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Students to Stay In Mass. for Thanksgiving or Finish Semester Remotely

Boston College is giving students the option to choose their plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, either to leave Massachusetts for the break and finish the semester remotely or remain in the state and complete the semester at BC.

Students who leave the state for the break will not be allowed to return to campus until the start of the spring semester, and those who live on campus will receive prorated room and board credits on their accounts for the spring semester.

On-campus students who choose to remain at BC or within the Commonwealth through Thanksgiving Break may complete the semester on campus, though some in-person classes and final exams may be conducted online.

Off-campus students who remain in Massachusetts during the break will also be allowed to return to campus for the remainder of their classes and finals, while those who travel outside of the state will have to complete their semesters remotely.

The University sent students a survey last week to gauge their preferences regarding BC’s schedule for the holiday. The survey gave students the option to indicate whether they would prefer to return home for the Thanksgiving Break and complete the semester remotely, or remain in Massachusetts—either at BC or at home—and finish the semester on campus. 

Students must communicate their plans no later than Nov. 13, according to the email sent to students and parents on Monday announcing the University’s decision. The Office of Residential Life will email students later this week with instructions for communicating their decision.

For students who choose to travel out of the Commonwealth and complete the semester remotely, the University said it will ensure they have continued technological access to classes and libraries between Thanksgiving Break and their last final exam. Students who choose to stay at BC through the end of the semester will be given continued access to University services, facilities, and COVID-19 testing. 

Graduate and professional students who decide not to travel outside Massachusetts for the break must inform the Office of Graduate Student Life in order to have continued access to on-campus services through the end of the semester. 

Students graduating in December who choose to leave Massachusetts for the break can receive their prorated room and board refunds through the Office of Student Services.

BC has not yet determined the schedule for the spring semester, though it is considering pushing back the start date to the last week in January, eliminating Spring Break, and holding classes on Holy Thursday and Easter Monday. Details surrounding the calendar for the spring semester will be provided in the near future, the email said. 

The University will follow a similar protocol as it did in August, testing all BC students, faculty, and staff who plan to return to campus in the spring, according to the email.

The email also said that the University will test all undergraduate students the week of Nov. 16, prior to Thanksgiving travel. 

All residence halls will be closed from Dec. 21, the last day of final exams, through the beginning of the spring semester, the email said.

BC announced in July that it would be flexible with its academic calendar for the fall semester, making adjustments to the schedule in late October if necessary.

Other Boston-area universities, including Boston University and Northeastern University, announced changes to their schedules surrounding the Thanksgiving break earlier this month, while Tufts University announced a final decision about the break in September.

Tufts told students over the summer that it strongly discouraged travel for the Thanksgiving Break, but last month it announced it would be giving students a choice similar to BC’s. 

Boston University advised students last week to remain on campus for the Thanksgiving Break and said that those who choose to travel must finish the semester remotely. 

Northeastern, BU, and Tufts have also pushed back the start of next semester and eliminated Spring Break from the calendar. Northeastern and BU will begin the spring semester in late January, while Tufts is planning to resume at the beginning of February. 

If BC chooses to delay the spring semester, students who choose to travel for Thanksgiving will be away from campus for over eight weeks.

When the University sent students home to finish the semester remotely in March, it gave students the option to designate courses pass/fail, and it extended the deadline for dropping and withdrawing from courses. The University has not said whether it will be adjusting its pass/fail policy again this semester. 

BC also gave students prorated refunds for housing and dining plan money through the end of the semester after it sent students last semester.

Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / Heights Editor

October 19, 2020