Letter to Boston University Parents on Coronavirus

March 14, 2020

Dear BU Parent,

With spring break coming to a close and with the second half of the spring semester about to begin, we are writing to inform you of Boston University’s most recent efforts to ensure the health and well-being of our students, which is our highest priority. We are also working to give them the tools they need to successfully complete their academic work during the COVID-19 outbreak.

As we announced last Wednesday, we are strongly encouraging students who are off campus during spring break not to return to campus at this time; we are also encouraging those who remained on campus to return to their off-campus homes. On Monday, March 16, we will implement a remote-learning and teaching program to enable students to continue their work with professors online; that program will continue until at least Monday, April 13. This course of action accords with the best advice from public health authorities, who emphasize the need to practice “social distancing” measures and to avoid gatherings of large numbers of people that offer the virus an opportunity to spread.

We are aware that there are many students who cannot go home for any number of reasons or worry that once they go home, they may not be able to return to campus when we resume in-person classes. For this reason, we feel it is important to keep campus residences, dining halls, and certain study facilities open for them and any other students who choose to come back. For those who remain on campus after spring break, we have implemented new health and safety protocols, including frequent deep cleanings of public spaces and prohibitions on gatherings that include more than a few students. Student Health Services will remain open, as will other offices that support students.

Because the parameters of this health crisis change daily, or even hourly, our current plan must remain flexible. Our plan to return to in-person teaching on April 13 may well be amended, and remote teaching may be extended for a longer period of time, possibly through the end of the semester. We will send an update about any such changes to all parents on or before the week of April 1.

Like you, we are uncertain how COVID-19 will play itself out and how it will affect the University and our community in the upcoming months. We realize that you have questions about the rest of the semester. We can assure you that as we make decisions, we will share them with our students and you.

To help you easily find your way to the most recent and accurate BU news and information, we have made two online resources available to the entire community, including parents. The first is BU’s COVID-19 website, which contains a basic and continually updated list of FAQs about our efforts along with announcements and advisories relating to the virus. You can find that information at bu.edu/covid-19-information/; we have a Mandarin version of this website for the parents of our Chinese students at bu.edu/covid-19-info-chn/. BU Today, our online source of daily news and communications, will also be publishing daily COVID-19 updates, and you can follow those at bu.edu/today/.

All of us at Boston University want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we make our way through a difficult and unique time. Our immediate goal is twofold: keep your children safe and healthy and do whatever we can to make sure they can continue their education and complete their semester’s work. We believe the program we have put in place accomplishes both of those important objectives. If circumstances change, so will we. In the meantime, we ask for your help and partnership in supporting our students. They will need it, and we greatly appreciate it.


Robert A. Brown signature

Robert A. Brown

Jean Morrison signature

Jean Morrison
University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

cc: Kenneth Elmore, Associate Provost and Dean of Students