Phase 2 updates

Samantha Weber, Contributing Writer

It is no secret that we are in the midst of a global pandemic.

One year ago nobody would have thought they would have a favorite mask or value perfect hand sanitizer, yet that is the reality in which we are living.

Being that this is a rapidly evolving situation, it is crucial that everyone in the campus community be informed on the strategies for combatting COVID-19.

At Mercyhurst, there is an entire task force devoted to preserving the health and well-being of staff and students.

The current Event Phase Model is represented by a shamrock whose leaves indicate the different phases of actions against COVID-19. Baseline requirements for events during the fall semester include the following: masks must be worn at all times, no transfer of paper goods, capacity limits for campus spaces, sanitation stations and more.

Leadership and Outreach coordinator Steph Przepiora said that the model is not dependent on Erie County nor Pennsylvania’s models, though it will always meet minimum state and local requirements.

Phase 1, otherwise known as the first leaf, is the phase that was in place last March. It was this phase that sent students and staff packing, because it required that all campus events take place 100% virtually.

As of right now, Mercyhurst is operating under the second leaf which is the hybrid model. Staff and students are well acquainted with this version of normal, having been on campus for a number of weeks now. From virtual classes to socially distanced seating, the hybrid model has had a campus-wide impact.

Przepiora applauds RSCOs and other campus organizations for their smooth transitions and adjustments to the phase two leaf.

“[The flexibility] has added to the overall vibe on campus,” Przepiora said. Similarly, executive director of Campus Involvement, Sarah Allen, believes that the Mercyhurst community is adjusting well to the “new normal”.

“The only way we will continue to do well is if the Mercyhurst community continues to wear their masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands,” Allen said.

As of Aug. 31, there have been more updates to this second phase to allow more events with safe physical activity. In addition to the availability of tents on campus for outdoor meetings, the Campus Involvement Center is also providing clubs and organizations with cleaning supplies when otherwise not readily available.

This is especially important for shared sports equipment to ensure the safest meetings possible.

Still forthcoming, the third leaf is referenced on the website as “pre-normal.”

This phase allows for socially responsible, safe, face-to-face meetings and low-to-moderate-risk activities to resume. For more information on how you or your organization are impacted by COVID, check out the Event Phase Model page under the Campus Involvement tab, accessible on the HUB page.

The guidelines of each phase are subject to change to best ensure the health and wellness of the university.

Therefore it is important to keep up to date on how to best protect yourself and others. Although times are tough, there is always good to be found.

Getting involved on campus can help deal with the stress of the pandemic and there is something for everyone, so do not be shy. Remember that now more than ever, your choices impact others. Choose wisely.