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Northeastern, BU join ranks of schools moving to online classes

Northeastern University President Joseph Aoun made his announcement today - but says students can stay in their dorms if they want. His counterpart at Boston University, Robert Brown, wants students to go home, but says those who need to can stay in their dorms.

Aoun wrote:

Over the past week, I have heard from many members of our community—students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and others. Not surprisingly, you have expressed every possible viewpoint on the idea of moving to online education. In the end, this decision was—and had to be—based on science, facts, and real circumstances. I am confident that this is the right decision for our university.

Let me be clear: as of today, we have no evidence that COVID-19 has infected a member of the Northeastern community. Nevertheless, we must focus on prevention, not just containment. We owe it to each other—and everyone in the Northeastern family and beyond—to take all practical steps to minimize the risk of infection and community transmission. We thank you for all of your support and understanding during this challenging time.

As we move to online instruction, we are not asking students in Northeastern residence halls to move out. While students may elect to do so, we are committed to maintaining continuity of campus life for those who elect to stay.

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Comments

Some students don't have homes they can go to for various reason or are international students at risk of not being allowed back if they leave or unable to get any flights to their home countries. This is the humane and responsible way to handle it.

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As to offer rooms to students from other schools who have no other options...

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and will let students stay in dorms (especially if they are already back and/or not leaving for break).

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There are many on-campus staff that are needed (eg. dining, janitorial, etc.) if all students are allowed to stay on campus. This puts them at risk - and these people are lower-income, meaning that they really can't avoid going into work regardless of health concerns.

Yes, it's a bad policy to expel international students that either can't come back into the country or can't find a flight out on such a short notice. But it's not necessarily bad to expel domestic students, for the benefit of the on-campus support workers.

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Some people may not have a place to return to, or the money to get there. Many, probably most, campuses have dorms with kitchen facilities where students can make their own meals. Far fewer support staff are needed if classes are online and most buildings are closed.

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Good point. Unfortunately many support staff will probably be laid off. If you don't have students then you don't need staff to feed them. Sure cleaning crews will be busy, but so many others will suffer (food service, event staff, delivery drivers, warehouse folks etc etc etc). The economic impact to this college-heavy region is going to be bad.

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I wonder if these schools will refund housing or meal plan costs to students if they aren't able to live and eat in their dorms for 1/2 the semester.

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The NCAA women's ice hockey finals are scheduled for BU's Agganis arena the weekend of March 21st. I'm guessing that the decision on that is up to the NCAA as opposed to BU.

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I'm guessing that they'll make a national decision soon. I bet they'll still play the "March Madness" men's basketball games (a lot of TV money on the line) but that they will play in empty arenas. Time will tell...

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