COVID-19

Health and Safety

Health and Safety

As we prepare to reopen campus, Merrimack College’s first priority remains, as always, the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

General Safety Policies For All Campus Members

While Merrimack College remains committed to providing an outstanding learning and working environment, COVID-19 has forced us to reimagine how to deliver a high-quality education with more frequent remote engagement. It has challenged us to look at residential life, classrooms and dining in new and creative ways. It has created a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break old habits and create new and relevant ways to teach and learn - and caused us to rethink how we deliver services such as counseling, student life and career development services.

Entering Campus

Campus entrances are gated and guarded 24 hours a day, and entry is limited to enrolled students, faculty and staff, parents, vendors, Islander hockey participants and visitors to the admissions center. Everyone entering campus will be required to sign an acknowledgment of risk after reviewing 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 cleaning.

Anyone entering the campus must follow the below guidelines:

  • Check-in with the Merrimack College Police Department (MCPD) at the Rock Ridge Road entrance - a second entrance will be added in the fall. 
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Follow social distancing policies of six feet or more.
  • Review Return to Campus Policies and Procedures.
  • Self-screen and then complete the COVID-19 Return to Campus Checklist.
  • Sign one of the following:
  • Bring your Merrimack College ID or a valid driver’s license. 
  • Self-identify any COVID-19 symptoms and answer 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?
    • Have you or any member of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

Campus Visitors

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

Visitor experiences on campus will be limited depending on the visit. There will be no exceptions unless approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President.

Shared Rides, Deliveries and Packages

Shared rides and food deliveries are not allowed on campus. Instead, shared rides and food deliveries will be directed to an isolated pickup location off Rock Ridge Road. The student post office will collect all USPS, FedEx, UPS and Amazon packages and mail.

Return to Campus Guidelines and Protocols

Until a vaccine or treatment is made available to the public, Merrimack College will continue to use evidence-informed methods and policies to protect the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff while on campus.

What makes Merrimack College as a community unique is that we all look out for one another. In the coming months, you will need to be cognizant that your actions impact others – especially if you do not feel well. It is essential that we protect each other and mitigate the spread of the disease. This document outlines new policies, health measures and changes to the campus’s social experience in order to assist in this effort and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Health and Safety

  • All students, faculty and staff who choose to return to Merrimack’s campus this fall will be screened and tested for COVID-19 on an ongoing basis.
  • Students, faculty and staff will be responsible for monitoring their own health daily, as well as for self-reporting, self-quarantining and self-isolating should they test positive for COVID-19.
  • All students, faculty and staff will be required to wear face coverings, social distance, ensure proper hygiene and otherwise conform to the policies of the College with regard to mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

Ongoing Monitoring

The College’s COVID-19 Task Force will continue to monitor the ongoing developments related to COVID-19 prevention, communications, outreach and response planning, and will advise College leaders on policies and decisions aimed at ensuring the safety of Merrimack students, faculty and staff.

Traveling to Massachusetts from Out of State

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’s new travel order will go into effect on August 1, 2020 and requires that all visitors traveling to Massachusetts from the states outside of New England (MA, ME, CT, NH, RI, VT), New York and New Jersey must 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. 

Students From Outside the Region

Due to this new order, at this time, all students have the following options to streamline the move-in process: 

  1. It is encouraged that all students outside the region take and produce a negative COVID-19 test administered up to 72-hours prior to arriving to campus. Students with a negative result will be permitted to move into their fall housing assignment during the scheduled move-in week of August 17 - August 21. Students will still be tested upon their arrival. If family members are accompanying the student on to campus they must also produce a negative COVID-19 test administered up to 72-hours prior to arriving to campus if they stayed overnight in Massachusetts, otherwise they meet the State exemption for transitory travel. Parents, guardians and family who stay overnight in Massachusetts and plan to accompany their student to campus who could not obtain a test administered up to 72-hours before arriving may obtain a test at your own expense after arrival in Massachusetts but must quarantine until a negative test result is received.
    • When arriving from outside of the state (except for MA, ME, CT, NH, RI, VT, NY and NJ), students and family members must complete a Massachusetts travel form upon arrival which can be found online at www.mass.gov/matraveler. We ask that you share a copy of this form with us upon arrival. 

