By Grace Ferguson
You’re listening to WTBU News. I’m Grace Ferguson, here with a recap of Boston University’s first two Back2BU Virtual Meetings.
The university announced on Tuesday that it would hold nine virtual Q&As in total. Each session features a panel of BU representatives– it includes officials from housing, student health services, academic affairs, and other departments.
Thursday’s Q&As were hosted for the College of Arts and Sciences. BU officials spent a lot of the session going over information that’s already in the Back2BU Campus Life Guide. But one of the new things officials revealed was survey data, showing that 75-80% of students plan to return to campus.
Here’s what else is new.
Students who live off campus won’t be able to quarantine or isolate in BU housing. Vice President of Auxiliary Services Peter Smokowski said it’s because BU’s resources are finite. Student Health Services will offer guidance on how those students can safely quarantine at home. They’ll also get remote health check-ins.
As for academics, BU officials reversed a policy that’s been on the Back2BU site for weeks. According to the site, all hybrid classes will have an asynchronous component. But on Thursday, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Sue Kennedy said asynchronous components won’t be required. And even in classes with asynchronous instruction, it’s up to professors whether to make tests live. That could be a problem for international students studying in different time zones.
And, while most classes will be hybrid, some will be fully online, and a handful will require in-person participation. A class might go online for pedagogical reasons, or it might be to accommodate a professor’s medical needs. But there’s no hard deadline for when a class has to be designated as fully online.
Move in was another major topic on Thursday. Students from outside the country will have to quarantine, but there’s no requirement for domestic students. That’s because Massachusetts only recommends that people from certain states quarantine. Carrie Landa of SHS said BU will strongly encourage those students to limit their movement during their first two weeks on campus.
Students will get a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of arriving on campus. But parents and other people students bring to help them move in won’t get a test, nor will they have to quarantine.
Landa also gave some details about contact tracing efforts. If a student tests positive for COVID-19, BU will consider their roommates and classmates. But it’s up to the student to respond to SHS and identify all of their close contacts.
Also on Thursday, Student Government representatives announced BU’s “New Normal Challenge.” Students will have the opportunity to develop initiatives that promote health and safety on campus. Innovate@BU will host the program.
And, finally, Lobster Night is still on, but it will be different. This year, instead of whole lobsters, each student will get a lobster roll.
That’s all for today’s recap. In Salt Lake City, Utah, I’m Grace Ferguson for WTBU News.