BU students to stay in Boston for Thanksgiving or finish the semester online


Ken Ryan, the director of city relations at Boston University, speaking to members of city council over zoom.

Jayden Khatib, deputy city editor

During a city council meeting on the topic of university reopenings Monday evening, Boston University confirmed its plans to cancel Spring Break and place restrictions on Thanksgiving Break.

The meeting was hosted by the City Council Committee on Public Health and featured spokespeople from Harvard University, Boston University, Northeastern University and Boston College, as well as officials from the Boston Planning and Development Agency and the Boston Public Health Commission. They came together to answer questions about how university reopenings have gone thus far.

BU Director of City Relations Ken Ryan encourages Boston University students to complete the remainder of the semester from home if they choose to go home for Thanksgiving break, especially due to the 14-day quarantine regulation for traveling outside of Massachusetts. Students will also not get a spring break next semester and instead start one week later on Jan. 25.

“In accordance with current public health recommendations, we are strongly encouraging students who wish to complete the fall semester on campus to remain here over the Thanksgiving break,” Ryan said. “ If students make the decision to travel home for the holiday, BU will recommend not returning to campus and instead completing the semester remotely under the [Learn from Anywhere (LfA)] model.”

Northeastern Vice President of City and Community Affairs John Tobin confirmed that Northeastern knows what it plans to do this Spring; however, they will not announce these plans to the council until they inform the student population.

“In regards to the Spring [semester] updates, we have a plan in place. We’re getting ready to share that with our students — we want to share that with our students first,” Tobin said. “As soon as that is shared with our students, we will of course, transmit that, not just to our elected officials, but to community groups and task force members and our community advisory board members in due time.”

BU, Harvard and Northeastern confirmed that the positivity rates among students attending in-person classes have remained low. Tobin said Northeastern has completed over 200,000 tests, with 0.05 percent of tests coming back positive. Ryan stated that BU has completed close to 193,000 tests (since July), with 0.07 percent of tests coming back positive. Mark Handley, the director of government affairs and community relations at Harvard, said that they have completed over 23,000 tests on their undergraduate students with only nine coming back positive.