From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost & Chief Academic Officer and Gary Nicksa, Senior Vice President of Operations
This morning, Governor Baker issued an order temporarily closing non-essential businesses and organizations starting at noon on March 24 and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people, and directed the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to issue a “Stay at Home” advisory for the next two weeks.
Universities and colleges have been categorized as “essential services” within this order, meaning that the order will not directly impact our current plans to provide remote teaching to all students and essential support functions to those students who remain on our campuses. While all faculty are encouraged to work from home where possible, those who choose to come to campus to conduct their remote teaching are still allowed to do so under the Governor’s new order. We continue to ask supervisors to work with their staff to enable faculty to either work from home or conduct their classes from their academic buildings.
Boston University research laboratories should stop normal operations and shift to basic maintenance only, ensuring safety and preserving future capabilities, other than COVID-19 research and essential biomedical research that cannot be stopped at this time. Only critical maintenance procedures that require regular attention in order to maintain laboratory viability should continue. For example, cell, plant, or animal colony maintenance, shared computational equipment maintenance, and maintenance of equipment that requires gas or cryogen monitoring/service, such as freezers, electron microscopes, mass spectrometers, and incubators can be performed. Any research operations that are deemed critical to continue, such as those listed above, must obtain proper approvals using this form and as previously outlinedby Gloria Waters, Vice President and Associate Provost for Research. Access to labs will be limited to personnel approved to perform these essential procedures and processes. The Animal Science Center will continue to provide daily animal maintenance (feed, water, ensure clean/dry caging, etc.) and Environmental Health & Safety staff will continue to be on-site.
The University’s administrative offices remain open to support remote education, critical research, and student services. As most staff have transitioned to working remotely, only academic and administrative personnel whose jobs require them to be on campus are being asked to commute. While the University’s public safety officials believe a Boston University identification card will be sufficient to identify faculty and staff as essential employees, those who continue to come to campus may wish to carry this “Essential Employee Designation Letter” to supplement their ID card.
Finally, as was announced in BU Today this morning, due to the decreasing number of faculty and staff working on campus, the University has begun securing campus buildings to ensure the safety of those who are on campus. Faculty, staff, and students with key or card access to buildings and interior spaces will have normal access to those spaces.