COVID-19 Update to Parents from President Brown

March 17, 2020

Dear BU Parents and Family Members,

In recent weeks, the rapid spread of COVID-19 has forced us to make several very difficult and unprecedented decisions. I am writing now to let you know about our most recent efforts to ensure the health and well-being of our students while enabling them to complete their academic work this semester.

In my earlier letter, I announced that the University would hold classes by remote learning at least until April 13, with the goal of letting you know by April 1 if we would have to continue online or be able to return to in-person instruction. We know that online delivery is not a substitute for living and learning in our academic community, and we had held open the hope that we might be able to safely return to in-person instruction in the second half of April. The current trajectory of the spread of the novel coronavirus has rendered this hope incompatible with our highest priority: the well-being of our community. We have therefore decided that all classes and all examinations for the remainder of the spring semester will be held online.

We are also asking all undergraduate students currently on campus to leave Boston University residences and return home by Sunday, March 22, or sooner if possible. We understand that going home is not possible for everyone, and students with extenuating circumstances will be asked to submit formal requests for waivers so that we can evaluate their needs and provide suitable housing or some other accommodation. Additional information aimed at guaranteeing a smooth and orderly move-out will be provided to students. My letter to the BU community today also describes a program that will help parents and students recover some of this semester’s costs for room and board.

Our plans for Commencement are necessarily in flux. We will let you know as soon as we have made those decisions. For more information, please read this most recent letter to the BU community and visit our COVID-19 website.

For most of us, these last few days have been the most unsettling times of our lives, and the uncertainty of those days will no doubt be with us for months ahead. We are doing all that we can to guide our community through this pandemic and make it possible for students to continue their Boston University education. Our students’ health and safety has always been our first priority. I know we all look forward to the day we can walk our Charles River Campus again in health and safety as part of the famously vibrant Boston University community.


Robert A. Brown signature
Robert A. Brown