June 11: Reopening the Campus June 15, 2020
Dear Merrimack College Community -
The process of reopening the campus will begin Monday, June 15, 2020. Below, you will find information regarding Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the reopening process. The following policies, procedures, and dates will be incorporated as the College begins this process:
June 15, 2020 - Phase 1 - Limited Reopening
Beginning Monday, June 15, there will be a limited number of employees (approximately 197 employees) returning to campus. The Departments who have some employees returning during Phase 1 include:
- Police, Facilities, Student Affairs, Academic Deans, Senior Executives, Fiscal Affairs, Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Bursar, Provost Office, Post Office, Academic Success Center, Information Technology, Research Faculty, Summer II on Campus Faculty, Welcome Center, and the Sakowich Campus Center.
- The employees within these departments that are returning back to campus on Monday represent only a start-up capacity to begin the process of fully operating these units on campus. Each employee coming back is authorized to come to campus on an ongoing basis.
- The 197 employees within these departments will be contacted by their direct supervisor to discuss their return, determine work schedules and any necessary workplace accommodations. Each department listed above has a plan for social distancing and alternating schedules in order to follow social distancing best practices. These practices will be shared with you by your direct supervisor. Where appropriate, employees are still encouraged to work from home pending direct supervisor approval.
- If you need further accommodations for your return, please contact Human Resources.
Returning to Campus Expectations and Process
Before returning to campus, all faculty, staff and students are asked to review the new COVID-19 Return to Campus Policies and Procedures, the COVID-19 Return to Campus Checklist and waiver. These documents can be found attached to this email.
All faculty, staff and students will be required to sign a waiver on completion of reading the return to campus policies at the checkpoint as they enter campus each day. This document covers critical health and safety information regarding COVID-19 best practices, including but not limited to social distancing, self-care and workspace cleaning.
Employees who are returning to campus during the Phase 1 limited reopening, as well as those who have received temporary permission to be on campus from the Task Force, must follow the below guidelines:
- Must check-in with the Merrimack College Police Department (MCPD) at the Rock Ridge Road entrance - the only entrance to campus that will be open starting June 15.
- Must wear face coverings.
- Must review the COVID-19 Return to Campus Policies and Procedures, the COVID-19 Return to Campus Checklist and sign a waiver each time they arrive onto the campus. Individuals will be provided copies if needed.
- It is recommended that you bring the completed checklist and the signed waiver to hand to the person at the gate each time you enter campus to expedite entry.
- Must follow social distancing policies of six feet or more.
- Must self-identify any COVID-19 symptoms before entering campus and have answered the following questions before seeking entrance onto the campus: Have you traveled outside of the country in the past 14 days? Have you or anyone in your household experienced COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days? (NOTE: The symptoms have been updated by the CDC to include: fever, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or new loss of smell/taste.) Have you or any member of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
Currently, Sparky’s will be serving a limited breakfast and lunch on a daily basis and during Phase 1 there will be no cost to faculty and staff. There will be no reason to swipe cards or any payment transactions. If sitting at tables in Sparky’s, please observe social distancing best practices. To go options for those who would prefer to eat back in their offices will also be available. We hope that most people will take food back to their offices or eat outside in the warm weather. Please note food locations may change throughout the summer months. Updates will be shared regularly.
If you have not been identified as one of the 197 employees who are part of the Phase 1 limited reopening and would like access to campus or your office space – please work with your dean of vice president for approval who will request access through the Task Force.
To review all Return to Campus Policies, best social distancing practices, face covering requirements and more, please visit Merrimack’s Reopening the College Website. This website will be updated frequently and will serve as an up-to-date resource for all faculty, staff and students to engage and safely return to campus as it reopens. It is also important to note that as we implement Phase 1, we will be learning how to improve the process of campus entry and social distancing and eventually accelerate the campus entry process for faculty, staff and students to minimize wait time and the need to sign a waiver each time one enters campus.
This reopening will be challenging. However, as we learned this spring, when we come together as a community, look out for one another and focus on safety and well-being, we will be successful in not only opening our campus, but also keeping each other safe in the process.
Campus Hours for Phase 1 Opening
The campus entrance will be open Monday - Friday 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Entry will be denied after hours unless you live on campus or have advanced approval from the Task Force.
