Weekly Safe Return to BUMC Update: June 11

This week we began the incremental resumption of research activities on the Medical Campus. Labs are beginning to ramp up following approval of each lab’s plan to keep a safe density of lab members, to have available PPE and cleaning supplies, and to use best practices to reduce transmission of infection in careful compliance with Mass state guidelines. While lab research ramps up, guidelines are being discussed to restart human subject research. Stay tuned for that information.

Masks, Physical Distancing

As the Medical Campus works to reopen safely, we rely on all members of the BUSM community to comply with the state’s requirements for physical distancing and wearing a mask. Please wear a mask at all times while on the Medical Campus and in the hospital. We understand that wearing a mask at all times is uncomfortable, but compliance is critical. COVID-19 is a serious illness, and vigilance with physical distancing and appropriate use of PPE are critical to the safety of our patients, our colleagues and ourselves. Please remind each other to comply.


The fourth-year MD students have re-entered the clinics and hospitals, and are enrolled in 43 different rotations and clinical electives at BMC, the VA and Roger Williams. They also are participating in new, innovative telehealth experiences in geriatrics and ambulatory medicine.

The third-year MD students began virtual clerkships at the end of May and are participating in two-week mini clerkships in each specialty. Clerkship directors created a new curriculum using case based and interactive teaching over Zoom focused on preparing students for oral presentations, documentation and clinical reasoning in the clinical environment. Approximately 20 faculty in each department have been participating in facilitating small groups in their discipline. Faculty in the Academy of Medical Educators also have been providing direct feedback to students on key clinical skills in small group sessions.


At the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, students have returned to campus for sessions in the Simulation Learning Center at 650 Albany Street. Currently, about 200 people a day are going through the COVID-19 screening process that the school launched last week.

The school now is finalizing its application to resume in-person clinical activities. The resumption of didactic classes will be the final step in the school’s phased reopening process. GSDM will welcome incoming postdoctoral residents on July 1, and incoming predoctoral students on July 27.

HVAC systems

At the May 14 BU Management Town Meeting, Michael Donovan from Campus Planning & Operations (CPO) explained a three-step process to ensure that we are getting the most out of our many and varied HVAC systems across the University:

  1. Inspect the entire system and its components to ensure that it is operating as designed. This is particularly important with older systems to make sure they are operating as robustly as they possibly can. This would include inspection of motors, belts, filters, inlet and outlet dampers and automation systems where they are installed and manual controls.
  2. When those inspections are completed, CPO knows whether the systems are operating as designed, they will further examine each one, verify the filtration level, and whether or not the system can accommodate enhanced filtration without affecting the airflow and number of air changes as designed into the system.
  3. Through the use of controls, both automatic and manual, CPO will determine if the amount of outside air and the number of air changes can be increased while still maintaining the integrity of the system and the environment it serves.

Laboratories average about eight air changes an hour. As we return with 25 percent of employees, the reduced load in a space as well as the use of a mask will enhance the air quality. It could be further enhanced as airflow is able to be increased as outlined in step three above.

Back2BU website

The University has launched a website with information and frequently asked questions about returning to campus that have been broken into categories, which include Employees and the Workplace, and Testing and Tracing.

Here are some photos that show examples of the Phase One resumption of research activities.

New signage at the entrance of the Pathology Lab.
Vision science restarts.
Basic research operations resume at CReM.
Note the modifications made in the CReM Lab.


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