resources and require supporting documentation. 

Residence Hall Living

Life in the residence halls looks different this year. Due to federal and state guidance on COVID-19 mitigation, it was determined that the safest way to house our students involved decreasing our housing capacity within the residence halls to limit possible exposure. To do that, some students from the apartments (as well as juniors in the residence halls) were offered to reside at nearby Oakwood Hills apartments for the coming year. As such, Oakwood Hills currently serves as an extension of our on-campus housing offerings this year. This move allowed some students previously assigned in our traditional residence halls to move into apartments, creating significantly less condensed living on each residence hall floor.

Students living in on-campus housing had the expectations and guidelines related to life together in the season of COVID-19 thoroughly reviewed and explained to them by residence life saff during their orientation process. 

Read more about residence hall living and undergraduate student expectations during the 2020-21 academic year.

Undergraduate course delivery

Messiah University is offering the full range of sping 2021 classes, and is committed to offering residential, face-to-face instruction as part of its undergraduate experience this spring. In addition, these courses will be available for students who need to learn remotely, including internationally based students who may not be able to travel; so if students are not comfortable or able to attend in person, we still welcome you to begin classes with us this spring.

Central to our preparations are ensuring proactive health and safety measures in our in-person classroom setting. For instance, to achieve adequate social distance, some classroom assignments may be changed from typical locations while other courses will employ a staggered model of rotating the days when students attend face-to-face and the days when students attend remotely throughout the week. While the model used to ensure adequate health and safety may vary from course to course, every course will be designed and delivered in a way that provides an equitable, effective learning opportunity for students, whether they are present face-to-face or learning remotely. This type of high-flexibility, high-quality course delivery will provide students the most options based on their individual health needs.

The models of classes that Messiah is using during COVID-19

Enhanced face-to-face (F2F); Lecture-based classroom

This version of course delivery looks and feels very much like a traditional lecture classroom, but includes synchronous participation from remote students. Classroom technology makes it possible for remote students to hear and see at least the most critical elements of the classroom presentation/discussion and to interact with the instructor or peers. Course pedagogy is generally the same as it would be for a traditional lecture course delivery.

Enhanced face-to-face (F2F); Activity-based classroom

This version of flexible course delivery makes use of what some call a “flipped classroom” pedagogy.  Direct instruction is generally asynchronous and moved in advance of the class hour and delivered via recorded mini-lectures, focused readings, or brief “primer” assignments. The class time is then devoted to activities such as problem solving, discussions, reviewing paper drafts, etc.


The HyFlex strategy effectively blends elements from the two prior course delivery strategies to provide options for the student and for content delivery.  Students who can attend class F2F do so, while students who cannot attend the physical classroom time can participate either synchronously or asynchronously using materials available online that are functionally equivalent in content and rigor with what will be done in the classroom. While this option provides flexibility, it also entails significant investment in and changes to course design, preparation and delivery.


A small percentage of courses may be identified by the institution as needing to be delivered entirely online.  While this will not be the norm, this will a supported modality in that limited number of cases where/when necessary.

It should be noted that the options described above to apply to instruction that falls into the category of traditional classroom instruction. The plan for classes that don’t easily fit into this model, such as studios, labs, ensembles, and experiential learning opportunities, may be read below.

Read plans for clinicals, labs, student teaching and performing arts

Readiness to pivot online

All of the models above are adaptable to a rapid transition to online, if the University needs to respond to public health directives, as well as a pivot back to Enhanced F2F/HyFlex. This enables Messiah to continue to provide quality academic instruction in a fluid way throughout the uncertainties that are inherent due to ongoing adjustments related to COVID-19.


January course delivery changes for DPT and MOT

Lecture coursework for DPT and MOT will be moved online through Jan. 31. This decision will be revaluated by Jan. 22, with the intent that a date for lecture coursework to be face-to-face can be determined. Classes will continue to meet at the currently published time online synchronously. Lab courses will continue to meet face-to-face at Winding Hill.

View the School of Graduate Studies spring 2021 academic calendar.

Academic modifications: on-campus graduate programs

Some accommodations have been made to accomplish appropriate distancing measures in face-to-face classes and labs. Faculty will deliver some didactic (lecture) courses entirely online while others will be delivered in a hybrid format. The decision to pivot  a face-to-face course to 100 percent online will be made by the institution.

