Will Move-in 2020 Be Different from Years Past? Very.
Annual BU ritual is longer, socially distanced, masked, and includes COVID-19 testing
With fewer students arriving for fall semester this year, as some elect to study remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and social distancing, masks, and other protections all now necessary precautions on campus, Move-in 2020 will look nothing like previous Move-ins.
For one thing, it will be roughly twice as long.
The University has stretched the usually weeklong affair to more than two, August 15 to 31, and split each day into two appointment times, with students electing to move in either between 8 am and noon or 1 and 5 pm. The deadline for students to schedule their day and time via My Housing Portal is noon today, Friday, August 14
“The Move-in plan was designed to be a slow and steady process spread over 17 days, which in turn reduces density and the potential for overcrowding,” says Peter Smokowski, the University’s vice president for auxiliary services. “Students must be tested [for COVID-19] on the same day they arrive and check in at one of the collection sites” the University has created for COVID-19 tests.
The Move-in plan was designed to be a slow and steady process spread over 17 days, which in turn reduces density and the potential for overcrowding.
The five testing sites are the Kilachand Center for Life Sciences & Engineering, 610 Commonwealth Ave.; the 808 Gallery, 808 Commonwealth Ave.; the Agganis Arena Lobby, 925 Commonwealth Ave.; on the Medical Campus, at 72 East Concord St.; and, exclusively for people who report feeling COVID-19 symptoms, 925 Comm Ave Rear, in the back of Agganis Arena. The test method used, RT-PCR, involves self-administered nostril swabbing under observation by a health professional. Samples will be analyzed at the BU Clinical Testing Lab at the Kilachand Center, with the goal of returning results by the next day.
A number of other pandemic-era precautions are part of the 2020 iteration of the annual fall semester arrival of students:
- The University is asking families to bring face coverings, gloves, and sanitizing wipes for use during the process.
- Only one person may assist each student with unloading his or her belongings.
- BU is providing sanitized carts to help families move their items.
- Matriculation, the annual welcome for the freshman class, will be held virtually this year, on Sunday, August 30, at 2 pm.
Upon arriving on campus, students should check in at their dorm’s assigned Residence Life (RL) office to pick up their keys. Find a list of dorms and the location of their assigned RL offices here. Students also will be asked to fill out a residence hall registration card and provide emergency contact information.
“Students and family members will be greeted by volunteers and staff who are there to answer questions and remind visitors of our commitment to the health and safety of our community,” says Jason Campbell-Foster, senior associate dean of students. “This includes promoting physical distancing while waiting for elevators and ensuring guests and students are properly utilizing face coverings. Family members will not be tested prior to entry into the residence halls, and we are encouraging everyone to limit interactions with others prior to arrival on campus.”
He adds that the University encourages students, families, and staff to “gently remind our neighbors if we see them let their guard down” on things like distancing and masking.
Starting August 15 and lasting throughout Move-in, the Boston University Police Department will station officers to help with traffic flow at Babcock Street, Bay State Road, Warren Towers, Student Village II, 10 Buick Street, and Myles Standish Hall, says Robert Molloy, BUPD deputy chief.
“It looks like the afternoon [blocs] are busier than the mornings,” Molloy says, and weekends busier than weekdays. As of August 13, the University anticipated 7,531 students coming to campus, but “this number changes daily,” says Nishmin Kashyap, director of housing. Under BU’s Learn from Anywhere format, incoming freshmen and returning undergraduates may elect in-person or remote study.
One occasional logjam from Move-ins past won’t be an issue this year, Smokowski says: “The Red Sox will be playing a number of games at home, but there will be no fans attending the games,” per Major League Baseball’s COVID-19 precautions. “So it’s a nonissue related to Move-in traffic and logistics.”
The BU Shuttle (BUS) will provide 20-minute (peak) and 30-minute (off-peak) service to the 15 regular weekday stops between the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus during Move-in. Additionally, the Comm Ave Loop will be operating Monday through Friday from 8 am to 8 pm beginning on Monday, August 17. On Saturdays, the daytime BUS will travel between the Charles River Campus and the Medical Campus.
The BUS will operate with a reduced number of passengers on board at any one time, both seated and standing, and riders will enter only through the front door and exit only through the rear doors. Riders must wear face coverings at all times.
A new Terrier Transit app (iOS and Android) is now available so students can consider all their transportation options and routes in one mobile app—BUS, MBTA buses, trolleys, and trains, walking, bicycling, Bluebikes, and Zipcar.