• 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

  • Jackie Ricciardi

    Staff photojournalist

    Portrait of Jackie Ricciardi

    Jackie Ricciardi is a staff photojournalist at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. She has worked as a staff photographer at newspapers that include the Augusta Chronicle in Augusta, Ga., and at Seacoast Media Group in Portsmouth, N.H., where she was twice named New Hampshire Press Photographer of the Year.   Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 7 comments on BU Leaders Address Employees’ COVID Concerns at Latest Town Hall

  1. I am having a hard time finding it reasonable to expect students who test positive for COVID-19 to rely on their peers for the two week quarantine. As a student with a full course load, I am growing increasingly concerned with the ability to stay on top of four classes without remote accommodations in the event that I test positive. Some professors refused to post class recordings during an LfA format; there is nothing that leads me to believe that they will be accommodating under these circumstances.

    I’m supposed to jeopardize about my educational experience and GPA because BU doesn’t want to take the time or money to cope with education in the pandemic? Society is not back to normal, it is unreasonable to act like education is too.

    1. Agreed. Covid is not a typical illness. Even if you are asymptomatic, testing positive requires isolation until you test negative, which could mean up to two weeks of missed classes. The school is going to have to offer something other than “ask your friends for their notes” or “find another professor to cover your class”. This concern is especially relevant to teaching fellows and instructors. If they get sick, who is going to teach the students who came here to learn? If they test positive more than once, how does that effect the course schedule, overall? I expect that with a variant as transmissible as Delta, a weekly testing regiment, and a campus that is basically functioning at capacity again, a lot of positive cases will emerge despite the addition of mandatory vaccination and mask mandates. This concern is in addition to the fact that there will be a good number of students who have had cabin fever the last year and may not be willing to forgo off campus social activities that serve as hot spots for disease transmission. After all, their chances of severe illness are significantly lowered by their age and vaccine status. The LFA averse approach doesn’t make a lot of sense if access to education is the priority. There definitely needs to be some level of online accessibility. I expect BU has a plan but simply isn’t being transparent about it yet.

  2. “’We encourage faculty and students to do as they’ve always done when a student is faced with illness.’ That is, the student should alert their professors, ask friends to share lecture notes, and keep up with the syllabus assignments.”

    I find this attitude very concerning and disappointing. Not only does it completely disregard all of the technology that we have (fairly successfully) been using over the past year and a half, but it also turns a blind eye to the fact that there is still a pandemic going on around us. And that we can do better!

    I understand, and appreciate, the safety measures that BU has put in place on campus in order to provide an in-person experience while mitigating the spread of Covid. Campus has felt pretty safe over the last year (it wasn’t packed with students like it will be this year, but still).

    However, knowing that we will be repopulating campus and knowing that vaccinated people are still getting covid (esp Delta) and knowing that we ABSOLUTELY WILL have students (and faculty) in isolation and quarantine — why in the world would we actively choose to disregard the technology we have available to us?! BU is striving to be a top research institution and yet we shy away from technology that can be beneficial for learning and for our students who are being asked to miss class for 2 weeks?!

    I’m not suggesting allowing faculty to teach entirely remotely again – but if they can’t come to campus, let them host a virtual class. I’m not suggesting that we allow for vast hybrid attendance in classes – but if students can’t attend, at least allow for the ability to attend class virtually so they stay caught up. At minimum allow the class to be recorded so the student can watch asynchronously!

    Relying on a classmate’s notes is NOT sufficient! The full lecture and class discussion, or questions that come up in class, are vital to the learning experience!

    …not to ramble on but…we should also consider how many students who have been identified as a close contact and asked to quarantine will honor that request — Knowing they will have to miss multiple classes with no way to watch the lecture; knowing that they do not feel sick, have been vaccinated, and will be wearing a mask?

  3. BU needs to provide a better option than “ask classmates” if/when a student has to go into covid-positive/contact isolation for 2 weeks. Missing 1/7 of all semester lectures across all classes is an unacceptable gap that will impact performance and add to an already high stress level (in addition to be covid positive/contact)

    Last year the university demonstrated how to successfully provided remote access and this year this option must be available to students who have been sent to isolation (likely due to no fault of their own)

    BU please step up and be the better university you can be.

  4. I will be taking courses and teaching this fall. If I am exposed or test positive and need to quarantine for 14 days, does this mean I have to cancel the class I teach and miss those I’m enrolled in for 14 days? If I’m exposed more than once during the semester, will I have to miss classes and cancel my own class for nearly a month? Does the university prefer that I come into the classroom despite exposure should exposure happen more than once?

    I am very concerned about the choices students and faculty may face if we are asked to choose between safety and academic success. Yes, we will be mostly vaccinated and masked, and I am grateful for these precautions – but breakthrough cases are still a threat and pose an especially large risk to those of us with unvaccinated children or other at-risk family members. I am very worried that I will have students or classmates who come to class KNOWING they’ve been exposed, putting me and my family at risk, simply because BU is not offering any real alternative.

  5. What on Earth is the rationale behind not allowing remote accommodations for student or instructor illness? Is the assumption that one or both groups would abuse the privilege? It’s foolish to act as if this academic year is one in which anyone could or should “do what we always did.”

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