Laboratory educational settings have been modified to enforce social distancing, according to square footage in the room. Students will be placed in lab groups for the entire semester to limit exposure. All students in laboratory courses are trained at the beginning of the course in health and safety procedures, and this instruction will include instruction in COVID-19 transmission prevention and completing lab work while social distancing and wearing a mask. For learning activities that require modified (closer) distancing in labs to fulfill learning objectives, the School Dean will approve proposals from Programs that outline the parameters and precautions, such as additional PPE, for these learning experiences.

Guest speakers (not Messiah University employees) for on-campus courses will be strictly limited to those whose engagement is a critical component of the curriculum. In most cases, guests will engage with students virtually. Due to the need to limit visitors, in-person guest speakers are not permitted for clubs and organizations.

The on-campus graduate programs do not offer a remote learning option. Faculty will work with individual students who need to miss classes/labs so that each student can reach the appropriate learning outcomes. All faculty will utilize CANVAS, recorded lectures, video demonstrations, and online case studies to supplement the face-to-face lab courses.

On-Campus Graduate Student COVID-19 Expectations and Accountability

1. All on-campus graduate students (regardless of where they have been living prior to the start of the semester) are expected to sign and abide by the community promise and follow best practice health and safety practices in anticipation to the start of the semester and throughout the semester. This includes:

  • Participate in the Falcon Health COVID-19 Screening
  • Particiipate in the University's population and sampling COVID-19 testing for students
  • Wash your hands often and practice good hygiene.
  • If you leave your home for any reason, you must wear a mask, practice strict social distancing and be vigilant in hand-washing.
  • Arrange for routine medical appointments to occur more than 2 weeks before your arrival on campus.
  • Avoid public areas including malls, theaters and large public gathering spaces.
  • Monitor your temperature daily and watch for symptoms.  If symptoms develop, call your health care provider BEFORE seeking in-person care.
  • Do not use public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
  • Postpone any travel.

Clinical, Field Work and Practicum

Prior to resuming clinical, field work and or practicum experiences, students must complete the School of Graduate Studies Return to Clinical, Field Work/Practicum check list indicating they have read and agree to comply with the policy including signing and returning the form. Students must also sign the institutional waiver that informs them of the potential disease risk. Students must also follow all the clinical site-specific policies and procedures.   


Classroom modifications for social distancing

The CDC and the PA Department of Education (PDE) have provided guidelines for institutions of higher education that emphasize such things as the importance of hygiene, 6-foot spacing where feasible, and face coverings.  Per PDE guidelines, “COVID-19 requires that postsecondary institutions rethink the ways in which they conduct learning and other activities on campus.” Specific areas that have been addressed are:

  • Building flow has been adjusted in order to limit the spread of illness. Where possible, hallways will be one-way, stairways are one-way, and building exit and entrances are separate. Elevators should be occupied by only one person at a time.
  • Proper signage is important in facilitating new ways of moving around campus. Appropriate signs will be placed throughout the campus to assist with the adjusted flow.
  • ADA compliance is being maintained. Those with accessibility issues will not be required to follow building traffic patterns where prohibitive.
  • All classroom spaces have been evaluated and adapted to allow for social distancing. New room capacities are posted in each space. Furniture should not be moved into, out of, or within rooms.
  • The number of students who will attend class in-person at one time will be limited to accommodate appropriate social distancing of 6 feet between individuals when feasible.
  • In situations where 6-foot spacing is not feasible, such as in laboratories or studios such as film that require closer proximity, increased PPE, such as glasses/goggles, lab coats, and gloves will be used. In addition, some professional organizations in these areas have published recommendations for mitigating risk that can be incorporated as well.
  • Technology solutions are being provided to allow students to engage in group work, while still social distancing, and also continuing to incorporate remote learners into class discussions.

This year the Division of Student Success and Engagement is providing our undergraduate students with a meaningful, modified offering of cocurricular programs, services and facilities designed to protect their health and safety during the challenging circumstances of COVID-19. 

Read an overview of how Messiah University is facilitating counseling services, chapel and campus ministries, athletics (including access to the fitness center and gyms), academic support services and career and professional development for students.

