Boston University Announces Potential Postponement of Fall 2020 Semester

Over the last few weeks, mass hysteria surrounding the coronavirus has left many students questioning their status at their current university. FSU just officially announced that their last summer session is moving into online classes, and discussion has begun regarding whether or not universities will elect to hold their fall 2020 semesters online. The first voice in this discussion appears to be Boston University, who has recently sent out a memo that they are considering not re-opening their city campus until January 2021. While they have explained that this measure would be ‘unlikely’ and would only happen in the event that social distancing measures need to be extended, the memo has left students confused and worried about their plans for the fall.

Boston University is located in the heart of the city of Boston, Massachusetts and currently has a student body of more than 33,000. Due to its highly desirable location, many students are living in packed areas which leaves them in close proximity with one another. Without proper hygiene and social distancing measures, the university could easily become a hotspot for the coronavirus. There are currently nearly 30,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the state of Massachusetts, including more than 1,000 deaths. Being in relatively close proximity to New York City leaves the city of Boston with many commuters and travelers, putting citizens at higher risk of infection and outbreak. Universities like BU are doing whatever they can to ensure the safety of their students, and their message regarding their fall 2020 semester has prompted many other major universities to begin their discussion of necessary preventative measures.

With many students already signing leases and preparing for their year in the city, the decision to move all classes online is certainly a difficult one. The university has stated that they are waiting to get more updated and accurate health information before they make an official decision, and the memo regarding fall 2020 is simply to prepare students for the worst-case scenario. The decision to suspend in-person classes for another semester would certainly cause colleges nationwide to take a hit, as millions of dollars suddenly disappear from college towns with no students to stimulate the infrastructure. In addition, schools take a major loss when they suspend sporting events, which would typically bring in a huge amount of revenue.

So, what does this mean for other students around the country? Officially, there is no news yet. No universities have officially moved any fall 2020 classes online, but discussions are starting to be held regarding whether or not this will be necessary. FSU’s president, John Thrasher, is certainly committed to the safety of his students after officially moving the summer C session online, and there is no doubt that he is currently evaluating the risks of having students return as normal in the fall. Although we all hope that life can return to normal as soon as possible, the implications of social distancing will likely follow us for the next several months.

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