UMass Boston will not bring its students back to the Columbia Point campus in the fall and will instead continue on with the remote teaching and learning platform that it launched after students left campus in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
UMass Boston Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman announced the decision Monday morning and the campus said "the decision was taken out of respect for the health and well-being of students, faculty and staff – as well as the surrounding communities to which they commute every day."
"We know other universities have come to different decisions, and we respect that," Newman said. "But in very important ways — especially the extent of daily reliance on public transportation and the prevalence of students from communities most affected by COVID-19 — UMass Boston is unique. Public health officials have urged every campus to look to its particular circumstances. As a large, urban, commuter institution, we have done exactly that."
Newman said African American and Latinx populations have borne a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality in the pandemic, and noted that many UMass Boston students live in multi-generational minority households where exposure to the virus would be particularly problematic.
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UMass Boston reported that attendance has "been booming" for its summer session and enrollment of first-year students is "trending above projections for the fall, save for international students whose visas are slow to be processed."
Campus officials are developing suites of courses "that will be delivered to overseas students on the remote platform in the early morning hours, to fit the time zones where they live," according to the university. Lab-based classes and those that rely on the new nursing simulation center will occur on campus, and the campus health center will also be in operation.
Classes are scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
UMass Boston serves about 15,000 undergraduate students.