• Megan Woolhouse

    Staff Writer

    Megan Woolhouse

    Megan Woolhouse worked as a reporter at the Boston Globe for more than a decade, in addition to newspapers in Louisville, Ky., and Baton Rouge, La. A graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Clark University in Worcester, she lives in Boston and enjoys baking, reading, and taekwondo sparring with her seven-year-old daughter. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 75 comments on BU Puts Plan for Remote Learning in Place if Coronavirus Forces Campus Closure

  1. Why wait for a confirmed case when closing is “forced”? By the time someone tests positive, it’s already been spreading/incubating for two weeks. It is inevitable that there will be a case — be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE and move to online before everyone returns from break!

    Columbia and Fordham have already suspended classes due to exposure, not even a confirmed case.

    Think about the vulnerable – although young students are less at-risk, there are plenty of people of older age or with immunodeficiencies. Imagine being that first BU case – what if it’s the first BU death? Not to mention large dorms are probably petri dishes.

    Please make this decision before this weekend when students return to campus.

    1. Totally agree. Please make this decision before this weekend when students return to campus. After spring break, students will bring the virus to the campus from every where of the States.

  2. Why wait for a confirmed case when closing is “forced”? By the time someone tests positive, it’s already been spreading/incubating for two weeks. It is inevitable that there will be a case — be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE and move to online before everyone returns from break!

    Columbia and Fordham have already suspended in-person classes due to exposure, not even a confirmed case.

    Think about the vulnerable – although young students are less at-risk, there are plenty of people of older age or with immunodeficiencies. Imagine being that first BU case – what if it’s the first BU death? Not to mention large dorms are probably petri dishes

    Please make this decision before this weekend when students return to campus.

  3. Please make a decision before spring break ends so that hundreds of students can stay in their home cities for online classes and avoid airline travel and exposure.

  4. Very disappointed to read this very REACTIVE rather than PROACTIVE stance as the situation becomes increasingly worse throughout Boston and the country. Your information is plentiful but the plans are not sound considering your very diverse population of staff and students, many with underlying health issues and older ages so that they are the most vulnerable. Students also have families they could transmit their virus too and epidemiologists are saying virus stays on surfaces 2-9 DAYS and humans can carry virus up to 2 weeks without signs or symptoms per WHO which is why so many are being monitored nationwide for a few weeks even when testing negative at first.

    Don’t wait for something worse to happen – protect your staff and students and go online now. I expected more from my alma mater and now where my son attends. We are smarter than this. We can do better please. Let’s not wait until tragedy strikes please.

  5. Can we please start using the online teaching mode now? Waiting for the university to close will not protect any of the students who may be exposed as they attend class.
    We have immunocompromised students and some students are either parents to little children or expectant mothers.
    Can the university please instruct all schools to switch to online teaching mode? Please

  6. More people die from the flu each year. Please don’t go remote. It would have worse effects on students’ work ethic and psyche than the virus would.

    1. Coronavirus is more contiguous and deadly than flu. Sam. Once you catch it ,your lung will be damaged, also there is not turning back from that, please go online and research for articles for coronavirus, see what it can do to your body.

    2. No cure for corona yet, no immune systems built for corona yet, and there’s no vaccination for it. It’s more risk than reward to continue on campus schooling, whether people like it or not

    3. As a student with an autoimmune disease and taking immunosuppressants, I think this is short-sighted and ableist. My life is more important than another student’s choice about whether or not to do work.

    4. As an immunocompromised student who must stake immunosuppressants, I find your comment short-sighted and ableist. My life, along with the lives of other students, faculty members, and our families, are more important than a student’s choice to engage with curricula. There are no vaccines, standardized treatments, or precautions. We understand the flu and can predict it each year, but we can’t with COVID-19. Please consider all students, not just able-bodied ones.

  7. Why has the rest of the BU community not been informed of the BUA student who’s family member(s) has the virus. Why has the email that has been sent out to BUA families not been forwarded to the entire BU community. Stop withholding information from us.

  8. I truly believe it is the duty of the university to implement the online teaching immediately. Many students are currently at home where they are safer than they would be if they were to return where they would seemingly be waiting for exposure to the virus. For the safety of the students and their families, being proactive is necessary. Waiting for a case to strike before switching to online teaching is not in the best interest of the students, their families, or the BU faculty. For this reason, kindly take the necessary steps and switch to online teaching in order to keep everybody safe.

