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Northeastern students will have to test negative on three coronavirus tests over five days before being allowed to physically attend classes

Northeastern today announced specifics of its Covid-19 plan for this fall, and it starts with an immediate Covid-19 test and then a trek to their rooms to await the results.

The requirement applies to all students, even if they're coming from states Gov. Baker says are exempt from the state's quarantine rule - other New England states, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii - as well as to students coming to Boston who plan to live off campus.

Students who test negative on the first test will be immediately allowed out of Husky quarantine but won't be allowed to attend classes in person until after they get negative results back on tests on their third and fifth days. Students who test positive will be required to hole up in quarantine for two weeks, taking all classes remotely. Those with on-campus housing will get meals delivered to their door; all quarantined students are supposed to forswear any visitors.

After their arrival, during the five days in which they will have their three coronavirus tests, students who live on campus will be able to go outside their rooms - while wearing a mask - for tasks such as picking up food, attending medical appointments, or sharing hall bathrooms and showers. ...

Students living on campus who test positive for the coronavirus will be isolated and moved into special on-campus housing units with private bathrooms. Food will be delivered to them, and they will have case managers and clinical support on a daily basis.

The school will let students' family members help them move in, but only up to the dormitory door - only students will be allowed in to the residence buildings.

Anyone else helping them move in will need to stay within the area where they unload their vehicles. At that point, university employees will help the students move into their rooms.



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Then they get it in week 2, outbreak on campus, everyone panics and switch to online classes begins.


Call me a skeptic but this reads like a recipe for disaster. One doesn't have to be a statistical genius to figure out that concentrating young people in a social environment right now is going to lead not only to an outbreak within the institution itself but a spread into the surrounding communities.

This is not about probabilities but about certainties and my guess is someone over at my alma mater decided that X amount of dead and infected was worth it over not having to return those tuition deposits. I wonder how many professors will be teaching in person until there's a vaccine?

If MLB with its protocols, resources and vested interest in the health of its workers cannot control the spread a week into their season, there is absolutely no way in hell that NU or any other school in the city is going to be able to come close to implementing a learning/living environment that protects not only the students, faculty, employees but more importantly the city's population.

I really hope they rethink this one.


Good luck to them, I took a test a week ago with symptoms and still haven't gotten results. I guess they're just assuming that wait times will be down to 24 hours within a month?


Both results within 24hrs.

Northeastern is targeting results in 6 hours, with an absolute max of 36 hours. And continued testing of everyone on campus every 5 days.

The Huntington News has a rolling article on the various campus reopening updates: https://huntnewsnu.com/62625/front-1/reopening-updates/

The University also maintains this public website with the relevant info: http://news.northeastern.edu/coronavirus/


Read the news. The big Boston area colleges have their own private testing, mostly via in-house labs. They'll have results within 24 hours because they aren't sharing lab space with the general public. This also helps Boston since anyone who goes to or works at a College doesn't need to depend on the public testing facilities. (It's the same idea as to why Colleges have their own police department. Less work for BPD.)

College students tend to spend time with other college students who are also tested 1-2 times a week. As reported on UHub, the colleges also have isolation spaces in case people are confirmed. So it's not like they'll go home and infect their families.

I'm not concerned about an influx of cases due to College students. Tourists and MAGA types are the ones spreading the virus at this point.


They have a facility in Burlington that they say can process up to 5,000 tests a day, so the problems we've seen elsewhere shouldn't be a problem for them. Ditto for BU, which has also built its own test center (guess it pays to be a university with biomedical research labs and stuff). Other schools are relying on Cambridge's Broad Institute, which says it can do handle more tests than the state is currently doing in total.

If they can handle more tests than the state is doing, I have a follow up question.


I keep reading stories about people not being able to get tests because their doctor, or hospital, or area can't get the necessary reagents.

I'm not thrilled by the idea that people who have COVID symptoms but aren't connected to a school or considered essential workers won't be able to get tested because all the supplies are needed to ensure that undergraduates can have in-person classes.


It's a gimmick. Avoiding liability.

Public school kids and staff can go back to school with no COVID testing requirements or plans for testing in place.


Public school kids in minority majority districts can go back to school with no COVID testing requirements. Places like Winchester and Lexington will just have their kids stay home.

After all, we can't have service workers not go to work because their kids don't have anywhere to go, how would we get our Amazon and grocery deliveries while we work from home?

You are correct. But since I live in Boston, I was just thinking about BPS.

Seems like everyone has become a know-it-all skeptic of everything. This plan seems really well thought-out and comprehensive. Could it fail? Sure. But at least they are taking a measured approach to trying to achieve something closer to normal, instead of just sitting behind closed doors pouting, "It won't work!"

They're trying, but I find the whole "all students are free to do whatever until their initial test result comes back" and "all students are free to do whatever, except attend class in person, until their third negative test" parts to be highly suspect. Why not quarantine all students immediately, until their third negative? Why is it OK to let them roam around the neighborhood, but not OK for them to come to class? Everybody correctly assumes that some percentage of those initial tests will be positive, but the policy is to let that as-yet-unspecified-but-we-know-it's-there portion of students wander around spreading the virus until we know exactly who they are and tell them to stop it? Wouldn't it be both simpler and safer to quarantine all arriving students?

I am not seeing any quarantine guidelines/process of enforcement for off campus students, which would be key to protecting "all of our surrounding communities".

Same requirements. From the University's Travel/Return FAQ page:

All Northeastern students—from exempt or non-exempt states, domestic or international—will be required to undergo a COVID-19 viral test at Northeastern’s on-campus testing center at Cabot Physical Education Center in Boston. Students living in university housing will be administered a COVID-19 viral test immediately upon arrival. All off-campus students, from exempt or non-exempt states, domestic or international, should arrange to be tested at the Cabot testing center on the day of their arrival. All students will need to be tested on day one (arrival), and on days three and five afterward. Details on how to schedule your test will be shared prior to your arrival on campus.


The issue of "how do we enforce this?" or "what if they don't comply with the rules?" has been raised several times internally. The answer is essentially that if they want to come onto the campus at all, utilize any of the campus facilities or services, they have to agree to follow the rules being put in place. If you don't wish to follow the rules, we've made it possible for you to attend your classes from your home residence, and that is the option you are choosing by not following the rules.

The nightly large student parties have already started in my neighborhood near Tufts.


who are returning to the college here in the Bay State, especially those students who're from higher-risk states. Too many students don't care who they infect or kill with the Covid-19 virus. We're in the middle of a pandemic. If these students are old enough to go to college, they're old enough to understand why the mask wearing and social distancing rules are in place, and to comply

Are they going to test students once a week or do they think non students won't come into contact with their students once they are settled in?

Like once every five days.

Well, the governor's 14-day quarantine order includes students the same as anyone else.