Announcing health and temperature screenings for student move-in

As we approach Welcome Week and student move-in, the University continues to refine protocols to help strengthen COVID-19 safety and mitigation at the start of our new academic year. As such, the University is requesting a pre-arrival self-screening and is implementing an on-site temperature screening for all students, and their accompanying family members, before coming onto campus and entering student residences.

Self-screening – Before traveling to campus for student move-in

In addition to students exercising the previously announced 14-day self-quarantine prior to arrival, the University additionally asks students and accompanying family members to complete a self-screening prior to traveling to campus. 

Please do not come to campus if:

  • You have any of the following symptoms: fever (over 100 degrees Fahrenheit), cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, chills, muscle pain, fatigue, and/or headache.
  • You have tested positive for COVID-19. Any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 is prohibited from coming to campus until they can present a documented negative PCR COVID result. Likewise, anyone with recent exposure to someone who was confirmed positive COVID-19 should not report to campus.

Students with these symptoms or a positive COVID-19 result should not report for their assigned campus move-in date/time. Instead, please contact the University so that we may work with you to develop and support alternative options for your start to the fall semester.  Prior to Aug. 19, please email the Engle Center at covidtriagenurse@messiah.edu.  On or after Aug. 19, students should call the Office of the Dean of Students at 717-796-1800, ext. 3760 or 5300.

Temperature screening – Upon arrival at campus

As students and family members arrive on campus for move-in, each individual (including family members) will have their temperatures checked. **

It is important to screen your temperature before traveling to campus because individuals presenting with fever (more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit) will not be allowed on campus. 

  • Students who present with a fever and live within a three-hour drive of campus will be asked to return home to quarantine until symptoms are resolved and the student can present a negative PCR COVID-19 test to the Engle Center.
  • Students who present with a fever and live further than a three-hour drive from campus will have the option to move into quarantine housing on campus until symptoms are resolved and a negative PCR COVID-19 test result is obtained.

**While we do not have an on-site COVID-19 testing protocol in place at this time for students’ arrival on campus, the development and approval of new tests is happening rapidly, and policies and procedures may be updated as available resources change. Should high-accuracy on-site rapid testing become available prior to move-in, the temperature screening will be updated to include these tests for students, and this testing would augment the symptomatic screening outlined above. Students with a positive test will be required to follow the below quarantine protocols.

Options and support for students who must quarantine at home or on campus

All students who are required to quarantine (at home or on campus) will be fully supported to begin the semester online as a temporarily remote student, until they are able to move-in on campus.  Students who are required to quarantine will be proactively contacted by Student Success and Engagement for immediate follow-up and support.  Likewise, the Provost’s Office will work with academic advising and deans to communicate with the student’s academic advisor and faculty so that this temporary remote start can be facilitated across all of the student’s classes.

Students in quarantine can expect both co-curricular and the curricular guidance and programming.  Starting as a temporarily remote student does not entail any kind of academic penalty and our Student Success and Engagement staff will be prepared to make sure that students in quarantine begin to meet to their peers even while in quarantine and also experience an engaging orientation whenever they arrive to campus.

 Additional testing information

Summary of current COVID-19 testing protocol:

  • All residential students have been asked to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to arrival on campus.
  • 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 put in quarantine awaiting test results.
  • The University has purchased and anticipates delivery of a point-of-care (POC) testing instrument later this fall to test for COVID-19, which will give results (>95% accuracy) in about 15 minutes.
  • Prior to the arrival of the POC instrument, tests will be sent to local hospitals or diagnostic companies for processing.

Once on-site, rapid testing becomes available during the semester, students who are physically present on campus, even if not symptomatic, may be required to undergo COVID-19 testing as part of regular population sampling designed to keep the campus healthy and safe and support the continuation of face-to-face residential education.