Campus deep cleaning

Since the start of the pandemic, Messiah staff have been deep cleaning and disinfecting all areas of campus, focusing additional resources on high-traffic and common-use areas. The University has installed protective Plexiglas and other safety shields, increasing hand sanitizing stations, thinning out furniture/seating and adding signage to help with social distancing. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols will continue throughout the entire academic year in compliance with all state and CDC guidelines to help protect our campus community. 

Residence hall cleaning

All residence hall buildings will be thoroughly disinfected before students return for spring semester. During the semester, campus staff are assigned to full cleaning bathrooms, hallways, lounges, kitchens, stairwells and public areas of residence halls once daily. Additional hourly sanitizing is applied to high-touch areas. Residence Life assigns each student to clean their own sink, commode, and shower in the bathrooms. Students are provided supplies and asked to help wipe down their assigned bathroom facilities before and after use. Campus staff and student employees are assigned bathrooms to full clean such that residence hall bathrooms are cleaned and sanitized seven days per week.  

Addressing other potential health risks

The following additional steps will be taken to reduce the spread of illness:

  • Classrooms have sanitation spray and wipes so students and faculty can wipe down space between uses.
  • Reduced amount of employees and students allowed in campus vehicles
  • Campus water fountains are temporarily turned off in compliance with PA Department of Health
  • Hand sanitizer is placed at building entrances
  • Cleaning supplies are available on each campus building floor
  • Increased HVAC coil/duct cleaning and filter changing 
  • Installation of Plexiglas shields at main interaction points where six feet of distance is not feasible

Read the full university cleaning plan

Messiah University Dining Services has a solid reputation for outstanding food, great service and an award winning food safety program. Dining Services is enhancing the already existing excellent safety practices and protocols based upon guidance from guidelines of the State, the CDC, and our local regulatory authorities to ensure a safe and quality dining experience for all of our students, staff and guests. 

Executive summary: Messiah University Dining Safety Plan

  • All students, staff and guests are required to wear a mask in the dining facilities until they are seated at a table.
  • The dining rooms and food courts have furniture and spacing arranged to maximize social distancing.
  • The dining rooms are adjusted for reduced capacity, allowing for six-foot socially distanced seating throughout, and each restaurant will have separate and specific entrances and exits posted.
  • Automatic hand sanitizers are placed at each restaurant entrance as well as throughout the dining areas.
  • Six-foot distancing signage is posted throughout the dining facilities and Plexiglas barriers with be installed at each register and food serving location.
  • The culinary service in the Lottie Nelson dining hall offers to-go, no touch or minimal touch services with all self-service stations being utilized so that students may dine in Lottie, the Martin Commons, in Brubaker or at other locations on campus.
  • Lottie, The Falcon, The Union Café, The Café Diem and the Café @ Winding Hill each offer contactless payment options, and an extensive variety of to-go offerings and services.
  • We offer on-line ordering which is highly recommended for fast and efficient service pick up or dining in at both the Union Café and The Falcon.
  • If quarantine meals are be required, Dining Services in partnership with the Engle Health Center has a fully automated quarantine meal service program designed to deliver meals directly to the student’s door.  
  • The annual Dining Services employee orientation has been designed to include extensive and comprehensive training for all Dining Services employees regarding effectively and consistently maintaining the highest standards for safe and sanitary foods and facilities in light of COVID-19.
  • In addition to our extensive daily cleaning and sanitizing operational checklists, every contact surface within each operation is sanitized and or disinfected after each use.
  • Specific COVID-19 employee training sessions demonstrate proper personal hygiene, hand washing, cleaning surfaces, social distancing, glove usage and COVID-19 symptoms awareness.
  • Every full-time employee in Dining Services is a Certified ServSafe Manager with the National Restaurant Association and will be responsible for the initial and ongoing quality training of our part time and student employees.

The Dining Services team is excited to serve our students and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that each campus restaurant is a safe, healthy, inviting and quality dining experience for our students and guests.

Read the full dining safety plan.

