Effective Monday, May 17, 2021, the College has updated many of our COVID-19 policies and procedures. The College expects the majority of these policies will remain in place through the completion of Summer Session I, which ends on Friday, July 2.
Merrimack College will be a fully open campus this coming fall semester. We look forward to having students and faculty back on campus, and coming together in ways that were taken away this past year. We will continue to make prudent decisions based on science and advice from public health leaders as to how best to proceed.
We were very encouraged by the news on May 13 from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about fully vaccinated people no longer needing to wear face coverings and social distance inside or outside. We look forward to hearing more from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and local health departments, on the next steps towards implementing this important milestone and how this new guidance will impact our community.
While we do not know when new state guidance will go into effect for those who are fully vaccinated, what is clear is that those amongst us who have not been fully vaccinated must continue to wear face coverings and social distance. As more and more people on campus become fully vaccinated, we come closer to a point we very much want to achieve – a campus without face coverings and social distancing mandates. This is a major milestone for all campuses in Massachusetts and we will do our part to achieve it.
Unvaccinated Community Members
- We encourage all members of the Merrimack community to get vaccinated. Vaccines are now readily available and we strongly urge all members of the community to take advantage of the resource.
- Members of our community who have not been fully vaccinated must adhere to CDC and Mass DPH regulations and still wear a face covering inside and outdoors.
Vaccinated Community Members
- If you are fully vaccinated – which is defined as completing the full course of your shots and completing the necessary post-vaccination waiting period – you will still need to wear your face covering inside and outside when social distancing is not possible.
- Based on the May 13 announcement from the CDC, and what we hope to be policy changes from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, our campus will announce new regulations for wearing face coverings when approved to do so
You should continue to maintain proper hygiene.
- Hand sanitizing and wipe stations will remain throughout campus. Members of the community should continue to use them, especially wiping down shared spaces like workstations and learning environments.
- Vaccinated community members must still wear face coverings inside and outside when social distancing is not possible.
- Unvaccinated community members must adhere to CDC and Mass DPH regulations and still wear face coverings inside and outdoors.
CoVerified App Requirements
All members of the community will still have the CoVerified app and should continue to remain disciplined about filling it out each day. It will be checked as you come to campus as it has been throughout the past academic year. Filling out the symptom checker is a good reminder for us all to review our health, and if necessary avoid putting ourselves or others at risk.
Update Your Vaccine Status on the CoVerified App
In anticipation of needing to identify which members of our community are vaccinated, it is important that the College knows how many members of our community have been fully vaccinated. Taking steps to help us keep an accurate picture of campus vaccinations is appreciated and easy.
You can report that you have been vaccinated in your CoVerified app by doing the following:
- In the lower-left, click “Report.”
- Select “Upload Vaccine Record.”
- Select Vaccination type “COVID-19 Vaccine.”
- Enter date in “Date performed.”
- Date performed should be the date of your second dose if you receive Moderna or Pfizer. Import this information only after you have received your second dose.
- Date performed for those who received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson will be the date of your vaccination.
- Enter the location in “Name of healthcare facility.”
- Select “Choose” under attachment and upload a photo of the front of your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card as proof of vaccination.
- Please note, all employees or students who have been remote will not have a CoVerfied app. In these situations, a CoVerified app will be available after the remote community member has been tested. In these cases, remote employees and students should notify the Task Force prior to their first arrival to campus and get approval to access the campus and get their first COVID-19 test. After their first test, they will follow a step-by-step process to getting the app provided by the Task Force, which can only be fully activated after the results of their first test are available.
Starting Monday, May 17, all members of the community are advised to test once a week at the testing center in the Sakowich Campus Center Multi-Purpose Room (MPR). Testing will be available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 1-6 p.m. No appointments are necessary.
The College will expand its utilization of self-administered swab testing under the oversight of the same testing team we used throughout the academic year. Test results will continue to be posted on the CoVerified app, and the contact tracing system will remain in place to speak with those who have tested positive and must isolate, as well as identify those who are close contacts and must quarantine.
Campus Access and Operations
Effective Monday, May 17, we will keep only the Elm Street Gate open for campus access. Members of the Merrimack community will be able to access campus as long as they show their CoVerified app and have a cleared status as a result of completing their symptom checker. The gate will be staffed 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
CoVerfied App for First Time Campus Arrivals
All employees or students coming to campus for the first time will not have a CoVerfied app to show at the gate, nor will they have been tested. In these situations, community members who have not been tested before should notify the Task Force prior to their first arrival to campus and get approval to access the campus and get their first COVID-19 test. After their first test, they will follow a step-by-step approach to getting the app provided by the Task Force, which can only be fully activated after the results of their first test are available.
Campus Access for Guests
Effective Monday, May 17, all guests must have the approval of the Task Force to enter campus. Approval for guests must be requested by a member of the Merrimack community. Such requests do not require Dean or Vice President approval. Guests must be accompanied by a Merrimack community member and all guests must fill out the COVID-19 Daily Screening Form and present it at the gate.
Food On Campus
In an effort to avoid food delivery onto the campus, we will continue to offer free food for employees on campus. As we did last summer, The Den will be available to all employees Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The College’s official travel policy will remain the same. No institutional travel is permitted without the approval of the Executive Vice President or Provost. All employees are responsible for their own personal travel and should comply with all Massachusetts COVID-19 related travel regulations.
The College will be making a final determination and announcement about COVID-19 vaccination requirements. We know that to have the residential experience we are known for, and to minimize testing and wearing face coverings and social distancing protocols, we will need a very high percentage of our community fully vaccinated. While we have not made a final decision about a requirement, we know that many in our community already have been fully vaccinated and strongly recommend those who have not, do so quickly.
Return to Work
Effective Tuesday, June 1, we ask that all staff return to campus for work. Any employees who have a hardship may request an accommodation from Human Resources to work remotely for the month of June. Effective immediately, only Human Resources can provide such an accommodation (not supervisors). Our goal is for all staff to be fully working on campus no later than Tuesday, July 6; and all faculty teaching in the fall semester do so on campus (with the exception of faculty teaching courses in fully online programs).
It is strongly encouraged for all employees to return to campus fully vaccinated and having reported their vaccination through CoVerified. Those who return not fully vaccinated (or those who fail to provide proof of vaccination) must adhere to CDC and Mass DPH guidelines regarding social distancing and wearing a face covering.