Dear members of the BC Law community:
Next week, we begin an academic year unlike any other we’ve experienced before. New students will experience a completely virtual orientation; returning students and faculty will start classes both in-person and remote; and administrators and staff will have some colleagues rotating on campus, while others continue to work remotely.
It has been a group effort by all of us to get us to this point, and it has not been easy. I am particularly appreciative of the faculty, administrators and students who participated in our reopening committees, working late into the nights and through weekends all summer long to make everything happen. You have done something extraordinary under very difficult circumstances. I am so proud of you, our school and our community.
During my recent trip away with my own family, I spent some time reflecting on our special community. When faculty and staff join us from other schools, I often hear from them that “it feels different here.” This is no accident. There is a sense of togetherness and shared purpose that isn’t always present elsewhere.
As we communicate more online and see less of one another in hallways and in classrooms this fall, we all need to make an effort to preserve what is perhaps the best part of BC Law. Let’s treat each other with extra kindness, respect one another when our views differ, and most importantly, let’s show up for one another and listen. We have so much to be thankful for, and by focusing on that, we can meet whatever challenges we face together.
We are also thankful to share some good news on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. As I mentioned to BLSA leaders at a recent meeting, the Provost has approved our request to begin the search process for a senior tenured faculty hire in this area. We will be looking for an accomplished scholar with an established track record in civil rights, critical race theory, racial justice, race and law, or related fields. This person will work closely with the new director of DEI, and will allow us to deepen our commitment to scholarship and teaching in areas that bear on issues of race, equality and justice.
In the last two weeks, the University updated us on a number of reopening topics. One of the most important updates was on testing protocols and the Eagles Care Pledge. I trust each and every member of this community will take the pledge to heart. We cannot have this academic experience together on campus without all of us adhering to the pledge, which I’ve included below. Do your self-checks, wear your masks (properly fitted masks, no gaters or bandanas), practice social distancing, wash your hands, and make a commitment to keeping one another safe by adhering to the guidance.
Testing has been going well and will continue in Conte Forum through August 30 from 8:00 am - 7:00 pm for all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus this fall (walk-ins are welcome). Those students who will be on campus but will not arrive by 8/30 should contact Academic & Student Services (firstname.lastname@example.org). All others should contact Associate Dean Joseph Vitale (email@example.com).
We know our students--especially our new students coming onto our campus for the first time-- will have questions. How do I get to East Wing 115? Where are the lockers? Who do I talk to about my financial aid questions? We’ve asked a number of administrators from various departments to work in person for the first few weeks, so that we can have a friendly face point our students in the right direction. A central student help desk will be located in the Stuart 308 Academic & Students Services suite for this purpose from 9:00 am - 5:00 pm through September 11. From September 14 - 25, this central student help desk will be staffed from 12:00 - 1:00 pm as students become more settled and accustomed to our virtual support and services.
Many of you are familiar with another resource, our Whom to Contact Guide for Students, affectionately known as the Who-ggle! (a BC email is required to access). We also added some new and important FAQs, so please review them carefully.
We are all working very hard to make this fall a positive and safe experience virtually and on campus. We will remain in touch, but this will be our last regular Friday Reopening Update to the community. Here’s to a successful start to Academic Year 20/21 and to our new Class of 2023!
Dean, Boston College Law School
Eagles Care Pledge
Given the reality of COVID-19, I pledge to act according to the following expectations:
Engage each morning in a daily “self-check” to monitor for the symptoms of COVID-19, and to contact University Health Services if I have a fever of 100.4 F (38 C) or higher, dry cough, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell. (For the latest list of COVID-19 symptoms, see the website of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Wash hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
Keep personal items and spaces and shared common areas clean.
Take preventive measures to keep healthy, including vaccinations (e.g., seasonal flu).
Participate in testing and contact tracing as required by the University and public health officials.
If necessary, follow isolation and/or quarantine protocols as directed by UHS.
Wear an appropriate face mask or covering as directed by the University.
Maintain appropriate physical distancing and mask use in classrooms, dining spaces, residence halls, and whenever recreating on or off-campus, especially in the presence of those who may be especially vulnerable to the coronavirus because of age or health issues.
Stay home or in my residence hall if feeling ill.
Follow health protocols regarding COVID-19 when off-campus.
Encourage peers to know and adhere to the Eagles Care pledge and government guidelines regarding COVID-19.
Limit travel during the semester whenever possible.
Be caring, sensitive, and helpful to anyone who may be troubled or struggling with such concerns as health, academics, and personal matters.