  9. As a concerned parent of a BU student, I truly believe that it is the responsibility of the university to implement online teaching immediately. As it is currently spring break, many students are in the comfort of their homes where they are safely with their families. As such, making the decision to implement online teaching before they return is the most logical decision. If students were to return, they would seemingly be waiting for exposure to a case before a change is made which is not in the best interest of the BU students, their families, or the BU faculty. In addition, traveling as of now is a risk in itself due to the high risk of being exposed to the virus. As a university, it is BU’s responsibility to put the safety of their students and all others before anything else. Therefore, please switch to online teaching before the end of the week to keep everyone safe!

  10. Given that so many students will return from travel next week, isn’t it dangerous to continue classes after spring break? Why do we need to push this into a crisis before we act? These decisions are tough but acting proactively and thinking ahead will save lives. Please consider following in Amherst’s footsteps.

  11. Please do online classes now. I live in warren, think about what if one student come back from his or her spring holiday with the virus?? The virus spreads fast and it will not show at the first few days. The student himself or herself might not even know about it….Please do online classes now.

  12. Hey, can the university please take measures for online teaching , waiting for a ‘ confirmed case ‘ is not ideal, it may spread faster than we can imagine, precaution is always better than the cure. The students can conveniently continue their studies online and stay safe at home as well. Please give this a due consideration,

  13. Please go online before spring break ends! I can’t imagine how things will be after people traveling all over the world return and sit in one classroom…

    “ It is inevitable that there will be a case — be PROACTIVE instead of REACTIVE and move to online before everyone returns from break!” SO TRUE!

  14. Please, please follow the lead of many employers and other schools and switch to distance learning during this pandemic, or at least allow it as an option for students who have chronic illnesses or are more vulnerable to COVID-19. I’m an immunocompromised BU student and I already get every little cold that comes through. I take lifesaving medication that suppresses my immune system, leaving me extremely vulnerable.

    Please notify students before the end of spring break!

  15. Why create more panic than necessary???
    Do your students get colds and flu?
    Do you close campus and suspend classes every time someone has a bad cold?

  16. I agree that Boston University should take a proactive approach and not a reactive one. As earlier commenters have argued, waiting for a positive case will mean most of the student/faculty/staff have been exposed and community spread is inevitable.

    Many students will be returning to campus after spring break having traveled to high risk areas, including domestically to states now declaring states of emergencies.

    Please think about students that have compromised immune systems and your employees that may be at higher risk. Follow the protocol of other top universities and implement your online program before students return and by doing so, hopefully avoiding an outbreak at Boston University.

  17. The virus can still be shed during the incubation period before one tests positive. With the spring break, so many people may have travelled and we are not sure all will self quarantine.

    It’s best we move to online classes and this decision has to be made before the spring break is over.

    Thank you

  18. It’s idiotic to wait for a confirmed case. The moment one person at BU has it, a lot of other students will be infected as well. You should close down now, you won’t be doing anyone a favor by waiting.

  19. As an engineering student, we have labs that require actual hands-on work. How will online learning address that? Will those requirements just be waived in the case BU shuts down for the spring term?

    Also, what will happen to the scheduled summer courses if BU shuts down for the spring term?

  20. Lol, you canceled all the trips but what use is that really when there are people traveling away from campus for spring break? When they come back what will the protocol be? If people contracted the virus at a Biogen meeting at a Boston hotel, and in light of the fact that cases have been doubling in MA, don’t think the virus isn’t on campus too–a campus which is at the heart of Boston. Why wait to protect students until you have a confirmed case? This is idiotic, and it is dangerous. If one person has the virus, you can bet lots of other students will have it as well. And what about immunocompromised students, or students who have poor health? This is a highly contagious virus, which is why it has been able to spread across the entire globe in such a short amount of time. Don’t forget that a lot of people who have tested positive are asymptomatic and may be able to still spread the virus. BU, be proactive, not reactive. Switch to online, do your students a favor and be smart about it.

  21. Now that Harvard has decided to go to online classes and has asked their srudents to not return to campus after spring break are you leaning toward this option?

  22. I support BU’s decision to only go remote if it becomes required. Families sacrifice a great deal to pay tuition and pay for room & board. Students travel far to attend BU. They shouldn’t be turned out and told to go home. CDC recommendations should be followed, including quarantine of students returning from countries with widespread transmission.

