March 2: Coronavirus Update
Today, President Hopey announced the formation of a Task Force charged with the responsibility, to the best of their ability, of closely following the developments of the COVID-19 virus.
Dear Merrimack Community,
Merrimack College continues to closely monitor the developments related to the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Today, President Hopey announced the formation of a Task Force charged with the responsibility, to the best of their ability, of closely following the developments of the COVID-19 virus, prevention, communications & outreach as well as response planning to advise the President on policies and decisions that ensure the safety of Merrimack’s students, faculty and staff.
Using guidelines from the CDC, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts, the Task Force will be meeting regularly to concentrate efforts in prevention. Chaired by Andrew Maylor, VP and Chief Business Officer, the Task Force members include: Dr. Sean Condon, Vice Provost, Dr. Liesl Smith, Director, Global Education; Dr. Elaine Ward, Assistant Professor, School of Education and Social Policy; Dr. April Bowling, Assistant Professor, School of Health Sciences; Kara Hockmeyer, Associate General Counsel; Bethany LoMonaco, VP of Communications; Allison Gill, VP and Dean of Students and Jeremy Gibson, Athletic Director.
At this time, the Task Force would like to share what will be the first of many updates from the Task Force:
- Since our last communication, the CDC moved Italy to a Warning Level 3. In light of this change, the college is hereby suspending study abroad programs in Italy for spring 2020. The Global Education Office has already begun working with students regarding their return to the U.S. as well as online study options to finish the semester. As most students will be completing their work online, we are requesting that they return to their homes away from campus and follow CDC guidelines to self-quarantine for 14 days and seek medical support and advice should it be needed.
- All international Service Immersion and Academic Experiential trips taking place over spring break are canceled. Each participant scheduled to participate in these trips will be receiving emails directly as to how to continue course of study to earn credits as well as reimbursement information. We remind all students and staff that the college will work to ensure students are not impacted financially and academically.
- Students, faculty and staff planning to travel abroad on trips that are personal in nature should use extra consideration and caution. Based on the fluid nature of this situation, there is no guarantee of re-entry into the U.S. should risk levels change. In an effort to better coordinate institutionally, please now email the Task Force at email@example.com if you have plans to travel internationally. Understanding where our community travels to will allow us to assist with specific resources or guidance should it be necessary.
- The Task Force will continue to monitor school-sponsored domestic travel and will make cancellation decisions if warranted. Should students or faculty who are planning to partake in college-sponsored domestic travel have concerns or questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The college will support those who wish to withdraw due to concerns of COVID-19 virus and will work with each participant to avoid academic and financial penalties.
- The college reminds all faculty and staff planning to partake in college-sponsored international travel in March and April must submit travel plans. Please submit all travel plans to the Task Force at email@example.com. The Task Force will defer to the appropriate federal agencies that monitor health situations like these to ensure that travel is safe. The Task Force will extend this time period review should it be warranted.
- A website has been created at merrimack.edu/coronavirus for all Coronavirus updates as they relate to the college. Please refer to this website for instant updates and communication as it relates to the COVID-19 virus.
The college wants to remind everyone to please care for yourself and care for the community. If you are not feeling well, please remain at home until symptoms subside to prevent the spread of illness. The college will support employees who must take sick time or who choose to work from home due to illness. Employees who must stay home and have questions about the use of sick time during this period should contact Human Resources.
We will continue to monitor new developments as they relate to the COVID-19 and will update the community accordingly. Should you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate members of the Task Force for COVID-19 specific information. We are committed to providing information and supporting the community during this evolving situation.