This sign is a Merrimack-branded poster of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) guidelines produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications in July of 2020. During the 2020-2021 school year (and, to a lesser extent, 2021-2022), these signs could be found in classrooms, the Sakowich Center, residence halls, the library, and other frequently-visited sites on campus.
These signs reflected the CDC’s main emphases in attempting to slow the spread of COVID-19 prior to the availability of vaccines. This included frequent handwashing (with the timer showing the suggested duration of 20 seconds to eliminate germs) as well as masking. (During the 2020-2021 school year, Merrimack College required masks everywhere on campus.) It also included “social distancing.” On campus, distancing was encouraged through tightened room capacity limits and the spacing of desks. (Many areas where social distancing wasn’t possible were closed.)
The CDC also recommended cleaning frequently touched surfaces. Early in the pandemic, the extent to which COVID-19 could be transmitted by surfaces was unclear. At Merrimack, wipe stations were placed in each classroom and in public spaces where people would be sitting and working so that surfaces could be easily wiped down. Out of similar concerns about surface transmission, the CDC advised against touching your face without first washing your hands. Covering coughs and sneezes, which has always been common courtesy, was promoted during the pandemic to slow air-borne transmission. On campus, tissues and hand sanitizer were available in every building. Merrimack enforced the CDC’s recommendation to stay home when sick through required daily symptom self-checks through the CoVerified app. To help accommodate this, all classes during the 2020-2021 school year had a remote option.
There were various versions of these signs released as guidelines evolved.
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