Messiah University is currently at the phase in its campus return plan, i.e., two weeks into the fall semester, in which the University could begin to allow students broader movement and visitation in the residence halls (while maintaining mitigation practices such as masks and social distancing, etc.). As of today, Messiah University currently has four confirmed positive on-campus cases. While this number is not yet overwhelming, research clearly shows that identifying asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19 is key to protecting our whole community and to preventing an outbreak of additional cases before it can occur. One viable way that other colleges and universities have chosen to do this is through widespread testing of their on-campus student populations. Therefore, Messiah will not make a decision about moving to Phase 2 in the residence halls/apartments until we have completed and processed all of the testing results.
Given our current low number of positive cases and solid mitigation practices in place, the University believes that now is the right time to conduct widespread, proactive COVID-19 testing for its on-campus student population. The results of this comprehensive testing will help inform decisions related to student interactions in campus residences and other academic and co-curricular activities. Accordingly, Messiah has made the decision to conduct required COVID-19 testing for all undergraduate residential and commuter students, in addition to all resident directors, on Sept. 10-11. Students who are pursuing Messiah’s fully remote option are not part of this required student population testing.