BOSTON — Boston University is urging students to stay on campus for Thanksgiving or, if they go home, stay away for the rest of the semester, joining a growing number of U.S. universities working to curb the spread of the coronavirus around the holidays.
In a recent message to students, university officials implored students to stay on campus for the holiday, adding that those who travel will be required to isolate for seven days and receive three negative virus tests upon their return to campus.
Since the isolation period would end shortly before the end of this term's classes, officials said students who travel will be better off finishing their classes remotely. The fall semester ends on Dec. 10.
The order applies to all travel, even to other locations in Massachusetts.
"Returning to campus after the break is not a good idea," Kenneth Elmore, the university's dean of students, wrote in a campus email. "Public health officials throughout this country are urging us all to stay put and not travel during this year's holiday season."
Officials are trying to entice students to stay on campus by offering a four-day Thanksgiving menu at campus dining halls.
The university cited surging virus rates across the state and nation. In Massachusetts, the seven-day average of daily new cases has grown from more than 1,200 on Nov. 2 to over 2,500 on Nov. 16, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
Boston University is one of many schools across the U.S. trying to mitigate virus spread as cases and hospitalizations have spiked throughout the country. Many colleges have opted to cancel in-person instruction after Thanksgiving, including at the University of Arizona and the University of Missouri.
Some others are taking a similar approach to BU, including the University of Wisconsin, Madison, which has asked students not to return until next spring if they travel for the holiday. Other schools that were already planning to shift online after Thanksgiving have accelerated the move as virus rates climb, including at Michigan State University.