As BU has enacted plans to help protect the health and safety of the BU community from the spread of COVID-19, there have been a number of changes to students’ spring semesters. We have received many questions about how these changes will impact our students and what our plans are moving forward. Some of the most commonly asked questions are below. For full information on BU’s response to COVID-19, please see BU’s COVID-19 website. If your question is broader than the Biology Department’s scope, it is likely found on BU’s COVID-19 website.
Is the Biology Department’s main office open?
We are open in all aspects (undergraduate, graduate, administrative, labs, stockroom), but not physically open. We encourage emailing or calling rather than coming by in-person. Many of us are working from home, and we anticipate working completely remotely by March 25. If you have any questions about who you should email, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will classes change?
All classes will be held online through the rest of the spring semester. Faculty are contacting students in their classes to inform them of how this transition will work. Because of the variation in class size and structure, how classes will change is variable. Many of our professors are holding virtual office hours or making their lectures available online. These plans may continue to adjust as everyone is transitioning, so students are encouraged to look for communication from their professors on class updates.
How will registering for fall 2020 classes work?
The timeline for class registration will not change. Students will still be registering on the same date and time and will meet with their advisors online, either through Zoom, phone call, or another method determined by their advisor.
Undergraduate students: Appointments should be made with your advisor during the same time frame as normal.
Graduate students: Students should make advising appointments directly with their advisors. Registration instructions can be found here.
How will research for credit work?
BU is recommending that all research activity be reduced as much as possible. We have heard similar situations from our students and research mentors at off-campus, non-BU labs. We are encouraging our research mentors to work with students on creative solutions for students participating in research for credit. For example, a student could assist with remote data analysis, or a student’s research for credit work could be transitioned into a literature review where the student reads primary literature decided on by the student and their mentor. We are flexible and open to working with students and their mentors to find a solution that will work for everyone.
Will you be holding any events for the spring 2020 semester?
We are working on converting our events to a digital format if possible, and cancelling those that cannot be converted.
I’m an admitted student for Fall 2020–what information do you have for me?
Please know that our priority during this challenging time is the well-being of our students and ensuring their ability to fulfill their academic program requirements. This applies to our current students as well as you, our incoming graduate students. Due to the growing impact of COVID-19, all prospective and accepted student days, interview days, and individual student visits will be moved to a virtual format.
We are also aware of the increasing concern around delayed visa appointments for our international students and delayed air travel for both our domestic and international students. Please be assured that we are currently working on alternative enrollment options for admitted students who are unable to arrive on campus by the start of classes in September. You will be contacted via email with updates as they become available. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.