Colleges scrap testing programs, COVID-19 housing

BOSTON — COVID-19 cases are surging yet again, but the impact on local colleges and universities is different this time around.

Colleges and universities across the Boston area are assuring students that there are no plans of implementing new protocols or restrictions moving forward.

Northeastern University cancelled its on campus PCR testing program last Friday, joining a list of other schools that have done the same.

“The move reflects a shift in the public health approach to COVID-19 as the university and the nation transition to managing the disease like other illnesses,” explained a letter to the Northeastern school community.

Many colleges and universities are also scrapping COVID-19 isolation housing for future semesters.

“There’s going to be cases that come up, but school is still going to progress like it usually does,” said Northeastern freshman Mario Gonzalez. “I’ve sort of been thinking about it as a flu.”

The lessons learned during the pandemic are following Northeastern seniors to their Friday graduation ceremony at Fenway Park.

“In some ways, I got robbed of two years of my college experience,” said Northeastern senior Abby Yeomans. “I also think it’s made us so much more resilient to what life is going to throw at us.”

Colleges have had had some of the most stringent restrictions of any setting throughout the pandemic.

Tuft’s epidemiologist Dr. Shira Doron told Boston 25 News those restrictions didn’t prevent a major uptick in cases on campuses during the Omicron surge.

“We need to move away from mandates and toward educating people, communicating that the risk is higher when cases are higher and communicating how to protect yourself,” said Dr. Doron.

Doron said recommendations from health experts are important, but she believes automatic restrictions can be divisive.

“What we’ve been seeing, we could be seeing forever. So then the question is, do we want to keep creating these rifts in society?,” asked Doron.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW