BU Student Health Services is closely monitoring the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Our top priority is the health, safety, and wellbeing of our community both on and off campus.
On this web page, you’ll find:
- Answers to frequently asked questions about COVID-19
- When and how to contact Student Health Services (SHS)
- Resources for student wellbeing
- Where to learn more about COVID-19
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and shortness of breath.
Who is most at-risk of getting COVID-19?
Currently, people who are most at-risk of getting COVID-19 are those who have either traveled to areas with widespread community transmission, or have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and others from getting COVID-19?
- If your region is under a stay-at-home order, please do so accordingly
- Wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Practice physical distancing by staying at least 6 feet away from others
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily
- Stay home if you’re not feeling well
What are COVID-19 key terms I should know?
There are important terms and concepts being used by medical professionals and the media. Below are some key terms to become familiar with:
- Close contact means being within six feet of someone for at least 15 minutes OR having direct contact with infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on).
- Physical distancing (social distancing) is for everyone. It means keeping people farther apart to prevent the virus from spreading in communities.
- Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed to the virus. It means keeping them physically apart from others in case they are infected (i.e., staying at home).
- Isolation is for people who have the virus. It means keeping them separated from people who don’t have it.
When would I need to quarantine or isolate myself for COVID-19?
If you’re wondering if you need to quarantine, review this handout for guidance. This information is for students who are not healthcare workers.
What can I do to prepare in case I get COVID-19?
Planning for the possible scenario of getting COVID-19 will help reduce any feelings of panic if it occurs. It can feel helpful to have specific information and items prepared in advance–just in case.
Information to have ready:
- Create a physical and virtual emergency contact list for each person in your living space. Include the names and contact information of important people, such as family members and friends.
- Create a physical and virtual list of your healthcare facilities and providers so you have a plan of who to contact and where you can go to seek help.
- Know where the closest hospital is and make a plan for how you will get there.
- Write down the phone number and digital contact information for BU Student Health Services and/or your local primary care provider. Also keep this information in a digital space that’s easy to access, such as your phone.
- Create a plan with those you live with about how you will use your space if someone is sick and in isolation. Consider deciding on a room or space that can be used for isolation, designating a separate bathroom (if available), and making these spaces comfortable. Also, talk about how those who are not in isolation will continue everyday preventive actions, including cleaning shared surfaces.
Items to have ready:
- Make a ready-to-go healthcare kit in case you need to quickly seek emergency medical care. Your kit should include a physical list of the “Information to have ready”, important identification and health insurance cards, any healthy-related notes (e.g., allergies, prescription medications), in addition to a few essentials (e.g., a toothbrush, water bottle, phone charger, and snacks).
- Aim to have several weeks of any prescription medication.
- Plan to have several weeks of medication to help relieve COVID-19 symptoms, including cough medicine acetaminophen (Tylenol). Also have a thermometer to help monitor your symptoms.
- There’s no need to overload purchasing food or cleaning supplies, but consider having a few extra non-perishable food items and hygiene supplies in case you cannot go to the store.
Learn more about preparing yourself and your household for COVID-19.
When should someone consider being tested for COVID-19?
If you believe you need to be tested for COVID-19, please message a nurse on Patient Connect so we can help coordinate and facilitate your care.
A person should be tested if they meet criteria for a “person under investigation” as defined by the Center for Disease Control & and Prevention (CDC).
A “person under investigation” currently includes people who have COVID-19 symptoms AND one or more of the following:
- a pre-existing health condition, like asthma, OR
- have recently traveled to an area with widespread community transmission OR
- have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
Is there a treatment for COVID-19?
There are currently no medications or antiviral treatments proven to treat COVID-19.
There are still good things a healthcare provider can do for you if you have COVID-19. They can help people manage their symptoms (sometimes called supportive care) and check-in to see how they’re doing. It’s also important to let a provider know if you’re sick and not getting better.