Regarding Messiah's adjusted fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters:

Messiah University is absorbing significant costs to implement a comprehensive approach to safely operating our campus, diminishing the spread of COVID-19 and delivering a high-quality enhanced educational model that flexibly offers the majority of our coursework both face-to-face and remotely. While there will be no fees or additional charges billed to students for these measures, there will also be no accommodation for refunds to students due to the announced modifications to the 2020-2021 fall and spring semesters.

However, if further government directives require Messiah to move its coursework online earlier than planned, senior administration would review and consider issuing credit to students for room and board. Any university calendar adjustments during this challenging time have been made, and will continue to be made, specifically with the needs and safety of our students, their hometown communities, and the greater Messiah community in mind.  

If a student decides to change from a residential to a fully remote student for the spring semester, will they receive a housing refund?

Students who voluntarily make the switch from residential to fully remote will be reimbursed based on the dates set for our withdrawal students. Generally, it is a monthly percentage reduction from the start of the semester until February 25, 2021, which is the last day for a student to switch from residential to fully remote and still receive a partial housing adjustment to their bill. For students with dining dollar meal plans, any unused dining dollars will be credited to their fall 2021 bill, and the operations charge is nonrefundable. For students with ala carte plans, any remaining ala carte balances will be credited to their fall 2021 bill.  It is important to note that changes to remote-only status after February 25, 2021 will not result in room or board credits. View Messiah's undergraduate refund policy

Questions regarding this policy, or an individual student’s account, may be directed to Student Financial Services at or 717.691.6004. 





Risk mitigation practices and expectations for employees

Employees continue to be vigilant in taking measures to control the spread of COVID-19 and prevent an outbreak on campus. As such, Messiah University has outlined six health practices that all employees must follow:

  1. Employees need to a mask at all times, unless working alone in an office.
  2. Employees need to work in a socially distant manner
  3. Employees need to wipe/disinfect work spaces (key pads, desk tops, counter tops, phones) frequently
  4. Employees need to take breaks to wash hands several times a day
  5. Employees need to stay home if feeling sick or exhibiting any symptoms related to COVID-19 (Fever, chills, cough, vomiting, diarrhea, shortness of breath, etc.)
  6. Employees must exercise respiratory etiquette.

The following information details how we expect employees to implement these health principles:


Cloth masks are required in public spaces on campus where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as when entering or exiting campus, lounges, hallways, restrooms, etc. In addition, masks are required in shared work spaces.  Employees working along in an office may remove their masks while alone.   Messiah University will provide all employees with a cloth mask.  If additional masks are needed, employees should speak with their supervisor.  Employees who, for health reasons, cannot wear a mask will be expected to wear a shield and should discuss this with their supervisors.

Social distancing policy

To ensure the protection of employees and students, the following social distancing practices must be followed:

• Until further notice, meetings of more than just a couple people must be held virtually if social distancing cannot be practiced.  Even when social distancing may be possible, it is preferred that meetings be virtual and all meetings must have a virtual or remote call-in option.

• Employees and students must not gather in groups, especially in confined areas, including elevators.

• Common spaces such as break rooms, lounges, and conference rooms may be taken off-line temporarily. At a minimum break rooms and lunchrooms will be limited to food preparation only. When possible, employees are encouraged to bring meals that do not require refrigeration or heating.

Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette

Practicing basic hygiene and respiratory etiquette has been proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It also demonstrates to others our care and concern for their health and wellbeing. While practices such as frequent hand washing or wearing a cloth mask may seem inconvenient, to those around us, especially to those in the vulnerable category, these are tangible expressions of thoughtfulness for one another.

Disinfect common spaces

All members of the Messiah University Community will be called up to assist in reducing the spread of illness by disinfecting common spaces.  Employees and students must not use anyone else’s personal protective equipment. Where possible, employees should not share phones, computer equipment, desks, cubicles, workstations, offices, or other personal work tools and equipment.

There are some situations where work tools (including Messiah-owned vehicles) must be shared. In those situations, employees are required to take precautions to sanitize them before and after using.  As such, the first step in using the equipment is to wipe it or spray it thoroughly with appropriate sanitizing supplies before beginning work.  The last step when finishing use is to repeat this process. Likewise, employees should expect to wipe down equipment, copiers, countertops, phones and workstations regularly. Campus Events will provide areas with cleaning materials.