  23. Can you please update us on the decision as the spring break will end soon and it will be a waste of students to return to campus and then fly back home again and risk even more while flying back and forth. Many Universities have already moved to remote classes till end of this month. I think its better to be safe than sorry.

  24. As of yesterday, Harvard University has asked students not to return from spring break and begin remote classes soon after. As they are just across the river, should we be expecting this at BU as well? Is it being discussed?: that we will be asked not to return?

  25. Waiting for Corona virus cases at BU?
    Start Online teaching or extens the spring break by coyple of weeks. We do have 3months summer break to compensate for the lost study days.
    Please act smart.

  26. It will be too late to stop the spread of virus if there is a confirmed case found in campus, since the early-stage symptoms could be latent.

    Would suggest to close campus now before the spring break ends. Can’t imagine people returning from trips to all over the world coming back in one classroom and infect each other with virus they brought back…

  27. Please make a decision before spring break. Look at what Harvard & MIT is doing. Guess the only difference between BU and the ivies are not just the academics, but also the administration. By the time BU confirms a case, the virus would have already been spreading for 2 weeks. Why are you risking the lives of thousands of students?

  28. Close the university and switch to remote teaching now – I do not want to get exposed to virus. Also, by the sound of this article, BU is extremely late to the party and has only started considering remote classes. Not surprised, you guys do not care enough.

  29. My son is from the Westcoast, there has been many cases already! Please protect yourselves and our students, please go remote and make that tough decision!!

  30. Obviously It is hard to make a decision on when to activate this well prepared plan. Obviously the school need help. As a parent of the BU students, I vote to activate it right now. Look at Harvard.

  31. I trust that BU will not make a knee jerk reaction as the other schools have. I understand concerns but closing the school and sending the students home is not the answer.

  32. Support BU’s thoughtful approach and agree with others that closing the campus is not justified short of a public health order by state authorities. Students at risk should follow quarantine rules as required before arriving on campus. I also agree that the psychological effects of overreaction could be devastating impacting current students future lives and careers long after the virus is a distant memory.

  33. If BU needs to close then do it. There are too many confirm cases in the Commonwealth area where our children are dorming. Hopefully BU make their decision before spring break is over. Parents will need to come and pick up their children. I am one that lives a good 5hrs away from BU.

    Please even if no outbreak I think BU should do classes remotely until fall. If there’s an outbreak it will be hard to control too many close proximity with students and staff. Take precautions NOW.

    Concerned Parent.

  34. Thank you for this article. My following message is to the higher-ups.

    All of my classes are in person and require attendance. I cannot simply leave unless you go online. I would rather get out of the city sooner so I have less of a risk of infecting my family if I get to go home. As much as I wash my hands and eat well and work out, infection is a higher risk day by day.

    Harvard has just decided to put many programs online. Most of their students have been asked not to come back after their spring break next week. We need online learning NOW.

    Administration, you must act NOW before this gets worse. When will you decide to close campus? How many people need to be infected on campus before you act? How many deaths do you need to see? How many of you higher-ups need to be infected first? Do you not realize that many of us have elderly relatives and relatives with immune disorders who are at risk of infection if we do not go home NOW before we get infected?

    You do realize many might not realize they were ever infected, despite infecting others who might die, right? How many bets do you want to take on our health and the health of others before you decide to go online as other responsible schools have?

    You paid HOW MANY THOUSANDS of dollars for Ben Shapiro to come to campus last Fall, yet you cannot put your money and time toward preventing life-threatening/altering situations for your campus?

    Put everything online NOW. Do NOT gamble with the health of your community.

  35. I agree with others here – by the time there’s 1 confirmed case, the virus will have been circulating for at least a week. Its probably already circulating and we don’t know it because there’s no testing!

    Please don’t wait until students return from spring break from who knows where, start going to classes, dining halls, sharing drinks at parties……..Everyone should stay put.

    Do it now, before people start coming back to Boston. Give them a few days to get those flight change vouchers from airlines so they don’t lose all their money.

    Early bird gets the worm…the late bird gets, COVID-19?

