Living on Campus
Living on campus this year will be different from previous years.
Guidelines for Living on Campus
Residence Life professional and paraprofessional staff will continue to live on campus and promote a healthy and safe community environment. Merrimack will continue to encourage social distancing, and face coverings will continue to be required in the residence halls and in any spaces outside of personal rooms. Visitors (including students who live in other residence halls) will not be allowed in residence halls. Residential students are permitted only in their assigned buildings.
Residential students will remain in their fall assignments for the Spring of 2021. Housing policies for the Spring semester will mirror the same policies from the fall. If students would like to make a room change, consolidate with friends or request someone new in their space, they should contact Residence Life at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students that are currently commuting, experiencing classes remotely or on a Leave of Absence and want to return to on campus housing should email the Office of Residence Life at email@example.com. All students currently not in housing will be sent further information on how to register to live on campus. Spaces are available in all residence areas and Merrimack welcomes any student who would like to be a residential member of our community. Students who wish to live on campus must complete a Housing Interest Form on myMack. To complete the form please do the following:
- Login to myMack
- Click on Student Info at the top of the screen
- Click on Residence Life on the left side of the screen
- Click on Forms and then click on Housing Interest Form
Each student has been assigned to a residential cohort/pod based on room proximity within the residence halls. Residential cohorts will remain the same from the Fall semester and can be found in MyMack. Room changes will be made only in extreme circumstances in order to help maintain the health and safety of students.
Housing assignments and roommate information is posted on MyMack. As in the fall, each student has been assigned a residential cohort based on room proximity within the residence halls. To view assignments, roommate and residential cohort/pod information, log onto MyMack. For any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. All students were required to sign the 2020-2021 Housing Agreement when they entered into housing. This full year agreement encompasses all residential life policies as well as the COVID-19 policies of the College. This agreement remains in effect through the Spring of 2021.
Housing and De-Densification
Residential spaces are being de-densified for safety, including elimination of all triple and quad residence assignments. In all bedrooms, movable barriers are being placed for safety.
Spring 2021 Move-In Details
Notification of Spring 2021 Move-In and Housing Assignments
Housing assignments and roommate information is posted on MyMack. As in the fall, each student has been assigned a residential cohort based on room proximity within the residence halls. To view assignments, roommate and residential cohort/pod information, log onto MyMack. For any questions, email email@example.com.
All students were required to sign the 2020-2021 Housing Agreement when they entered into housing. This full year agreement encompasses all residential life policies as well as the COVID-19 policies of the College. This agreement remains in effect through the Spring of 2021..
What To Bring
All students are encouraged to pack lightly this spring and focus on bringing only essential and
important items to campus. Bringing fewer possessions will also make for a smoother and faster
move-in. All students are also encouraged to have a bag of essential items organized in the event that students need to be relocated or if students need to leave campus on short notice.
The move-in process will begin on January 27, 2021 and end on January 29, 2021. Students will be asked to sign up for their move-in time in advance through MyMack. New students are encouraged to select a move-in time on January 27 to participate in orientation later that afternoon. Communication regarding the move-in sign up process will be sent in the beginning of January.
The following are important details about the move-in process:
- Students should arrive on campus during the day and time they signed up for in MyMack. Specifically at the start of their move-in time block.
- Enter campus through the Rock Ridge Road Gate (Elm Street) and be prepared to show a Mack Card and CoVerified app for compliance with the symptom checker.
- Students will be permitted 2 people to assist with their two hour move in and they must fill out the Waiver of Liability and Assumption of Risk and COVID-19 Daily Screening form at the gate.
- Once on campus, students will proceed directly to the COVID-19 Testing Center in the MPR of the Sakowich Campus Center, where students will then get their baseline test.
- Students who have spoken to the Office of the Director of COVID-19 Campus Surveillance after having previously testing positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days and have been cleared through CoVerified can proceed directly to the Residence Life check-in table located in the Warrior’s Den
- After completing their COVID-19 test, students will proceed to the Residence Life check-in table located in the Warrior’s Den.
- Students will then head to Cascia Hall to obtain their 36-hour grab-and-go meals to take back to their space.
- All residential students must quarantine in their assigned room until they receive their negative test result and an all clear email is sent from the College.
- All students are encouraged to pack lightly and focus on bringing only essential and important items to campus.
- All students are also encouraged to have a COVID-19 bag of essential items organized in the event that they need to be relocated or need to leave campus on short notice.
