Updated Massachusetts Public Health and COVID-19 Safety Protocols

The following was sent to all students on November 6, 2020. 


We’ve got to do better.

I am drawing your attention to the increasing number of Boston University students testing positive for COVID-19. The University’s public health and math modelers – who have been on point, thus far – have made it clear that our informal gatherings, get-togethers, and socializing – even the small ones – with friends and loved ones are contributing to the spread of the virus and are dangerous. We know that we are not wearing our masks and not staying sufficiently physically apart when getting together. The prevalence of the virus within Massachusetts is increasing and we will not get a pass just because we’re off-campus and just because we think we’re under the designated numbers of people in a gathering. It’s simple. We cannot do whatever we want. We cannot come together in groups – large or small – without masks and the ability to distance our bodies from each other.

We have to do better.

As I discussed earlier this week, Massachusetts has seen a significant increase in people under the age of 30 testing positive for COVID-19. Accordingly, Massachusetts Governor Baker has announced several public health and COVID-19 safety protocols that I want to draw your attention to, and provide clarity as it relates to us, here, at Boston University.

Stay At Home Advisory: The Governor announced that the Department of Public Health has issued a revised Stay at Home Advisory that urges residents to stay home between 10PM and 5AM. The Advisory specifically allows residents to “leave home to go to school or work.” Boston University strongly encourages students to use their best efforts to comply with the DPH Advisory. Please stay home between 10PM and 5AM except to go to work or school, to return home from work or school, or to get essential needs like emergency medical care or go to the grocery store, pharmacy, pick up take-out food or go outside to get fresh air (practicing social distancing and other precautions). Going to or from work or school may include classrooms, libraries, labs and other locations on campus that are open.

Gathering Limits: The revised order regulating gatherings requires colleges to follow the state’s latest events guidance. As announced earlier this week, the University has imposed stricter restrictions. Below are the governor’s new gathering limits summarized.

  • Private Residences:
    • limit of 10 for indoor gatherings
    • limit of 25 for outdoor gatherings
  • Event Venues and Public Settings:
    • limit of 25 for indoor gatherings
    • limit of 50 for outdoor gatherings

These limits do not apply to classroom instruction and other gatherings associated with coursework.

The wearing of masks is now mandatory in public.

The Fitness and Recreation Center (FitRec): The new COVID-19 orders from Massachusetts regarding hours of operation will not impact informal recreation reservations at FitRec (as we are currently opening at 7 am and closing at 6:30 pm). However, the early closure has required us to reschedule and/or cancel Club Sport practices to operate within the new guidelines. In regard to other new orders on wearing proper face coverings at all times and gathering sizes, BU FitRec is also currently operating within these guidelines.

BU Dining:  The new COVID-19 orders require no change in the hours of operation in the residential dining halls or retail locations on campus. All campus retail locations either close before 9:30 pm or offer take-out service only through the Campus GrubHub App. Effective immediately, the Late Nite Cafés at the West Campus and Warren Towers dining halls have moved to take-out service only.

I’ve heard someone say that cures for the pandemic in this country are unity and agreed actions with a common interest. What we do outside of our classes, labs, and public spaces in our homes and with our friends and loved ones matter. If we want to continue to share in this in-person, Boston experience, we must do better, and we can do better. So, for this common interest and mutual support, care enough about someone else to adopt these public health practices – to curtail your gathering and adjust your personal habits – to ensure your health, my health, and the health of those around us.

We can and must do this,


Kenneth Elmore

Associate Provost and Dean of Students

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