  36. BU, as stated by others, this measure is disappointing. The reactive nature of this “plan” creates significant risks for the most vulnerable members of our community. Not only is the decision to take measures to go online “IF Coronavirus Forces Campus closure” short-sighted, but also reckless. Other schools have been mindful of the vulnerabilities of their community members, not only in terms of health, but also in terms of financial ability to simply travel at will. Now that we are in spring break, university leadership should take precautionary and proactive measures so that students will not find themselves in the middle of ever-changing plans. See here for a well-thought policy in case you need some creativity: https://statements.cornell.edu/2020/20200310-coronavirus-update.cfm.

  37. As an immunocompromised student, I hope BU makes their decision before break is over. My own roommates are traveling in Europe and the blatant disregard for students like myself that occurred even BEFORE break is baffling. Many schools said NO international travel during spring break and yet BU only restricted travel to level 2 and 3 countries. From an epidemiological perspective, this is a nightmare. Now thousands of students are drinking their way across Europe and having a blast whilst becoming vectors for a disease that could kill students like myself that decided to stay home and stay safe. This university just created a million dollar lawsuit any lawyer with half a brain could easily win. And I get that it’s a difficult situation, but any qualified public health official would easily be able to predict just how bad an idea letting students travel abroad was for the university. Saving face or to prevent angry students lashing out over independence or what have you is absolutely no excuse for failing to protect students. At over 70k my parents certainly don’t think my school should be placing me in a scenario that could not only ruin the rest of my academic year, but also endanger my life. BU this is not proactive or even reactive, this is trying to cover up for the fact that you as a major institution turned a blind eye to a pretty self explanatory issue—thousands of schools and businesses suspended ALL NON ESSENTIAL TRAVEL to Europe BEFORE we even left for spring break. Going online would certainly help moving forward, but the fact this school directly disregarded consequences before break also speaks volumes. Also, students don’t have academic gear, so these potential disease vectors will still return to campus. So yeah, real smart BU. My family paid over 70k in tuition and room and board this year and now my parents are terrified I’ll be on a ventilator in two weeks.

  38. Many BU students are international students whose homes are overseas. Where will they go if the school shuts down? Especially if they close the dorms as some other school have done.

  39. “Morrison calls the situation challenging…” OTHERS SCHOOLS ARE QUICKLY JUMPING TO ACTION, WHAT IS BU WAITING FOR? All the UC’s are online. So are 48 universities and growing.

    I am a concerned parent of a student at BU. I am deeply concerned by the wording “required” to close. As of this moment, 48 universities including Harvard, MIT and Emerson have VOLUNTARILY moved to online instruction in an abundance of caution.

    There has literally been NO contact or information sent out to parents! I have another child at NYU and received almost daily updates!

    I feel that BU is woefully and drastically behind the curve. This is terribly distressing beyond comprehension.

  40. In Italy, in approximately a month’s time, the number of Covid-19 cases grew from 1 to 10,000.….and Massachusetts is already at 92 cases. This virus spreads rapidly and we know students are traveling all over the world during spring break and that they will potentially introduce the virus to BU’s campus upon their return. It seems a wise decision to begin on line courses upon the end of spring break in order to protect our children and to prevent them from spreading it to other more vulnerable members of society.

    Unfortunately BU graduate students have been informed that they must stay in Boston to complete their clinical placements, but at least moving to on-line courses will reduce their potential for exposure to the to the virus.

  41. Please, I just want to know when is BU going to take action since there are already 92cases now in Massachusetts? Are you going to wait until the first positive case happen?? You are underestimating the power of the virus…. I just want to be safe. You need to protect your students right?

  42. I agree with all of the comments about campus closing. However, it’s not as simple as “were on spring break now so we should just do online and everyone will stay home”. I don’t know anyone who commutes to BU. So what the heck are we supposed to do about all of our belongings. I.e. everyone will return anyone to move out of the dorms. Why is no one thinking of that?

  43. BU’s remote plan and training was actually communicated earlier than most schools’ abrupt actions. I respect that it will be a thoughtful decision.
    I support a plan comparable to what Northeastern is proceeding with – campus housing accessible, coupled with online curriculum.

  44. Please go remote for BOTH students and non-essential staff. Both groups need to be kept safe. Caring for all members of the BU community should be the administration’s #1 priority. Plan and act ASAP, for the good of our community.

  45. What if domestic travel is banned? How will students be able to return to campus? BU needs to announce the end-of the semester plan asap so that all students, including international students, can go home knowing that they will be able to complete all courseworks online.

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