Employees are expected wash their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day, and especially at the beginning and end of their time on campus, after visiting high traffic locations, prior to eating, and after using the toilet.   It is important that supervisors encourage taking breaks to wash hands.  Hand sanitizer dispensers are also available and can be used for hand hygiene in place of soap and water when hand washing is not immediately available.

Cover your cough or sneeze

Employees are expected to cover their mouth and nose with their sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and avoid touching their face—in particular their mouth, nose, and eyes—with their hands. Tissues should be disposed of in the trash and individuals should wash or sanitize their hands immediately afterward.

Daily health screenings and accountability

The University will provide all employees with an on-line health screen program: The Falcon Health COVID-19 Check-in.  This program can be accessed through FALCON link.  Directions will be sent to employees via mass email.  

Prior to entering campus all employees must complete the Falcon Health COVID-19 Check-in.  The first time an employee completes the screening, the employee will be required to answer a series of questions.  Based upon the response to these questions, the employee will either be cleared to continue with the daily screening or be directed to contact the Engle Center before moving forward. Thereafter, a daily temperature and symptom check-in will appear on the program. Employees should be prepared to take and report their temperature at least daily. In addition, employees will be asked questions regarding their current health status and other mitigation behaviors. Based on their responses, employees will either be cleared to report to campus or provided with instructions for next steps. 

Reporting COVID-19 illness policy while at home


Step 1: Do not come to work.

Step 2: Notify your supervisor that you are ill and not coming to work.

Step 3: Seek immediate guidance from the Engle Center by calling 717.691.6035 or emailing Messiah’s COVID-19 triage nurse at


Step 1: Notify the Engle Center at 717.691.6035.

Step 2:  Inform your team that a member of your team is out sick, being careful to share only the

information your employee wishes be shared.

At a minimum, employees must stay home until they are fever-free for three consecutive days

without fever-reducing medication and ten days since the onset of symptoms.

Reporting COVID-19 illness policy while at work


Step 1: Ensure you are wearing a mask.

Step 2:  Inform your supervisor.

Step 3:  Seek guidance from the Engle Center by calling 717.691.6035.


Step 1:  Ensure your employee is wearing a mask.

Step 2: Notify the Engle Center by calling 717.691.6035.

Step3:  Inform your team that a member of your team is out sick, being careful to share only the

information your employee wishes be shared.

At a minimum, employees must stay home until they are fever-free for three consecutive days

without fever-reducing medication and ten days since the onset of symptoms.

Engle Center COVID-19 preparedness plan

As part of the Messiah University plans to reopen in the fall, the Engle Center has established a COVID-19 preparedness plan that includes a dedicated COVID triage nurse. For the purposes of contact tracing, all members of the community need to report symptoms and concerns related to exposure to COVID-19 to the triage nurse. The Engle Center is prepared to provide guidance to employees regarding navigating COVID-19, including having testing available for employees and recommendations for where to have testing done for family members. Any health information shared with the Engle Center is protected by HIPPA.

Communication of exposure

If an employee is presumed positive for COVID-19 (clinically or test-confirmed), the Engle Center will notify individuals having been identified as direct contacts of a potential exposure and advise about next steps.



Given the ongoing concerns related to growing cases of COVID-19 across the country, and in order to keep the health and safety of the campus as its top priority, the University will be implementing the following decisions from Aug. 1, 2020 through May 15, 2021:

Travel expectations for students and employees 

Because of the risk that it poses to our campus community, all students and employees are expected to avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel.  Campus community members must report any travel or gathering activity on the FalconHealth daily health screening.  Those who choose to travel or attend gatherings in conflict with Messiah’s protocol will be subject to quarantine and testing and must await final clearance to return to campus from Engle Center medical staff.

  • As such, except for emergencies, employees may not undertake travel where it is known in advance that such travel will impede their ability to physically be at work as scheduled.
  • For those employees who are working remotely, it is still recommended from a personal and public health standpoint that employees carefully follow health and safety guidelines and limit unnecessary travel.   
  • Students who engage in other non-essential travel off-campus, even if in-state, are also subject to testing or quarantine requirements, based on the results of the daily FalconHealth screening questionnaire and/or other public health exposure concerns.

