Who is Returning to Work and When

Your supervisor will notify you when you will be asked to return to work and on what schedule.

Employees who were part of phase one (limited reopening) include some employees from departments including Police, Facilities, Student Affairs, Academic Deans, Senior Executives, Fiscal Affairs, Financial Aid, Registrar’s Office, Bursar, Provost Office, Post Office, Academic Success Center, Information Technology, Research Faculty, Summer II on Campus Faculty, Welcome Center, and the Sakowich Campus Center.

Employees in phase one (limited reopening) have already been notified by their deans or vice presidents about their return to work on or after Monday, June 15.

Taking the feedback deans and vice presidents received during phone calls which were made to all employees at the end of May, departments have created informed plans to welcome employees back to campus. These plans include plans for social distancing procedures and alternating work schedules. Employees are still encouraged to work from home where possible, pending direct supervisor approval.

Employees are encouraged to work from home where possible. These discussions will and should take place with your direct supervisor.

Direct supervisors may not pressure employees to come to work if they are ill or need to take care of dependents. Equally, healthy employees should not be pressured to stay away from work without justification. Should you have any concerns about supervisory pressure, notify the College by email at humanresources.covid@merrimack.edu.

Please note - if you have not been identified as one of the 197 employees who are part of the Phase 1 limited reopening and would like access to campus or your office space - please continue to contact the Task Force who will work with your Dean of Vice President for approval.

Request for Accommodations

Employees may request alternative work arrangements or temporary reasonable accommodations if:

  • You are at higher risk based on CDC guidelines.
  • You live with someone who is at a higher risk based on CDC guidelines.
  • You are following a self-quarantine or self-isolation protocol.
  • You have traveled internationally in the last 14 days
  • You have childcare issues based on school and/or daycare closings.

Policies and Documents

Before returning to campus, all faculty and staff are asked to review the new COVID-19 Return to Campus Policies and the COVID-19 Return to Work Checklist.

Each faculty and staff member 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.

Returning to Campus

Before returning to campus

If you have concerns or are unable to return to campus during your assigned return phase, please speak to your manager or contact humanresources.covid@merrimack.edu. The College will work with you to determine the best ways to support a request for alternative work arrangements or reasonable accommodations.

Before returning to campus, all faculty, staff and students are asked to review the new COVID-19 Return to Campus Policies, 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.

Employees who are returning to campus during the Phase 1 limited reopening, as well as those who have received temporary permission to be on campus from the Task Force, must follow the below guidelines:

  • Must check in with the Merrimack College Police Department (MCPD) at the Rock Ridge Road entrance - the only entrance to campus that is currently open.
  • Must wear face coverings.
  • Must review the policies and sign a waiver each time they arrive on the campus. Individuals will be provided copies of all policies, the COVID-19 checklist and a waiver.
  • Must follow social distancing policies of six feet or more.
  • Must self-identify any COVID-19 symptoms before entering campus.
Return to Campus Checklist

To reduce the number of individuals on campus, employees whose work can be completed off-site may work remotely, pending direct supervisor approval.

  • Speak to your vice president, dean or direct supervisor if you have any concerns or are unable to return to work on campus. If you need to set up or follow-up on that conversation, you can also contact Human Resources.
  • Complete Returning to Work employee training
  • Review and sign new campus policy documents:
    • Merrimack College COVID-19 Employee Policy

    • Merrimack College Face Covering Policy 

    • Assumption of Risk and Waiver of Liability (COVID-19)

  • Self-screen and complete the COVID-19 Daily Checklist
  • Bring all Merrimack technology and equipment to campus
Entering Campus

When entering campus all must use the Rock Ridge Road entrance to enter the campus as all other entrances are closed. Upon arriving at the entrance every employee must check in at the checkpoint to review Return to Work Policies and sign a liability waiver daily.

The Merrimack College Police Department will ask you the four following questions:

  1. Have you traveled outside of the country in the past 14 days?
  2. Have you or anyone in your household experienced COVID-19 symptoms in the past 14 days? (NOTE: The symptoms have been updated by the CDC to include: fever, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, or new loss of smell/taste.)
  3. Have you or any member of your household been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
  4. Have you brought your face covering with you?

Should you answer any of these questions in a manner that may affect the health and safety of campus, you will be declined entry onto campus.

Once you are granted access to campus we ask all to proceed directly to your work area and please try to avoid visiting other areas on campus and observe all signage and directions posted throughout campus.

Face Covering Policy

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.

Employees working alone in their offices and 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.

Social Distancing

In addition to wearing a face covering while on campus, all employees 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 employees must maintain a minimum of six feet from individuals to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when possible.

When you can, we ask all employees to modify work practices were necessary to maintain social distancing, perform work remotely to the maximum extent possible, stagger shifts with co-workers to work at different times, increase spacing in offices and conduct meetings by Zoom.

Safety Guidelines

You will notice various changes in the way our workplace 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 workplace safe and to support you:

  • More frequent cleaning and sanitizing.
  • Access to hand sanitizer throughout the workplace.
  • Access to our employee assistance program (EAP) and other mental health resources
  • Staggered shifts 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 workplace safe:

  • Go home if you feel sick.
  • Wash your hands often, and for the recommended 20 seconds.
  • Stay at least 6 feet apart when moving through the workplace.
  • Wear a face mask or cloth face covering.
  • Be considerate of your co-workers (remember, we’re all in this together).
  • Call, email, message, or video conference as much as possible rather than meet face to face.
  • Be conscious and understanding of your co-workers who may be dealing with child care issues, illness or loss of loved ones, financial insecurity, and other issues.
  • Speak with your manager or Human Resources if you have questions or concerns.

Guidelines for Specific Locations

Common areas

Face coverings or masks must be worn by all staff and faculty in reception or receiving areas, inside Merrimack facilities in which others are present—including hallways where others travel and social distancing requirements cannot be maintained—and in break rooms, conference rooms and other meeting locations. Consider creating a schedule to stagger access to common areas.

Restrooms

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.

Elevators

Elevators should be limited to one rider at a time when possible 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 your colleagues by email, instant messaging and telephone.

Because convening in groups increases the risk of viral transmission, when feasible, meetings should be held using College authorized electronic collaboration tools, such as Zoom, even when working on campus.

Meetings

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.

Eating

To limit the 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 6 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.

Warrior’s Den will be serving a limited breakfast and lunch on a daily basis and during Phase 1. There will be no cost to faculty and staff. There will be no reason to swipe cards or any payment transactions to take place. If eating in Sparky’s, please observe social distancing best practices. For those who would prefer to eat back in their offices to go options will be available. We hope that most people will take food back to their offices or eat outside in the warm weather.

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

Health and safety will continue to be a top priority. We ask that all:

  • Follow public health directives about staying home as much as possible, and continue basic preventive measures.
  • Know the signs of COVID-19, as compared to other illnesses. If you are ill, contact your health care provider to seek advice. Don’t let costs stand in the way of getting the care you need.
  • Report a presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis to the Office of Human Resources at humanresources.covid@merrimack.edu. Merrimack is monitoring cases and trends for our whole community.
  • Attend to your mental health. Contact the Employee Assistance Program for help with feelings of stress or anxiety. Remember that
  • Merrimack’s employee health plans provide comprehensive coverage for physical and mental health care.
  • Work remotely if you can, and express appreciation for those essential Merrimack co-workers who are working on campus. Understand recent enhancements in Merrimack’s workplace.