COVID-19

Academics

Academics

Learn more about Merrimack’s adjusted spring schedule, teaching, learning, advising and more as the College reopens. 

Adjusted Fall Schedule

The College has made adjustments to the academic calendar in order to avoid an outbreak over the fall holidays. The Fall 2020 calendar is as follows:

AUGUST
15-23 (Saturday-Sunday) Move-in
Baseline testing takes place
19 (Wednesday) Orientation begins
24 (Monday) FALL CLASSES BEGIN
Opening of the Academic Year
Weekly COVID testing begins
25 (Tuesday) Mass of the Holy Spirit via Zoom
31 (Monday) Fall Session 1 graduate online classes begin

SEPTEMBER
1 (Tuesday) Last day for adding and dropping courses
Last day for converting to or from Audit
4 (Friday) Last day for adding and dropping Fall Session 1 graduate online courses
7 (Monday) Labor Day (All Classes Meet)
Last day to withdraw from classes and/or housing (with refund)
8 (Tuesday) Last day for conversion of “N” grade for Summer 2020

OCTOBER
9 (Friday) Last day to withdraw with a “W” for Fall Session 1 graduate online courses
12 (Monday) Indigenous Peoples Day (All Classes Meet) (formerly Columbus Day)
15 (Thursday) Midterm grades are due by midnight
19 (Friday) Midpoint of semester
23 (Friday) Last day for Fall Session 1 graduate online courses
26 (Monday) Fall Session 2 graduate online classes begin
26-28 (Mon-Wed) Senior advisement for registration for Spring 2021
29 (Thursday) Senior registration begins for Spring 2021
29 (Thursday) Final grades due for Fall Session 1 graduate online
30 (Friday) Last day for adding and dropping Fall Session 2 graduate online courses

NOVEMBER
2-4 (Mon-Wed) Junior advisement for registration for Spring 2021
5 (Thursday) Junior registration for Spring 2021
6 (Friday) Last day to withdraw with a “W”
Last day to convert to Pass/Fail
9-11 (Mon-Wed) Sophomore advisement for registration for Spring 2021
11 (Wednesday) Veterans Day (All Classes Meet)
12 (Thursday) Sophomore registration for Spring 2021
16-18 (Mon-Wed) Freshman advisement for registration for Spring 2021
19 (Thursday) Freshman registration for Spring 2021
25 (Wednesday) Last day of fall classes, All residence halls closed
26-27 (Thur-Fri) Reading Period (Remote)
26 (Thursday) Thanksgiving
30 (Monday) Final Examinations begin. All Final Exams are Remote

DECEMBER
4 (Friday) Last day to withdraw with a “W” for Fall Session 2 graduate online courses
4 (Friday) Final Examinations end
8 (Tuesday) Final grades for all courses due by 5 pm
18 (Friday) Last day for Fall Session 2 graduate online courses
22 (Tuesday) Final grades due for Fall Session 2 graduate online
25 (Friday) Christmas

Unlike previous semesters, classes will be held on all weekdays including Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day and Veterans Day.

Undergraduate and Graduate Student Options for Fall 2020 Enrollment

We have been encouraged by the number of students and families who have expressed their excitement about returning to campus this fall. While the on-campus experience will undoubtedly be different, we are looking forward to resuming operations and welcoming students back to campus. However, to ensure proper planning, it remains critical that we understand the intention of every student.

The College has made significant investments to increase social distancing and protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff during this pandemic. We have additionally invested over 20 million dollars in campus alterations and reconfigurations, new classroom technologies and financial aid, as well as upfront costs aimed at enhancing the student learning experience.

Merrimack College is not alone in making these changes. In fact, the majority of colleges in Massachusetts and across the country are making similar adjustments. Most colleges have made significant changes to their campuses and policies to make it safe for students to return to campus and have reallocated budgets and added fees to offset the resultant costs.

For the 2020–2021 academic year, Merrimack College provided students with three options:

  1. Come to campus and take part in a combination of in-class and online courses.
    This option gives students access to the widest array of courses and services. Whether you choose to live on campus or commute from home, you may participate in on-campus activities and take advantage of all available campus services.
  2. Take virtual classes/learn from home.
    With this option, students choose to participate in virtual courses and online services and will not be on campus. Due to their interactive, hands-on nature, some courses cannot be offered in an online format, thereby limiting your course choices. Please note that, like most other institutions, we are not offering tuition reduction for those who select this option.
  3. Take a COVID-19 leave of absence – for one semester, or a full year – without penalty.
    Students who selected this option do not enroll in courses at Merrimack or participate in any College-sponsored, on-campus, or online programming unless otherwise noted, and you will not be allowed on campus. Those who select this option can re-enroll in the College without re-applying after the COVID-19 leave of absence is completed. Students interested in taking a leave of absence must fill out and complete the COVID-19 Leave of Absence Form. Athletes considering this option should consult their coach regarding the impact on eligibility. Certain programs such as nursing and teacher education that require state licensure may be exempt. Students should follow up with their program directors.