  2. For students who are traveling from outside of New England (MA, ME, CT, NH,RI, VT), New York or New Jersey: If testing is not available in your area, or a student is unable to complete a test before traveling to campus for move-in during the week of August 17 - August 21, students may return to campus on August 13 and the College will assist you in testing. Please note that upon arrival, students will be quarantined in a quarantine space separate from their fall room assignment. While in quarantine, students will be tested and may not leave the quarantine space until a negative test result is received. Depending upon when you arrive on August 13, you may not receive your test on the same day and it will take another day to receive the result of that test. As such, students from outside the region who need a test provided by the College should expect to quarantine for a minimum of three days. Once a negative test has been received, students will be moved into their fall housing assignment. If family members are accompanying the student on to campus they must also produce a negative COVID-19 test administered up to 72-hours prior to arriving to campus if they stayed overnight in Massachusetts, otherwise they meet the State exemption for transitory travel. Parents, guardians and family who stay overnight in Massachusetts and plan to accompany their student to campus who could not obtain a test administered up to 72-hours before arriving may obtain a test at your own expense after arrival in Massachusetts but must quarantine until a negative result is received.

  3. We are aware that some students have already made travel arrangements to return to the campus on the date of August 9 based on previous information. Those students are asked to look at changing their travel plans. If that is not possible, please contact Residence Life. A limited number of quarantine spaces will be made available for students in this situation. Students will be quarantined in rooms that are separate from their fall room assignment. While in quarantine, students will be tested and may not leave the quarantine space until a negative test result is received. Test availability is limited and it may be more than a day before one can be administered. Once a negative test has been completed, students will be moved into their Fall housing assignment. If family members are accompanying the student on to campus they must also produce a negative COVID-19 test administered up to 72-hours prior to arriving to campus if they stayed overnight in Massachusetts, otherwise they meet the State exemption for transitory travel. Parents, guardians and family who stay overnight in Massachusetts and plan to accompany their student to campus who could not obtain a test administered up to 72-hours before arriving may obtain a test at your own expense after arrival in Massachusetts but must quarantine until a negative result is received.

Please note, if a parent/guardian/family member is entering Massachusetts only to drop off the student and then immediately leaves the campus and the state, they meet the exemption for transitory travel and the travel order regarding testing or quarantining would not apply. However, if they are staying overnight in Massachusetts they are subject to the requirements of the Massachusetts Travel Order. Please be aware the list of exempted states may be altered by the state at any time. 

As a reminder, students who travel to Massachusetts from outside the region and have a place off campus to quarantine for 14 days are permitted to do so before coming to campus. In that case, students will move in as part of the scheduled move-in week of August 17 - August 21 and must complete a Massachusetts travel form upon arrival which can be found online at www.mass.gov/matraveler. We ask that you share a copy of this form with us upon your arrival.  

If a student’s travel is delayed due to a positive COVID-19 test, please contact the Task Force who will work with you and the Office of Residential Life to find a new date for your move in. 

Students From Within the Region

Although it is not required for students traveling to campus from inside the region to take a COVID-19 test before coming to campus, the College strongly encourages that all students begin to quarantine 14 days before arriving to campus or to take a COVID-19 test administered up to 72-hours prior to arriving to campus. All students with a negative result will be permitted to move into their fall housing assignment during the scheduled move-in week of August 17- August 21. Students will still be tested upon their arrival.

However, if a student arrives to campus and takes a baseline test that produces a positive result, they will be immediately isolated and sent home if they live within 200 miles of the campus. Therefore, it is very important for students to do everything they can to ensure a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to avoid having to leave the campus for the duration of quarantine.

