What You Need To Know

Things look a little different across campus as we work together to minimize the spread of COVID-19. What remains unchanged is our commitment to providing an environment where everyone can learn and succeed.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following answers to frequently asked questions contain key information related to the reopening of Merrimack College. We will continue to share updates and information directly with the campus community through email and this page as new information becomes available. If a question you have is not answered below, please contact the Task Force.

General Safety Policies

Are there documents that I must complete to enter campus?

Yes. To enter Merrimack College, you must do the following:

What entrance is open to enter campus?

Campus can be accessed through two entrances:

  1. entrance off Route 125
  2. main entrance off Elm Street

Important note: During periods of heavy traffic, the main entrance off Elm Street may be diverted to Rock Ridge Road. We advise all those entering through the Elm Street side to watch for signage indicating the entrance has temporarily moved to Rock Ridge Road.

For more detailed guidelines on entering campus visit our Health and Safety website.

Are visitors allowed on campus? Where is the Merrimack College guest registration form?

Generally, visitors and guests are prohibited from campus with exceptions including visiting parents and family, admissions visitors, essential vendors and contractors, and Islander hockey participants. All visitors must:

There will be no exceptions unless approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President.

Merrimack College Guest Registration

Do I have to wear a face covering while on campus?

Yes. Until further notice, anyone (age two and up) on the Merrimack College campus or in public areas of College housing, whether indoor or outdoor, who is unable to maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person is required to cover their mouth and nose by wearing a face covering. If you are an employee working alone in your office and or a residential student alone, or with their roommate in your college-owned housing, you do not need to wear a face covering.

Health, Safety and Testing

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • New gastrointestinal symptoms

If you have any of these symptoms while away from the College, do not return to campus. If you develop symptoms while on campus, speak with your manager and leave your workplace immediately. In either case, call your medical provider and notify Merrimack of your status. Students must call 978-837-5599. Employees must contact humanresources.covid@merrimack.edu.

Who do I call if I have any symptoms of COVID-19?

Any students who become symptomatic while on campus must immediately isolate and notify Hamel Health (978) 837-5441. Commuter students will be directed to return home and arrange for COVID-19 testing and evaluation from their primary care provider. For residential students, the College will provide guidance on how to access local COVID-19 testing facilities for urgent, diagnostic testing.

What should I do if I experience COVID-19 symptoms while on campus?

If you are a student and become symptomatic while on campus, you must immediately call 978-837-5441 to be evaluated by a tele-health professional and be directed to a testing facility. The College has engaged the services of a local testing facility for emergency testing for residential students. If you are a commuter student and experience symptoms, you should immediately call your personal healthcare provider for direction and not return to campus.

If you are an employee and experience symptoms while on campus, you should inform your supervisor, leave campus immediately and contact your personal healthcare provider.

Who is getting tested for COVID-19?

All members of the Merrimack College campus community will participate in a robust COVID-19 surveillance testing program. Evidence suggests that COVID-19 can spread through close contact with people who are infected with the virus causing COVID-19, but are without any symptoms of illness (asymptomatic). Therefore, frequent and routine testing of the campus population will help us to identify anyone who may be infected with the virus causing COVID-19 and not know it. This asymptomatic surveillance testing program, in addition to other mitigation strategies, will help Merrimack prevent a widespread campus outbreak through the early identification and isolation of anyone who may have COVID-19 unknowingly.

Who is conducting the on campus COVID-19 testing?

Merrimack College is participating in the fall college testing program entitled, “The Safe for School” Program by the Broad Institute. The Broad Institute is a Harvard and MIT laboratory that developed the SARS CoV2 testing program in order to help colleges and universities safely reopen their campuses this fall. Merrimack College is also partnering with the clinical support company, On Site Medical Services, who will provide clinical personnel and processing support to the on-campus testing center.

What is the schedule of COVID-19 testing for students, faculty and staff?

Weekly COVID-19 testing is one of the most important steps Merrimack is taking to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff as we reopen our campus this fall. Merrimack College is participating in the fall college testing program entitled, “The Safe for School Program” by the Broad Institute to provide testing and protocols to allow the College to administer testing efficiently and safely. The College has also partnered with the clinical support company OnSite Medical Services, who will provide clinical personnel and processing support to the on-campus testing center. 

