BU COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ’s

The following was sent to incoming undergraduate students on Monday, June 21, 2021. The letter was formatted for and also sent out to returning undergraduate students, incoming graduate and returning graduate students. Please contact Danielle Staub, if you need a copy of a specific letter.  

Welcome New Friends and New Terriers,

The journey for you to arrive at this moment took strength. I know each of you has your own story about how you navigated through changes to what you thought would be regular traditions. Honor those stories and bring them with you. We are ready for you to arrive at BU, find your people, and share your stories. You will be joining a group of Terriers who spent the last year encouraging each other to wear masks, get tested, and keep gatherings small. They showed the true spirit of BU by showing how much they cared about their home here and each other.

Congratulations, you’ve made it this far, but we have another stretch to go. I need you to join this community spirit and camaraderie to help us reimagine the campus, starting with this fall. It’s now time to get vaccinated and upload your documents.

Get Vaccinated and Upload Your Documentation

It’s time to get vaccinated and upload your documents. As a reminder, all students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, before coming to campus in the fall, and upload information about their status by August 1, 2021. (Below you will see the frequently asked questions (FAQs) for vaccinations and uploading your information.) Only students who are compliant with the University’s vaccine requirements (or have received a medical or religious exemption or an extension) will have access to the BU Housing Portal to schedule their move-in; and may participate in activities prior to the start of classes (for example, FYSOP, Matriculation, Splash, team practices, and on-campus work). Additionally, if you have not uploaded your information into Patient Connect, you will be withdrawn from classes.

We understand that there may be extenuating circumstances that prevent you from being vaccinated before August 1. You may request to be vaccinated upon your arrival in Boston, by selecting an extension through Patient Connect. If your request is approved, you will receive an email and upon your return to campus, you will be required to schedule a vaccine appointment in the community or via Student Health Services.

Scheduling your Move-In Date and Early Arrivals

ALL first-year and transfer students must schedule their move-in date via the BU Housing Portal. Students without special circumstances who have not received approval for early arrival will reserve a specific time and date from August 25 through September 1 – up to 740 students can schedule their arrival in the morning, and up to 740 students can choose an afternoon slot. Students will be allowed up to two helpers for move-in. Students and helpers are required to wear masks during the move-in process. Only students who are compliant with vaccine requirements (or have received a medical or religious exemption or extension) will have access to the BU Housing Portal to schedule their move-in time and date.

International students requiring vaccinations or encountering special travel circumstances will route their early arrival requests HERE. BU Dining will also coordinate meals for early arrivals through grab-and-go catering options and Marciano Commons until all dining halls officially open (West Campus on August 23, Warren Towers on August 25, and Granby on September 2).

We all put forward a lot of work to get this far. Thank you for vaxing and uploading. Now, let’s dream of our future on campus. Let’s not simply look to a new normal but, rather, a better BU. Let’s reimagine our world and dream of the possibilities that lay ahead of us. Bring the spirit of BU alive and we will all see the possibilities of not just finding our place but how we belong at BU. 

Excited to see you along Commonwealth Ave – fully vaccinated. 

Fondly,

Kenneth Elmore
Associate Provost and Dean of Students  

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

VACCINATION AND UPLOADING

  1. Do I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine for BU this fall? 

Yes, Boston University will require all students living, studying, or working on our Charles River, Fenway, and Medical campuses in the fall to be vaccinated against COVID-19. 

  1. How do I get vaccinated? 

You can get vaccinated anywhere in the United States as well as internationally.

In Massachusetts: https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ 

In the U.S.: https://www.vaccines.gov/search/ 

Abroad: check out local hospitals, medical facilities, pharmacies and health departments in your area.

  1. Will BU have vaccinations on campus? 

BU will be conducting on-campus vaccine clinics as doses become available.  We plan to reopen on-campus vaccine clinics in mid-August for all students, faculty, and staff who have been unable to get vaccinated before August 1. If you are unable to receive a vaccine due to extenuating circumstances, you may request to be vaccinated on campus, in August, by requesting an extension through Patient Connect. If your request is approved, upon your return to campus, you will be required to schedule a vaccine appointment by September 1.

Information can be found on the Back2BU page, found here: https://www.bu.edu/back2bu/campus-life-undergraduates/student-health-safety/covid-19-vaccination-information/ 

  1. Can I get my first vaccination dose at home, and my second at BU or in Massachusetts?

Yes, in most cases you can get one dose of the vaccine in your home state, if in the US, and get the second one of that same series here in Massachusetts or at BU.  

  1. What is the deadline for getting my vaccination if I want to live on campus this fall? 

Sunday, August 1, 2021, is the deadline for all students to upload their vaccine documentation in Patient Connect. If you do not upload by this date, you will lose access to campus housing and facilities. If you have one dose and have uploaded your vaccine card, we will be aware that you’ve begun the process and you will not face repercussions. However, we will ask you to follow the procedure listed in question 8 of these FAQs to get your second dose as soon as you are eligible. 

  1. Can I get both my vaccine doses when I arrive at BU in August? 

We encourage everyone to get, at least, their first dose before they arrive on campus for the fall semester. This will facilitate on-campus housing move-in and other in-person activities. However, you may request to be vaccinated on campus, in August, by submitting an extension via Patient Connect (see FAQ #9). If your request is approved, you will receive an email, from Patient Connect, with information on how to schedule a vaccine upon your arrival. This must be completed by September 1, 2021.

