July 20, 2020
Dear Students and Parents:
I hope this email finds you well and enjoying the mid-summer days.
I write to provide updates on efforts in Student Affairs to prepare for the fall semester.
As you know, students are scheduled to return to campus beginning August 25 (First Year Students from International locations), August 26 and 27 (First Year Students from the United States), and August 28 and 29 (Sophomores, Juniors, Seniors, and Transfers), in advance of the first day of classes on August 31.
We look forward to meeting new members of our community, welcoming back those returning, and working closely with all of our undergraduates to engage the opportunities and challenges that this year will offer. As stated in previous updates, we anticipate a school year with the same high-level academic expectations for teaching and learning through in-class, online, and hybrid classes, as well as a wide range of student activities, and longstanding student support services through University Counseling, disabilities services, and Career Education. Some campus events–including student theater and musical performances–will be held virtually to meet state and local guidelines. Student retreats will continue to be offered through a combination of in-person and virtual modalities.
While no place is immune to this global pandemic, we are working diligently to help make our campus as safe as possible. As has already been communicated, all students, faculty, and staff who will be on campus this semester will be tested for COVID-19 at the University’s expense during the 3rd and 4th weeks of August before classes begin. Undergraduate students planning to live in a University residence hall will not be given access to their building without completion of a COVID-19 test, which will be available at various campus sites during move-in. Testing appointments will be scheduled to correspond with assigned move-in date and time. Those living off-campus will receive notification about details of their tests.
The University will also test on a weekly basis various students and others in high contact positions, such as hall directors and resident assistants, Boston College Police, dining, custodial, and Connell Recreation Center staff, and Athletics personnel, for asymptomatic presence of the coronavirus and ensure that treatment occurs as quickly as possible.
The Broad Institute, a biomedical and genomic research facility affiliated with Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, will analyze these tests and provide the results within approximately 24 hours. Boston College is in the process of adding equipment that will deliver single COVID-19 test results in less than one hour, and also to have access to a state-certified laboratory on campus that can analyze 200-300 samples a day, if necessary.
After testing, students will receive an email with their results; those with a positive test result will be contacted by BC University Health Services and given necessary instructions. Students living in campus housing who test positive for the coronavirus will be moved to isolation housing that the University has established. Based on guidance from public health officials, students determined to be close contacts of any infected students may be quarantined in their room (similar to what a family would do) or transferred to University quarantine housing, if deemed necessary. Undergraduates who live within a certain distance of campus may be asked to return home for quarantine or isolation. Students who are living off-campus will be expected to quarantine or isolate in their apartment space.
Transportation will be provided to the quarantine and isolation housing, which includes a primary location approximately one mile from campus. This facility will be staffed by BC Residential Life professionals, meals for students will be delivered by BC Dining Services, and University Health Service staff will provide for the daily health care needs of students. Those in quarantine and isolation will be able to continue their class work online. Students are encouraged to keep parents informed of their medical condition during the quarantine and/or isolation period.
Responding successfully to COVID-19 requires all at Boston College to work together to help protect the health of our campus and surrounding community and to reduce risks related to the coronavirus. To this end, we have developed a pledge, named Eagles Care, which calls on students to take specific steps in regard to their own well-being, others on campus, and the wider public. Students will receive an email later this week which will include the Eagles Care Pledge, and all will be asked to read, sign, and commit to act in accordance with its statements. The signed online form should be submitted by August 7, 2020.
Thank you for your support as we put measures in place to make the Boston College campus as safe as possible.
Joy Moore ’81, Hon.’10
Vice President for Student Affairs