Out-of-state travel guidelines:  Messiah’s protocol will continue to be guided by state and federal directives. Currently, most travel outside of Pennsylvania requires a 10-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine with a negative test (with results by day 7) on day 5. 

Audience-specific protocols:

Residential student travel

Residential undergraduate students should only leave campus only when necessary.* The more residents who travel off campus, the greater the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 and introducing it to our campus community. If students are aware of exposure to someone with COVID-19 while off campus, they should contact the Engle Center to inform them and receive guidance.

*Note: Students may leave campus for off-campus jobs, internships, clinicals, practicums, etc. if their employers are following Messiah's guidelines for COVID-19 health and safety, including requiring masks and social distancing.

It is safest for students to attend church remotely while the academic year is in session. However, Messiah does provide parameters for student off-campus church attendance

Read additional FAQs related to student travel

During the first two weeks of the spring semester: During our first two weeks back on campus, it will be essential for undergraduate residential students to re-establish safe and health campus “family groups,” similar to the process we used this fall. Accordingly, off-campus travel will be restricted to essential travel only, i.e., work, internships, clinicals, student teaching, medical care, etc. While Messiah does have protocols in place for off-campus church attendance, we are asking students to refrain from worshipping off-campus for the first two weeks. We are also asking students to refrain from off-campus dining, grocery/supply runs, returning home for the weekends, visiting others off-campus, etc. This will be critical for us to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in our campus residences and classrooms during this statewide and national surge of COVID-19 cases.

Any student who lives, studies or works on campus must follow the guidelines as outlined above. Failing to follow the guidelines will result in referral to the student conduct process which may result in jeopardizing your enrollment for the term.

Educational student travel (domestic and international)

All domestic and international student educational travel for the 2020-2021 academic year, including J-term and May-term has been cancelled or postponed. The institution is committed to providing alternatives for any students who need these experiences in order to meet graduation requirements

Employee professional travel

1. Travel/professional development and conferences will be reduced and will only be approved under clear guidelines and process. 

  • As the University keeps the health and safety of our campus community a priority, travel will happen on a VERY limited basis for the fall semester. General travel to in-person conferences and training will be limited to those that: 1) an employee must attend in person to fulfill certification processes necessary to fulfill requirements of their position 2) if they are presenting/speaking, or 3) if they are serving in a leadership position at the conference. 
  • All travel will require the advance approval of the president, employee’s vice president or Provost’s Cabinet-level supervisor (dean, vice-provost, associate provost, provost).  .
  • Travel in the areas of admissions and development will be limited to times when meetings/recruitment cannot happen via electronic methods.

For Development:

Major gift officers, who will be working primarily from home, may make selected donor visits according to Development Office travel guidelines.

For Admissions (graduate and undergraduate):

Admissions will review recruitment fairs and determine a travel plan as those events are scheduled.

  • Athletics will follow the guidelines issued by NCAA and the MAC.
  • CDC guidelines related to minimizing risk during travel are to be followed. 
  1. Approvals required:  All travel must be approved in advance by the Provost or division Vice President prior based on a written proposal submitted by the employee to document how their proposed travel meets the above criteria.
  2. International Travel: All international travel is prohibited.
  3. Mode of Travel: Institutional travel for Fall 2020 should be conducted using a private (university-owned, or carefully cleaned rental, or personal) vehicle.  For guidelines on reserving or renting vehicles go to the purchasing website at Due to social distancing requirements, limits will be set on the number of persons permitted to travel together. Cars will permit a total of two persons, mini vans three persons and 15 passenger vans four persons. Travel by air, bus or train are not permitted. Due to escalated concern of COVID-19 and the impact on our community, for this academic year, employees are not to transport students in their personal vehicles for personal reasons.
  4. Distance: Employees should limit travel to local and regional destinations that can be accessed within a day’s drive (eight hours or less) by private vehicle.  Note: Travel to areas considered hot spots or increasing cases within this distance could be denied.
  5. COVID spread at destination: Employees should not travel to areas where the spread of COVID is high at the destination (or at locations being visited en route to the destination).  Employees may travel to domestic destinations where the spread of COVID is the same or lower than current levels in the Harrisburg Region.
  6. Health and Safety Parameters at Destination: Destination venues must have published protocols related to COVID that are in-line with CDC recommendations.  Information related to this must be in the written proposal requesting permission to travel.
  7. Fulfilling work expectations: Employees may not undertake travel where it is known in advance that such travel will impede their ability to do their job (e.g. traveling to a known “hotspot” location as designated by the state or CDC that would result in a required quarantine upon completion of travel).