Residential Student Testing Schedule
  • The testing schedule for all students will include baseline testing of all residential students upon their return to campus in August during move-in, and will include ongoing weekly testing for the remainder of the semester.
  • The testing schedule will be supplemented by daily self-screening by all students, faculty and staff. The goal is to remind students each day to stop and think about their health, and to contact the Hamel Health Center if they have symptoms.
  • All residential students will be scheduled for a baseline test by the College which will occur on the day of their move-in, the week prior to the start of classes. Following the baseline test, students will receive a scheduled time slot for weekly testing that will begin the week of August 17 and will continue until November 25.
Commuter Student Testing Schedule
  • Commuter students will receive a scheduled time slot for a recurring weekly COVID-19 surveillance test that will begin the week of August 17 and continue until November 25.

  • Upper-class commuter students will receive an email during the week of August 17 with their testing schedule. Your schedule time slot will be aligned with your class schedule.

  • First year commuter students that are electing to join us on campus for Orientation will receive a separate communication from the Orientation Office during the week of August 10 regarding testing ahead of this event. Your schedule time slot will be aligned with your class schedule.

  • The testing schedule is expected to be supplemented by daily self-screening by all students, faculty and staff. The goal is to remind students each day to stop and think about their health, and to contact the Hamel Health Center at (978) 837-5441 if they have symptoms.

Graduate Student Testing Schedule
  • Graduate students will receive a scheduled time slot for a recurring weekly COVID-19 surveillance test that will begin the week of August 14 and continue until November 25. 

  • Graduate students will receive an email during the week of August 17 with their testing schedule. Your schedule time slot will be aligned with your class schedule.

  • The testing schedule is expected to be supplemented by daily self-screening by all students, faculty and staff. The goal is to remind students each day to stop and think about their health, and to contact the Hamel Health Center at (978) 837-5441 if they have symptoms.

Merrimack will be using the CoVerified Application to support the College’s mitigation and surveillance testing plan. This web-based and smartphone application will be specific to the Merrimack community and will allow users to: gain campus entrance clearance through daily self-screening, report symptoms, receive test results and access other COVID-19 education and mitigation strategies. Instructions on how to download the CoVerified application will be sent to all students in the coming days.

It is important to understand testing expectations. Students will be assigned a regular testing time that is the same each week. If a commuter student misses an appointment, or otherwise does not comply with institutional COVID-19 policies, the student will be subject to disciplinary action and not allowed on campus. The College will provide updates on testing periodically. 

How will I know the results of my test?

Merrimack College will be using the CoVerified Application to support the College mitigation and surveillance testing plan. This web-based and smartphone application will be specific to the Merrimack College community and will allow users to: gain campus entrance clearance through daily screening, report symptoms, receive test results and access other COVID-19 education and mitigation strategies. Before returning to campus all students, faculty and staff will be directed on how to download the app.

Who do I call if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students should notify Hamel Health at (978) 837-5441. Employees should notify humanresources.covid@merrimack.edu.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19?

If you are a student and test positive with an on-campus based test, you will be notified by College officials and must follow self-isolation protocols. These protocols require students to move out of their campus residence for the duration of the isolation period, returning home where possible. Students should enact their predetermined departure plan. If returning home is not possible, you will isolate in a College-based location. In conjunction with the appropriate government health agency, Merrimack College will undertake contact tracing following your positive test. If you receive a positive test from a personal health care provider, you must call 978-837-5441 about your status.

If you are a Merrimack employee, you should immediately alert the Office of Human Resources if you test positive for COVID-19. In conjunction with the appropriate government health agency, Merrimack College will undertake contact tracing following your notification. Contact tracing will include a conversation to determine potential exposures on campus. If you test positive for COVID-19, but have not been on campus more than 48 hours prior to symptom onset, you are still asked to inform Human Resources of your diagnosis.

What happens if there is an outbreak on campus and the College needs to shut down?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires the College to have a shutdown protocol in place before move-in. In the event of a major outbreak on campus, or by order of the government, the College reserves the right to evacuate the campus and send students home for a short (2-3 days) or long periods (7-10 days) of remote learning to contain the outbreak. Following the containment, the College would then bring students back to campus. The College will do its best to give students and families 24 hours notice in the event a shutdown must take place.

