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BC Surpasses 100 Undergrad Cases of COVID-19

Boston College exceeded 100 undergraduate cases of COVID-19 for the first time this semester, according to an update to the BC Forward website

BC’s undergraduate positivity rate this past week was 1.25 percent, the highest reported so far this academic year, with 112 undergraduate students testing positive out of 8,950 tests.

The University’s recent increase in cases coincides with a national wave of concern over the new Omicron variant of COVID-19. Three of the 15 cases of Omicron reported so far in Massachusetts were found in the Boston area, according to The Boston Globe.

The number of undergraduate positives this past week surpassed BC’s previous semester high of 94 cases recorded the week prior, between Dec. 6 and Dec. 12. The cases this past week, which included the final days leading up to Winter Break, bring the total number of undergraduate cases this semester to 533. 

The University also reported an overall positivity rate of 1.23 percent last week, with 132 total positives out of 10,726 tests. The non-undergraduate positivity rate is 1.13 percent, with 20 positive cases out of 1,776 tests performed.

There are 129 undergraduates in isolation as of Monday, with 25 in isolation housing and 104 recovering at home. The total number of undergraduates who have recovered from COVID-19 this semester is 404, BC reported. 

On Dec. 8, The Boston Globe reported that all BC community members on campus for the spring semester would be required to receive COVID-19 vaccine booster shots. Six days later, on Dec. 14, the University officially announced the booster mandate in an email to the BC community, asking that students, faculty, and staff upload their updated vaccination cards by Feb. 9.

BC’s community vaccination rate is 99.3 percent, according to the BC Forward website. The only people exempt from the booster shot requirement will be those granted exemptions from the original vaccination requirement. 

“Boston College has benefited from an extremely high level of vaccination this semester (99.3%) that has helped keep our community safe and has enabled our students, faculty, and staff to experience as normal a year as possible,” the email reads. “Vaccinations and boosters are helping to make COVID-19 a manageable illness.”

Some colleges in the Boston area have shifted their COVID-19 protocols due to concern about the Omicron variant—students at Tufts University finished their final exams online, while Northeastern University has banned spectators at athletic events, according to wbur.

All BC community members must also be tested for COVID-19 before the first day of spring semester classes on Jan. 18. 

Faculty and staff will be tested between Jan. 10 and Jan. 14, on-campus students will be tested during move-in days between Jan. 15 and Jan. 17, and off-campus students should be tested before engaging in on-campus activities, “preferably during the January 10-14 period,” the email reads.

“As we know, COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and we must learn to live with the virus,” the email reads. “We assure you that the University will remain vigilant and flexible in our approach. We are grateful for all those who have helped safeguard the health of our campus community and we ask for your continued cooperation and assistance.”

Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff

December 20, 2021