New Policy on University-Sponsored Campus Meetings, Events, and Gatherings for the Fall 2020 Semester

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer
and Gary Nicksa, Senior Vice President for Operations

In light of the most recent public health guidelines, meetings, events, and gatherings this fall will be different than they have in the past. We are working hard to enable members of the BU community to come together in new ways and to continue to make life on campus rewarding, vibrant, and inspiring. We encourage you to continue to sponsor the kinds of special events that will make that possible.

We anticipate that most events this fall will be virtual. Any that are in-person will need to follow strict capacity limits, with pre-set furniture layouts that attendees will not be allowed to change in order to ensure safe physical distancing. We write today to outline the University’s policy for hosting meetings, events, and gatherings other than classes on campus during the fall 2020 semester. This policy replaces all previous guidelines about meetings or events and is effective beginning today, August 7, 2020.

Conditions for Hosting Meetings, Events, and Gatherings

In-person, on-campus meetings, events, or gatherings other than academic in-person classes are required to abide by the following conditions:

  • The use of the term “attendees” shall be defined as members of the Boston University community and specifically excludes the general public, campus visitors or guests.
  • The event or gathering is permitted under the existing state or city regulation in effect at the time of the event. All state and city regulations in effect at the time of the event will need to be strictly followed. Events & Conferences will provide guidance to University departments regarding these city and state regulations; Student Activities will provide guidance to all registered student organizations and associations.
  • In accordance with the Policy Regarding Campus Visitors During the COVID-19 Pandemic, in-person, on-campus events may not be open to the general public. Visitor participation must be approved by the Dean of Students or by deans of the individual schools and colleges.
  • A member of the sponsoring organization or department must be present at all events (held inside or outdoors) to strictly monitor the number of attendees and ensure that each attendee is maintaining a physical distance of no less than six (6) feet from other attendees and using a face covering or mask.
  • Completion of event checklists (including site diagrams) will be required before space is confirmed for all on-campus events. All meetings, events, and gatherings in locations used as classrooms must use the setup of the room as is. Classroom furniture should not be moved within the room to create a different room setup, nor can it be moved out of the room (regardless of whether there is more furniture than needed).
  • All outdoor events and gatherings will require the designated event area to be cordoned off with separate means of ingress and egress clearly identified. Additionally, for indoor and outdoor events and gatherings:
    • When possible, registration or ticketing should be used, and attendee names verified upon entrance.
    • All event attendees will be required to display a current, green status BU COVID compliance badge on a mobile device.
    • More than the maximum number of attendees will be permitted to attend a multi-hour event provided they have registered for specific time slots, do not arrive more than five minutes prior to their start time, and attendees already at the event are cleared before the new cohort enters.

In-Person Attendees

Rules for in-person programs and activities have been developed with guidance from state and local health and government authorities, and the University’s Medical Advisory Group. We will continue to make updates as these guidelines change.

No more than 25 members of the Boston University community may attend an in-person, indoor meeting, event, or gathering on campus. All event attendees will be required to display a current, green status BU COVID compliance badge on a mobile device.

In accordance with Massachusetts and Boston public health policies, outdoor spaces may be able to safely accommodate more in-person attendees and will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Departments should coordinate their sponsored outdoor meetings, events, and gatherings with the staff at Events & Conferences. Student organizations and associations should coordinate with the Student Activities Office. All outdoor events currently require a City of Boston permit application and approval before proceeding. Please note that the city’s permit review and application process requires at least 30 days advance notice. We recommend planning meetings and other activities well in advance to allow members of the community to participate simultaneously, in-person and remote.

In-person access and participation in activities and programs is limited to Boston University students, faculty, and staff. Visitor participation must be approved by the Dean of Students or by deans of the individual schools and colleges. If you have questions about visitors, or if you are hosting visitors – guest speakers, prospective new members, programs of citywide interest – please consult with your individual school’s or college’s dean or the Student Activities Office.

Food Service

BU Dining Services will work with departments, student organizations, and associations to bring catered meals, boxed lunches, or snacks to your meetings, events, and other activities. Menus of hot and cold boxed meals and single-service, packaged snack items have been created for department and student events under the following conditions:

  • Catering must be contactless – all food and beverages will be placed in single-use containers.
  • Catering staff, wearing proper personal protective equipment, will provide drop-off and set-up service only.
  • There will be no waitstaff, and bar service is not permitted at any event.
  • Catering staff will not provide and deliver more food than allowed by state and city regulations in a particular space.
  • Residential dining halls will work with student organizations and associations to develop special menus that cater to particular student groups or to celebrate a holiday.
  • Cultural student organizations may use non-University caterers, if deemed a better option. Non-University caterers will be expected to follow individual packaging guidelines, as well as all other Catering on the Charles regulations to ensure proper handling, temperature, and distribution of food on campus.

In closing, we are aware that following these guidelines will require additional time and advanced planning for most individuals and organizations. Boston University’s highest priority, however, is to keep all members of our community safe during this unprecedented period. We look forward to a successful return to residential education this fall and thank you for working with us and for working together to help ensure our campuses remain safe places to learn, work, live, and gather.

New Policy on University-Sponsored Campus Meetings, Events, and Gatherings for the Fall 2020 Semester – 8.7.20