March 6, 2020
Dear faculty colleagues,
I write to provide you with an update on COVID-19, and the University’s plans to address it.
Boston College is following guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. While these guidelines will undoubtedly inconvenience some students, faculty, and staff, they are necessary steps to take to help keep the campus community as safe and healthy as possible. I ask you to abide by these guidelines, so as not to put the community at risk.
Returning Travelers Post-Spring Break:
Based on CDC and DPH guidelines, students, faculty and staff who traveled to a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice area (China, South Korea, Iran and Italy) during Spring Break are required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days before returning to campus.
Students have been told that during the self-quarantine period, they should notify their professors to inform them that they will not be in class. Faculty are asked to provide reasonable accommodations so that students can complete their course assignments while quarantined. Accommodations may include extensions on assignment deadlines, make-up exams and/or excused absences. I also ask faculty to be flexible in allowing absences and providing make-ups for students who are not feeling well, and to waive the requirement for medical documentation, so as not to further burden our University Health Services staff.
Students returning from study-abroad programs that were discontinued, have already received specific instructions from the Office of International Programs. Study-abroad students returning from a CDC Level 3 Travel Health Notice area are required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Each partner university has found ways for students to continue their coursework remotely from home, allowing them to stay on track for graduation.
Students on campus who have recently travelled from an area with widespread or ongoing community spread of COVID-19, and who have symptoms of the disease (fever, cough, shortness of breath), have been instructed to immediately contact University Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-552-3225.
Faculty who feel sick or immune compromised should also use appropriate judgment and avoid coming to campus until they have talked to their health care provider.
While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Boston College, the BC Facilities staff has worked diligently during the past week to clean the campus and disinfect common areas such as dining halls and restrooms, as well as common touch areas including doors, hand rails and elevator buttons. They will continue their efforts throughout the semester. All health guidelines suggest that the best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to adhere to these preventive measures:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
- Increase your fluid intake.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, and face.
- Do not share common-use items such as cups and utensils.
- Keep home/personal spaces clean, and disinfect common surfaces and items.
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Cover your cough with tissue/paper towel or the crook of your elbow.
- If you have not received an influenza (flu) vaccine this year, please get one as soon as possible.
The University has activated its Infectious Disease Task Force to coordinate a campus-wide response against the spread of COVID-19. The University fully expects to be operating as usual. Any changes to our operating status will be communicated via all University channels. Given the unlikely possibility that colleges and universities are mandated to adjust operations, I encourage faculty to plan ahead and visit the Center for Teaching Excellence’s webpage, which provides instructions on how to teach during class suspensions
- Teaching Through Disruption
- ITS also offers a webpage on connecting to the network from home that you may find helpful.
Travel Advisory Updates:
As you know, Boston College has issued a prohibition against University-sponsored travel to China, South Korea and Italy for all students, faculty, and staff. Because of the fluid nature of the pandemic, you should consult with your dean and visit the coronavirus webpage for updates before making any travel arrangements.
Frequently Asked Questions:
The Office of University Communications has provided a list of frequently asked questions on the coronavirus webpage: www.bc.edu/coronavirus
For more information, visit:
If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact your school’s dean’s office so that your colleagues can work with me and my office to address your concerns.
Thank you for your cooperation as we work together as members of the Boston College community during this challenging semester.
Provost and Dean of Faculties