Dear Neighbors and Community Partners,
Yesterday, Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco announced that the university’s fall semester undergraduate and graduate programs in the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering will begin on September 8, 2020 as scheduled.  This means that our Medford/Somerville residential campus will be open, but with significant changes. Courses will be offered in-person, virtually, and in hybrid formats. The campus will reopen with a thorough set of health and safety protocols, frequent testing, contact tracing and quarantine procedures in place. We are reaching out today to draw your attention to portions of the reopening plan that may be of special interest to you.
You can read the full message from the President on his website. It is important to note that the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, The Fletcher School, the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the School of Medicine have each developed reopening plans for their programs and facilities as well.  A brief summary of each school’s plan—along with links for additional information about all four of our Massachusetts campuses—can be found on our COVID-19 website.
Kindly note the following protocols and safety measures that directly pertain to our neighbors and community partners: 
Face Masks
All people on each of Tufts’ campuses will be expected to wear face masks, whether inside buildings or outside, unless they are unable due to medical reasons.  Students will be expected to wear masks throughout our residence halls except in their own bedrooms. 

Social Distancing
Whenever possible, people on campus will be expected to observe six-foot social distancing guidelines, whether inside or outside. Spaces on each of our campuses, including classrooms and common spaces, will be marked with Healthy@Tufts signs to reinforce the necessity of maintaining the six-foot social distancing guideline.

Self-Reported Diagnosis
Each day, all students, faculty, and staff will be expected to fill out a short online or smartphone app-based self-diagnosis questionnaire before coming to campus or leaving residence halls to inform them about whether they should remain at home/in their dorm room rather than coming to campus.

Health Screening
We will be implementing a three-part COVID-19 testing program [PDF] informed by the Higher Education Testing Group’s report. Our expectation is that will include: (1) initial testing of students upon their return to campus to begin the fall semester, (2) regular surveillance testing of students as well as student-facing faculty and staff to identify asymptomatic carriers, and (3) rapid diagnostic testing of those exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.

Contact Tracing
In cases of potential exposure to COVID-19 on campus, contact tracing staff will reach out to individuals who were potentially exposed. Without identifying the source of the potential exposure, staff will inform individuals of the nature of the potential exposure and advise them on appropriate next steps, including staying at home/in their dorm room, monitoring for symptoms, and seeking health care if necessary. Individuals who may have been exposed will receive regular follow-up contact to check their health status and ensure that they have access to testing and any needed medical care. We will share this information with local, state and federal public health officials. 

Small-Group Residential Strategy
Tufts will be adopting a “small-group” model for our residence halls, which will limit close interactions to a group usually ranging between six and 12 students. Though masks and social distancing are not required in shared bedrooms, they will be expected even within the small groups and in the restroom facilities to which the groups will be assigned. Visits between small groups will be allowed but should be limited to very few individuals at a time and should include distancing and masks.

Managing Positive Cases
Even though we will be adopting multiple layers of protection to reduce risk, we anticipate that some cases of COVID-19 will emerge. In such an eventuality, students diagnosed with COVID-19 will be housed in modular residential units, while the other members of their residential cohort will go into quarantine in their existing residential spaces. These temporary modular residential units will allow us to keep COVID positive students on campus and help prevent community spread. 

We plan to set up these modular residential units on the Medford/Somerville campus before the start of the semester, and we are working with the cities of Medford and Somerville to ensure that these temporary units meet the same health, safety and security requirements as our traditional residence halls.  We plan to place these modular residential units on the Fletcher parking lot in Medford and the Voute tennis courts in Somerville. Site preparation will begin later this week.  While the Voute tennis courts will be closed, the tennis courts on lower campus (between Powderhouse Boulevard and Lower Campus Road) will remain open to our neighbors.

Civic and Community Engagement
Students from across the university (and in particular through the leadership of the Tisch College of Civic Life) participate in civic and community activities and service learning, working closely with local organizations. Protocols will be developed that allow these activities to continue and conform to university guidelines, and we will closely communicate with community partners throughout the semester.

We know that after reading this, you will likely have many questions. You will find answers to the most common questions on our COVID-19 website, on our FAQ pages, and on the graduate and professional school-specific pages.

We will include campus updates in our monthly community newsletter. If you aren’t already subscribed, click here to sign up. Please contact the office of Government & Community Relations at or 617-627-3780 with questions or concerns.

We appreciate your support, patience and understanding during this time as we all work together to ensure the health, safety, and security of our communities.
The Government & Community Relations and Tisch College teams at Tufts University

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Tufts University Community Relations · 14 Capen St · Medford, MA 02155 · USA