COVID-19 Protocols and Transitions
The following was sent to all members of the Boston University Community on Friday, April 29, 2022 from Dr. Judy Platt, MD, Chief Health Officer and Executive Director of Student Health Services.
Dear Members of our Boston University Community,
I write today to provide additional details regarding the continued evolution of our COVID-19 university-wide protocols. As previously communicated on March 24th , the mask mandate in all campus classrooms will end on May 13, 2022 and students will no longer be required to test weekly. On May 23, 2022, we will discontinue asymptomatic regular PCR community surveillance testing followed by the closure of all current collection site locations. Please read below for future details about the transitions which will occur after May 23, 2022, symptomatic testing, as well as mask mandates, isolation practices, and booster mandates.
On May 25, 2022, the Healthway organization consisting of the clinical and public health staff dedicated to COVID-19 case management and selective contact tracing will close. The Healthway line at 617-353-0550 and email@example.com will no longer exist after May 25, 2022. This important work will be integrated into the University’s health services offices. After May 25, 2022, students with any COVID-related concerns, including vaccination compliance, should contact Student Health Services. Faculty and staff with COVID-related medical concerns should contact the Occupational Health Center. The COVID employee support lines will transition to the Human Resources Service Center. Employees with non-medical COVID-19 concerns can reach out to a representative at the Human Resources Service Center line at 617-358-4990 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org on each weekday from 9am-5pm.
Symptomatic/Close Contact Exposure Testing for COVID-19
After asymptomatic community surveillance testing ends on May 23, 2022, Boston University’s COVID-19 PCR Testing Laboratory will continue to process COVID-19 specimens for individuals who are experiencing symptoms or who have had a close contact exposure. The locations and process for COVID-19 test kit pick-up and specimen drop-off will change on May 24, 2022 and be re-integrated into Student Health Services at 881 Commonwealth Avenue and the Occupational Health Center at 930 Commonwealth Avenue.
On May 24, 2022, all faculty, staff, and students who need testing due to symptoms or due to being exposed to someone with COVID-19 (close contact exposure) will be able to pick up COVID-19 self-test kits, activate the test kit through their respective portals, and drop off their specimens at the Occupational Health Center (faculty and staff) or Student Health Services (students) during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
Mask mandates are an important prevention tool that may be periodically enacted in terms of broader mandates depending on transmission dynamics, future variants, and City of Boston regulations. As noted in previous communications, the mask mandate in all campus classrooms will end on May 13, 2022. Mask mandates will remain in effect on the BU Shuttle and in healthcare settings until further notice. As always, we encourage the use of high-quality masks (such as N95s, KN95s, KF94s, and FFP2s) to reduce the risk of transmission in crowded settings or for individuals who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19. High-quality masks worn correctly will significantly reduce the risk of viral transmission even if others around you are not masked.
On-campus Isolation Housing
After May 23, 2022, students will no longer move to isolation housing and our on-campus isolation facility will close on June 1, 2022. All on-campus students, regardless of living situation, will be required to isolate in place at their assigned campus residence if they test positive for COVID-19. When possible, students are strongly encouraged to return to their permanent residence by private car to complete their isolation period. Since the Omicron surge, Boston University has been allowing on-campus students in apartment and suite-style housing to isolate in place with suitemates. To date, with proper mask use and precautions we are pleased that in over 95% of cases, our on-campus students have been able to isolate in place without transmission to other suitemates.
Vaccination and Booster Requirements
We will continue to require that all BU community members be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, which includes a primary vaccination series as well as a single booster dose, within the appropriate timeframe. We also continue to strongly recommend that all visitors to Boston University are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations. At this time, we do not have plans to require “second boosters” or “fourth doses,” but we encourage individuals who meet the criteria to consider an additional booster dose. We are planning to offer Moderna COVID-19 vaccinations as part of our fall immunization clinics.
We will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends, both locally and on our campus, and our requirements and guidance will be updated accordingly on the Occupational Health Center and Student Health Services websites. The public COVID-19 dashboard will be taken down after May 13, 2022, after all required testing ends, but we look forward to communicating about campus trends and other valuable information through BU Today.
Thank you all for continuing to do your part to keep our campus safe and thriving,
Judy Platt, MD
Chief Health Officer and Executive Director
Student Health Services