• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 24 comments on Rise in BU’s COVID-19 Cases Prompts Stricter Measures

  1. I am still not convinced that colleges should have opened for in-person sessions. WIth MA and Boston seeing an uptick in cases not sure if this was a good idea.

    1. It is true that there is a small risk (not zero) for any given college-age student to be hospitalized.

      But the risk to many other members in the community is severe if the number of asymptomatic carriers increases and then spreads to others in society.

      This is a unique moment and a unique virus. Have some compassion.

      Consider this: had we all done our part through the summer in the United States, we could have had a fairly normal, less restrictive fall and winter.

  2. I feel like the kids will just lie on their symptom survey if it means them not getting into the dining halls etc. what is the point of the symptom survey?

    1. I think more importantly, if you are behind on COVID testing, the badge also changes colors, meaning you are also not allowed into the dinning hall.

  3. BU has three major problems with these measures:
    1) still no re-testing for for those who are positive (falsely or otherwise) for 90 days. This effectively makes testing useless as it gives both false data, poor contact tracing, and allows spread without testing thus obviating the need of testing in general.
    2) the positive tests are effectively 200000 tests done on 20000 people, meaning there is literally no significance to be gained. Re-testing the same people under the “guilty until proven innocent” notion does not prevent or predict any spread of CoV-2 in a community. There is also data that suggests that while cases are “increasing” at BU they are increasing across MA suggesting that BU’s draconian responses are effectively useless. Just for those of you who do not know BU now controls how many people get to use a restroom at once to solidify how insane it has gotten on campus.
    3) you have to wear badges to indicate who you are? For those of you a little too young to remember the last time this type of thing was required did not end well. BU needs to get a grip; they have done nothing to prevent new infections while simultaneously allowing un-scientific lawyers and bureaucrats to run this increasingly draconian response.

    1. What are you on about? This is not the same as WW2 badges and using the bathroom one at a time is not an issue for anyone. I work here and I’m happy with the steps the university is taking. Also, those numbers you cited make no sense. Stop spreading disinformation and being part of the problem and not the solution.

    2. THANK YOU. BU is completely out of line.

      They are essentially blaming students for being human, while they take no responsibility for the fact that re-opening campus is the ultimate cause of ALL of these cases.

    3. Cases are in fact increasing across the state go check where you get your facts from. People complained about masks and other precautionary measures during the 1918 flu epidemic and all there was a big uptick in deaths in the months people refused to wear masks. I believe the saying goes if you can’t take the heat get your ass out of the kitchen…

  4. Has anyone else noticed that you get a green badge BEFORE your test results are in??? That means you could be positive, asymptomatic, and walking around campus “clean and green” for the 12-24 hours it takes to process your test.

    No amount of procedures and rules will control the spread of a virus that our country has not managed to contain.

    Humans are humans, they require social contact to survive. Let’s not criminalize human nature.

    1. No one is criminalizing anything. The processes are in place to have everyone own up and take their share of responsibility to take care of EACH OTHER. It’s not on BU alone to protect us, we have to each take responsibility to follow protocol, including letting others know if we are sick. Acknowledging that you have Covid doesn’t mean you are not considered human. It allows for tracking, tracing and controlling the spread. Why is that so hard for everyone to get on board with? The country has not managed to contain it because everyone hasn’t played their part.

    2. Asking students to prioritize protecting their peers–not to mention the thousands of REGULAR PEOPLE who live in our community–over socializing normally so that we can minimize the spread of this deadly virus is not “criminalizing human nature.” These are not normal times, nor should we act like it. In case you have forgotten, being back at campus is certainly a privilege not many students have this semester. If you are so “oppressed” by the suggestion that you social distance and adhere to school rules, maybe you should go home where you can live by your own rules and at your own risk. It’s not just your college experience being put on hold, it’s everyone’s.

  5. The Boston Public Schools just had to shut down completely due to rising coronavirus numbers, thus putting thousands of vulnerable kids at risk. It seems to me now more than ever that the only socially responsible and morally defensible thing to do, especially with the onset of colder weather and the flu season, is to move all university classes online, to prevent things from getting worse for the City: BU students are much more able to deal with remote learning than kindergarteners, kids with special needs, young ESL learners, etc.

    1. Frankly, I’m not sure how much making classes online would help reduce spread. It seems like the vast majority of cases are arising from social gatherings, not attending in person classes. In my experience as a student, social distancing is well followed in my classes, but less so in residential spaces or dining halls. Even if classes are online, students will still frequent those places. This isn’t to say I have a better solution, I’m just not sure there is evidence that that would help much.

      1. Thanks for your reply. That’s occurred to me as well. In fact, I don’t think that the campus should be residential at this point, but I also don’t think that BU will consider shutting down the dorms until multiple serial outbreaks overwhelm the university community. Moving classes online will at least de-densify campus a bit as faculty won’t be coming and going, and doing so will also cut down on the numbers of people who might spread it through the city (on public transportation, etc.).

  6. Faculty member here. Having to wear a mask, wait in line to use a bathroom, display a green badge, etc. do not make one an example of suffering humanity nor do they deny anyone their constitutional rights. These are temporary measures to improve public safety. They will not solve the covid problem, but failing or refusing to follow them will certainly exacerbate it. Please be considerate of others and behave responsibly.

  7. We don’t know how long this virus will be with us nor do we know when a vaccine will be available for all. But we do know that humans are adaptable and BU is trying to adapt. All we can do is innovate our way through this pandemic as safely as possible. BU, faculty, staff and the students are trying to create a space where student can continue their education with their peers. And I am grateful. Our country as a whole needs robust testing and tracing to really get this virus under control. What BU (and the other Universities) is pioneering in the testing area could have practical application to our larger society. Cheap, regular and quick testing available everywhere would be a game changer. Maybe the schools in Boston wouldn’t have to close if they had their own twice a week testing.

  8. Most medical test volunteers, or paid medical test persons, do so by choice. BU is using students and staff under ‘do this or quit’ just to keep raking in money. The testing protocols include 1- get a test, 2- get a badge, continue with your duties, THEN several days later test results are acquired. What happens in those days of waiting for results? The person has a badge and has contact with many people at BU and in the community, in their home (elderly and children there too perhaps) If that person has a positive result, the damaging spread has already happened. Right? And then the self-certifying during those days of waiting for test results become false.
    BU cares about income. That is what businesses do. Just as some in government are income driven and not concerned about people suffering severe illness and long term damage to health. So open BU, open the country – people are irrelevant as long as businesses keep making money.
    Force people into being test subjects – its the rule for BU
    BU is responsible for the health and safety of all people on campus – the test protocols do not provide this.
    Test, quarantine until results are known, get a badge, go to classes etc for a day, and repeat the process. Quit utilizing BU as a giant human petri dish and protect the students and staff who are the source of your income.

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