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Boston, Newton join fight against Covid-19 outbreak at Boston College, but say school needs to do more

Newton and Boston are taking over Covid-19 tracking and followup of positive cases from Boston College now that the school has become the first in the Boston area to develop a Covid-19 outbreak, Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said tonight.

In an e-mail to Newton residents, Fuller said she is "gravely concerned" about what's going on at BC, which has reported 67 positive cases among students this week, and 104 since it opened for the fall semester last month.

Fuller said she and public-health officials from Newton, Boston and the state held an emergency meeting with BC officials today.

Fuller said the college needs to dramatically increase its testing - BC's original plan called for just random testing of students, unlike schools such as BU and Northeastern, which require all students to get tested every few days. She said BC agreed to turn over followup of positive cases to Newton and Boston public-health officials, whom she said are better prepared to handle a large outbreak and to do the contact tracing required to try to tamp it down.

One thing Fuller said Boston College better not think of doing, however, is trying to rent space in Newton to house any students who test positive or who are awaiting results of tests after coming into close contact with people who have tested positive - Newton is not willing to risk its residents' health because of BC's inability to ensure enough space for an outbreak.

She said the school is close to running out of space in its designated quarantine area - an old motel off Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton - and has been exploring renting additional space in Newton, Brookline, Dover and Cohasset. An alternative, she said, would be for BC to send many of its students home for remote learning - after they figure out how to do so without risking sending infected students home.

Boston College must take swift, decisive and effective action now to contain the spread of this serious infectious disease. The data on the spike in positive Boston College cases demonstrates viral transmission. They must act now to protect the health of their BC community and all our Newtonians. They must act now so Newton's low positivity rate does not rise. Boston College must act now to ensure that their operations do not threaten our ability to being to reopne Newton schools in-person, to get our residents back to work, and our restaurants, retailers and other businesses back on their feet.

We have learned COVID-19 moves quickly and we have to move even quicker to stay ahead of it.

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Comments

Dover, Mass? I’m sure they’d just love, absolutely love to host the child partiers who can’t resist the urge to engage in caudocephalic waving with their fellow children in an act of social disobedience designed to demonstrate their maturity while the rest of us, their hosts, demonstrate tolerance of their poor rearing in a yearly ritual of acceptance that every American child, even the most benign moron, deserves a chance at the future through a state-subsidized program designed to promote those willing to take on debt risk without a clear understanding of the odds while their parents stare at us in the disbelief that we reject the notion of welcoming these bastards in our community during the worst epidemic of the past century.

tl;dr: send all of these kids home to be educated remotely until it’s safe for the rest of us to resume our lives.

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The author of the parent post thinks BC is a state funded school for [checks notes] snakes?

I wonder if BC is paying for more tests or if Newton and Boston are?

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Little back story here. Newton recently seized by eminent domain the backside of the former Mishkan Teflia on Hammond Pond Parkway. This land happened to be owned by BC who bought it back in 2015.

Newton seized the "Webster Woods" and paid BC for the land which BC happened to want to expand onto in an area with sky high land prices and no land left for development. It left the 1950's developed temple and classroom structure in order to increase "open space" in the area already surrounded by woods, but did it more to prevent BC from building on undeveloped land on the site. Land which is allowed under zoning to be built on in the future.

Who just happens to own a house within spitting distance of the site BC purchased and the city seized, you'll never guess but the person's name rhymes with Jayor Zuthanne Filler. There are reportedly 2 city councilors who also have homes near the site.

Newton likes itself a lot. The screaming and yelling to prevent multi-family development near Riverside and Newtonville has been a high budget horror film with people thinking the "Garden City" is going to become Brockton overnight. The efforts against BC by Newton has the whiff of anti-Catholicism, despite BC moving out of the South End to Chestnut Hill in the 1920's. There are enough traffic control signs along Centre Street to make anyone think that people parking near BC on gameday for a football game would bring the black death to the area.

