By Grace Ferguson
You’re listening to WTBU News. I’m Grace Ferguson, here with a recap of Boston University’s sixth and seventh Back2BU Virtual Meetings. Tuesday’s meetings were focused on the College of General Studies and Sargent College.
Here’s what’s new.
The university won’t have a single quantitative threshold for when it would close campus. A threshold would be something like: “If we get 400 Covid cases on campus, we go fully online.”
Dean Elmore said that in any decision about changing course, BU would weigh many different factors. He mentioned state and local government, “public health concerns,” and multiple different pieces of data about COVID-19’s presence on campus, and in Boston.
Some of that data about COVID-19 on campus will actually be public. BU is going to have a dashboard of data, a lot like what some states have. It’ll show the number of tests BU is giving, how many are coming back positive, how many students are in quarantine or isolation, and more.
Healthcare for students in isolation—that’s students who test positive for COVID-19—will start with remote check-ins from Student Health Services. But SHS is prepared to provide in-person medical care and even arrange for transportation to a hospital if a student needs it. Dr. Judy Platt of SHS said recovering at home could also be an option for some Covid-positive students.
Leaving isolation won’t require a negative COVID-19 test. Dr. Platt explained why—BU is using the PCR test, which is very sensitive. It can give a positive result, even if someone only has small traces of virus in their system. Platt said that having those small traces doesn’t mean someone’s contagious, and public health authorities say that after someone stops having symptoms, they’re very unlikely to transmit the virus. So, to get out of isolation, you just have to be symptom-free without medication for 3 days, and 10 days have to have passed since your symptoms started or you tested positive.
On Tuesday, panelists also talked about quarantine housing, which is for suspected cases of COVID-19. Vice President of Auxiliaries Peter Smokowski could not confirm that quarantine rooms would be in a separate building from regular student rooms. Instead, Smokowski emphasized that the quarantine rooms have their own private bathroom, and quarantined students will have everything they need to stay put for 14 days. He also emphasized that quarantined students are only suspected cases, and haven’t tested positive for COVID-19.
That’s all for today’s recap. In Salt Lake City, Utah, I’m Grace Ferguson for WTBU News.