Update on Omicron and COVID-19 Protocols

The following was sent to all members of the Boston University Community on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022 from Dr. Judy Platt, Chief Health Officer and Executive Director of Student Health Services. Please note the content on these pages and files is no longer being updated and may be out of date.

Dear Members of our Boston University Community,

We incorporated a number of changes to our protocols that were communicated on January 10, prior to the start of the spring semester. I write today to share that our COVID-19 protocols have helped us navigate the Omicron surge. The peak of that surge, which occurred in early January in Massachusetts, is now well past us. A combination of state and city metrics including MWRA wastewater tracking coupled with our own Boston University data, all indicate significant improvements and downward trends from just a few weeks prior. Most importantly, with high vaccination and booster rates, we have seen less severe illness in our BU community members who have tested positive for COVID-19.

In recognition of these favorable trends, we are announcing some important changes to our COVID-19 protocols beginning on February 21, 2022.

Undergraduate Testing Frequency

We will decrease the required testing frequency for our undergraduate students to once weekly (every 7 days) from the current twice weekly cadence, and testing will remain unobserved. Faculty, staff, and graduate students will continue to test once a week.

Events and Catering

We suspended on-campus catered food and beverage service during the Omicron surge and will resume these services on February 21, 2022. We encourage community members to consult the Dining, Catering and Events site on Back2BU for event planning.

Visitors to Residence and Dining Halls

We are reinstating our original Guest Policy to allow students to bring visitors into our student residence and dining halls. All visitors and guests are required to abide by our visitor policy, which strongly encourages vaccination as well as adherence to Boston University masking policies. A green badge will no longer be required to enter student residence and dining halls as of February 21.

Face Mask Policy

Masks continue to be required indoors in classrooms, offices, public common areas, the BU Shuttle, and healthcare facilities. We will resume our limited mask exemptions to again allow individuals who are teaching or presenting in a classroom to do so without wearing a mask. We encourage everyone to continue to use high-quality filtering masks such as N95s, KN95s, KF94s, and FFP2s to reduce viral transmission. A high-quality mask worn correctly and consistently will significantly reduce the risk of viral transmission even if others around you are not masked. If you need a KN95 mask, you may obtain one at the Dean of Students reception desk on the second floor of the George Sherman Union (775 Commonwealth Avenue).

Public Health Protocols

There is ongoing discussion at the national, state, and local levels about how the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to evolve and when we will reach an endemic stage. Here at Boston University, our success in adapting to the many challenges of the pandemic have only been possible because of the collective efforts of every one of us to keep our campus and ourselves safe. As the semester progresses, we will be evolving our public health protocols to acknowledge the incredible progress that has been made against this virus as we transition to the next phase of COVID-19.

Please see our Back2BU website for more information about all aspects of our COVID-19 protocols.

Many thanks for your continued support as we begin this transition together,

Judy Platt, MD

Chief Health Officer and Executive Director


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