Nov 5: Merrimack’s Implementation of Recent State COVID-19 Guidelines
Dear Merrimack College Community-
On Monday, November 2, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker announced new public health orders and advisories to fight the rising cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which will take effect tonight, Thursday, November 5 at 11:59 p.m. While cases on Merrimack’s campus remain low due to the College’s aggressive surveillance testing program, contact tracing and quarantine measures, it is still very important that the Merrimack community continues to be vigilant in its efforts to contain the spread of the virus.
We are greatly appreciative of all of your efforts this semester to follow the COVID-19 policies and procedures we all adopted to keep the College safe and open. This moment in time is not easy. We are proud of our students, faculty and staff for their efforts to ensure the safety of our campus community, as well as for the many ways you exhibited care and support to one another during this challenging time.
As the winter season approaches, it means much more time will be spent indoors which can increase the risk for exposure and spread of COVID-19. Although our cases remain low, it is important to remember our personal responsibility to keep ourselves, loved ones and friends safe. Therefore, we would like to share the following information regarding the new executive orders and advisories made by the Governor of Massachusetts that will take effect on Thursday, November 5 at 11:59 p.m. and how each impacts Merrimack’s campus:
Face coverings are required indoors and outdoors regardless of social distancing. Face coverings have been required on Merrimack’s campus since the summer. This campus policy will remain in effect, however per the Governor’s order:
- Face coverings are to be worn in public whether you are in a group or alone. This includes any public activity someone does on their own such as walking or running.
- Members of the campus community should wear face coverings while congregating with others, including while driving in a car, hanging out with friends, colleagues and members of their residential cohorts.
- Please be extra diligent about keeping your face covering over your nose and mouth, even while alone.
Gathering capacities and limitations will remain in place, and do not change as a result of the Governor’s advisory/order. As a reminder our capacity policies are as follows:
- Dining hall and classroom capacities were set in accordance with state COVID-19 policies. Classrooms and dining halls will remain as previously determined. There are no changes to the number of people who can be in dining areas or classes.
- Reserved spaces for indoor events on campus including tents will continue to have a maximum capacity of 25 people.
- Outdoor reserved event spaces will have a maximum capacity of 50 people. Please note outdoor spaces should be reserved through Conference and Events.
- Residence hall units will maintain current living capacities.
- Resident hall guest policies are amended to be 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.
Stay At Home Advisory from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m.
- 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.
- Further, the Stay At Home Advisory means 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.
These policies are in effect starting Thursday, November 5 at 11:59 p.m., and will remain in place every day until the Governor amends them. 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.
While we recognize these changes may impact members of our community. With less than three weeks left until the end of the semester on campus, we urge all students, faculty and staff to continue to do their part to avoid unnecessary activities that could lead to increased COVID-19 transmission.
Thank you for your continued work on keeping us all safe. We know this has been a particularly tough semester, and we appreciate all you are doing – you are making a difference every day.
Jeffrey Doggett Ed.D.
Executive Vice President
Chief Financial and Operating Officer
Sean Condon, Ph.D.
Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students