The College may experience an increase or cluster of COVID-19 infections due to the congregational nature of a residential college campus. In order to identify a potential campus outbreak of COVID-19, Merrimack will be working in close collaboration with local public health authorities, identified through symptomatic reports or asymptomatic surveillance testing. In consultation with local and state public health authorities, the College will respond with a temporary or full campus shutdown, should such an event occur. All students, faculty and staff will be notified and evacuation procedures will be implemented.

The College’s planning, and efforts around testing, and community responsibility position Merrimack to remain open. Only in the event of a government order, or significant health crisis on campus would we expect to close. If Merrimack must close the campus, it will move to remote work and learning, for a temporary period of time and then resume face to face classes when appropriate.

How is the College ensuring the health and safety of all students, faculty and staff?

The College has made significant investments in upgraded cleaning protocols; electrostatic sanitizing sprayers; EPA-registered, COVID-19-killing green cleaning solutions; additional cleaning staff and other enhanced cleaning strategies.

To increase social distancing and protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff during this pandemic, we have additionally invested millions of dollars in campus alterations and configurations, as well as new classroom technologies aimed at enhancing the student learning experience. The College is also investing more than $6M in universal testing across campus for all students, faculty and staff. This large endeavor is about ensuring the safety of our students, and mitigating an outbreak on campus. Symptom monitoring, testing and tracing are the best way to stop COVID-19 spread. 

Cleaning and Hygiene Installations

  • 300+ Hand sanitizer dispensers (wall-mounted and stands)
  • 200 Wet Wipe dispensers
  • 19 Electrostatic sanitizing sprayers
  • 55 Gallon self-dispensing sanitizer drums

Physical Barriers and Touchless Solutions Investments

  • 200+ Plexiglass Barriers in offices and classrooms (rolling for professors)
  • 357 Touchless plumbing sensors
  • 63 Occupancy light sensors
  • 142 Kick down door stops
  • 200 Step-and-Pull for doors
  • 1300 Dormitory room dividers

Can I purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the bookstore?

Yes, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will be available for purchase in the Bookstore. For certain labs, specific PPE will be required. This will be assigned to you similar to books required for class.  Student PPE Kits available through the Bookstore will include face coverings, face shields, goggles, gloves and gowns.

What is the College doing about Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?

The College has purchased its own spraying equipment and has been fumigating the campus all spring and summer to reduce any threats from mosquitos.

Academics - Student Options to Enroll

What are my learning and housing options for the Fall?

As a student, you have three options for proceeding with your education for the academic year 2020-2021:

  1. Dual modality of on campus in-class and online formats. In this model for the Fall 2020 semester, you may take advantage of commuting or living on campus, participate in on campus activities and have access to all other on campus services. This option provides access to the widest array of courses and services
  2. Take Virtual Classes/Learn from Home. By choosing to participate in courses taught remotely, you will not be allowed on campus, but you will have access to services which are available online. You may additionally have limited course choices, as some courses can not be offered online. There is no tuition reduction for choosing this option. If you choose to take virtual classes, you will be contacted separately with more details on services created for you.
  3. COVID-19 Leave of Absence from Merrimack for one semester, or a full year without penalty. If you select this option, you will not be enrolled in courses at the College. As a result, you will not be able to participate in any College-sponsored on-campus or online programming unless otherwise noted, and will not be able to access campus. After your leave of absence, you have up to one year to return to the College without the need to reapply. Certain programs such as nursing and teacher education that require state licensure may be exempt. Students should follow up with their program directors. Athletes considering this option should consult their coach regarding the impact on eligibility.

If you are interested in taking a leave of absence, you must complete the COVID-19 Leave of Absence Form. If you are an undergraduate student, you will not be charged for a leave of absence. However, if you take courses at another college during this time, you will be charged $100 per semester credit to transfer credits to Merrimack. Please note that not all credits transfer from one college to another.

To make the best decision for yourself and your health, we encourage you to speak with your physician, family members and friends about your options.

If I choose to take classes remotely for the Fall 2020 semester can I come back as a residential student for the Spring 2021 semester?

