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Northeastern, BU looking to hire people for new coronavirus control efforts, which could double the total number of tests done statewide

Listing of Covid-19-related jobs at Boston University

Some of the Covid-19 job postings at BU today.

Both Boston University and Northeastern are looking to hire nurses, lab technicians, medical assistants and contact tracers as part of their ambitious plans to test thousands of students, professors and staff every day come this fall.

They're also looking for people to coordinate care for students ordered into isolation dorm rooms if they test positive and for people who can look at testing data and recognize potential Covid-19 spikes and clusters.

BU has announced plans to conduct up to 5,000 Covid-19 tests a day and to analyze them in a lab its setting up. Everybody who regularly spends time on campus will be required to take a test once a week.

Northeastern says it is gearing up to test 2,500 to 5,000 people daily, with the ability to increase that if needed, and that all students living on campus this fall will be required to take a test when they arrive, followed by additional tests at "regular" intervals.

Recent state numbers show that if the two schools do 10,000 tests a day, they would more than double the total number of tests done statewide on most days.

Daily statewide test numbers, starting on June 13 (black line shows cumulative number of tests; source):

Daily testing numbers in Massachusetts

Both schools say they are setting aside dorms to house students who test positive - 500 rooms in Northeastern's case.

In its job postings, Northeastern says it will be doing testing seven days a week, and indicates it's not expecting a vaccine or cure anytime soon: The new jobs will run at least a year, with "the possibility of renewal depending on funding and business need." One position, for a lab technician at the Northeastern facility in Burlington that will analyze all the swabs from on-campus testing sites, is for 18 months.

Another one of Northeastern's listed positions is for a contact tracing manager:

The Contact Tracing Manager will oversee the contact tracing activities of students, faculty, and staff at Northeastern University. The aim of this campus wide initiative will be to call contacts of each person diagnosed with COVID-19, gather information on the contacts, and provide social distancing/quarantine/isolation recommendations and information on testing, seeking medical assistance, ongoing monitoring, and available resources as needed.

BU has similar openings, as well as one for people to work with students put in isolation:

The Isolation Unit Specialists will serve as an on-site contact for students housed in campus isolation units due to positive COVID-19 results. This Specialist will provide support to these residents including daily check-ins via telehealth (video, phone, text) and ensure students have adequate supplies. Specialists will provide timely communication with key partners to ensure the health and safety of these residential students.

BU is also hiring a Covid-19 communications manager to "provide pertinent communications" to BU's Covid-19 team and to work with the school's public-relations department on news for "broader audiences."




"There's not much to do" said one MA contact tracer -- WCVB TV Boston, June 26, 2020

Perhaps the colleges could hire some of the laid off workers from Baker's botched contact tracing program. After seeking the facts on their own and learning of the miniscule risk, highly educated MA residents were so unconcerned about the Corona scare that they wouldn't answer the phone! Then again, the laid-off contact tracers are probably enjoying their enhanced unemployment benefits after working just long enough to finish a cup of coffee.

Voting closed 23

Baker's botched contact tracing program

Wrong, as evidenced by the report you linked.

learning of the miniscule risk,

Wrong. You spelled minuscule wrong and the allegation that covid19 is a minimal risk is demonstrably false in several ways, as you know.

MA residents were so unconcerned about the Corona scare that they wouldn't answer the phone

Wrong. No one has reported that , not even right wing sources. More likely people don't answer the phone for other reasons, like numerous scam calls and called id spoofing

enhanced unemployment benefits after working just long enough to finish a cup of coffee

. Wrong. There are minimum work requirements before you can collect unemployment

Voting closed 37

The nature of that job is to do it so well it stops being needed.

Massachusetts did a good job at stopping community spread. We prepared, we planned and then we didn't need all of this.

That's a hell of a lot better than the alternative.

Voting closed 27

I know a public health nurse who used to run around the state tracking and treating TB cases and their contacts in the 1980’s. This included finding homeless people living in doorways and under bridges. She and her colleagues did such a great job that eventually their positions were no longer needed.

Voting closed 18

As of earlier this month, the CTC had made more than 300,000 calls and connected with someone on 90 percent of those calls.

Yeah, really botched that. If only they could make sure more people were infected they wouldn't need to lay so many people off.

I'm not addressing fish here, just others that might be fooled by a troll.

Voting closed 26

Can we lend some of these contact tracers to Florida? It seems like a job that can be done remotely.

Voting closed 5

If this is really nothing to be worried about, what's your argument for why giant businesses like the NFL, NHL, MLB, etc, are going out of their way to handle large amounts of testing and completely disrupt their businesses to deal with it? Seems like these paragons of industry, employing some of the healthiest people on the planet, have every single reason to want to ignore it and deal with business as usual, and the funds to find some location that will allow it if they wanted to, and yet they're all still suspended and only now managing to piece together some plans to come back at a wildly reduced capacity. What's your explanation for what's going on there?

Voting closed 4

Lest we forget that BU stopped contributing to employee retirement plans earlier this year due to COVID-19 financial considerations.


I'm sure this is a CARES Act-related funding source, but I'd still ask questions of BU leadership if they're going on this large a hiring binge.

Voting closed 16

So yes, some questions....

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They are COVID jobs needed to keep the schools running and need people with related expertise. Do you also ask why poor people waste money on lifesaving medical care?

Voting closed 27

There were a lot of jobs posted which, given the reduction in benefits and previously announced layoffs, looks out of step with the current financial condition they are presenting to faculty & staff.

They do need to reopen in the Fall. This is definitely a case of having to spend money to make money. Every higher education institution is grappling with this as the start of Fall semester bears down on them.

There's nothing wrong with asking BU leadership whether or not they are planning to reinstate the positions or restore benefits.

Voting closed 10

They'd be laying off a lot more than 250 people

Voting closed 16

And I think they should go online for fall or substantially reduce which students can come on campus. I know that could mean I lose my job. I think they are being very irresponsible and the only reason they are desperate to open is financial. I think public health is more important.

Voting closed 8

Play dodge ball with the virus and we will test you at the end of the week and see if you lose.

Voting closed 13

That Massachusetts would have the ability to do 35000 tests a day by the end of July. Not sure why were stuck around 10k, and for example the Cambridge health department is all booked up for this month.
Meanwhile the 7 day moving average of confirmed and probable cases is up 29% from the low on July 5. And worse in Suffolk, Norfolk and Middlesex counties.

Voting closed 12