News, On Campus, Top Story, Coronavirus Updates

Remaining Students Moved to Upper Campus

Approximately 500 Boston College students remained on campus as of Monday, the day after the deadline for students to move out of their residence halls, according to a University release. Students who remain on campus will be housed in single rooms in Upper Campus, according to another University update released on Wednesday. 

“This location was selected for the remainder of the semester because it provides the best accommodations to maintain the recommended social-distancing measures,” read an email sent to students who had been granted housing extensions. 

These dorms share common restrooms for each floor and do not have kitchens. Director of Housing Operations Greg Jones and Associate Vice President of the Office of Residential Life and Special Projects George Arey did not respond to requests for interviews about housing for students remaining on campus. 

“Having a communal restroom and a communal dining hall defeats the purpose of a single room, because we wouldn’t be able to practice social distancing at all with that,” Hoa Bui, a student who remained on campus and MCAS ’21 said. “We’d be forced to be in each others’ vicinity, having to leave our rooms multiple times a day.” 

Each student will get their own room, and housekeeping staff will sanitize the common restrooms and lounges several times a day, according to the email sent to exempted students. 

All students remaining on campus, regardless of age, are prohibited from possessing alcohol in the residence halls, as well as being in the presence or under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on campus, according to another email sent to remaining students. “This policy includes being under the influence of marijuana on- or off-campus,” the email states.

Students are not allowed to host any guests who are not currently enrolled as BC students, and no overnight guests are permitted. 

Students were asked to move off campus by this past Sunday in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, with online classes set to begin Thursday.

In an email to the student body sent just after the announcement, Vice President for Student Affairs Joy Moore said that exemptions to the evacuation were available for students with “extenuating circumstances that prevent them from returning home, including international students who cannot return to their home countries/regions because of international travel restrictions, serious personal reasons, or University obligations.”

Moore said in her email to the student body that exemptions would be granted on a case-by-case basis. It is currently unclear which reasons the University ultimately accepted in the applications for extensions or how many students requested an exemption.

Chantal Sanchez, MCAS ’20, said she would have been homeless if she had not received an exemption. Although she understands why BC moved students out, she said the short time frame and lack of communication made the process much more difficult for students staying on campus.

“They didn’t tell us when we actually got the extension until Saturday, the day before we were going to have to all move out,” she said. “They didn’t tell us any information on where they would move us from our actual dorms until Wednesday … I understand there’s a lot of confusion and everyone doesn’t know, but they can do a better job.”

Sanchez added that the offices that deal with low-income students more regularly have done a better job providing resources since the move-out.

“The Learning to Learn Office has done a great job, the Montserrat Office, the BAIC, they have helped me throughout these four years in general,” Sanchez said. “There’s a good amount of resources here, I just wish it also came from the Boston College administration.”

Residence halls on Upper Campus and College Road—which typically house freshmen and sophomores—have a combined 890 living units, according to the 2019-20 Boston College Factbook. Available rooms include traditional singles, which are 8 feet by 12 feet; doubles, which are 12 feet by 16 feet; triples, which are 23 feet by 16 feet; and quads, which are 16 feet by 36 feet.

BC Dining began serving food to go on Tuesday, in order to meet guidelines implemented by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. McElroy Commons will be open for students who are still on campus, while Cafe 129 on the Brighton Campus will remain open for BC employees. 

All Boston College libraries were closed as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The Margot Connell Recreation Center is still open, although the swimming pools, saunas, and basketball and tennis courts are closed. The center is operating on modified hours, and visitors are expected to follow social distancing guidelines, according to the University’s update on Wednesday.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Senior Staff

March 19, 2020