Yes, students will be welcome back as a residential student for the Spring 2021 semester.

Can I take a Leave of Absence for 2020-2021 or defer my admission?

If you are a new student, you can take a one-year leave of absence without reapplying or defer for one year. If you select this option, you will not be enrolled in courses at the College, and, as a result, will not be able to participate in any College-sponsored on-campus or online programming unless otherwise noted, and will not be able to access campus. Athletes considering this option should consult their coach regarding the impact on eligibility. To select this option, you must fill out a Leave of Absence form. Certain programs such as nursing and teacher education that require state licensure may be exempt. Students should follow up with their Program Directors.

If I’m an incoming freshman (or returning junior) and I opt to take classes remotely, will I receive my new iPad?

New iPads for incoming freshmen and juniors will be mailed home to students who are opting to take classes remotely.

If I opt to take a semester off will I have to pay a fee to transfer credits if I take classes at another college?

Yes. There will be a fee of $100 per credit taken at another college.

Academics - Classes

Will classes be held online or in person in the fall?

Most of our classes will be multi-modality – incorporating both in-classroom and remote learning, with some courses offered completely online or on campus. Course formats will vary by student and program of study.

There are approximately 1,100 undergraduate and graduate sections this fall.

  • 80% of sections are face-to-face with synchronous (and in some cases asynchronous)  remote learning access (dual modality).
  • Approximately 20% of sections are remote only - synchronous and asynchronous learning.
  • Approximately 40% of our dual modality classes will split students into groups  - half the class will do face to face and half remote on any given day and then switch the next day to lower class density.

Why are classes being offered in multiple ways?

Regardless of our precautions, some students may self-identify COVID-19 symptoms and be unable to come to campus, or become infected and need to quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, those who come into contact with an infected person, and are identified through contact tracing, will also need to quarantine for 14 days, even if they show no symptoms of being sick with COVID-19. Therefore, access to remote learning for long or short periods of time will be necessary to avoid students falling behind.

How do you know if a class you are taking is only offered remotely?

Student schedules are available on myMack. Remote only classes will also be noted on schedules with a location of (REM).

How will classes be structured to ensure safety?

Students will be required to wear face coverings at all times in the classroom. If you refuse to wear a face covering in class, you will be asked to leave class by the instructor. Refusal to comply with these regulations will lead to disciplinary action. Faculty will utilize a variety of safety options such as wearing a face covering, or teaching from behind rolling plexiglass stands. In addition to hand sanitizer dispensers in all classroom buildings, all classrooms will have disinfectant wipes that students and faculty can use to wipe down individual chairs and tables when they enter the classroom. To allow for social distancing, classroom and conference room seating capacity has been reduced by 50%.

Will class sizes be limited?

Limits will vary depending on the nature of the event, but most gatherings will be limited to 50 students in a large classroom or 10 students in a smaller space, while respecting social distancing and using face coverings.

My class requires experiential learning/field experience will these still take place?

Academic programs with accreditation requirements for experiential learning, field experience, and/or internships will work with the accrediting body to create safe and substantive alternatives.

Academic programs that have College requirements for internships, field experiences and/or experiential learning will be adjusted so students do not have to leave campus to fulfill them.

Course-based experiential learning requirements and extracurricular programs with experiential components will be adjusted so that students do not have to leave campus.

Are science labs (ex: physics, chemistry, biology) going to be offered online?

Labs will be held both in-person and online depending on the class. Please refer to your individual schedule.

Will there be a pass/fail option for Fall 2020 classes?

The College is reviewing options for grading for fall 2020 but no decision has been made at this time.

Academics - Schedule

When can I view my schedule for fall 2020?

All schedules are available on myMack.

How can I make changes to my fall academic schedule?

Students can make schedule changes on their own or request changes through an online form which we will be emailed directly to students. We highly suggest that you speak to a Success Coach or Academic Advisor before you make changes.

Has the academic schedule changed for the Fall 2020 semester?

Yes. Classes will begin Monday, August 24, 2020 and the College will remain residential through Wednesday, November 25, 2020, before going remote for the remainder of the fall semester, with classes ending and Residence Halls closing at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, 2020. Final exams will end Friday, December 4, 2020. During this semester, holidays will be canceled.