Institutional travel in  academic year 2020-2021 must abide by the above guidelines and be approved by the employee’s vice president or Provost’s Cabinet-level supervisor (dean, vice-provost, associate provost, provost).

Campus visitor policy during COVID-19

Residential student visitors

Federal and state guidance instruct institutions to limit visitors and non-essential personnel in residential spaces. Ideally, the nuclear and extended family units should remain closed to others, but this is challenging in a community such as ours. For this reason, a phased approach to visitation will occur to better ensure the health and safety of all.

For the first two weeks of classes, there is no visitation. Students must not enter a floor or apartment or house if they do not reside there. If the campus remains free of COVID-19 cases after two weeks, parameters will be reevaluated and—if determined safe to do so—may resume with modified parameters below:

  1. Residential students may visit fellow residential students. Both the hosts and visiting residential students must wear protective cloth masks during the duration of the visit.
  2. Until further notice, no off-campus visitors are permitted in university residences, including commuters and student family members.
  3. Residential student visitors cannot have had COVID-19 symptoms nor been exposed to someone with the virus within two weeks prior to the visit.
  4. Residential student visitors must remain a Falcon Wingspan apart and should not share furniture together with another person at the same time (futons, couches, chairs, room beds, etc.). Furniture should be cleaned and disinfected immediately after use.
  5. Residential student visitors are not permitted to be in floor lounges.
  6. No floor bathroom use by residential student visitors. Residential student visitors may use the public restrooms located in the main building spaces.
  7. There is a maximum limit of three individuals in a traditional residence hall single or double room; four individuals in a traditional residence hall triple room.
  8. Residents in apartments are limited to three additional residential visitors at a time with the ability to maintain a Falcon Wingspan apart. As always, no visitation in bedrooms by the opposite sex.
  9. Each special interest house will be provided with a maximum occupancy related to residential student visitors.
  10. Resident assistants are considered essential personnel and will perform walking rounds throughout floors and buildings, per usual, but wearing protective cloth masks as they do. Adjustments may be made as necessary for health and safety reasons. Other authorized campus employees will also be permitted access to residential spaces on an as-needed basis with health and safety requirements in place.

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the campus community, visitation may be restricted or eliminated to mitigate the spread of the virus. If this occurs, applicable guidance will be communicated to residents in a timely fashion.

Read FAQs re: student visits from family members

Undergraduate admissions visits

The Undergraduate Admissions Office is currently hosting a limited number of on-campus visits each week for prospective students and their families. Learn more. 

Graduate enrollment and campus visits

The preference is that all visits, tours and interviews would be conducted virtually. Graduate Enrollment will have limited staff on site. Prospective students who desire to visit campus must schedule an advance appointment with  the graduate enrollment staff.  All guests will respond to an institutional health questionnaire before coming to campus. Guests must wear masks and maintain social distancing during their visit. All guests will be informed to notify graduate enrollment if they have symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID19 within 14 days of their visit.

General public

Our relationship with the local community is important to Messiah University. Messiah’s campus is private property, but as good neighbors, we have been pleased to provide access to the public as we are able, including the library, areas for walking, use of the fitness trail, and access to the Yellow Breeches Creek by way of Messiah University’s Starry Athletic Complex.

However, as we navigate the significant safety concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic, our top priority is the health of our students, employees and surrounding region. As a result, we need to limit current access to Messiah’s campus to students, employees and authorized visitors only. We regret that public access to Messiah University’s campus is currently closed until further notice. This includes a temporary restriction on access to the library, areas for walking, use of the fitness trail, Starry Athletic Complex, and access to the Yellow Breeches via campus property. We appreciate your cooperation as we care for our campus community, and we look forward to being able to open campus to the public again as soon as health and safety measures permit.  


