• Doug Most

    Associate Vice President, Executive Editor, Editorial Department Twitter Profile

    Doug Most is a lifelong journalist and author whose career has spanned newspapers and magazines up and down the East Coast, with stops in Washington, D.C., South Carolina, New Jersey, and Boston. He was named Journalist of the Year while at The Record in Bergen County, N.J., for his coverage of a tragic story about two teens charged with killing their newborn. After a stint at Boston Magazine, he worked for more than a decade at the Boston Globe in various roles, including magazine editor and deputy managing editor/special projects. His 2014 nonfiction book, The Race Underground, tells the story of the birth of subways in America and was made into a PBS/American Experience documentary. He has a BA in political communication from George Washington University. Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 96 comments on Updated: BU Moves All Classes Online Due to Coronavirus—Questions and Answers

  1. Why not make the rest of this semester courses online so that many international students can go back to their countries? Otherwise, if the situation gets worse next month, it will be very hard to buy airline tickets and perhaps international students cannot even go home for summer break. I don’t think this ambiguous plan is a wise decision.

    1. But what if things get better? Then they will be on the opposite side of the planet with classes again happening in person. Neither situation is perfect.

      1. Then only two week left and I don’t think the risk we are taking is necessary. Many airlines from Boston to China are cancelled right now, we have no fallback.

    2. NYU has posted that International students may have issues with their visas/ OPT/ CPT – IF they leave the USA.
      Is that true ?
      Will BU reimburse them / adjust the fees for the time they’ll be away ? For Dorm & Dining ?

  2. What about our book? I’m sure most students like me left their academic books and materials in their dorms. Are we expected to buy a whole new set because that’s a lot of money for most students.

  3. Is there any information about scheduled dissertation defenses? Do those qualify as research activities that can go on, on campus, with fewer than 10 people present?

    1. We are directing people to the BU Frequently Asked Questions page, which is being updated with new information regularly about travel, the impact on students, faculty and staff, and more. https://www.bu.edu/covid-19-information/questions-answers/
      If you cannot find an answer to your question there, you can click here to read other questions and submit your own: https://www.bu.edu/covid-19-information/info/#respond

      1. Most other colleges are providing prorate reimbursement.


        When you “Strongly Advise students to go home” and aren’t providing paid services to to the majority of students on campus like housing or meals, it doesn’t fell like the way to treat your BU family members. Imagine if an airline said, “We strongly advise you to not fly on our airline, but we aren’t offering you any type of refund on your purchase because you could technically fly if you really had no other choice”. Would you book another flight with them in the future?

  4. I’m an nternational student from Australia – I will be returning home after spring break. Are students expected to sit in classes/ exams online in real time? This is a concern for me with such a huge time-difference and I know this would affect other international students or even some students interstates on the West cost/ in Hawaii!

  5. Dear Doug,

    Good afternoon!I am the student from performing art enterprise. And we are taking the course Intern II,all of my classmates are interning now one of my calssmate is even taking intern in NYC. I wonder if we can stop intern and start quarantining right away?

    Thank you very much!

  6. This really shows Boston University handling a situation with thoughtful consideration for all. I think this is a reasonable and safe option, with flexibility for the many different situations their students and employees are in.

    1. I think this is example of BU giving into the fear mongering propped up by the news media. This is not a dangerous virus, it does not pose a great threat to anyone of reasonable health. We don’t shut down the school for the influenza virus each year, even though it’s number of fatalities is order of magnitude higher!

      1. Yes, the virus does not pose a great threat to anyone of reasonable health. The number of fatalities, I agree, is not high. However, the virus does seem to spread pretty quickly, with cases doubling by the day. For the record, MOST of these infected individuals will be okay with mortality rates of like 0.1%, don’t know the actual number, for young and healthier populations. However, for older at risk populations, the virus has a mortality rate of like 10-20%. I believe that it’s always better safe than sorry. If people meet less, the spreading of the virus will slow, meaning less of a chance of at risk populations contracting the virus. Like sure if I, a young student, got coronavirus from you, I would be alright (perhaps even exhibit no symptoms!) statistically speaking, but I may come in contract with my grandfather. Hope you see what I’m trying to say. Most people will be fine, but we must look out for at risk populations.

  7. How classes in CFA for dance/music/theater be moved online? It’s one thing to to readings, discussion and papers online but how do students in the performing arts even begin to learn and improve their craft in an online remote setting?

  8. What if outbreak does not contain by April 13th? How do they get their personal stuff? What about room and board and food costs we paid for? And my son is enrolled in the lab and how would he do the lab? What about books?

    1. The virus will undoubtedly not be contained by then. In fact you can expect the number of cases to rise into the millions over the next couple months. The truth is this virus is not deadly, comparable to the influenza virus…if not less deadly. If you are of reasonable health, this virus should not pose a serious threat!

