President Robert Brown announced many changes in the array of programs slated to take place this summer as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in an email to students Monday.
Brown wrote in his email that BU Summer Term programs will still be running, but via a remote learning plan similar to what the university is currently following. Colin Riley, a BU spokesperson, said the university made this decision after getting feedback on the current remote learning situation and to give instructors time to prepare.
“We’ve been really pleased with the remote teaching [and] how well our faculty and students have adapted,” Riley said. “We thought it would be prudent to essentially make these decisions sooner than later, so that people can properly prepare.”
In addition to Summer Term moving online, the College of General Studies’ summer programs will not be meeting in person. Brown wrote in the email that they are “exploring ways to make up for these missed experiences” and that CGS Dean Natalie McKnight would soon provide more information.
The email also announced that both international and domestic study abroad programs were canceled, as well as K-12 summer programs both on and off campus.
Brown wrote that above all else the university wants students to return to campus in the fall, and that this decision was necessary in working towards that goal.
“Although this decision will be disappointing to many,” Brown wrote, “we believe it is necessary to achieve our ultimate goal: to return our students, staff, and faculty in the fall to our residential campus community and resume the quality in-person programs that are our hallmark as a leading private research university.”
Riley said the university understands this announcement will upset many students, but reiterated Brown’s sentiment of the ultimate goal being a return to normalcy in the fall.
“This is extremely disappointing, we know how important study abroad programs are to our students,” Riley said. “The senior administration has looked at the fall as the place where they want to be able to put all their attention on renewing that in-person activity.”
He also said that students can work with their advisors to make sure they are still able to earn credits necessary for graduation in the absence of their summer trips.
The shift to remote learning for programs formerly on-campus means that many students who planned to work and live on campus over the summer will now have to adjust their plans.
Kelly Schroeder, manager of conference housing for Events and Conferences and Daniel Camacho, assistant director for Events and Conferences, announced that they will not be hiring students this summer in an email to students Monday.
“Although this decision will disrupt months of planning on all of our ends,” Schroeder and Camacho wrote, “we believe it is the best decision in light of the health risks and logistical difficulties this pandemic has created.”
Brown also wrote in his email that research and clinical activities will resume on a schedule dictated by state and local officials. He wrote that Gloria Waters, vice president and associate provost for research, would be in touch with more information as it becomes available.
Riley said students remain the university’s first priority, and their healthy and safety is what motivated much of the decision making.
“We care very much about our students, and they’ve done so well with the transition to remote learning,” Riley said. “There’s still bumps on the road ahead, and we want to make sure that they’re healthy. We look forward again to getting back to a full in person semester in the fall.”