Guests and Visitors in Residence Halls
To limit the spread of COVID-19, it is necessary to limit contact between people, particularly in residence halls. With that in mind, the following protocols were put in place in the fall and will continue to be strictly enforced during the Spring 2021 semester:
- No outside guests will be permitted on the campus with exception of family members.
- No overnight guests are permitted in residence halls until further notice.
- Guests are limited to only immediate family members/guardians and must remain outdoors.
- Guests are not permitted inside any buildings.
- Guest registration must be completed for family members/guardians to come to campus 24 hours in advance through our current guest registration online form. No on-site registration will be allowed.
- Residence hall units will maintain current living capacities.
- Resident hall guest policies are the following:
- Residential units will continue to be able to host guests. Those guests can only come from the same building. No guests are allowed if they come from outside the residence hall.
- Residential students are allowed no more than one guest per resident.
- In the event there are more than 5 residents in a unit, then the maximum number of guests and residents must be no greater than 10.
- Those students who live in townhouses that have more than 10 residents will not be able to have guests.
- All guests to a residential unit should be approved by all the students living in the unit.
- Guests and their hosts must wear face coverings at all times in the residential unit during the visit.
Commonwealth of Massachusetts Stay At Home Advisory (10 p.m. - 5 a.m.)
On November 5, 2020 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts instituted a Stay at Home Advisory from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. This advisory will remain in place until the Governor amends it. Please note as local authorities can fine up to $500 per violation, students who leave the campus, or who live off campus should be vigilant.
- Merrimack students should be at their residence halls or their off campus apartments/homes by 10 p.m. unless they are in or on the way to the library, working in a lab on campus (art, computer, science), fulfilling their employment, picking up take-out food, or traveling to or from one of these exempt locations.
- The Sakowich Campus Center, including the fitness center, Sparky’s and the Warrior’s Den will close at 9:30 p.m. Take-out options for food from McQuade Café and Pizzeria and Majors & Minors will remain available until midnight.
- All commuter students and residential students who live in college-rented Royal Crest units will be allowed on campus for exempt activities such as picking up food and going to the McQuade Library or lab spaces for academic purposes.
- All commuter students and residential students from Royal Crest will not be allowed in any indoor residential spaces, or in any outdoor residential areas of the campus from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m.
- Faculty, staff and vendors who are scheduled to be on campus during the hours of 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. will be permitted to do so under the Governor’s advisory.
- There are no outside guests allowed on the campus during the hours of 10 p.m. - 5 a.m. unless approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President.
As the College experienced in the fall, the Commonwealth may at its discretion adjust rules based on the cases of COVID-19 across the state. Merrimack will comply with such changes and will notify the community as they are amended.
It was very clear that in the Fall, students who left the campus for the weekend or for short trips were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. The College strongly discourages residential students from leaving the campus on the weekends or for short trips to avoid contracting the virus and bringing it back to campus.
Furniture in Residence Halls
Furniture in residence halls has been configured to comply with social distancing best practices and therefore cannot be moved or removed. Layouts have been designed with safety and cleanliness in mind.
Students, as usual, are responsible for cleaning their own bedrooms, apartments and other non-common spaces. Students should clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks) daily in their bedrooms and other non-common spaces. The CDC provides recommendations for cleaning different types of surfaces, including porous surfaces, nonporous surfaces, and electronics.
On a more frequent basis, facilities staff will clean residential common spaces, including common bathrooms. Due to COVID-19, supplemental cleaning of common bathrooms in suites and apartments will be regularly conducted by facilities staff for the Spring semester.
To avoid the prevalence of leaving campus and risking transmission of the virus, and to ensure
adequate parking for commuter students, the College has limited the number of overnight spaces available for residential students. As was the case in the fall, there will be no off campus parking accommodations, and the number of overnight spaces will continue to be extremely limited. Students who need to have a car for health-related matters can petition for a parking space. All others will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis with no guarantee of approval.
Residence Hall Parties/Registered Events
No registered events will be permitted inside residence halls until further notice. This policy will be strictly enforced to assure the health and safety of our community. Events will be allowed in spaces on campus such as McQuade Café and Pizzeria and Majors & Minors Eatery. Additional outside venues have been added across campus for programs, events and meetings.
All residential students are required to have a departure plan on file. These plans must be followed in the event of a student needing to isolate, quarantine or if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Departure plans will be strictly enforced and minimal changes will be allowed once a student’s departure plan is submitted. Students will be asked to implement these plans as soon as possible after talking with our medical staff.
