As Boston University students adjust back to in-person instruction in pre-pandemic fashion — minus the wearing of masks — many have shared their hopes and fears for Fall semester classes as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
For many students in the Class of 2024, this year is their first chance to engage in the traditional college experience. However, the transition has proven challenging for some students.
Alex Gilbert, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, said her on-campus community last year consisted much more of her roommates and not her classmates.
“There’s a difference between meeting people on Zoom versus meeting people in person,” Gilbert said. “Now you have a community every time you go to class and you didn’t get that last year.”
However, Gilbert also expressed concern over the reduction in COVID-19 safety measures and the lack of a University-wide support system for those who test positive.
“What if I’m sick? God forbid I’m in quarantine, what am I supposed to do for two weeks without going to class?” Gilbert asked. “In LfA if I wasn’t feeling great, I can still go to class, but now I don’t have that option.”
BU spokesperson Colin Riley said professors will treat missing classes for quarantine and isolation similarly to how they would treat student illness in previous years.
“This is just as it would be pre-pandemic, where if someone had an illness [and] they were not able to be in class for a reason they would communicate that with their professor,” Riley said.
Aidan Lafferty, a sophomore in the Questrom School of Business, said he feels safe in class. While he is glad about a more open campus, however, he said it can also be inconvenient.
“It’s going to take a little bit of an adjustment period,” Lafferty said. “The most difficult part has been navigating from East Campus to West Campus in my little 15 minute stints between classes.”
For some students, BU’s vaccine mandate and indoor mask requirement have helped them feel safer on campus.
Georgia Nichols, a graduate student at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, said professors and students in her classes have cooperated with classroom masks mandates.
“Knowing that everyone’s vaccinated and wearing masks, I do feel safe,” Nichols said.
Riley added BU has no intention of bringing back the LfA system. With 94.6% of students and 93.3% of faculty fully vaccinated, cases have remained low so far.
“We’re hopeful as we see the numbers stabilize and we know the vaccination is the most important aspect of being able to continue,” Riley said.