COVID-19 Symptoms 

Symptom Monitoring

Each day, before reporting to campus or leaving your residence hall, all members of the community should complete a daily self-screening and fill out a COVID-19 Daily Checklist to confirm that you do not exhibit any symptoms potentially related to COVID-19.

If you have any of these symptoms of COVID-19 while away from the College, do not return to campus. Call your medical provider and notify the College to report symptoms. Students must call (978) 837-5599. Employees must contact Human Resources.

If you live on campus and have any symptoms, please do not leave your room and call (978) 837-5599.

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

Experiencing Symptoms While on Campus

Any students who become symptomatic while on campus must immediately call (978) 837-5599 to be evaluated in consultation with a telehealth professional and directed to an on- or off-campus testing facility. For residential students, the College has engaged the services of a local testing facility for emergency testing.
Commuter students who experience symptoms should immediately call (978) 837-5599.

Employees who suffer from symptoms while on campus should inform their supervisor, leave campus immediately and contact their personal health care provider.

Social Distancing

In addition to wearing a face covering while on campus, everyone must follow social distancing best practices. The goal of social distancing is to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and not to completely eliminate all interactions. While on campus, everyone must attempt a minimum of six feet from individuals to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when possible.

Campus Health and Safety Measures

By this point, most people own and use various Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While we recommend you bring your own face coverings and other PPE, please be aware that:

The College has invested in cleaning and Hygiene Installations around the campus

  • 300+ hand sanitizer dispensers (wall-mounted and stands)
  • 200 sanitizing wipe dispensers
  • 19 electrostatic sanitizing sprayers
  • 55-gallon self-dispensing sanitizer drums

Additionally, Merrimack has created other protection measures across campus including physical barriers and touchless entry solutions. Investments made include:

  • 200+ plexiglass barriers in offices and classrooms (rolling barriers for faculty)
  • 357 touchless plumbing sensors
  • 63 occupancy light sensors
  • 142 kickdown door stops
  • 200 step-and-pull for doors
  • 1300 movable room dividers

The College has acquired multiple supply chains for acquisition of additional supplies.

Hygiene and Face Coverings

Handwashing

Students, faculty and staff should wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after they have been in a public place, or after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or touching their face. If soap and water are not readily available, they should use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. When using hand sanitizer, students, faculty and staff should cover their hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed around campus in strategic locations, but students are advised to bring a personal supply when returning to Merrimack College for the 2020–2021 academic year.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting

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.

Compliance and Enforcement of COVID-19 Policies

The members of the College community depend upon each other to ensure a safe and vibrant community. Contact the Task Force with any concerns about the implementation of the College’s policies and/or practices. 

Merrimack will not tolerate non-compliance with our policies and practices as it relates to keeping the campus safe. The Community Standards will reflect changes to our Code of Conduct that will hold students accountable for things like refusing to wear a face covering, or not taking COVID-19 tests. Faculty are asked to contact MCPD if students refuse to properly wear face coverings in class.

Face Coverings

Effective immediately and until further notice, anyone (age two and up) on the Merrimack College campus or in public areas of College housing, whether indoors or outdoors, 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. Employees working alone in their offices and residential students who are alone or with their roommate in their college-owned housing do not need to wear face coverings.

Merrimack College reserves the right to decline entry to any individual who refuses to wear a face covering for nonmedical reasons.

Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing or hand hygiene. However, cloth face coverings can help prevent presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals from inadvertently spreading the virus to others.

