• Joel Brown

    Staff Writer

    Portrait of Joel Brown. An older white man with greying brown hair, beard, and mustache and wearing glasses, white collared shirt, and navy blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey background.

    Joel Brown is a staff writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. He’s written more than 700 stories for the Boston Globe and has also written for the Boston Herald and the Greenfield Recorder. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 30 comments on BU Details Campuswide COVID-19 Testing Plan for Fall

  1. You state that, “Residential students who test positive will be moved to special isolation rooms with supervised medical care.” Can you give more information as to where these rooms are located? Will these rooms be in student housing?

    1. Isolation housing is being reserved for students in a designated dorm separate from the majority of housing where medical supplies, linens, and food will be supplied.

  2. I am wondering when it is appropriate to secure housing for spring. My son is going to Learn from home in the fall. We are hesitant to plan for his spring return if there will end up being an option to remain home. We feel more confident waiting until fall 2021 if given the option.

  3. For those experiencing anxiety/depression, The Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders at Boston University, a world-renowned clinical research and treatment program, is available to BU faculty, staff and students, as well as the general public, with services for children, adolescents and adults. We are currently offering telehealth. Check us out at: http://www.bu.edu/card

  4. It sounds like faculty and staff will be retested to verify a positive result, something that will not be done for students. Why is there a difference in stringency of testing given?

  5. My questions are:
    Who will be enforcing these testing protocols (especially for students)?

    What will the dining situation be, especially now that dining spaces which already were not enough to accommodate everyone during peak hours will now even be more restricted? If students are being forced to have meal plans if they are living in dorm style living, what considerations are being made for dorm students vs apartment students?

    Finally, what will the social distancing protocol be for tight quarters dorms (Warren towers, kilichand) if one student gets sick will their roommate(s) be quarantines as well? The whole floor?

    1. Hi Nicola,

      Thanks for this question. BU’s current focus is RT-PCR testing to detect people who are asymptomatic. This is the approach recommended by public health recommendations, including the Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium on Testing. As the science develops on antibody testing and public health recommendations are updated, the University may well look at antibody testing, but we aren’t yet at that point. We’ll continue to update the community as these plans evolve over time.


      Emma Bonanomi
      Director of Communications
      Boston University Office of Research

  6. 24 hours is too long. It may be ok for routine testing, but for returning students and staff its necessary to have express tests or prioritize facility testing so the result would be known the same day.

  7. I hope the US government and BU act as quick as possible about our F-1 visa situation for international students.
    ISSO keep on telling us that we still need to wait for further guidance from the US government about our visa situation because of the 5-month rule, where if we stay out of the country for over 5 months, our visa automatically expires.

  8. Please clarify…….
    This letter states the students or individuals are expected to report to a testing station to receive a testing kit where they are observed administering the test. The individuals have to administer the test on themselves? The testing stick needs to be inserted into the nasal cavity, is it possible for an individual to do that to themselves. I am 54 and I won’t do it myself, can we expect 18-22 year olds to be able to?

    1. Students who test positive will be moved to on-campus isolation housing. However, parents may pick up their students and return to campus, generally, 10 days after symptom onset and resolution of fever for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing medications, and with improvement of other symptoms. Student Health Services would still provide support to this student by checking in daily.

  9. Would you please detail how precise information about outbreaks of COVID-19 on campus will be provided to the BU community? Will there be an open and transparent process for such information to be relayed to us all? What is the policy for releasing information to all of us so that students and faculty can make informed decisions about when to stay on campus and when to leave if there are outbreaks? Should we be concerned that BU public relations will be involved in making such decisions, or will there be a information process that is sufficiently separate from BU public relations?

    1. Thanks for this question, Daniel. We are developing a dashboard to publicly share de-identified community testing information. More information will be shared about this soon.

  10. For a “category 4” (from the above list) doctoral student who lives in another state, finds his way on campus very rarely only to meet with an advisor, is of a certain age that qualifies for “high risk” designation, and who employs (Luddite-like, with apologies, really a financial choice) an ancient fliptop cell phone, am I required to “get an app” in order to be simpatico with the daily reporting requirements – and to send in daily health reports? The latter appears silly to me, under the circumstances, although I bow to officialdom. The former sounds like a requirement to buy an iPhone! Advice appreciated and thank you for dealing with all of this…

  11. What is the alternative to using the app on phone? I do not feel comfortable with tracking and the fine line of personal privacy.
    If a student will not be using a cell phone how will the university handle it?

    1. Thanks for reaching out with this concern. The University will be using a web application for this program and not requiring anything to be installed on a student’s phone. This will allow students the flexibility to access the app either through their computer or their phone. Students will need to display a compliance badge on their phone, but the badge is part of the web application. Additionally, there is no plan at this point to conduct contact tracing through students’ phones. Any tracing will be done through conversations, not by tracking location through phones.

      David Lazar, Office of the Provost

    2. The University will be using a web application for students for this program and not requiring anything installed on the phone. Students will need to display a compliance badge on their phone, but the badge is part of the web application. With regard to any contact tracing, it will be done through conversations, not by tracking location through phones.

  12. “Individuals will be notified through the app or web portal at least a day in advance of the need to be tested on a specific date.”

    Will students living off-campus who don’t have classes/duties that day, be forced to hop onto public transport, risking additional exposure, just to show up to campus for the test? Doesn’t that make the situation worse, not better?

    Under LfA, students attend every third class in person, so they may visit campus for classes around two days a week.

  13. What safety measures are being taken besides testing. For example, Are their ventilation systems being installed, touch less entry, cleaning protocols etc.

  14. When residential students are being isolated after tested positive, will they get medical treatment? How are their health conditions being monitored during isolation? Who decide on when to send unwell students to a hospital for treatment? Thank you!

    1. Yes, if a student tests positive they will receive a phone call from Student Health Services with detailed instructions about next steps. Students in isolation will receive regular medical monitoring from Student Health Services.

      David Lazar, Office of the Provost

  15. Do people have to be tested and have a negative test before they Return to campus? How soon after arriving on campus will you be tested at school? Will on campus students living in single studios have to be tested as much? Will single studio students be affected by “isolation” quarantine housing?

    1. Yes, all students will be tested upon returning to campus. Any students living on campus will need to be tested the day that they are scheduled to move into their residence hall. Off-campus students are encouraged to sign up for a test upon arrival in Boston, but they will be required to have a negative test before being allowed to return to campus. All undergraduate students will be tested twice per week for the fall semester.

      David Lazar, Office of the Provost

  16. Will a spit test (which has been successfully employed atNJ testing sites) be available for students who have had a history of nose bleeds? The concern is simply that repeated swabbing or perhaps inadvertently rough swabbing will lead to nose bleeds for the student.

    1. No, our test is not authorized by the FDA for use with saliva. We may be able to accept saliva samples in the Spring after we validate this sample with our test, but this is not guaranteed.

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