Graduate classes’ start dates for the Fall 2020 semester will vary by program. Students will receive program start information directly from their program directors.

Athletes in season, international students and students from a significant distance may stay on campus through the holidays and will be required to pay the full rate for room and board. Fall 2020 room and board fees will be adjusted from the Spring fees.

When will the Spring 2021 semester start?

The College has not determined the start date of the Spring 2021 semester at this time.

Will there be classes during typical fall holidays?

Fall holidays will be teaching and learning days - Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day (Columbus Day), Veterans Day. The College is following accreditation rules so the Fall 2020 semester can end early.

Academics - Services

Will academic advising take place?

All academic advising relationships will continue as usual. Most, if not all, of these conversations, will take place over Zoom or some other virtual platform. Incoming freshmen will meet with their Advisor over Zoom in late August.

Will there be a tutoring and study partner program?

Tutors and study partners will be available in the fall. Many sessions will take place over Zoom. Math subject tutoring will be delivered over Blackboard Collaborate. There will be some on-ground tutoring with appropriate health and safety protocols in place.

Are Success Coaches available?

Success Coaches will continue to be available to students for one-on-one conversations. Most of these will take place over Zoom. Success coaches are available all summer as well as into the Fall. We have added an additional 20 graduate fellows to expand success coaching to check in with students.

Will the McQuade Library be open?

The services of the library will be fully operational in the fall. The library will be open as a place for students to study, though there will be a change in the layout of chairs and tables to allow for social distancing.


Sunday: 10 a.m. - midnight
Monday - Friday: Open 24 hours
Saturday: 10 a.m. - midnight

Note: we are open for Merrimack students, faculty and staff only.

I have questions about academic accommodations, who should I contact?

The Accessibility Services Office is available to help students with specific questions or concerns. Most one-on-one meetings will take place over Zoom. 

Tuition and Fees

Is there additional funding? I am concerned about paying my tuition for next year.

Students who are concerned financially about this coming academic year may seek additional assistance during this trying time by submitting a request through the Student Emergency Fund form. Please visit the Student Emergency Fund Website for more information.

What is the COVID-19 mitigation/testing fee?

All students taking in-person classes will need to participate in the College’s testing program. The cost is $475 per student per semester.

I’m a commuter student, do I need to pay the COVID-19 mitigation/testing fee?

Yes. All students taking in-person classes are required to participate in the College’s COVID-19 testing and mitigation program. 

What happens if the College needs to shut down? Will I be reimbursed for tuition or room and board expenses?

The College will not reduce tuition or fees costs or reimburse room and board fees for such a shutdown.

Based on my “Intent to Enroll” form, if I previously told the College I was going to live on campus and have now decided I am going to commute, will my bill be adjusted?

The College will ultimately adjust financial aid packages according to the choices you make on your “Intent to Enroll” form. Your preliminary financial aid offer is based upon the cost of attendance for 2020-2021 academic year for your program. Your cost of attendance is currently based on your residential plan for fall 2020 as of June 1, 2020. This change may impact your financial aid offer which includes merit-based scholarships, institutional grants or federal/state funding. Merrimack College reserves the right to make any changes to your financial aid award regardless of the type of aid should your eligibility or cost of attendance change at any point during the 2020-2021 academic year.

The College is committed to working with each student individually and their families to figure out how to pay for college, lessen the burden and adapt to different circumstances. We recognize the importance of understanding your financial aid in order to inform your fall planning and encourage all students and families to review payment plan options, apply for additional assistance and consider alternative payment options for fall 2020 if necessary.

What is the College doing with the CARES Act funding received?

Merrimack College was awarded federal funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. While helpful, the CARES Act funds are significantly less than the costs associated with the institution’s response to the pandemic.  The College will use these funds as part of the student emergency fund to assist students with COVID-19-related expenses.


Are guests allowed in residence halls?

There will be no guests allowed in the residential areas. Further, students cannot visit residential halls other than the one they reside in. Parents/ immediate family may come to campus to see their students but they must sign up in advance through the guest registration form and all guests must remain outside of the residence halls.

How will residence halls be structured to ensure safety?