Face coverings should:

  • Cover the nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops
  • Include multiple layers of fabric
  • Allow for breathing without restriction
  • Be laundered and machine dried frequently

When handling face coverings:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or apply hand sanitizer before and after removing a
    cloth face covering
  • Assume the outside of the cloth face covering is dirty; mark it in some way so that you do not inadvertently wear it outside-in
  • Store your cloth face covering in a clean paper bag
  • Only handle your cloth face covering by the ties or ear straps
  • Do not pull your cloth face covering below your chin while wearing it — dangling or ill-fitted cloth face coverings could lead to cross-contamination
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose
    or mouth

Campus Testing, Quarantine and Isolation

Students, faculty and staff on campus are expected to do their part to keep the campus community safe. By coming to campus, you are agreeing to the following expectations:

  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between people.
  • Avoid gatherings of more than 10 individuals (including office gatherings, in-person meetings and permissible visitors - not including classes or approved sponsored events).
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms daily and certify that you have not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days or been in contact with anyone diagnosed or experiencing symptoms in the past 14 days.
  • Wear a face covering in all public spaces and spaces used by multiple people.
  • Execute a waiver of liability and assumption of risk and consent form. 
  • Submit to regular testing.
  • Avoid traveling off campus, including personal weekend travel. Residential students should avoid leaving campus to reduce infection and transmission of COVID-19.
  • Stay home (or leave the workplace/classroom) and notify the appropriate individuals (supervisor/Human Resources, Dean of Students) if symptoms develop.
  • For employees, have meetings virtually and avoid shared spaces, even when on campus; stagger shifts; and encourage remote work as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands frequently and know the signs of COVID-19.

Campus-Wide Regular Surveillance COVID-19 Testing

Based on the current understanding of the virus and statewide planning, all students, faculty and staff will be tested initially at the beginning of the fall semester (baseline test) and on a weekly basis throughout the semester as part of a coordinated asymptomatic surveillance testing approach. Those who do not agree to submit to testing will not be allowed on campus.

The College has joined 40 area colleges by subscribing to the Broad Institute’s ‘Safe for School’ Program. This will allow the College to conduct testing on campus while the testing of each sample is performed at the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP), the clinical testing laboratory at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. This laboratory operates under a set of government regulations known as CLIA that allow us to run high complexity molecular tests, such as the one used to detect COVID-19. The test that is run by CRSP is a modified version of a test developed by the CDC. Over 250,000 tests have been performed to date.

As a result:

  • Approximately 4,500 people per week will be tested on campus.
  • Approximately 70,000 per semester tests are expected to be administered.
  • An app will be used to assist in coordinating the testing process and will also be used to notify any student, faculty or staff member of a positive test.

Broad Testing Service testing

COVID-19 Testing and Scheduling

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. 

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 24 and will continue until the week of November 16.

Merrimack will be using the CoVerified Application to support the College’s mitigation and surveillance testing plan. This web-based and smart phone 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 students miss appointments or do not comply, it is important to know that they will be subject to disciplinary action and limited campus access. The College will provide updates on testing periodically.

A Positive COVID-19 Test: What to Do

Students Who Test Positive 

  • Notification of a positive test result from the Broad ‘Safe for School’ test administered by Merrimack will be made to the student and the institution through the app. Students who test positive will be subject to isolation protocols.
  • If a student who takes additional (not replacement) COVID-19 tests outside of the
    College’s ‘Safe for School’ testing, and tests positive for COVID-19, the student should immediately call (978) 837-5599 to report the positive test.
  • Students who also appear to have symptoms while on campus outside of weekly testing
    will be tested immediately; if they test positive for COVID-19 they will be subject to
    isolation protocols.
  • In all cases where a student tests positive, they are to self-isolate for at least 10 days.
    Student isolation protocols include:
    • If students live with-in 150 miles they will be isolated temporarily and sent home as
      soon as possible for the duration of their quarantine.
    • If they live farther than 150 miles, or if they have at-risk relatives at home, or they
      have other special circumstances, they will be isolated in one of the isolation beds the College has
      set aside.
    • In conjunction with the appropriate government health agency, Merrimack College will
      undertake contact tracing following the student’s notification. Contact tracing will include
      a conversation with the student to determine potential exposures on campus.
    • Sick students should follow CDC recommended steps - sick students should stay in
      isolation for at least 10 days and cannot return until they have no fever without the use
      of medication for at least three days and other COVID-19 related systems have improved.
      Students should work in consultation with healthcare providers, the College and state and
      local health departments.
  • Once the College has been notified of a positive test, Merrimack will undertake contact tracing in conjunction with the appropriate government health agency. Contact tracing will include a conversation with the student to determine potential exposures on campus. Those exposed to the infected student will be required to also self-quarantine for 14 days per the CDC.
  • Any COVID-19-related obstacles will be on a case by case basis. Communicating issues and concerns and doing so honestly in an effort to look out for each other will be paramount. The entire COVID-19 situation requires shared responsibility, looking out for others, and not penalizing anyone who gets sick. The College is committed to protecting our students and community. We will work tirelessly with each individual to figure out the most appropriate strategy to assist them and the community, but this also requires everyone to do their part and work with the institution.

