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BC To Enforce Residence Hall Capacity Limits, Continue Surveillance Testing in the Fall

Boston College will enforce a guest limit in residence halls and continue asymptomatic surveillance testing during the fall semester, according to an email sent to BC students on Thursday. 

“As has been the case since the start of the pandemic, the University may need to modify policies and procedures because of changing conditions and guidance from local, state, and federal officials,” Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead wrote in the email. “Students will need to be flexible to help safeguard the health and safety of the Boston College and broader community.”

BC will allow more guests in residence halls than it did last year, with two guests per resident allowed in traditional rooms; four guests per resident, with a maximum of 24 people total, in apartments and suites; and five guests per resident, with a maximum of 36 people total, for registered indoor parties. 

All non-BC guests visiting residence halls must be vaccinated against COVID-19, upload their vaccination cards, and provide contact information for contact tracing purposes.

In addition to an initial COVID-19 test upon returning to campus, members of the BC community will also be subject to weekly COVID-19 asymptomatic surveillance testing. Testing will be focused on those in “high contact” groups, such as dining staff and resident assistants, the email said. Individuals who test positive will be placed in University isolation housing, and fully vaccinated students identified as close contacts will not be required to quarantine if they test negative.  

Vaccinated students, faculty, and staff will not be required to wear a mask on campus, a continuation of the University’s lifting of the mask requirement for fully vaccinated individuals in May, though this rule is subject to change, the email said. Students with vaccine exemptions will be required to wear masks when inside University buildings.

All academic buildings, dining halls, dorms, libraries, and common areas will also return to pre-pandemic occupancy, the email said.

Like last year, students will be expected to monitor their symptoms using the BC Check site, which may be required to enter certain sites on campus, the email said. If students have any symptoms of COVID-19, they are expected to not attend class or use campus facilities.

The announcement comes two days after new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends fully vaccinated individuals wear masks indoors in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission. BC is located in both Middlesex and Suffolk County, which, according to the CDC, are areas of moderate and substantial transmission, respectively.

Governor Charlie Baker said on Wednesday that he has yet to make a decision regarding Commonwealth guidelines, and will have more to say once he determines what is best for the state. 

Featured Graphic by Olivia Charbonneau / Heights Editor 

July 29, 2021