To abide by social distancing and safety guidelines, Merrimack has eliminated triple and quad rooms, is installing movable barriers in all bedrooms and is working to reconfigure common spaces. Face coverings will be required in the residence halls in any spaces outside of personal rooms, and visitors (including students who live in different residence halls) will not be allowed. Residential students are only permitted in their assigned buildings. Residence life professional and paraprofessional staff will continue to live on campus and promote a healthy and safe community environment.

Will there be additional cleaning of residence halls?

On a more frequent basis, facilities staff will clean residential common spaces, including common bathrooms. If you are a student living in a suite or apartment, you will continue to be responsible for regularly cleaning your own bedroom, bathroom, living room and other non-common spaces. Due to COVID-19, supplemental cleaning of bathrooms in suites and apartment bathrooms will be regularly conducted by facilities staff.

What is a residential group?

Students will be housed by their Living Learning Communities, we are planning athletic groups to be housed and grouped together, and all remaining students will be assigned by class year within the residence areas. The Office of Residence Life is reviewing housing placement preferences from the spring housing process for returning students and the housing questionnaire for first-year and transfer students. Students will be grouped together by those living in a specific townhouse, apartment or suite. Traditional residential hall rooms with common bathrooms will be cohorted in groups of 4–12 people based on their living preferences. The residential groups will provide students the opportunity for closer personal and social contact with others while living on campus this fall — including the ability to have a roommate and share meals with others. When interacting only with members of their residential group in residence hall areas, social distancing should be maintained where possible but may be relaxed where needed as long as face coverings are worn.

What is the purpose of residential groups?

Residential groups are small groups of students who will serve as each other’s “family unit.” If you are living on campus this fall, your residential group will provide the opportunity for closer personal and social contact with others — including the ability to have a roommate and share meals with others.

Can I leave my belongings in my room when I leave before Thanksgiving?

If you are staying in housing for the Spring you can leave your items over the break.

As a resident student can I have my car on campus?

Overnight parking will be very limited for the Fall 2020 semester, commuters will be served first with parking (since there will be more commuters); students are encouraged not to bring their cars to campus unless they have a documented medical need, an internship requirement, necessary employment or family circumstance. 

Can I be eligible for Spring 2021 housing if I opt to be remote for the fall?

Students can return to spring housing if they do not live on campus in the fall.


What dining services will be available on campus?

Our dining strategy aims to provide more space, more options and less crowding. Three new outdoor temporary venues for dining are being added this fall. These areas will be tented, heated and lighted, and provide a variety of food options. There will be additional options for grab-and-go meals, and opportunities to pre-order and pick up through a new mobile app. Catering of events and food provided at events will be very limited. You will not be able to make your own food in the cafeteria; instead, everything will be made for you, in front of you and according to your preferences.

Do all students need to purchase a full 19 meal plan?

Yes. All students living on campus must purchase a full 19 meal plan. This however can be modified for 15 or 13 meals with additional MackBucks.

Are meal plans available for commuter students?

Yes, there is a five meal plan available for commuter students. Commuter students are also able to purchase additional meals if they want.

Is there a grocery delivery service?

To reduce the need to leave campus for groceries, Merrimack has partnered with a locally owned company, GrocersPod, to create a Merrimack-specific experience where students can order groceries (and other essentials) from a nearby supermarket and have them delivered to the campus. Students will be able to pay for groceries using Mack Bucks and dining dollars. The cost of delivery is free and deliveries will be made to a central location on campus several times during the day.

Athletics, Recreation and Fitness

What is the current status of the fall 2020 athletic season?

At this time, the fall athletics season as well as all other sports competition has been postponed to no earlier than November 25 per a voting by the Northeast Conference (NEC) Council of Presidents. Given the NCAA’s recent decision to move fall championships to the spring, the NEC will continue its comprehensive exploration and evaluation of the viability of providing a competitive experience for fall sports during the spring semester.

Read the full press release regarding the postponement of fall sports competitions and championships.

Will there be intramural or club sports?

Club sport competition is canceled for the fall semester. Specific clubs that participate in noncontact sports may be permitted to continue practice activity with prior approval from the Department of Athletics. No off-campus club sport activity will be permitted.