Remote Learning While Sick with COVID-19

Students who are physically out of class due to COVID-19 will have the ability to continue their learning remotely when they are well enough to resume class engagement. Students should communicate with all their professors as soon as they know they will be missing one or more classes.

Students who are taking courses that cannot be continued remotely will be provided with alternate options to ensure that all credit hours can be completed.

Employees (Part-Time and Full-Time) Who Test Positive 

  • Notification of a positive test result from the Broad ‘Safe for School’ test administered by Merrimack will be made to employees and the institution through the app.
  • If an employee who takes additional (not replacement) COVID-19 tests outside of the College’s ‘Safe for School’ testing and tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should immediately alert the Office of Human Resources or call 978-837-5599.
  • In all cases where a person tests positive, they are to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. No employee who tests positive will be allowed to return to campus before they have isolated for a minimum of 10 days, and that during those 10 days they had no fever for at least three days without the use of medication. The College will work with employees on when is the best time to return.
  • Once the College has been notified of a positive test, Merrimack will undertake contact tracing in conjunction with the appropriate government health agency. Contact tracing will include a conversation with the employee to determine potential exposures on campus. Those exposed to infected employees will be required to also self-quarantine for 14 days per the CDC.
  • Any employee who exhibits symptoms while at work should leave work after contacting their supervisor and immediately contact their personal physician and call 978-837-5599.
  • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19, or are otherwise exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and the Office of Human Resources, and follow CDC recommended precautions to stay at home in quarantine for 14 days from when the family member recovers.
  • Any COVID-19-related obstacles will be considered on a case by case basis. Communicating issues and concerns and doing so honestly in an effort to look out for each other will be paramount. The entire COVID-19 situation requires shared responsibility, looking out for others, and not penalizing anyone who gets sick. The College is committed to protecting our faculty and staff. We will work tirelessly with each individual to figure out the most appropriate strategy to assist them and the community, but this also requires everyone to do their part and work with the institution. Those who believe they have circumstances limiting their ability to return to work should contact the Office of Human Resources to discuss.

Remote Work While Sick with COVID-19

In most cases, faculty and staff who are quarantined or isolated from work due to COVID-19 will have the ability to continue their work remotely if their symptoms are manageable. Faculty and staff should discuss their work schedules with the Office of Human Resources if they are sick with the virus and follow the Merrimack College Leave for Exposure to Communicable Diseases policy. If remote work is not possible for an individual, other types of leave may be available. Please contact Human Resources to discuss options.

Contact Tracing

The ordering clinician of a patient who has tested positive for COVID-19 is required to report that positive test to the state department responsible for public health (Massachusetts Department of Public Health and New Hampshire Bureau of Infectious Disease Control). The local board of health or health department in the community where an infected patient lives will also be contacted. The relevant state or local agency will coordinate contact tracing related to that patient.

In the event of a positive COVID-19 test on Merrimack’s campus, contact tracing will be used to identify and contact members of the community (students, faculty, staff) who meet the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines for being at risk – and told to self-isolate and get tested.

The College will use a contact tracing team trained in Johns Hopkins’ protocols to work in concert with the state and local community to ensure faster identification of contacts at risk.

