Guidelines for specific audiences will be announced in the coming weeks, these include:
- Residential Students
- Commuter Students
- Student Athletes
- International Students
Campus Policies and Procedures, COVID-19 Return to Campus Checklist and Waiver
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.
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.
In response to Governor Baker’s COVID-19 Order No. 31 requiring any person over age two in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to wear a mask or face covering when in any place open to the public within the Commonwealth beginning May 6, 2020, the College is issuing new guidance for employees and students who attend, work or reside in College facilities and other campus-wide spaces.
Effective immediately and until further notice, anyone (age two and up) on the Merrimack College’s campus or in public areas of College housing, whether indoor or outdoor, that is unable to or does not maintain a distance of approximately six feet from every other person is required to cover their mouth and nose by wearing a face covering or mask.
Resident students who are alone in their college-owned housing do not need to wear masks or face coverings, but anytime on campus, whether outside or in any space shared with another occupant, or in public areas of College-owned housing, individuals should be wearing a mask or face covering.
If any individual refuses to wear a mask or face covering for non-medical reasons, Merrimack College reserves the right to decline entry to that individual. (Anyone unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition, or anyone otherwise exempted by Department of Public Health guidance will not be required to wear a mask or face covering, and will not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition.)
The use of a mask or face covering can potentially slow the spread of the virus preventing people who may have the virus but are asymptomatic from transmitting it to others. The use of a mask or face covering does not replace important social distancing measures. All individuals must continue to practice methods to protect the health and safety of the Merrimack College community, including but not limited to the following: maintain more than six feet of distance from other people; wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; keep isolated or stay home if sick; avoid close contact with others; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, clean things frequently touched with cleaning spray and wipes, and cover mouths whenever coughing or sneezing (using a tissue or inner elbow, not hands).
Obtaining a mask or face covering according to MA Department of Public Health guidance, a face covering can include anything that covers the nose and mouth, including dust masks, scarves and bandanas. Individuals are encouraged to obtain and supply their own masks or face coverings, obtaining adequate supply to ensure proper laundering. Any individual unable to obtain and supply their own mask or face covering, will be provided one.
In addition to wearing a face covering while on campus, all students must follow social distancing practices. The goal of social distancing is to reduce transmission of COVID-19 amongst individuals. Social distancing is not intended to completely eliminate all interactions. While on campus all students must maintain a minimum of six feet from individuals to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when possible.
You will notice various changes in the way our campus looks as well as new practices and protocols. We understand these changes may be difficult and we are here to support you. Our goal is to collaboratively ensure you feel safe and secure so together we can navigate the complexities of our “new normal.”
Here are some things we are implementing to help keep our campus safe and to support you:
- More frequent cleaning and sanitizing.
- Access to hand sanitizer throughout the campus.
- Access to Hamel Health.
- Staggered classes so fewer people are on-site at one time.
- More frequent communications on our new policies and requirements.
- New limits on the number of people allowed to gather in rooms, conference rooms and common areas at one time.
Here are some things we expect you to implement to help keep our campus safe:
- Alert Hamel Health if you are feeling sick.
- Wash your hands often, and for the recommended 20 seconds.
- Stay at least six feet apart when moving through the campus.
- Wear a face mask or cloth face covering.
- Be considerate of your fellow students (remember, we’re all in this together).
- Call, email, message, or video conference as much as possible rather than meet face to face.
- Speak with your advisors if you have questions or concerns.
Guidelines for Specific Locations
Face coverings or masks must be worn by all students when inside Merrimack facilities in which others are present—including hallways where others travel and social distancing requirements cannot be maintained—and in common areas, conference rooms and other gathering locations. Consider creating a schedule to stagger access to common areas.
To promote at least six feet of distance between individuals, use of restrooms should be limited based on size. Hands should be washed afterward following public health guidance.
No more than one person may enter an elevator at a time and all riders should wear a face covering or mask and avoid touching the elevator buttons with exposed fingers, if possible. Upon departing the elevator, please wash your hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Guidelines for Specific Situations
To limit face-to-face interactions during your time on campus, you are encouraged to communicate with other students by email, instant messaging and telephone.
Because convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission, when feasible, meetings and gatherings should be held using College authorized electronic collaboration tools, such as Zoom, even when on campus.
Meetings and Gatherings
In-person meetings are limited to a maximum of 10 participants, should not exceed 50% of room capacity and require face coverings and appropriate physical distancing. Chairs and tables have been removed from spaces to encourage social distancing and signage has been installed across campus to support social distancing practices.
Guidelines for Classrooms
All classrooms will be reduced in density by 50% when possible. Chairs and tables have been removed from spaces to encourage social distancing and signage has been installed across campus to support social distancing practices.
All students will be required to wear face coverings while in class and faculty will be required to wear face coverings or use plexiglass options to reduce spread.
Guidelines for Labs
In addition, some labs will be held in person, while some lend themselves to online learning.
To limit potential transmission of the virus, please wash your hands before and after eating. If you are dining on campus, you should wear your face covering or mask until you are ready to eat and then replace it afterward. All dining establishments on campus have been redesigned to allow at least six feet of distance between each person, both in lines and seating areas. Individuals should not sit facing one another, and if possible, consider taking food to eat in the office or outside.
If you are eating in your work environment, please remember to:
- Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and others.
- Sit so that you are not facing another person.
- Replace your face covering or mask after eating.
- Wipe down all common surfaces — including table, chairs, refrigerator handles and coffee machines — with disinfectant.
Health and safety will continue to be a top priority. We ask that all:
- Know the signs of COVID-19, as compared to other illnesses. If you are ill, contact your health care provider to seek advice.
- Report a presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis to the Task Force by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Merrimack is monitoring cases and trends for our whole community.
- Counseling services from our staff at Hamel Health are available to students for teletherapy services. Please call Hamel at 978-837-5441 to schedule an appointment via Zoom.