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BC Ends Asymptomatic Surveillance Testing, Cites Community Vaccination Rates

Boston College ended its asymptomatic surveillance testing program for fully vaccinated individuals on Monday, according to an email sent to the BC community.

Tests will remain available for symptomatic undergraduate students at University Health Services, and those who test positive will continue to isolate at Pine Manor College or at home. The University will also offer weekly walk-in PCR tests for asymptomatic students, faculty, and staff at the Margot Connell Recreation Center through March 31. 

“We believe these changes in campus testing protocols and the continuation of current proven practices will help our community move toward ‘near normal’ status, advance in our ability to learn to live with coronavirus, and regard COVID-19 as a manageable virus,” the email reads. 

Students, faculty, and staff who are symptomatic should no longer report to the Connell Recreation Center for testing, the email said.

“Students who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately contact University Health Services to be tested for the virus,” the email reads. “Faculty and staff showing symptoms should not come to campus and should contact their primary care provider for testing.” 

This semester the University has surpassed 1,500 undergraduate cases, reporting 1,671 total cases since pre-semester testing began on Jan. 10. The University has also moved its platform for reporting overall COVID-19 cases per week to an archive tab on its BC Forward website.

The Massachusetts Secretary of Education and the Secretary of Health and Human Services have encouraged colleges and universities in the state to work quickly toward “near normal conditions” and to strengthen mental health supports, citing “widespread issues of anxiety and depression” that have been worsened by the pandemic. According to the email, they have also urged colleges and universities to consider “longer term strategies for managing an endemic.”

The University lifted its temporary mask mandate on Jan. 31, and the City of Newton rescinded its mask mandate for public spaces on Feb. 18. Those who feel more comfortable wearing masks may continue to do so, the email reads.

According to the email, 99.5 percent of students, faculty, and staff are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 100 percent of those eligible and on campus having received the booster.

“Moreover, this academic year no member of our campus community has become seriously ill or been hospitalized because of COVID-19, and there has been no known virus transmission in our classrooms and laboratories,” the email reads. 

The BC community should continue to use the BC Daily Check app, according to the email, as it has played an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19 on campus.

“Boston College will remain vigilant and flexible in its efforts to safeguard the campus from COVID-19,” the email reads.

Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Editor

February 21, 2022