BOSTON — Over the past month, COVID-19 infections have been on the rise in Boston. Now, college students have either returned or will soon be moving into dorms or apartments.
Gov. Charlie Baker has said he expected infection numbers to go up as students returned.
“We still have a lot more work to do,” said Mayor Marty Walsh during a news conference on Wednesday.
Colleges, including Boston University, have installed rigorous testing protocols for students. Northeastern University plans to test students for COVID-19 every three days.
On Wednesday, Boston University notified students of new rules banning parties of more than 25 people either on or off-campus, and threatened suspensions for any student hosting or attending such parties.
“It’s not ideal for anybody,” said Boston University student Reid Rothman. “We’d like to be having fun.”
The junior, who lives with eight others in an Allston apartment building, said students will need to be careful with gatherings.
During a Wednesday interview with Boston 25, Boston University Dean of Students Kenneth Elmore was asked about the need for gathering limits and penalties as they relate to neighborhoods where students often live.
“I want to say to those folks that live in the neighborhoods and communities, we get you, we understand you have those concerns,” Elmore said. “We get it you don’t want to have a spread circumstance for the coronavirus so this is just as much for you as it is for our safety, as well.”
Daniel Daly is a lifelong Allston-Brighton resident who has raised two children in the city.
“It’s a wait and see but I do feel like we have to slowly move into the positive direction,” explained Daly.
Allston-Brighton’s percent positive rate as of Aug. 24 was just one percent, meanwhile, East Boston’s rate was 11.4 percent.
Luke Reavey is a college graduate who moved to Allston this summer but is skeptical that new rules on parties and penalties for being part of them will have any impact.
“I think it’s a little tough to enforce,” said Reavey who also lives on Pratt Street. “We’ve already seen big groups (gathering).”
In an email, Boston College AVP and Spokesman Jack Dunn said the Vice President for Student Affairs informed students and their parents that parties are banned on and off campus for the semester.
“Students who violate the policy face disciplinary sanctions that include suspension and loss of on-campus housing,” Dunn said.
Northeastern University had students sign numerous forms before coming to campus which included an Attestation Form and the Student Code of Conduct, explained Shannon Nargi, a Media Relations Specialist.
The school will also have a confidential tip line for reporting off-campus behavior that violates health and safety guidelines, and for those who ignore the rules, the university plans to “take action accordingly,” Nargi said.
“I asked all students, particularly coming from out of the out of states that the numbers are high, to familiarize yourself with our guidance, follow the guidance laid out by your college and make every,” said Walsh.
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