Intramural activity will occur during the academic year on a limited basis, with an effort to create activities that will best promote appropriate distancing and support the health and safety of all participants.

Will the fitness center be open?

The fitness center will be open, though entry and capacity may be limited by appointment. Social distancing policies will be enforced. Visit the athletics website to reserve your fitness center time.


Is parking available for residential students?

In an effort to ensure adequate parking for commuter students, and to avoid the prevalence of leaving campus and risking transmission of the virus, the College is limiting the number of overnight spaces available for residential students. There will be no off-campus parking accommodations, and the numbers of overnight spaces will be reduced by more than half. Students who need to have a car for the following reasons can petition for a parking space: (1) Health matters (2) Family support (3) Approved off-campus work. Students who wish to have a car for general purposes will not be granted a parking space.

How do commuter students get their parking passes?

There is adequate parking available on campus for commuter students. All commuter students are required to have a 2020-2021 Commuter Student Parking Pass. You can request your 2020-2021 Commuter Parking Pass here.

How do graduate students get their parking passes?

There is adequate parking available on campus for commuter students. All graduate commuter students are required to have a 2020-2021 commuter Student Parking Pass. You can request your 2020-2021 graduate Parking Pass here.

Student Life and Events

Will there be student activities and events?

Gatherings in indoor and outdoor spaces will be limited in size in accordance with public health guidelines, both on and off campus. Hosting and attending large parties or registered events is prohibited for the 2020–2021 academic year, as such events are incompatible with the social distancing required to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The division of Student Affairs will be hosting multiple programs and events over the course of the semester to ensure opportunities for social interaction among the communities. These staffed events will follow all College event guidelines. 

Student organizations should refer to the information regarding student organization related events and gatherings and work with the Office of Student Involvement to host events within the instructed guidelines.

Will there be Mass?

Daily Mass will be held Monday through Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the sanctuary area of Austin Chapel for those already on campus and those who have been cleared to be on campus. Live Mass will continue to be broadcast over Zoom for those unable to attend in person. On Sunday, three Masses will be held for students at 12:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. – and will also be broadcasted over Zoom.

Is the on-campus Post Office open?

The Post Office will be open during their traditional hours of operation. Due to the increased number of packages, the Post Office will have a package only pickup location located on the same floor as the Post Office. By early in the semester the College will have installed an automated unattended self-service locker system where students can pick up packages 24-7.

Will the Rogers Center host events?

There will be no public events at the Roger’s Center for the Fall 2020 semester. The College is considering a plan for student events.

Will there be Commencement for the Class of 2020?

Merrimack College is postponing this year’s Commencement due to COVID-19. 

Class of 2020: Graduation Update, Regalia & Diploma Note

Will the campus shuttle be running?

There will be no on-campus shuttle for the fall semester.

Can I have a job or internship off campus?

Yes, you can have a job or internship off campus. However, it is strongly recommended that you look for on-campus job and internship opportunities. Visit the Handshake website for opportunities.

Travel and Study Abroad

What are the current policies for student and employee travel?

If you travel by airplane, travel overnight or travel to regional COVID-19 hot spots, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days before coming back to campus, regardless of the reason for traveling. The College will not support or pay for any travel for any student or employee unless pre-approved. This includes team athletic travel, students and mission trips, admissions and athlete recruiting.

I’m traveling from out of state, do I need to self-quarantine?

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ new travel order went into effect on August 1, 2020 and requires that all visitors traveling to Massachusetts from states other than MA, CT, ME, NH, NJ, NY and VT self-quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to your arrival in Massachusetts.

The travel order also states that a traveler who is required to quarantine may be released from the obligation to continue quarantining upon obtaining proof of a negative test from an FDA EUA-approved molecular test, which was administered after the person’s arrival in Massachusetts.

Can I go home during the semester?

Once the semester begins, Merrimack College strongly advises you to refrain from extended personal travel until after the fall semester has concluded. Extended personal travel is defined as leaving the area of the campus community overnight or engaging in any activity off campus that would increase the risk of COVID-19 exposure.

You should refrain from travel over weekends, on holidays, or otherwise from the time you arrive at the start of the fall semester until the time you depart at the end of the semester. Merrimack will be providing expanded services during weekends.

What are the plans for study abroad?

