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BC Outlines Plans for Returning to Campus in the Fall

Boston College released a letter on Monday detailing plans for the University to return to on-campus instruction as scheduled on Aug. 31. The University will reorganize classrooms for social distancing, require individuals to wear masks at all times outside of their private rooms and offices, and offer remote classes for students and faculty who cannot physically attend class, according to the letter.

“To accommodate those students who will be unable to return to campus, and those faculty who are at higher risk for infection due to preexisting health issues, age, or pregnancy, we will offer–in addition to our on-campus, in-class courses–a mix of synchronous remote and fully online, asynchronous courses,” the letter said.

The letter, signed by Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead and Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley, expands on a letter University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., sent out last month stating that BC planned to resume on-campus classes as scheduled.

In addition to wearing facial coverings, individuals will also be expected to maintain personal hygiene by frequently washing their hands or using hand sanitizer, the letter said. 

BC is working on ways to “de-densify” classrooms and will create teaching zones at the front of classrooms for faculty to maintain a safe distance from students. The University will also provide cleaning materials for faculty and students, and classrooms will be cleaned each night. 

BC will also enhance the cleaning procedures of classrooms, restrooms, common areas, and high-touch services such as door handles, elevator buttons, railings, and public bathroom fixtures. Details regarding testing and contract tracing will be released in the coming weeks, according to the letter.

“Each community member is expected to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 on a daily basis,” the letter reads. “Any individual who is symptomatic should not come to school or work and should contact their primary care provider (faculty, staff, and graduate students) or University Health Services (undergraduate students).”

The University will continue to suspend University-sponsored international travel, and domestic travel will require the approval of Leahy, Lochhead, or Quigley. Large gatherings should be avoided, and meetings should be held virtually whenever possible, the letter said. 

The University announced earlier this week that it was canceling all fall study abroad programs. 

BC has informed vice presidents, deans, and vice provosts about requests to change work areas to accommodate physical distancing, though these modifications are still being finalized, according to the letter. 

Quigley and Lochhead also announced the creation of a student page on the Reopening BC Website, which will serve as a source of information for the BC community on the University’s reopening procedures. They also said they will be sending out a weekly email update from now through August. 

BC previously released guidelines for returning to campus in the Boston College Guide for Returning to the Workplace, which was released on June 2.

June 15, 2020