      1. Cedric Woman —
        “The truth is this virus is not deadly, comparable to the influenza virus…if not less deadly.” —-Please consult reliable information, and stop repeating false information. If you heard President Trump last night, find and listen to the presentation by Joe Biden that was just completed. Seek out statements by Dr. Fauci (sp?) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Compared to flu, a *much larger fraction* of people who show minor symptoms are KNOWN to progress to life-threatening illnesses that require hospitalization. Those then lead to death also in higher proportions. And flu kills tens of thousands of Americans each year, even though vaccines exist targeted at minimizing the incidence and severity are known and available.

        “If you are of reasonable health, this virus should not pose a serious threat!”
        1) No one can guarantee this, there are many counter examples. 2) Even without symptoms you can silently convey the virus to people who are in less favorable health. Perhaps you are young and dislike your parents or grandparents. Ignorance and incompetence can kill. Go back and read Stu Dent’s comment.

      2. You are most uninformed-where are you getting your information? This virus IS more deadly than the flu- the death rate is almost 10 times higher. For people with underlying conditions, it can be dealt, but even for those under the age of 5, though less likely to contract the virus, many die due to their immature immune systems. Likewise, the news statistics reveal that many of the ‘young and health’ continue to be low risk, but at risk none-the-less as the number critical or dead has increased as we learn new data. Check the WHO website, Johns Hopkins, or lastly, the CDC for valid, scientific information.

  9. What about clearing out his dorm room?
    He’s not coming back to campus. Is his room being left as it is? Can we arrange to get his stuff packed up and sent home?
    Dorms are notoriously squalid.

    1. Sorry if this is totally inappropriate, but is Alan Meyerson the mixer? loved your Pensado’s Place episodes, helped me get perspective on some film music I was working on, cheers!

  10. If BU decides after April that it will continue remote learning for the rest of the spring semester, will students be reimbursed their room and board fees, at least partially?

    1. This article indicates that many universities are providing a pro-rated refund.


      but it appears from the info in this article that BU is not currently willing to “take their fair share of the financial burden” of this global hardship even though they are strongly recommending students return home and not providing the services or educational experience that students expected.

      1. Kudos to the administration for now going online for the semester, closing down the dorms and providing pro-rated Room & board for the semester. They old saying “Better a little late than never.” applies here. Thank you for restoring my faith in the BU administration leadership.

  11. These are difficult times worldwide and the management of a student population requires special attention; The decisions made by the University in this specific situation are excellent and require our full support.

  12. Should we move our stuff into storage now Incase rest of semester is online?? We live in California and that would mean returning later to pack up? If graduation is on , Wednesday back for then, but if not we’d fly back to pack up??
    My daughter is on campus now, didn’t go home for spring break but thinking now to head to CA. Should she pack up ?

  13. Any reimbursement for the meals? students have paid meal plan $5480 for the semester, about 15 weeks that is $365/week. They have to buy food if not live on campus.

  14. As far as I know, there are a lot of American students who still want to come back to campus even if they are at home at the time just because they don’t want to be alone and want to chill with their friends on campus. They haven’t realized the severity of this virus and I wish the university can carry out some strict policies to require them not to come back to campus. Otherwise, the remote class action will be useless because many students are still gathering and spreading the virus across the BU campus.

    1. hi, bro. It’s dangerous. If you do not want to get CODIV-19.You should stay at home. You are not a child, you should always consider pros and cons.

    1. Some professors, like myself, plan to record the lectures and post them on Blackboard. It may take overnight for them to be processed and appear in the students’ learn.bu.edu site, but ask your own professors about their technique, typically using Zoom meeting or the like. Good luck!

  15. Thank you for keep campus housing available to students. I don’t envy the situation universities and colleges are in right now. Please continue to provide information during this difficult time. You’re doing a great job.

  16. Hello, I am student at BU who is living there during online sessions and was wondering if we could deliver and pick up any packages to West campus.

  17. Plz move all classes online until the end of semester… I’m getting more worried I wouldn’t be able to go back to my country as time goes by. We can keep dorms open even when all courses until the end are made online. That’s the only way for all international students to have real options. Right now, most of international students are just staying at dorm and can’t make any decision. We are still waiting, concerned, and away from our parents. Plz consider to move all classes online for the rest of semester.

  18. Please close down the entire university before It is necessary to call the National Guard to make it a containment area. Use the wonderful alumni to raise money strictly to reimburse those students who need financial help to get their dorm and dining fees returned. Ask the families of students who can return to their homes to take in a student who can’t go home. Use human kindness to make difference.

  19. I am really surprised that in these unique and difficult times that Boston University is “Strongly advise students to attend online classes FROM HOME” which means that….

    * Parents will have to pay to get their children home through some means of transportation.
    * Students will likely spend a large portion of this semester not living in the housing BU is providing.
    * Students will likely spend a large portion of this semester not able to consume the food on their meal plans.
    * It reduces the risk of both liability, responsibility and negative perception to the university that would occur if students living on campus contracted COVID-19 and had serious or fatal issues.

    Yet Boston University will not be providing any room and board relief. One can only assume that BU will also not offer compensation for a degraded learning experience (i.e. no onsite labs, not in person, no Phys ed classes, etc.) as well as degraded college experience (No Clubs, Activities, Fitness Center, etc.)

