Editorials, Opinions

University Should Send Out Additional Information on New Stay-at-Home Advisory

The seven-day average of national COVID-19 cases increased by 24.5 percent over the last week, to 106,972 on Saturday. In Massachusetts, the seven-day average rose to 1,571 cases on Saturday—a 17 percent increase over the previous week. Even though it may not have felt that way as crowds gathered across the country to celebrate President-elect Joe Biden’s victory and Notre Dame students stormed their field after a victory over No.1 Clemson, the coronavirus pandemic isn’t subsiding. The Boston College community is and must remain disciplined and vigilant to prevent spreading the virus.

The University’s community positivity rate was .12 percent for the past week as of the Friday update of the COVID-19 dashboard—well below the state’s seven-day average positivity of 2.11 percent at that time. BC’s numbers this past week are an impressive statistic that represents the community’s hard work to keep the University open in a safe way. Despite the positive progress that has been made since a spike in cases during the week of Sept. 7, students must remain committed to avoiding large gatherings, wearing face coverings, and practicing appropriate social distancing. These measures are made even more important as the weather gets colder and outdoor gatherings, which are safer, become less feasible.  

To slow the spread in Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker enacted a stay-at-home advisory, which instructs residents to stay home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. He has also issued an executive order mandating that certain activities, such as fitness center operations and in-person dining at restaurants, end by 9:30 p.m. 

The stay-at-home advisory mentions that residents can leave home to go to school, but it is unclear how the new state guidelines will affect Boston College students in terms of moving around on campus. While the administration sent an email to off-campus students explaining how to comply with the new restrictions, on-campus students have not been contacted about the changes, leaving them to rely solely on local news. Additional communication about how BC is adjusting operations to comply with the new guidelines would be helpful to students. Tufts University informed its students through an email Tuesday evening that a 10 p.m. campus curfew would go into effect on the same day as the advisory. At Tufts, students will still be allowed to study in libraries after 10 p.m., but the gym will close at 9:30 and take-out options at the dining hall will end at 10 p.m. BC has not released additional guidance about library or dining hall hours since Baker issued the new guidelines on Nov. 2.

Regardless of the University’s communication, BC students, as residents of Massachusetts, must stay informed about the new guidelines and respect them to do their part to slow the spread in the state, even though the on-campus rate of infection is below the state average. 

While the University should properly communicate with students regarding how changing state rules will affect on-campus life, students should make sure that they are fully aware of what the rules entail in order to be responsible citizens. 

A group of Heights editors who are committed to participating in the consistent writing of editorials comprise the editorial board. Editors who report on topics discussed in editorials are not permitted to participate in the discussion or writing of the editorial.

Members: Colleen Martin, Abby Hunt, Maddie Haddix, Brooke Kaiserman, Meegan Minahan, Jillian Ran, Danny Flynn, and Rachel Phelan.

November 10, 2020