Campus, Coronavirus, News

Students, faculty reflect on Fall semester COVID-19 protocols

BU mask mandate sign
A sign requiring face coverings while inside Boston University buildings and facilities. Several students said the University’s COVID-19 protocols seem necessary, but concerns remain over students in quarantine housing missing class. SHANNON DAMIANO/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

By Emily Stevenson and Jesús Marrero Suárez

As the Fall semester gets underway, Boston University students and faculty have shared their thoughts on the effectiveness of COVID-19 safety protocols in place on campus. 

While the social distancing mandate has been lifted on campus and all students, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated, many of the rules are modified versions of the ones in effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

Judy Platt, director of Student Health Services, wrote in an email that after a year of being on campus during the pandemic, the University’s experts know how to keep students safe. 

“We are fortunate to know what works best on our campus after over a year of these protocols,” Platt wrote.  

Celine Cohen, a freshman in the College of Communication, said she finds BU’s safety precautions for this year adequate.

“I’m pretty satisfied with the COVID regulations,” Cohen said. “I think BU is doing a good job.”

However, Cohen said the University policy which prevents non-BU students from entering an on-campus residence is disappointing.  

“Not being able to bring them up to your dorm is a little frustrating and annoying,” Cohen said. “But I get it, just because they want to make sure that everyone on campus is safe.”

Ben Ronen, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences, said he thinks BU should be recording classes, specifically big lecture hall classes, to help students in quarantine. 

 “If lectures were recorded that would be really helpful,” Ronen said. “It would take weeks to catch up on all your work if you were in quarantine.”

Ronen said he has a friend currently in isolation who cannot keep up with class because of this rule.

Rose Facchini, a part-time lecturer in Italian, said the new rules have been about a balance between in-person and online classes for the language departments. 

“We’re actually remote until the mask mandate is lifted, if it’s lifted,” Faccini said. “I think it’s important … to see each other’s mouths, but it’s always nicer in person,” she said.

Despite the difficulties presented for language classes, Facchini said BU is doing a great job with its pandemic safety measures.

“The vaccine mandate, the mask mandate, has been key to keeping the cases down as much as possible, especially with such a large campus,” she said. 

Facchini said she wished the mask mandate was not necessary but understands the need for it.

“The mask mandate is something that I think is necessary, but I wish we perhaps didn’t have it,” Facchini said. “It’s difficult to learn a language I think with that in place.”

Ronen said he likes that masks are not required outdoors but are required indoors because it makes him feel safer during class. 

“I like that we get tested once a week,” he added. “I like that we can’t get anywhere unless we get tested, with the green badge and complete this daily form.”

Platt wrote she does not see the current protocols changing soon, but that the University is monitoring the data. 

“We continue to monitor the BU data so that when the time comes to ease restrictions we can do this in a way that fosters a safe community for everyone,” she wrote. 

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Facchini said all her students are engaged and energized in the classroom.  

“They’re very resilient,” she noted.


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