Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb

Cases of COVID-19 continue to climb. Photo by iStock.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to climb, the Boston College School of Social Work is making contingency plans to respond to disruptions caused by the global pandemic. 

Here you can receive timely updates, read notices sent to the Boston College community, and explore resources to stay informed. We will continue to update this page with critical information as it becomes available. 

For Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Boston College is monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 closely and is in constant contact with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The university created a website dedicated to the coronavirus and posts frequent updates for students, faculty, and staff.

As of Wednesday, May 6, one student is in isolation at Boston College.

BC created a new compendium of resources on teaching and learning, working remotely, health, managing stress, and other information and tools related to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

As of March 26, a total of 34 undergraduate and graduate students who are living off campus have informed Boston College that they have tested positive for COVID-19. The majority are students who studied overseas and returned directly home. The remainder are students currently living off campus, or who lived on campus this semester.

BC students should contact University Health Services to report positive test results. Employees should contact Human Resources.

Boston College President William P. Leahy announced on Wednesday, March 11 that he had decided to cancel all on-campus classes for the rest of the semester, close residence halls, and suspend all on-campus academic events. Boston College moved to online instruction starting Thursday, March 19.

As Boston College moves to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, the University Libraries are providing support to students, faculty, and staff in many different ways. The most up-to-date information, including hours and services, can be found on the library’s website. 

The Social Work Library closed to the public Wednesday, March 18th. O'Neill Library will remain open and keep limited hours. Please check for updated hours and services. Although the physical library will be closed to the public, staff in the Social Work Library will be available to serve the community via email, virtual platforms, and phone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As of Monday, March 16, the Social Work Library had 10 MacBooks and five Dell laptops available to borrow. The library will extend the loan period to May 18 for graduating students and Sept. 1 for all other students, faculty, and staff.

The 14th annual Pinderhughes Diversity Lecture scheduled for Friday, April 24 has been cancelled.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designed a website to inform the general public about COVID-19. Get answers to frequently asked questions about the novel coronavirus, receive daily updates about the rapidly evolving global health crisis, and find out what you can do to prevent illness.

For Students:

The School of Social Work has moved all summer classes online. Registration for summer courses is now closed and Student Services will process the 80 waitlist requests during the week of April 20.

Registration for fall courses will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 27 for the Class of 2021; Registration will begin at 7:30 p.m. for all other current students. 

The last day to withdraw from a course this semester has been extended to noon on Thursday, April 30.

To withdraw from a course this semester, students must sign into their BC email accounts and then complete the drop/withdraw form. Students who are overseas and are unable to access this form should complete the Graduate Drop and Withdrawal Form found on the website for the Office of Student Services and then email it to Teresa Schirmer at

Students will be able to designate courses taken this semester as pass/fail any time between Thursday, April 9 and noon on Thursday, April 30. Students, who will be able to designate courses as pass/fail on the Agora Portal, should check with their employers to ensure that they can be reimbursed for courses taken on a pass/fail basis.

Students who have questions about withdrawing from a class or designating a class as pass/fail should email Teresa Schirmer at or Liz Cinquino at

Click the "Field Education" tab in Canvas to access a continuously updated list of resources designed to help you care for yourself during the coronavirus outbreak. One of the resources, "The Happiness Lab" podcast, recently released seven special episodes dedicated to well-being in the midst of the outbreak. 

The Social Work Career blog complied a list of 50 resources to help social workers and mental health professionals better manage life and work during the coronavirus pandemic. 

The National Association of Social Workers created a compendium of articles, resources, and free webinars to support social workers as they provide care to their clients during the coronavirus crisis. 

The Woods College of Advancing Studies has created a comprehensive guide to help students successfully complete their courses online. 

The Boston College Division of Student Affairs has compiled dozens of tips and resources for transitioning to online learning and maintaining physical and mental health during the pandemic. 

As a result of the coronavirus, exit interviews for students who have taken out loans to pay for school will be held online. Students will not receive their transcripts and diplomas until they complete the online exit interview.

Susan Coleman, the assistant dean of field education, informed students that they had to return from their field placements by Friday, March 20. In order to help students fulfill the requirements of field education, the School of Social work has provided a set of alternative activities that students can complete off site. A rundown of these alternative assignments has been posted on the Field Education site on Canvas. No student will be at risk of not earning a degree because field placements have been suspended.

Students can book virtual appointments to receive career counseling. Cindy Snell, the director of career services, will review resumes and cover letters emailed to 

Doctoral students can book virtual appointments to register for summer and fall courses. Debbie Hogan, the assistant director of the doctoral program, will run the meetings via Zoom.

Doctoral students who need IRB approval for a research project should seek guidance from Megan Zugibe and Erin Sibley.  

The Centre Street Food Pantry, which is open on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m., provides pre-packaged bags of groceries to Boston College students who live in Brighton, Newton, and other neighborhoods that surround campus. Students must provide proof of address and complete the Food Pantry Referral Form, which can be signed by Teresa Schirmer, who can be reached at

For Faculty:

The National Institutes of Health has decided to allow grant applications that have due dates between March 9, 2020 and May 1, 2020 to be accepted through May 1, 2020. Institutions need not ask for permission nor write cover letters to submit proposals late as long as they are submitted by the May 1 deadline.

The Office of Management and Budget is allowing federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy, to continue to grant awards for projects that support the response to COVID-19. Federal agencies also have the flexibility to issue other exceptions on a case-by-case basis.

The Center for Teaching Excellence created a comprehensive guide to help faculty prepare to teach their courses online. The center will also host virtual seminars to teach faculty how to use Zoom, Canvas, and Panopto to deliver lesson plans, engage students, and assess online learning.

Here are step-by-step instructions to set up Panopto to record lectures from home. Please direct questions to or the ITS Help Desk.

The School of Social Work at Columbia University is hosting a a webinar series to support faculty who need help teaching online. Recordings of the workshops, which run from Monday, March 23 to Thursday, April 2, will be posted on the CSSW YouTube channel. The links to join the workshops will be emailed to those who RSVP.

In light of the global spread of COVID-19, The Chronicle of Higher Education provided step-by-step instructions for faculty who need to move courses online fast.

For Staff:

BCSSW staff began to work remotely on Tuesday, March 17. They must connect to the virtual private network, or VPN, to complete all remote work. McGuinn Hall closed on Tuesday, March 24 to comply with the order issued by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker to close all non-essential businessines in the state until May 4.

For Faculty and Staff:

Employees are no longer authorized to travel domestically or internationally to conduct university business, unless specifically approved by the President’s Office, Executive Vice President, or Provost and Dean of Faculties.

As a result of Gov. Baker's order to close all non-esssential businesses from March 24 to May 4, all non-essential services on-campus will be suspended and work will continue remotely wherever possible.

ITS created tips for faculty and staff who are working from home. Technology Consultants are also available to assist faculty and staff via email, phone, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and more online platforms.