I'm no fan of the Heights but if I were a City of Newton official, I'd make sure you sandblast any hard drive, text message, and other form of communications involved with the planning on the seizing of the land behind Mishkan Teflia. If I were the US attorney, I would be taking a long look at the City's motivation there. Housing and development are allowed will nilly along Needham Street and in Kessler Woods, BC wants to do something? No way. It reeks.

The mayor's little grandstanding on not letting humans from BC staying in Newton who might have Covid is bordering on a human rights violation. It also seems to be a way to go on the offense vs BC on the trial that will result owing to the land being seized on Hammond Pond Parkway. Bleep Newton.

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BC gives away millions in community grants, school enrichment, healthcare,etc. based on income. Newton wants that to be income-blind. Eff Newton.

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But the smeller’s the feller

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Don't worry. I won't stop reminding you of your bigotry. Any other ethnic groups you want to slur today bigot?

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In fact, I'd be happy if you started hibernating now.

I'm just amazed at how you danced around your feelings in this post. Newtonians up to sneaky nefarious wrongdoings that must be covered up? It must have taken a lot of work for you to make anti-semitic conspiracy theories sound so sterile. I'll hand it to you - you can write well.

Here's some more background on the Webster Woods question, for those who aren't blindly following the BC line.

https://newtonconservators.org/save-webster-woods/

In a November 2019 lawsuit against the Community Preservation Committee, Boston College President William P. Leahy, S.J., declared that “The University has plans in progress and anticipates future development of the entire HPP [Hammond Pond Parkway] Property.” Boston College is exempt from many local zoning rules under the state’s “Dover Amendment.”

BC might get a free pass to do whatever the heck it wants in Boston, but Newton would like to keep its own priorities for its own land, and won't be bullied into backing down.

Bare Pond (and a small buffer zone around it) is protected from development by state wetlands regulations. However, most of the land could be developed by Boston College for use as dorms, classroom or office buildings, or parking lots. Such development would be a devastating blow to a beloved conservation area.

Newton wants to keep its woods. BC can't cut them down and have a satellite campus there. BC can keep the developed portion of the property, and put a football overflow parking lot or whatever in front of its salt storage, but the rest belongs to Newton now. The only possible outcome of BC's lawsuit is a higher purchase price.

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And your puns are terrible. C'mon, I thought bigots were supposed to have better wit, you anti-Irish bigot.

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What's that code for?

The job of Newton's government is to take care of Newton. Is that a problem whenever its priorities or different from yours, or only when Jews are involved?

Pull up your rhetoric, your antisemitism is showing.

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Newton acting in its own selfish interests by trying to keep BC students out of the city, despite BC being mostly, or at least it was until it bought the RCAB's residence 15 years ago, in Newton.

There is nothing anti-Semitic about thinking that Newton is being incredibly disingenuous in its dealings with BC. Really? Trying to force people with Covid out of the city, because you know Newton doesn't have a human rights commission, or does it.

http://www.newtonma.gov/gov/health/commissions/human_rights/default.asp

Trying to not share the burden of restoring the health of all is snobbery.

I guess you see demons, I see politics, snobbery, and self-interest you anti-Irish bigot.

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I hate to interrupt a good "no, you're the bigot!" session, but BC has been a low-quality neighbor to Newton (and Brighton) for many years. They never seem to consider the impact of their actions on the surrounding community; this covers everything from their insane non-plan for COVID testing and their intentions for Webster Woods (it's Mishkan Tefila, by the way, not Teflia, which sounds like some kind of non-stick footwear), to their long-term refusal to build adequate housing for their student body or do anything about traffic or parking on game days going back decades... and before you say "they can't do anything about either of those without Webster Woods!", they have plenty of space on their current properties to build out. They've chosen to prioritize maintaining the current suburban density of their campus instead.

I know it's cool to hate Newton, but the enemy of your enemy is not always your friend and I assure you that Boston College deserves no sympathy. Almost all of their problems are self-inflicted, and could've been avoided with even an ounce of good-faith outreach and cooperation.