SHS will help support your recovery in coordination with other BU departments if you are on or near campus.
Learn more about COVID-19 treatment.
Questions for SHS
I’m worried that I have COVID-19. When should I contact SHS?
You should contact SHS if you…
- have symptoms of COVID-19, including fever (100.4°F or higher), cough, and/or shortness of breath
- have traveled internationally or to a high-risk location domestically
- have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
- need to be quarantined or require clearance
- have any other COVID-19 medical questions
To contact SHS, please message a nurse in Patient Connect. Students should reach out to SHS whether they are living on- or off-campus 7 days per week.
How do I make an appointment at SHS during this time?
SHS is delivering all services via telehealth. This means appointments are available by phone and through a HIPAA-compliant version of the video chat platform, Zoom. You can schedule an appointment with a provider for urgent and non-urgent care.
- Behavioral Medicine is delivering all counseling and support services via Zoom. This includes new patient appointments, therapy, substance use treatment, medication management, and groups and workshops (list updated weekly). Call to make an appointment at (617) 353-3569.
Emergency services are also available 24/7 by calling Behavioral Medicine at (617) 353-3569, the BU Police at (617) 353-2121, the BUMC Public Safety at (617) 358-4444, 911, or by going to your closest emergency room.
- Sexual Assault Response & Prevention Center (SARP) is continuing to provide individual and group therapy, on-call response, and advocacy services to students during this time. You can contact SARP staff at 617-353-SARP (7277).
- Athletic Training is delivering all services via telehealth. This includes appointments via Zoom and telephone. To make an appointment, patients should contact the Athletic Trainer who coordinates care for their sport or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wellness & Prevention Services is providing appointments via Zoom. If you received a University sanction or judicial letter and need to complete a required appointment (sometimes called “BASICS”), please call (617) 358-0485.
How do I message a nurse in Patient Connect?
- Log into Patient Connect
- In the menu on the left, select “Messages”
- Select “New Message”
- Select “Primary Care/Medical (For physical concern, illness, or injury)”
- Select “Coronavirus (COVID-19)”
- Send a message
If you need immediate medical advice, you can call SHS Primary Care at (617) 353-3575.
Can I get tested for COVID-19 at SHS?
SHS is not providing COVID-19 testing. You can contact SHS to see if getting tested for COVID-19 would be a good fit for you based on your symptoms and exposure to the virus. If testing is advised, SHS can help connect you with a testing center. Most testing facilities require an order from a medical provider before showing up, and SHS can help facilitate this.
Please message a nurse in Patient Connect if you test positive for COVID-19. Students who are living either on- or off-campus should let SHS know if they test positive.
Should I let SHS know if I test positive for COVID-19, even if I’m not living on-campus?
Yes, please message a nurse in Patient Connect if you test positive for COVID-19. Students who are living either on- or off-campus should let SHS know if they test positive.
Does my Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) cover care for COVID-19?
Yes, COVID-19 is covered the same as any other illness. If you see a provider in the United States you will be covered the same as if you are in Boston. You can log onto Aetna Student Health’s Boston University homepage and select the “Find a doctor, hospital or pharmacy” option to search for in-network providers for the best coverage anywhere in the United States.
Are there changes to what my Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) covers during this time?
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, all telehealth visits with SHS providers are covered through SHIP.
Resources for Student Wellbeing
What resources for wellbeing are available to students?
How can I cope with the anxiety COVID-19 is causing?
Many members of our community are feeling overwhelmed by the impacts of COVID-19 in the US and abroad.
I still have questions. Where can I learn more?
- BU COVID-19 information website provides BU-specific updates about COVID-19
- BU Today provides daily news updates related to the BU community and beyond
- COVID-19 Primer for the BU Community provides in-depth information about topics like COVID-19 symptoms and transmission
- CDC website for COVID-19 provides information COVID-19 prevention, preparedness, and treatment in multiple languages