News, On Campus, Featured Story, Coronavirus Updates

Residential Students Required to Sign Addendum to Housing Agreement

The Office of Residential Life has released a COVID-19 addendum to the housing contract for the upcoming academic year that students planning to live on campus are required to complete. Students will only be allowed one guest per resident in each unit and all unapproved social gatherings will be prohibited, signifying a substantially reduced social life on campus for at least the year.

The addendum also requires students to assume the risks of contracting COVID-19 or other communicable diseases, though it does not explicitly preclude students from suing the University.

“Although Boston College has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, Boston College cannot guarantee that you will not become exposed to or infected with COVID-19 while living in on-campus facilities,” the addendum reads. “Further, living on campus could elevate the risk of contracting any contagious illness simply due to the dense populations in the residence halls.”

The addendum lists ResLife’s plans to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which include suspending room changes until further notice and reserving the right to relocate any infected students for self-quarantine or isolation, as determined by University Health Services.

In the addendum, BC reserves the right to terminate its Conditions for Residency, or housing contracts, with students in response to public health emergency needs, including COVID-19, upon reasonable notice. The University will provide affected students with reasonable reimbursement as determined by the University if it requires students to move out of BC housing and does not make alternative housing available to them, the addendum says. 

Students received prorated refunds for housing costs after being required to move out of on-campus housing in response to the COVID-19 outbreak last spring, with the exception of the students who were approved to stay on campus and were moved to Upper Campus dorms for the remainder of the semester.

Residential students will not be allowed to have guests who have not also been approved to reside on campus, with the exception of parents and guardians. This could potentially preclude students who are living off campus during the school year from visiting residence halls, but the addendum makes no mention of off-campus students.

Events, functions, or other gatherings held inside, outside, or adjacent to the residence halls— including all registered and unregistered social gatherings and parties—are prohibited unless ResLife or a designated campus partner coordinates or approves them, the addendum reads. 

The addendum says that residential students must comply with all University de-densifying efforts, including relocation to alternative housing or quarantine and isolation. It states that relocation does not terminate a student’s housing contract and that students will not receive an adjustment in fees if they are relocated, which could result in students being moved into less expensive housing while still paying the rate of their original residence hall.

The addendum states all students living on campus will be required to follow all University guidelines, including frequent handwashing, physical distancing requirements, restrictions on guests and large gatherings, mask-wearing, cleaning, and testing. Students must also comply with specific instructions in the event that a resident is infected, including notification, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation. 

By signing the addendum, students agree to comply with future changes to the University’s COVID-19 directives. All residents, staff, and visitors must abide by the health and safety requirements in all residential spaces, including bedrooms, bathrooms, community kitchens, lounges, study rooms, courtyards, music rooms, reflection and prayer spaces, and other common spaces.

The University reserves the right to request or require a student to leave BC housing at any time if it determines that student’s presence in the residence community poses a safety or health risk, the addendum states.

Students will not be able to request to switch roommates through the entire academic year with the exception of extenuating circumstances, which the University will determine at its discretion. Room changes will be approved on an exception-only basis, the addendum says, because roommate consistency should be a safety priority for all residents.

Students must practice physical distancing wherever possible, and must abide by any specific requirements BC establishes, including in student rooms, lounge spaces, bathrooms, and lobby areas. Students should not move the furniture in common spaces, which has been rearranged to allow for physical distancing, the addendum says.

The addendum states that BC Housing and BC Housekeeping may introduce and adjust new cleaning protocols to address COVID-19 or any other public health emergency. BC Housing will provide students with appropriate cleaning protocols within their assigned spaces.

In keeping with previous University policy, students living in apartments and suites will be responsible for cleaning their own units, including common areas, bathrooms, living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchens. Students in these units must purchase their own cleaning supplies and are responsible for maintaining cleanliness throughout the semester.

The addendum notes that all other components of the BC housing contract remain in effect and must be followed, but if there is a discrepancy between the addendum and the original contract, the addendum will prevail. 

Featured Image by Maddy Romance / Heights Editor

July 8, 2020

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