Boston Colleges and Universities Turn to Police, Mandated Testing to Tackle COVID-19

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Three female college students wearing face masks using technology working in computer lab.

To combat what have been referred to as “super-spreader” events, Boston College hired Boston Police Department officers to patrol and break up parties thrown on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

The school’s new security detail comes after Boston City Councilor Liz Breadon sent a letter to Boston College President William Leahy and Boston University President Robert Brown over the weekend, acknowledging issues concerning the return of students for the fall semester.

“People coming to Massachusetts must quarantine for 14 days or produce a negative COVID-19 test administered 72 hours before arrival,” Breadon wrote. She also voiced her concerns for off-campus students, stating “The penalty for non-compliance is a $500 fine, yet I have little confidence that we can enforce this regulation for returning students living off-campus.”

Undergraduates at Boston College, which will hold remote and in-person classes, are also required to sign the Eagles Care Pledge, which requires students to do a daily self-check of coronavirus symptoms and take other safety precautions.

Boston University, which is also offering a hybrid of remote and in-person learning, will mandate all undergraduate students take a COVID-19 test twice a week throughout the semester. Graduate students will take weekly tests. As more information is learned about how often cohorts visit campus, the frequency of tests will be re-evaluated.

Across the nation, schools are reversing their plans for the fall semester as COVID-19 cases continue to rise on campuses. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill made headlines this week when it abruptly moved to remote learning for undergraduates after reporting 130 cases in the first week of classes. The University of Notre Dame, the University of Kentucky, Colorado College, Drake University, and many other schools are also reporting a high volume of cases.