July 7, 2020 - Phase 2 - “Cautious” Reopening
Phase 2 reopening is currently scheduled to begin on Tuesday, July 7. An announcement sharing the details of this phase and the departments scheduled to return to work will be shared by the end of June. During Phase 2 – we will accelerate employees working on campus, restart prospective student visits, begin limited on campus instruction and open residence halls for a limited number of graduate students.
Just as the College did in Phase 1, those who have been identified to return to work during Phase 2 will be contacted by their direct supervisor by the end of June to discuss their return, determine work schedules and any necessary workplace accommodations. Employees will still be encouraged to work from home where possible, pending direct supervisor approval.
Students who are returning to campus during Phase 2 for Summer II courses will be contacted by their program directors regarding their return. Program Instructors will provide you with information that includes how classes will run, social distancing practices that will be in place, and to discuss any concerns that you may have.
Preparing for Students and Faculty to Return to Campus in August and September
August 10, 2020 - Phase 3 - Implement and Expand, planned tentatively for August 10, will allow for the return of the residential campus, athletics and preparing for classes in the fall.
Students will begin repopulating the campus on a limited basis beginning in Phase 2, and as Phase 3 is confirmed, starting with fall athletes, the number of residential students will increase gradually over the month of August. The College is also finalizing its plan in helping students and faculty balance their desire for a residential classroom experience with concerns about exposure to COVID-19. We will announce more information in the coming weeks regarding simultaneous in-person and remote learning allowing students and/or faculty the option to either be in the classroom in-person or participate remotely from a dorm room or off-campus home for a short-term or extended period of time. Additional information will also be sent over the coming weeks to inform students on move-in dates, schedule and course format changes (campus, hybrid or online), and options for those students who wish to only learn remotely.
September 1, 2020 - Phase 4 - Vigilant, slated to begin with the start of classes on September 1, will allow classroom teaching, labs, expanded research and other residential community activities, all substantially reshaped by COVID-19 public health and safety protocols.
The College is working to establish COVID-19 medical practices for students, faculty and staff and to conduct contact tracing for identified cases. The College’s policy in Phase 4 will be to ask employees and students who have tested positive or had exposure to COVID-19 to go home and quarantine until they are safe to return. The College will also have the ability to isolate students known or suspected cases of COVID-19 in special isolated housing.
Campus Policies and Procedures, COVID-19 Return to Campus Checklist and Waiver
Attached you will find the Phase 1 documentation for faculty, staff, students and campus visitors which will be given to each person seeking entry to the campus. This will be handed to every individual upon arrival on campus daily and includes campus protocols, a return to campus checklist and a waiver. It is recommended that you bring the completed checklist and the signed waiver to hand to the person at the gate each time you enter campus to expedite entry. Extra waivers will be available for signature should they be needed. As a reminder, all people arriving on campus will be required to have a face covering.
Waivers and updated campus protocols will be available as each opening phase is implemented. For those arriving beginning on Monday, the campus entrance will be on Rock Ridge Road next to the Arcidi Center. Upon arrival you will be greeted by staff and the Merrimack College Police Department who will ask you to review the protocols, complete the checklist and sign the waiver.
Lastly, a Return to Work Guidebook has also been included in the attachments for your reference.
Information for Graduating Seniors
Graduating seniors will receive emails and invites the last week of June for the August 8 graduation, access to tickets, senior days, and policies and procedures for coming back to campus to celebrate their graduation with classmates and friends.
While our time on campus over the next several months may look different from it did in the past – from less density in residence halls, to more smaller group socializing opportunities, to greater food options and locations, to more hybrid online/campus instruction – what we hope will remain the same is the opportunity for our students to meet new people, explore new opportunities and expand one’s boundaries.
I want to express my appreciation once again to those who have remained on campus during this time, Merrimack College Police, members of the Facility Department and others who kept our campus clean and operating so that we may return to a safe campus. The campus looks terrific and is awaiting the reopening and the return of staff, faculty and students.
Over the coming weeks, we ask for your patience and support as we work through the phases and the new policies and procedures. Thank you for all that you do to help one another to support the Merrimack College community.
If you have any further questions or concerns please contact the Task Force.
Be Safe, Be Well.
The Task Force