City Councilor Liz Breadon (Allston/Brighton) reports that Boston College has agreed to hire a BPD detail to roam Brighton on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights to bust up any gatherings of hardy partying Eagles as part of its plan to keep the college and the surrounding neighborhood from turning into a Covid-19 hotspot.
But in a posting on neighborhood mailing lists, Breadon says that’s not enough and that she’s joined Councilor Kenzie Bok, who represents the equally student heavy Fenway and Mission Hill neighborhoods, in calling on local colleges to keep the students at home.
In a letter to Boston College President William Leahy and Boston University President Robert Brown, Breadon says she has “little confidence” that the schools will provide the same level of Covid-19 prevention and care to their numerous off-campus students as they have promised for students living in on-campus dorms.
It appears that off-campus students will not have the same level of access to quarantine facilities, medical support and monitoring as those living on campus. The physical proximity of off-campus students to neighborhood residents increases the risk of community spread beyond the university campus.
Specifically, Breadon says she wants answers from the two schools on how they will ensure off-campus students will comply with the same social distancing and masking requirements as students living in dorms; how they will ensure off-campus students will adhere to 14-day quarantines if they test positive, and what medical support they’ll have; how the schools will conduct contact tracing for positive off-campus students and what their punishments are for hosting or attending large parties and not adhering to more general mask and social-distancing requirements.
But even if she gets answers, Breadon adds, she urges the schools to keep most students at home, learning remotely, because of the sheer number of off-campus students and the risks to Allston/Brighton residents.
Separately, one part of BC’s planned Covid-19 program, an app through which both students and staffers could schedule their required Covid-19 tests, is not ready. In e-mail to professors and college staff last week, the school said it was unable to complete testing of the CoVerified app and so employees will have to line up for walk-in tests at the Conte Forum over the next couple of weeks.
People who take a test will be given a wristband that they’ll be required to wear as they move around the campus.