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The Impact of Covid-19 on Campus: What We Know and Don’t Know

Nicole Fasciano

Staff Writer

The novel coronavirus has brought many changes and challenges to the Merrimack College community. During a time of many unknowns, we are all searching for information to enlighten us and bring us peace. 

The Merrimack College Communications Office and the Office of the Provost have been relaying information through emails and social media regarding COVID-19 and its impacts on our school’s campus and community.

Although information can change from week to week, and even day to day, here is what we know so far:

  1. Generally speaking, Merrimack uses and takes precautionary measures as advised by the CDC, and the World Health Organization (WHO). Along with the U.S. State Department, state and local health departments, and on-campus public health experts. Merrimack’s constant communications with local and state organizations drives and guides many of the safety and health precautions for our campus. 
  2. President Hopey extended the Colleges spring break into the week of March 16-20, 2020. This means that an extra week has been added to the end of the semester, making the last day of classes May 7 and the last day of exams May 15.
  3. All Summer 2020 courses will be held online.  
  4. On April 16, Merrimack College provided students with a new Pass/Fail policy. This policy stated that, with a few exceptions, students may take all Spring 2020 courses for pass/fail. The key aspect of this alteration being, the deadline for students to choose pass/fail grading is May 28. This allows students to see their final term grades, enabling you to make this change after seeing what grade you would have otherwise received.
  5. Most recently, and of most significance, on April 19 President Hopey addressed all students through email. In addition to extending his sympathies, he outlined his goal for the fall: Merrimack College is planning on being a residential campus come the Fall.  Despite some news stories about colleges going remote in the fall of 2020, Hopey affirms that it is Merrimack’s goal to provide a safe and stable living and learning environment for its students and staff on campus. Although Hopey noted that if  we do find ourselves physically returning in the fall, being on campus may look a bit different with new eating times, limitations to large gatherings, and expanded disinfecting services. 

“Together we will work through this and that the Merrimack College community will come out on the other end stronger, and better,” Hopey said. “What we need to do as a community today, is to be good to each other, love each other and be honest with each other, even when things are difficult to hear. We need to be patient and we need to remain positive.”

Although we do not know much information for certain, Merrimack College’s administrations continue to lead with strength, transparency, and optimism for bringing us all together again.