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COVID 19: Safe Return Task Force Update - June 18, 2020

Thursday 6/18/2020

Subject: BSU Safe Return Task Force – Update – A Message from Provost Karim Ismaili


Dear campus community,

The Safe Return Task Force held its final meeting yesterday afternoon. President Clark attended and was briefed by the Task Force and its subcommittees on the work they have undertaken over the past seven weeks. Preliminary recommendations were discussed. President Clark thanked the Task Force and subcommittees, whose members comprised more than 100 members of our campus community, for their work and expressed his confidence that they had addressed the multifaceted dimensions of planning a safe return to campus.

Per President’s Clarks charge, the Task Force reiterated that it has prioritized safety throughout its deliberations and will continue to do so in the development of the final report. The Task Force further agreed that given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, with new developments seemingly occurring daily, the campus must be flexible and ready to adapt the Safe Return Task Force plan to changing guidance from state and federal agencies. Just yesterday, the Task Force received the report of the Massachusetts Higher Education Testing Group, which was appointed by the Massachusetts Higher Education Working Group to provide additional guidance and a framework on testing, as well as possible new options for conducting testing on campuses. This new information will need to be analyzed and these new options explored by the Task Force before it makes its final recommendations, which we are looking to share with the campus in the next two to three weeks.

We recognize as well that the work of the Task Force is only the first step of ensuring a safe Fall return. The next phase will focus on implementation of subcommittee and working group recommendations through the COVID-19 Planning and Response Group, which has been meeting usually multiple times a week and organizing and coordinating the university’s overall pandemic response since February.

The University will continue to keep the campus informed as the Safe Return Task Force completes its work and we move into implementing the plan. We know the entire campus has many questions; I am confident that the report will begin to answer many of them. As always, please go to BSU’s COVID-19: Safe Return website for the latest information, although we will continue putting out new information through multiple channels. As we shift our work in preparing for the re-population of campus in the Fall, it is critical that the entire BSU community be informed and follow the guidelines that will keep all members of our BSU family healthy and safe.

On a personal note, I want to thank the members of the Task Force and its subcommittees and working groups for their time and dedication. I have been so impressed by the forthright and thoughtful conversations, which give me confidence that we have left no stone unturned while acknowledging our humility in the face of such a complex and ever-changing public health threat.

Warm regards,

Karim Ismaili
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Chair, BSU Safe Return Task Force