Dear members of the BC Law community:

As many of us prepare to return to campus on January 27, I wanted to reiterate last month’s update from the University about testing and Spring Semester COVID-19 Protocols:

  1. While we await access to COVID-19 vaccines, we will follow the same University and public health protocols that were so effective last fall (mandatory mask wearing, social distancing, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, daily symptom monitoring and staying home if symptomatic, remote meetings and avoiding large gatherings).

  2. Boston College will once again require testing of all students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus in any capacity during the spring semester. This testing will begin on Tuesday, January 19. The University will communicate more details about how this testing process will be handled soon.

  3. The symptomatic and targeted surveillance testing, contract tracing, and quarantine and isolation strategies will also continue in the spring semester. Any student with an all online/remote schedule, and who will not be on campus for any other reason, must fill out the “request for all remote” form with Academic and Student Services. We provide that list of students exempted from the surveillance testing to the University, so that they are inviting the correct population for testing.

  4. For the latest COVID-19 information and protocols on campus, please monitor the re-opening BC website.

I know that vaccine distribution is at the top of everyone’s mind. We all hope that there will be increased availability and coordination at the state and federal levels, but there is currently limited information about how that vaccine distribution process will be handled. The Boston Globe reported on December 21 that there is much uncertainty with respect to colleges and universities:

Colleges and universities were not given priority under Governor Charlie Baker’s massive, public vaccination plan unveiled Dec. 9. The state has included most university students and workers in the third tier of its vaccine distribution plan along with the general public. The Phase 3 group, with an estimated 2.8 million Massachusetts residents, is expected to have access to the two-shot dose of the vaccine in April at the earliest. It is unclear whether students will be expected to get their shots where they go to college and whether universities will receive vaccine doses to distribute to their students and employees, much like they handled their own virus testing programs.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has currently approved Phase 1, A & B, which is COVID-facing healthcare providers and first responders and provided a website about vaccine timing.

In the days and weeks to come, I am heartened to know that all of us in this community are united by our desire to be of service to others. With the pandemic raging across our country and world, please continue to do all you can to keep you and yours safe and healthy, and to help others in need.

Sincerely,

Vincent Rougeau
Dean, Boston College Law School
bclawdean@bc.edu