  1. What if I’m an international student? 

BU plans to accept all vaccines being offered outside the United States, including those without US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorization or approval or WHO authorization or approval.  However, CDC guidance regarding quarantine only covers individuals who have received an FDA-authorized or approved vaccine.  Quarantining after travel or after close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will be required if you are vaccinated with non-WHO approved vaccines.  

Full guidance for international students can be found here: https://www.bu.edu/provost/2021/04/28/fall-2021-vaccination-information-for-international-students/ 

International students may also request to be vaccinated on campus, in August, by requesting an extension through Patient Connect. If your request is approved, upon your return to campus, you will be required to schedule a vaccine appointment.

8. How do I upload my vaccine information?  

  • Log into Patient Connect
  • Select the “Messages” menu option, then select “New Message.” 
  • Select the “COVID-19 Message” option, then the “COVID-19 Vaccine Documentation Upload” reason, and continue. 
  • Upload an image of your COVID-19 vaccine documentation, ensuring that the administered date(s) are clearly visible.
    1. enter each appointment date
    2. check off the vaccine manufacturer,
    3. check both acknowledgements, then, 
    4. select “Send” 

More information on how to use Patient Connect can be found here: https://www.bu.edu/tech/support/using-student-patient-connect/#vaccine 

  1. How do I request an extension due to extenuating circumstances?
  1. Log into Patient Connect.
  2. Select the “Messages” menu option, then select “New Message.”
  3. Select the “COVID-19 Message” option, then the “I request an extension to be able to receive my COVID vaccine once I arrive in Boston” as the reason, and continue.
  4. Complete the attestation on the next page, indicating that you attest that you are not able to receive the COVID vaccine prior to returning to Boston and agree that upon arrival in Boston you will promptly schedule a vaccine appointment at a BU vaccine clinic or in the community by September 1.

Once approved, you will receive an email, from Patient Connect, with information on how to schedule a vaccine upon your arrival. 

  1. When should I upload my vaccine information? 

As soon as possible. Even if you only have one dose, we are asking that you upload your vaccine information.  

  1. Will I be limited in what I can do if I only have one dose when I arrive on-campus? What if I haven’t received my second dose by the time school starts? 

If you have one dose and have uploaded your vaccine information, Student Health Services will be aware that you’ve begun the process and you will not face repercussions.  However, we will ask you to follow procedures to get your second vaccine dose as soon as you are eligible. 

  1. If I’m fully vaccinated, will I need to wear a mask or face covering during the fall semester? 

As of June 1, 2021, BU has lifted mask and face covering requirements outdoors for those who are fully vaccinated. However, BU still requires everyone to wear a mask indoors – for example, within classrooms, inside labs, during indoor meetings and at indoor events.  

  1. What will the social or physical distancing requirements be during the fall semester? 

During the fall semester, all social and physical distancing requirements will go away.  

  1. If we’ve all been vaccinated, why do we still need to test? 

While we are encouraged by the efficacy of the vaccines, we know that they will never protect our entire community 100%. Some individuals may not be able to be vaccinated for various reasons or there may be mutations of the virus that the vaccines are less effective against.  By continuing to test, we can monitor the virus in our community and trace or isolate individuals most at risk.  

Everyone – students, faculty, and staff –will be required to test once a week. 

  1. What happens if I decide to not get the vaccine? 

As with most vaccination requirements, exemptions are possible for medical or religious reasons only. You can request an exemption by sending a message in Healthway Patient Connect. Select “COVID-19 (Coronavirus)” then “Request for COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption” from the message options.

  1. Who can I speak with to ask more questions? 
  • For compliance-related questions from students, contact the Dean of Students Office at dos@bu.edu or (617) 353-4126 
  • Students with non-medical questions should contact healthwayhelp@bu.edu or call Healthway at (617) 353-0550 and press 4, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., 7 days a week. To speak to a Healthway nurse, call (617) 353-0550 and press 2. 
  • Students, faculty, or staff with medical questions related to the vaccine and post-vaccination side effects should call Healthway at (617) 353-0550 and press 2 to speak with a triage nurse, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., 7 days a week
  • International students with visa or travel questions can contact ISSO at isso@bu.edu

MOVE-IN AND HOUSING

  1. Will housing density return to normal in fall 2021?

Yes, housing density will return to normal capacity with the use of doubles, triples, and quads.

  1. What is the testing protocol for vaccinated and unvaccinated students on arrival?

All students will be required to test on move-in day and weekly thereafter.

  1. What Charles River Campus COVID collection sites will be open in August and September?

Agganis Arena (until September 24), and 808 Commonwealth Avenue.

  1. Will domestic and international students be required to “stay in place” until they receive a negative test?

Yes, all students will be asked to limit their interactions with others until they receive a negative COVID test, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated.

  1. Will unvaccinated students with approved exemptions from Healthway share living and sleeping spaces with students who are vaccinated?

Yes. We will still require students to test once each week. By continuing to test, we can monitor the virus in our community and trace or isolate individuals most at risk.  

  1. Will a green badge be required to enter student residences, dining halls, and FitRec?

Yes, a green badge will be required for entry through the fall 2021 semester.

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