March 10, 2020
Dear Members of the Boston College Community:
We write to provide an update on COVID-19 and Boston College’s response to date.
As of today (March 10) there continues to be no reported cases of the Coronavirus on campus. Massachusetts thus far has had one confirmed case of COVID-19, and some 91 presumptive cases. The situation remains fluid, so we encourage you to visit the University’s Coronavirus website www.bc.edu/coronavirus regularly for updated information.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have been issuing guidelines regarding the Coronavirus, and based on their recommendations, we call your attention to the following:
Members of the Boston College community who have visited a CDC Level 3 Travel Notice Area (China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran) are required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. This requirement is necessary to prevent the spread of the virus, and is being implemented at colleges and universities nationwide.
Students who self-quarantine should notify their professors, and faculty should be as accommodating as possible regarding course assignments, extensions and makeup exams. Faculty are also encouraged to utilize the Canvas learning management system to post course materials for the remainder of the semester, and to utilize other resources offered through the Center for Teaching Excellence.
Any student who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) should immediately call University Health Services for guidance at 617-552-3225. (It is important that students call ahead before arriving at University Health Services). Faculty and staff should similarly contact their health care provider.
The DPH advises that all individuals adhere to the following preventive health measures:
- wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds;
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or face;
- avoid sharing cups and utensils;
- clean and disinfect common surfaces and items in residence halls and offices;
- avoid contact with sick individuals;
- cover your coughs and sneezes and immediately discard any tissues.
In addition, the Boston College Facilities staff is working diligently to clean and disinfect common areas across campus such as dining halls and restrooms, and common touch areas including doors, handrails, and elevator buttons. Their efforts will continue throughout the semester.
As we have announced previously, based on State Department and CDC Guidelines, University-sponsored travel to China, South Korea, and Italy is prohibited for all students, faculty, and staff. Additional prohibitions may be added in the coming weeks. Faculty should consult with their deans, and staff with their supervisors, before making any travel arrangements.
BC’s Emergency Management Team and Infectious Disease Task Force are meeting regularly to monitor the quickly developing situation and to make decisions to safeguard the campus community.
Our intention at present is to continue operations as normal. Should the University decide to alter operations, we will immediately communicate these changes to the community. Obviously there is no singular approach that has been recommended by the CDC. We will continue to monitor the situation, and make appropriate decisions for Boston College based on advice from federal, state and local authorities and the judgement of senior administrators.
Faculty should contact their respective deans, who will work in concert with the Office of the Provost.
Staff and administrators should contact their supervisors who will work with the appropriate deans or vice presidents.
The challenges imposed by the Coronavirus outbreak will likely be the cause of some uncertainty and anxiety in the days ahead. We are, however, a community of caring individuals who have always looked out for one another. We ask you to continue to do so, and we thank the many of you who have already stepped up in small and large ways to assist others.
Michael Lochhead David Quigley
Executive Vice President Provost and Dean of Faculties