Until further notice, Messiah University will not allow employees to have visitors (e.g., friends, family, etc.) on campus, unless the employee lives on campus. Employees who live on campus are asked to limit their guests and are responsible for screening guests prior to their arrival on campus.  Anyone with exposure to others with COVID-19 or who are exhibiting symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 are prohibited from visiting campus.  Employees living on campus are expected to be vigilant in avoiding bringing visitors to campus who may spread COVID-19.

Only where meeting face-to-face is business-critical may in-person visits with vendors and contractors occur on campus.  The vast majority of business meetings need to be held remotely. All visitors will be required to complete a health screening before they enter campus. Anyone with exposure to others with COVID-19 or who are exhibiting symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 are forbidden to visit campus. 

Specific plans for the Office of Development: Development officers may schedule a donor visit on campus under specific guidelines.  All appointments must be scheduled in advance and for no more than four (4) total participants.  All appointments for meals need to be scheduled for an off-campus venue. As is the requirement for all visitors, guests must report that their temperature is under 100.4; that they are not experiencing any symptoms of illness;  and they have not been exposed to anyone who is positive or presumed positive for COVID-19.  In addition, the following practices must be followed:

  1. Everyone must wear a mask.
  2. Social distancing of 6 feet is to be maintained and as such guests should be directed to meet the officer at a location other than the office (unless the office size allows for 6 foot social distancing).
  3. All guests will report to the development office if after visiting campus, they have developed symptoms or are diagnosed with COVID 19 within 14 days of the visit.

Events and gatherings: COVID-19 guidelines

Events have always been an important part of campus and community life at Messiah. However, given the mitigation risks involved with large crowds, the way that we do events will necessarily look different this year. All indoor and outdoor gatherings will comply with the directives from the State Department of Health and guidance from the CDC for Events and Gatherings. 

Events will continue to follow the revised event protocols implemented in for the fall semester. Approved gatherings that are mission-driven will utilize guidelines around face coverings, hygiene, significantly reduced attendance (limited primarily to students) and capacity counts, and physical distancing to keep the community safe.

In order to provide events and services the following key strategies will be applied:

  • Adjusted attendance maximums, physical distancing and mask-wearing
  • Students first: Limit to student attendees with virtual options for others
  • Low-touch environment (no printed tickets or programs; tickets scanned electronically)
  • High-hygiene environment
  • A mix of virtual/live-streamed and in-person strategies
  • Lines separated/distanced through lobbies and using separate entrance to theatre
  • Online and call-in ticketing only; touchless tickets will be scanned
  • Sanitize venues daily
  • Signage listing precautions
  • Remote/virtual sessions with the artist/speaker for students/faculty prior to events when available

Facility rentals

Messiah University will suspend all facility rentals through May 8, 2021. On or about March 1, the University will determine if rentals can resume at the conclusion of the spring semester.

You may read the full Messiah University event and gathering plan here. 



How we'll communicate with you

Messiah University is utilizing a mix of the following communication tools to keep its campus stakeholders--including current undergraduate and graduate students, current parents, employees, prospective students/parents, and the appropriate government/health authorities--informed about its campus reopening strategies and related COVID-19 health and safety measures:

  • Messiah’s COVID-19 resource website
  • Messiah Emergency Blog
  • Together @ Messiah website
  • Campus mass email system (current students, employees, current parents and alumni)
  • Slate CRM (prospective undergraduate and graduate students and prospective undergraduate parents)
  • Messiah’s institutional social media platforms
  • Student and parent portals (current students and parents)
  • Canvas Learning Management System (current students and employees)
  • Campus health and safety signage  (particularly in common areas like dining halls, gyms, classrooms, labs)

Timely updates: In addition to communicating Messiah’s COVID response protocols via this website, the University will use the above methods to continue to update stakeholders about breaking developments, news and changes in a timely and transparent manner.

Clery Act Compliance

In compliance with The Clery Act, and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education regarding Clery’s intersection with COVID-19, Messiah University will issue a campus Emergency Notification (EN) to students and employees at the start of the academic year informing them about COVID-19, along with the necessary health and safety precautions, as well as where to obtain ongoing information about the number of on-campus COVID cases, and how to connect to the resources of regional health authorities and the CDC. The University will also provide a banner on that will provide this information to the broader campus community. 





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