Any questions involving departure plans should email the Dean of Students Office at
firstname.lastname@example.org. Students who live more than 200 miles away from campus or who have an at-risk family member at home are encouraged to make alternate arrangements with family/friends close by or to travel home; however, should that not be possible they can opt to quarantine or isolate with the College in a designated temporary housing space. Please contact the Dean of Students Office at email@example.com with any questions.
Students and their families are encouraged to have candid conversations about the student’s
departure plans and plan for steps that may need to be taken should students need to enact that departure plan.
The Post Office will be open during their traditional hours of operation. The Post Office will continue to have a package only pickup area located on the same ﬂoor as the Post Office as was the case in the fall. The College has purchased an automated unattended self-service package locker system where students can pick up packages 24-7. That system will be fully operational in the spring.
The Office of Student Involvement understands the importance of engaging with others in the campus community. In conjunction with student organizations, the College has successfully hosted over 125 in person and virtual events that attracted more than 3,000 students in attendance. Some of the most successful events in the fall were bingo and trivia nights, spoken word, food trucks, movie nights, DIY activities, and a variety of leadership training on topics of race, gender and sexuality. The College will continue to be creative and flexible in planning meetings, events and programs while following College guidelines and recommendations.
Student and Office of Student Involvement Sponsored Meetings, Events and Programming
All in-person student organization events, programs and meetings will need to be approved by the Office of Student Involvement at least two weeks prior to the event. All events will require a signup ahead of time and must have a virtual component for students. This signup will help monitor event capacity. If a large number of people are anticipated, multiple locations and “delivery” service for students should be considered. For example, for an instructed paint night, a signup would be required, with an option for supplies to be delivered to students’ residence halls. As the months will be colder at the beginning of the Spring semester indoor venues will be designated to allow for the continuation of a robust programming calendar.
In-person meetings, events and programs can be held for a limited number of people based on the gathering guidelines of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Students must adhere to social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings throughout the duration of the meeting. Whenever possible, virtual components such as Zoom, Google Hangouts and conference calls should be implemented for all meetings, events and programs to allow all students the opportunity to participate.
All groups will be required to take attendance at meetings through the Warrior Network and submit it to the Office of Student Involvement in the event that contact tracing becomes necessary. All meeting spaces will have a standard setup that includes social distancing of tables and chairs. Students will be asked to wipe down surfaces before and after use. The Office of Student Involvement will hold a monthly meeting with all student organizations to review updates and changes to any policies regarding meetings.
When warm weather permits, outdoor events will be encouraged. All attendees are required to check in with the Office of Student Involvement staff or event coordinator. According to College and state guidelines, face coverings are required at all events. Hand sanitizing stations will be available for participants to access at every event. Tables and chairs are required to be spaced six feet apart. The Office of Student Involvement will hold a monthly meeting with all student organizations to review any updates and changes to current policies regarding events and programs.
Merrimack College follows the Commonwealth of Massachusetts guidelines for inside and outside spaces to be used for in person meetings, events, or programs. At the time of publication, no student organizations, meetings or social events with over 10 people inside and 25 people outside will be allowed on campus. The College follows all Massachusetts guidelines and will adapt policies if guidelines are modified.
Social Events and Gatherings
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 has been and will continue to be prohibited for the Spring 2021 because such events are incompatible with social distancing that is necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Student organizations should refer to the information in the previous section regarding student organization related events and gatherings and work with the Office of Student Involvement to host events within the guidelines. Given our shared interest in controlling the spread of the disease, hosting or attending large parties or other events without approval will be a violation of this policy and result in disciplinary action.
Socially distanced daily Mass will be held Monday through Friday at 12:30 p.m. in 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, two Masses will be held for students, at 12:30 p.m.and 5:00 p.m. Those on campus and cleared to be on campus may attend in person but these Masses will also be broadcast over Zoom.
As there will be classes held on Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Monday, we will celebrate the liturgies for the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at 7:30 PM on Thursday, April 1 in Austin Hall Chapel and via Zoom, the Celebration of the Lord’s Passion on Friday, April 2 at 3:00 PM in Austin Hall Chapel and via Zoom, and Easter Sunday Masses at 12:30 and 5:00 PM in Austin Hall Chapel and via Zoom.
Merrimack will not tolerate non-compliance with our policies and practices as it relates to keeping the campus safe. The Community Standards 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. To date, there have been over 300 individual cases addressed involving infractions of the COVID-19 policies and sanctions have ranged from warnings through a separation from the College.