    Undergraduate and graduate students will not be charged for a leave of absence. However, if undergraduate students take courses at another college during this time, they will be charged $100 per semester credit to transfer credits to Merrimack. Please note that not all credits are transferable.

We asked each student to carefully review this document, consider their options and speak with their physician, family members and friends so that they could make the decision that is best for them.* If you have questions, you can email the Task Force or call (978) 837-5599.

*As of 8/12

 

Teaching and Learning for Fall 2020 Semester

Remote Learning for Students

Keep Teaching Resources

 

Fall 2020 Undergraduate Academic Calendar

Classes will begin on Monday, August 24, and end on Wednesday, November 25. Final exams will begin remotely on Monday, November 30, and end on Friday, December 4. Unlike in previous semesters, classes will be held on all weekdays, including Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day and Veterans Day.

Fall 2020 Graduate Academic Calendar

Graduate program start dates will vary. Graduate students will receive start dates directly from their program director. On-campus instruction will end on Wednesday, November 25. Classes will continue remotely on Monday, November 30, and end on Friday, December 4. Unlike previous semesters, classes will be held on all weekdays including Labor Day, Indigenous Peoples Day and Veterans Day.

Spring 2021 Calendar

The College is currently exploring the timeline for the spring semester.

Undergraduate and Graduate Revised Course Delivery Modalities and Your Fall 2020 Course Schedule

This Fall the College will be offering more than 1,100 undergraduate and graduate course sections. The majority of students will have some combination of on-ground and remote courses. As part of our de-densification efforts, as well as to accommodate students who may need to take classes remotely due to illness, self-isolation or quarantine, most on-ground courses will include hybrid and remote components.

In the course syllabus, each professor will outline meetings and course expectations at the start of the fall semester. If students are required to have a period of isolation or quarantine, they will engage in remote learning for the duration of that period.

We recognize that some students may need to change their schedule based upon their circumstances and they will have the ability to review all adjustments with an academic advisor or success coach prior to the start of the fall semester. In late July, the Academic Success Center will contact undergraduate students through email regarding their schedules and how to make adjustments to meet each student’s needs. Graduate students will be contacted by their program directors. Students can reach staff in the Academic Success Center at (978) 837-5278 or asc@merrimack.edu.

Fully Remote Learning

Some faculty will teach their classes in a fully remote modality. These classes have been designed to increase engagement and to achieve the same outcome as the on-ground classes. While most remote classes will be synchronous, many will have asynchronous components.

On-Campus-Only Classes

A small number of classes will be offered only on campus with no remote opportunities.

Lab Classes and Personal Protective Equipment Expectations

Each department that offers laboratory-based classes will present clear rules for how those classes will be run in a socially distant and safe manner. Some labs will be remote and some will be in person, and many in-person labs will include remote components.

Each student will purchase their own personal protective equipment (PPE) – lab coat, goggles and face covering – as they would have in prior semesters. If gloves are part of the required PPE, these will be provided. If a face covering breaks in a lab, one will be made available, but it remains the students’ responsibility to ensure that they have face coverings and wear them. The Bookstore has PPE equipment for sale for students.

Academic Policies

Except where otherwise stated in this document, or if modified in the future, the College will be
following all normal academic policies and procedures for the Spring semester. Academic policies and procedures can be found in the College catalog.

Opportunities to Adjust Schedules

At this time all Fall 2020 course schedules are now live in MyMack. It is highly suggested that all students – especially freshmen – speak to a Success Coach or Academic Advisor before making changes. Students can make changes on their own, but if students wish to speak with an academic success coach, please complete the Request Changes to Schedule Form and a Success Coach will follow up. Changes can be made throughout the summer. Some classes that are closed now, may open up later. For any other academic concerns, contact a success coach at asc@merrimack.edu. Students may adjust, add, drop and register for courses. To note, the last day to withdraw from classes and housing and/or receive a full refund is Monday, September 7.

Graduate students should go directly to their program directors. 

Attending Class on Campus

Over the summer, the College made changes to its facilities to allow safe social distancing by de-densifying classrooms and other spaces across campus. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to remain vigilant and follow recommended social distancing practices, which are posted around campus.