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My Hebrew is rusty.

It is funny how post sale problems follow this congregation.

When they transferred their old Seaver Street location in Roxbury in the 50's to an Orthodox congregation who had no money to fix up the building, that congregation then sold it to Elma Lewis for $1. Lewis (and I have it on very good authority - a now passed on gentleman who was a member of the congregation) said Lewis refused to even hand over the $1.

Lewis then turned around and sued the old owners because she said the building was a mess. Chutzpah.

That gift horse then rotted until the early 2000's when a LA based church group restored the property.

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I don’t see the anti-Semitism in his comment.

He said the mayor lived near the site in question, and the mayor is Jewish (which he didn’t bring up), but that doesn’t make it an anti-Semitic comment.

And the site used to be a synagogue, but he didn’t use that in his claim either.

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I mean, talk about grandstanding...

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is that the poster was referring to government-backed student loans, not state schools.

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Agreed

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Sending these students home to be educated remotely until it's safe for everybody to resume their normal lives is more than likely the best way to deal with it.

Since these students are old enough to vote, sign a legal binding contract, buy a house, marry and receive medical treatment without parental consent, be drafted to serve in the military, and to be tried for and charged with whatever they get arrested for in an adult court of law (as opposed to a juvenile court), they're also old enough to know enough not to violate the rules for mask wearing and social distancing, as well as the rule against having large gatherings of people in one place, especially with no mask wearing and/or social distancing, and to suffer the consequences of violating such rules. Not only do they put themselves and their friends at risk, but they also put their neighbors, their friends, their families, and, dormitory or hotel workers or whoever, at risk, as well. Sure, these college students are young, but they're old enough to know better, and to take the consequences of flouting the rules that have been implemented for a damned good reason--the fact that we're in the middle of an out-of-control Covid-19 pandemic..

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ask anyone in brighton.

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lived in Brighton next to a kidde school.
Amazing how the classes coordinated back then.

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Why is it okay for BC to warehouse infected students right up the block from me, in that Brighton hotel they took over... but not okay for them to warehouse them in Newton? The safety of Newton folks is more important because they own while I rent, because they have more money? Guess so...

How about BC house its irresponsible brats on their own damn campus instead of near me? Bastards.

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What BC has been doing is not good for the residents of Boston's Brighton neighborhood, either, because the residents of the area, especially elderly and those of any age with underlying medical conditions, are also at risk.

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So Newton refuses to share the burden, and Brighton has to take it on. Nice. I hope this is an educational moment for the students about how the rich treat the rest of us.

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Might be directed at the BPDA and ISD, which approved BC's plans for the old motel.

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Did Boston approve Newton’s refusal to share the burden?

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I don’t have a problem with students quarantining in my neighborhood, to the extent they’re in actual quarantine housing and not just their odd campus apartments. I DO have a problem with Newton thinking it’s okay in my neighborhood yet not in theirs!

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If I lived in either Brighton or the City of Newton, I'd have a problem with the fact that BC, BU and other colleges expanding way too deeply into those two places, which they've done for years. First of all, when the colleges and universities in the area encroach so deeply on nearby places, they destroy the very character of these places. The Administrations of many of the colleges and universities here in the Boston area, generally, have helped bring this situation on themselves by encroaching so deeply into nearby neighborhoods.

Secondly, all too often, college students have loud, wild and drunken parties until all hours of the night, keeping nearby lifetime and longtime residents of these places from getting a decent night's sleep so that they can go about their daily lives and business, using people's back yards as toilets or vomitoriums, and, what's even worse, nowadays, is putting tons of other people, including themselves, their families and their friends, not to mention elderly neighbors or anybody, regardless of age, with underlying medical conditions, at serious risk for contracting the Covid-19 virus.

Thirdly, it's irresponsible for BC, BU, or any other colleges and universities to allow students to put tons of other people at risk, especially since the Covid-19 virus is much deadlier and much more contagious than the regular seasonal flu(s) that hit us every fall and winter.

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