Update from Boston University

Updated Letter to Community on Coronavirus

March 11, 2020

From Dr. Robert A. Brown, President and Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Link to letter

Over the past few months, our leadership team has closely monitored the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak both internationally and locally. Our first priority is to ensure the health and well-being of our community, while also making sure that our students are able to complete their courses and advance their progress toward graduation, while preparing contingencies to ensure the functioning of our campus operations.

Due to the increased spread of the coronavirus throughout the United States and around the world, we have decided to make the following changes, effective Monday, March 16, 2020 until Monday, April 13, 2020:

  1. Undergraduate, graduate, and BU Academy classes on the Charles River and Medical Campuses will not meet in-person; course content and instruction will be moved online and classes will meet remotely at their regularly scheduled times. Students with questions about courses or academic accommodations should contact their professors directly.
  2. We strongly advise that students who are not presently on campus do not return to campus at the conclusion of spring break. We have a large number of students on campus during the break, and we encourage those students to consider going home, if possible. However, our residences and dining halls will remain open during this period for those who choose to stay on campus or are unable to return to their homes.
  3. The University will not hold any non-academic gatherings or meetings; only activities for research with fewer than 10 participants will be permitted.
  4. All domestic and international travel by faculty, staff, and students, supported by funds administered by the University, is suspended.

At this time, we are planning that research activity will proceed normally under the guidelines described above. Additional information about the impact to other University operations will be communicated to University staff in a separate memo. Decisions about Study Abroad programs are being made on a site-by-site basis; questions about a particular Study Abroad program can be sent to abroad@bu.edu.

We ask that staff supervisors work with members of their unit to assess their capability of working remotely during the period defined above. It is our hope that we can accommodate staff who would rather not come to campus, but who can accomplish their responsibilities from home.

We will provide regular updates to these plans over the coming weeks. Well in advance of April 13, we will announce to the community the plans for the remainder of the semester. Regular updates and additional information on the University’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak will be available on this website.

Discontinuing in-person instruction is a difficult decision, as it interrupts an essential element of our learning community, the interactions that occur in our classrooms, laboratories, and studios. We recognize that this will cause significant disappointment to many students, faculty, and staff. However, our first priority must be to keep the members of our community as safe as possible.

We also know that the transition to online teaching in the middle of a semester is a challenge, and we are committed to providing the necessary resources to equip all faculty for success in this mode of delivery. Through our Remote Teaching Readiness Plan, schools and colleges have already begun preparing. We encourage faculty to contact their school or college’s Remote Teaching Coordinator (RTC) with questions about migrating course content online. We also encourage instructors to email students in their courses before Monday, March 16, to alert them to the class plan for the next week.

To learn about working and teaching remotely, visit the IS&T website or contact ithelp@bu.edu (regarding working remotely) or askedtech@bu.edu (regarding teaching remotely). Resources for students about learning remotely can also be found on the IS&T website.

Finally, we are developing and will shortly distribute a set of Guidelines for Semester Completion to help faculty and staff think through how to ensure students are able to complete their scheduled coursework this semester.

We appreciate all the work that has already been done to prepare our community for this possibility, from our emergency management and health services teams to the facilities teams ensuring that our campuses remain as clean as possible, and we are grateful for all that each of you will do over the coming weeks to adapt to these changes. We are convinced that the Boston University community will come through this trying period stronger than ever, and we look forward to having everyone back on our campuses as soon as possible.

Additional Resources

You may find these additional resources useful.

For international students and scholars with questions about travel, please contact the International Students & Scholars Office at isso@bu.edu or 617-353-3565.

For questions about Study Abroad, please contact abroad@bu.edu.

For students’ questions regarding financial situations, please contact the University Service Center at usc@bu.edu or 617-358-1818.

For those with medical questions or concerns about COVID-19, contact the applicable on-campus health centers listed below for more information.

For students:
Student Health Services, follow instructions to send a message to a nurse.

For employees:
Boston University Occupational Health Center at 617-353-6630

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