    I really thought BU would “take their fair share of the financial burden” of this global hardship and not lay it all on the parents and students.

    1. Thank you for listening and going online for the semester, closing down the dorms and providing pro-rated Room & board for the semester.

  20. You HAVE to compensate students to some degree for this. It’s ridiculous not to- no one paid for any of this, and BU undoubtedly has enough money to provide at least some compensation. Please do it.

  21. I depend on work-study to get me through the semesters to help pay for bills back home and save for the following semesters bill. What am I supposed to do now that my work-study job is no longer available to me for this entire month?

    1. Hi Marie,
      BU is trying to determine whether continuing to pay students with work-study jobs if they are unable to work is an options. In the meantime, please contact my office if you need immediate assistance at 617-353-2965 or finaid@bu.edu.

      – Julie Wickstrom, Executive Director
      BU Financial Assistance

  22. Hi Doug,

    Provost Morrison’s March 7 letter said “If you are arriving in the United States from the countries identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Level 2 and Level 3 countries (to date, these are Japan, China, South Korea, Italy and Iran), the University requires that you: 1) do not return to campus, and 2) self-quarantine for 14 days from your date of return to the United States, even if you do not feel ill.” At least as of that letter, students and others who return to campus from locations with low rates of COVID-19 are NOT being asked to self-quarantine before returning to campus, as it appears from this article. Nonetheless, now we are ALL expected to practice social distancing measures to slow the spread of the virus.

    Please correct/clarify this in the article. Thank you.

  23. BU administrators and trustees have an opportunity to do the right thing and quickly alleviate the emotional stress those they serve are feeling right now by assuring the students and parents they serve will receive a prorated refund or credit for room and board. The decision to not close and clear out housing for the remainder of the semester looks like a strategic move to avoid refunds and shows no responsibility or compassion other schools are showing. The CDC has announced a minimum of 2 months to clear out public schools for any effectiveness and safety so everyone knows there is no chance BU students will return this semester to live and eat on campus. BU’s current announcement leaves everyone in limbo adding more stress and angst that Robert Brown and Jean Morrison could eliminate so the community could focus on all aspects of safety and planning and most importantly students could focus on the challenging changes they are facing to complete the semester. Forcing the wrong and irresponsible decision will have long-term negative implications with potential students and parents as well as donors, which will far outweigh a short-term financial move by BU. If there is not a helpful decision soon, students and parents should protect themselves by reaching out to not just their lawyers, but contacting the media and legislatures to voice injustices they feel for this tax exempt University. None of this policy would stop BU from helping limited stranded students in unique situations, its just an important decision that will instill confidence and belief of integrity with the Boston University’s administration.

    1. Most universities have closed for the whole semester and have been very reassuring & empathetic during the process with the students and their families. We all are emotionally stressed.
      Why isn’t BU shifting to online classes for the rest of the semester? International students have NO choice but to stay on, waiting for a decision which is inevitable. They do not want to leave in the event that it might impact their courses/degrees incase the college decides to resume!
      There are new travel advisories and shutdowns being announced by the hour. Airlines are reducing flights by 90%. We do not want our kids to get stranded at BU for the rest of the semester and likely summer!
      PLEASE could BU consider going online for the rest of the semester ASAP, so that our kids can come home safely now while it is even possible.
      A very worried BU international student parent

    2. Kudos to the administration for now going online for the semester, closing down the dorms and providing pro-rated Room & board for the semester. They old saying “Better a little late than never.” applies here. Thank you for restoring my faith in the BU administration leadership.

  24. Is there any protocol we should follow if professors have not reached out to students about online classes? I have two professors who I haven’t heard from and I have both of their classes tomorrow.

  25. As school are now suggesting students to go back to permanent residence as much as possible, I strongly suggest that school should let teachers to upload class video to allow students who are in a different time zone can study by themselves. Please do this as soon as possible. It’s completely unfeasible to ask students to have a zoom meeting in the midnight.

  26. With the new CDC guidelines requesting that there are no gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks, can we expect an earlier announcement from the university as to the status of classes post-April 13th and commencement? It seems under those guidelines impossible for the campus to resume normal operations this semester or have the standard commencement ceremonies as in years past.

    1. Dear Kelly,

      Undergraduate admission decisions are still scheduled to be announced on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Please use your MyBU portal account to access information about your application for admission.


      Kelly A. Walter
      Associate Vice President for Enrollment &
      Dean of Admissions

  27. I think BU has handled this really well, the situation is fluid and it makes sense to wait to see what happens. We have one of the best infectious disease centers in the nation so I trust their decisions.

  28. Like many students on campus, I depend on my work-study funds to get by. What am I supposed to do now that I am no longer able to be paid by work-study? I’m rationing my paychecks more than usual. What plan does BU have in place for student employees?

  29. Hi BU Student,
    BU is trying to determine whether continuing to pay students with work-study jobs if they are unable to work is an options. In the meantime, please contact my office if you need immediate assistance at 617-353-2965 or finaid@bu.edu.

    – Julie Wickstrom, Executive Director
    BU Financial Assistance

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