Those deemed by the contact tracing team to be at risk will be informed they have been in contact with a confirmed case and provided with the appropriate self-quarantine protocols. In situations where the employee is not sick but is in self-quarantine, they should work remotely.

Campus Expectations for Notification of COVID-19 Positive Community Members

In the event of a positive COVID-19 test, contact tracing will be used to identify and contact members of the community (students, faculty, staff) who meet the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health guidelines for being at risk; these individuals will be told to self-quarantine and get tested. The names of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will remain confidential. There will be no announcements about individuals who test positive.

Residential Student Quarantine and Isolation (per CDC)

Quarantine is for students who have been identified as a contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive but are not exhibiting any symptoms and have not tested positive. Individuals who are in quarantine should stay in place for 14 days. A student living in Merrimack College housing who is quarantined would remain in their campus housing during the quarantine period. 

Isolation is for students who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 (including fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat or new loss of taste or smell) and have been told by a provider that they have, or probably have, COVID-19, even in the absence of a test. A student living in Merrimack College housing who is required to be placed in isolation will be assigned housing and moved to that alternative housing during the isolation period. Students living within 150 miles from campus should plan to return home.

Commuter Student Quarantine and Isolation at Home

In all cases where a person tests positive, they are to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. No commuter student who tests positive will be allowed to return to campus before they have isolated for a minimum of 10 days, and that during those 10 days they had no fever for at least 3 days without the use of medication. The College will work with commuter students on when is the best time to return. Please note that commuter students who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19, or are otherwise exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 should call
(978) 837-5599, and follow CDC recommended precautions to stay at home in quarantine for 14 days from when the family member recovers.

Employee Quarantine and Isolation at Home

In all cases where an employee tests positive they are to self-isolate at home for at least 10 days. No one who tests positive will be allowed to return to campus before they have isolated for a minimum of 10 days, and that during those 10 days they had no fever for at least 3 days without the use of medication. The College will work with employees on when is the best time to return. Please note that employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19, or are otherwise exposed to a person infected with COVID-19, should notify their supervisor and Human Resources, and follow CDC recommended precautions to stay at home in quarantine for 14 days from when the family member recovers.

For Individuals with COVID-19 Under Isolation

Persons with COVID-19 who have symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation and return to campus under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • All respiratory symptoms are improving (cough, shortness of breath).
  • At least 3 days (72 hours) have passed with resolution of fever without the use of
    fever-reducing medications.

Individuals with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms and were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation and return to campus under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test.

Note that because symptoms cannot be used to gauge where these individuals are in the course of their illness, it is possible that the duration of viral shedding could be longer or shorter than 10 days after their first positive test. The protocols on this page follow recommendations made by the CDC.

Mental Health

During these uncertain times, attending to mental health is more important than ever. Merrimack is committed to supporting students’ health and well-being. Students will be offered mental health and health services on campus and through teletherapy and telemedical appointments.

Appointments can be scheduled by calling (978) 837-5441. Merrimack will also be offering private spaces on campus for students to continue teletherapy with their at-home therapists. Employees who need mental health support can access Merrimack’s Employee Assistance Program through the Human Resources page on MyMack or by contacting Human Resources.

Campus Shutdown Policies and Plan

Campus Outbreak of COVID-19

Merrimack College is prepared for COVID-19 outbreaks in our local community and for individual exposure to occur in campus buildings.

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 or long period 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 to ensure any prevalence of COVID-19 on campus, 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.

If Merrimack must shut down campus, it will move to remote work and learning for a temporary period of time and then resume face-to-face classes when appropriate in this situation.

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

Pandemic Safety Policy for Student Behavior

Merrimack will not tolerate non-compliance with our policies and practices as it relates to keeping the campus safe. The Community Standards will reflect changes to our Code of Conduct that will hold students accountable for things like refusing to wear a face covering, or not taking COVID-19 tests.