Study Abroad programs, both semester-long and short-term, are canceled for the 2020-2021 academic year. There will be no College-sanctioned study abroad program for Fall 2020. You are encouraged to consult with the Office of Global Education regarding future possibilities.

Faculty and Staff

Are there resources available to help me to teach my class in-person and remotely?

The College has created a new multi-modality teaching website with a variety of resources to help you teach in-person and online. Please reach out to your department chair or Dean’s office with any questions or concerns. In addition, The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (cetl@merrimack.edu) is having regular development sessions all summer in preparation for the fall semester.

Will I know which students in my class are taking on remote classes?

The College will provide a list of specific students who will be taking your sections as a remote-only class, and we will share with Deans, instructors and advisors. Many students are reaching out to their faculty advisers. If you receive inquiries and you are not sure how to respond, please consult your Dean’s office or the Academic Success Center with questions.

Are there recommended ways for me to prepare for a hybrid classroom?

There are a variety of ways to prepare for hybrid courses. Some suggestions include:

  • Faculty member scheduled to teach a large class: The material will be made available online. Additionally, the class will be divided into small groups for face to face meetings in the classroom for periods of time that fit within the class’s current schedule.  This would allow the students to have smaller-group engagement with the faculty member without altering the schedule or requiring a larger room for the course.
  • Faculty member scheduled to teach multiple sections of the same course: The faculty member will hold one or two of those sections as on-campus courses, and the second or third section as a fully remote course. The faculty member will meet with half of their students one day per week, and half the other. The students who are not in the classroom on any given day will be assigned asynchronous work. The syllabi would be similar enough that students would be free to transfer between the sections as needed. If any students should face scheduling problems in transferring between on-campus and remote sections, the faculty member will work with them to accommodate those students’ needs. 
  • Faculty member meets with the students back to back in shifts one day a week:  (for a 8-9:50 class, half the class would come at 8 a.m., the other half at 9 a.m). This class session would be “lecture” and Q&A. There would also be asynchronous materials for that day (videos of lectures, discussion forums, etc.). On the other day of the week the faculty member will hold a synchronous online meeting, involving group work on the Zoom whiteboard or a similar engaging activity.   
  • Faculty member splits on-campus classroom: Students are divided into two groups that meet face-to-face once a week and complete an online assignment on the other days. In addition, students meet virtually once a week with students who are not on campus (either by choice for the entire semester or because of illness). In this model, faculty could be on campus or join the class remotely. For MWF classes, the instructor would meet with group A (half the students who are on campus) on Monday, group B (other half of on campus) on Wed and group C (students who choose virtual instruction or have to due to illness) on Friday. For Tuesday/Thursdays classes, the plan for groups A & B are the same but this faculty member would set aside time for the students who require 100% virtual instruction. This can be done in the evening to not conflict with other classes. If faculty are teaching remotely and students join via zoom, the virtual learners could join one of these sessions and reduce the need for an additional session. 
  • Faculty member teaching on the ground with remote students: Students Zoom into the class through the College issued Ipad that the faculty member sets up on the ipad stand that will be in each room. (This requires a single Zoom invitation to all remote students.) Students who are remote are placed in small groups with other students in the class for remote Zoom collaboration.

If I don’t like the way my classroom is set up can I move the furniture?

Furniture in all the classrooms has been set for the semester. The rooms are set up in a specific way in order to guarantee student and faculty safety. Furniture MUST NOT be moved.

Do I have to wear a face covering to teach?

Plexiglass barriers have been installed to be used by faculty to stand behind and teach. If teaching behind the plexiglass barrier, you do not need to wear a face covering. If you do not want to stand behind the plexiglass barrier, you must wear a face covering.

Questions and Concerns

I have questions and concerns. Who do I reach out to?

This fall, patience, understanding and teamwork will make a big difference. We depend on each other to ensure a safe and vibrant community. If you have concerns about the implementation of the College’s policies or practices, please contact the Task Force. Employees and students who do not adhere to campus COVID-19 policies are subject to removal from campus and additional disciplinary actions.

Merrimack Student Support Services

Please reach out to our teams with any questions or concerns. 

Hamel Health and Counseling
Medical: 978-837-5441
Mental Health: 978-837-5444