A Phased Approach to Opening
In order to safely reopen Merrimack’s campus, the institution’s plan includes a phased approach to give the College time to safely implement and modify reopening processes as needed. The following provides a brief overview of the different phases of the opening plan:
Limited: May - July 12, 2020
Mission-critical business, administrative and operations staff.
Cautious: July 13, 2020 | Current Phase
Administrative, business, academic and student support operations, and graduate students.
Vigilant: August 15-24, 2020 | Move-In and Start of Classes
Students and remaining faculty and staff return to campus. Classes begin.
Built on Governor Baker’s phased opening of Massachusetts, the College is currently operating in the “Cautious phase.” In this stage, we have increased the number of full-time faculty allowed on campus, while encouraging work from home, Zoom meetings, reduced office density and other social distancing measures. Residential graduate students are living at the College, but no undergraduate students other than orientation and admission ambassadors are allowed on campus.
The College’s “Vigilant” phase will begin Saturday, August 15, dependent on local and national trends and government and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations. This stage has been developed by tracking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s and Massachusetts Department of Health’s policies, participating in Massachusetts Department of Health weekly meetings and working closely with a number of education and public health agencies, including the Governor’s Task Force on Opening Higher Education, the Higher Education Testing Sub-Task Force, New England Commission of Higher Education, Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, and the Andover and North Andover Departments of Public Health.
The ”Vigilant” phase includes residential move-in, which will happen in waves from Saturday, August 15 - Sunday, August 23, 2020 starting with Resident Advisors and remaining orientation leaders, and then proceeding with athletes, freshman and, finally, upper class students. Freshman orientation, which begins Wednesday, August 19, will be held in small groups.
Students, faculty and staff will be tested for COVID-19 when they arrive on campus, and 4,500 subsequent tests will be administered each week through Friday, November 20. Traveling athletes and other higher-risk students will be tested twice a week as needed and per NCAA guidelines.
The ”Vigilant” phase will remain the new normal of the College until the COVID-19 virus is eradicated or a vaccine becomes available.