Reduced Classroom Density

The number of seats in each classroom has been reduced by 50 percent. All desks are facing the front and should not be moved, so as to maintain the appropriate distance between students. This means that in some sections, not all students enrolled will fit in the room at the same time. In these cases, the faculty will arrange for some students to access the course through a remote alternative. Faculty members will provide details for their courses.

Protections for Faculty

Faculty will stand at an appropriate social distance from students and will utilize a rolling plexiglass board for added protection. Even when teaching behind the rolling plexiglass, faculty must still wear a face covering.

Classroom Protocols

It is recommended that students sit in the same seats for each class meeting. Seats and desks should not be moved. Students must wear a face covering while in class. Items such as pens and iPads should not be shared. Students must wear a face covering while in class. Those who refuse will be asked to leave class by the instructor. Refusal to comply with these regulations will lead to a disciplinary hearing including expulsion for multiple violations. In addition, faculty who feel concerned may call Merrimack College Police Department at X5911 who will come to remove the student.

Self-Disinfecting Space

Hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes are provided outside every classroom and lab and inside each classroom. Students are asked to sanitize their hands and wipe down their desks before they sit down. Faculty are asked to do the same with any surface they touch.

Entering and Exiting Classrooms

Students entering a classroom are asked to remain outside the room and socially distant until the previous class has exited. To appropriately social distance, students should wait in larger areas such as lobbies or outside buildings until it is time to enter the classroom.

After-Hours Use of Classrooms and Academic Spaces

Many campus spaces will be open in the evenings for student use. In these spaces, students must practice social distancing and must not move any furniture. Students are asked to wipe down their spaces before and after each use. If a space is full, students are asked to use an alternative space.

Advising, Success Coaching, Tutoring and Library Use

All academic services will continue in the spring and are accessible to all undergraduate and graduate students, with many of them provided remotely. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Academic Success Center at asc@merrimack.edu or (978) 837-5278.

Academic Advising

Academic advisors are an important point of contact regarding the academic side of returning
to campus. 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.

Success Coaching

Success Coaches will continue to be available to students for one-on-one conversations. Most of these will take place over Zoom or other virtual platform. Success coaches are available all semester. Contact (978) 837-5278 or asc@merrimack.edu. More information about coaching can be found on the Academic Success Center’s webpage.

Tutoring and Study Partner Programs

Tutors and study partners will be available in the spring. Many sessions will take place over Zoom. Math tutoring will be delivered over Blackboard Collaborate. There may also be some on-ground tutoring with appropriate health and safety protocols in place in the Writing, Tutoring and Math Centers. Students can contact tutors or study partners at these centers by emailing tutoring@merrimack.edu.

Academic Accommodations

The Accessibility Services Office is available to help students with specific questions or concerns. Most one-on-one meetings will take place over Zoom. Students can contact the Accessibility Services Office at (978) 837-5722 or accessibilityservices@merrimack.edu.

McQuade Library

The services of the library will be fully operational in the spring. The library will be open as a place for students to study, though there has been a change in the layout of chairs and tables to allow for social distancing. Plexiglass dividers have been placed on tables for additional protection. Furniture should not be moved.

For the Spring semester, the library will be open only to the Merrimack campus community.

More information can be found on the library webpage. Librarians can be reached at mcquade@merrimack.edu, at (978) 837-5177 or through text message at (978) 228-2275.

Experiential Learning and Student Employment

Experiential Learning

  • Academic programs with accreditation requirements for experiential learning, field experience and/or internships will work with the relevant accrediting body to create safe and substantive alternatives.
  • Academic programs that have College requirements for internships, field experience and/or experiential learning will be adjusted so students do not need 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 need to leave campus.
  • Programs that have an off-campus experiential learning component required by an accrediting body or as part of their curriculum, should work with their deans to devise a plan. Individual professors that have an off-campus experiential learning component as part of a course must reach out to the Director of the Stevens Service Learning Center to start the approval process.

Off-Campus Jobs and On-Campus Jobs

Due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, there are fewer opportunities in the area, and due to the health risks, there are fewer places where students can go and safely return to campus. As a result:

  • Off-campus employment is discouraged for residential students.
  • The College is expanding its on-campus employment opportunities to help students with the greatest financial need.
  • On-campus jobs can be found on the Handshake webpage. Additional jobs will be added throughout the Spring semester as opportunities become available.

For more information about working on campus, contact Student Employment at studentemployment@merrimack.edu.

O’Brien Center for Career Development

The O’Brien Center is hearing from employers every day. Employer responses vary by industry,
location, job function and more. Some events and positions have been canceled but most are
just being modified to address current challenges. There are still many opportunities available for students to learn about and pursue. Contact the O’Brien Center to understand how to navigate this market.

Students can reach out directly to the O’Brien Center for Career Development and can also review available positions on the College’s Handshake website.