Boston University Releases Guidebook for Campus Life this fall
by Grace Ferguson
Boston University unveiled its “Back2BU” guide for campus life on Monday. The plan includes new rules for almost every aspect of students’ lives, from dorm rooms to dining halls.
There will a 10-person limit on informal gatherings. In dorms, visitors and overnight guests are banned. Face coverings will be required virtually everywhere, and students will be responsible for providing their own masks.
Instead of the usual one-weekend move-in, most students will move in between August 15 and 31. Students will sign up for a date to move in, but there is limited capacity for each day.
There will also be an even earlier move-in process starting at the beginning of August for students who need to quarantine upon arrival, but the guide does not state who will need to do so.
Dorm rooms have been de-densified, meaning quads and most triples have been reduced to doubles. Triples will still be allowed in one building (575 Commonwealth Avenue), where all rooms have private bathrooms.
In July, BU Housing will contact students who have been displaced by de-densification to give them their new room assignment. BU President Robert Brown has said that the university is working with local hotels to expand its housing capacity this fall, so some students may find themselves off BU property.
In dorms with communal bathrooms, students will have to follow schedules for bathroom use. The communal bathrooms will also be cleaned more often.
Suites and apartments with private bathrooms will receive a starter kit of cleaning supplies, but once that runs out, students will have to provide their own.
In dining halls, hours will be modified and seating will be limited. Food will be served in single-use containers that students can take to-go.
Monday’s release follows last week’s announcement of BU’s testing and tracing program. Students and faculty will be tested for COVID-19 at least weekly.
The university is launching an app where students will complete a symptom check every day. The app will deliver test results and facilitate test scheduling, and it will also generate a “passport” that students might have to show to get into BU buildings.
The passport will show a “green” status for students who did the symptom check and are up to date on testing. It will show a “red” status for anyone who might present a health risk, such as those who tested positive for COVID-19 or did not complete a daily symptom check.
BU’s plans for contact tracing are not as detailed as its plans for testing. It is not yet clear how BU will identify contacts of people who are sick.
The university has set aside private rooms for isolating and quarantining students who live on campus. Students who test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms will get moved into one of these rooms. There is also a quarantining protocol for their close contacts.
Students in quarantine and isolation will have food delivered to them, but the guide says they might need to contract with a laundry provider to get clean sheets and clothes.
Student Health Services will check in on the students remotely. However, the university has not released information on what kind of care it can provide to students. The guide does not say when or how a student might need to be moved to a hospital.
Meanwhile, the university has not released protocols for isolating and quarantining students who live off campus.
This fall, BU will implement a hybrid learning model called Learn from Anywhere. Students can choose to attend class in-person or online. In some cases, students will be required to attend remotely on some days.
The university is allowing students to cancel their housing contracts with a full deposit refund until July 10. But the guide says that, for some students, cancelling housing could affect their financial aid.