Easing some COVID restrictions on campus
February 18, 2021
Dear members of the Tufts University community,
Starting next week, the university will begin easing some of the COVID-19 restrictions currently in place on our campuses. We are approaching these changes optimistically, yet cautiously. We have seen a decline in the number of positive cases on our campuses as well as a decline in the commonwealth of Massachusetts. However, given the circulation of new variants of the virus, we may yet face another surge, so vigilance is required.
Here is what you can expect starting next week:
Athletics & Fitness Center
The Fitness Center will be re-opened to allow for physically distanced recreational activities. For the moment, however, club sports (games or practices), intramural sports (games or practice) and remain paused. We are working closely with the Department of Athletics and our local boards of health on future options for the return of varsity and club sports once it has been deemed safe to do so.
Starting on Sunday, February 21, we will allow reservations for in-person service at Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Centers. All food will continue to be packaged to-go and indoor dining at 25-percent capacity will again be allowed in Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie. The Commons Marketplace will remain pre-order for pick-up until further notice. Guidelines for social-distancing, wearing of masks, and hand-sanitizing in the dining areas will still be in place. To see which dining locations will be open for indoor service, please visit https://dining.tufts.edu/.
Governor Baker’s Stay-at-Home Order
Recently, Massachusetts Governor Baker lifted the state’s overnight stay-at-home advisory that residents remain at home between 10 p.m. at night and 5 a.m. the following morning. Given the current downward trend in positive cases on our campuses, we will be doing the same.
Student Organization Operations
We will be allowing in-person meetings with limited attendance, hybrid event supply pick-up, and grab-n-go events. For details on other restrictions being lifted for student organizations, please visit ocl.tufts.edu/spring2021. This page will be updated as new information becomes available, so be sure to check back often.
Here is what will not be changing at the current time:
Events & Travel
All events, programs, and gatherings—both indoors and outdoors—are still limited to 10 people. We recognize that there are differences between guidelines related to the size of gatherings and events published by Massachusetts and different towns and cities within the Commonwealth; out of an abundance of caution and respect for our neighboring communities, we will continue to follow the guidelines put in place by the City of Somerville.
The Tufts Travel Policy put in place in October 2020 remains in effect. All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member).
Singing & Playing of Brass and Wind Instruments
There has been no change to the university’s restriction to singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments.
The testing frequency that is currently in place for faculty, staff, and students has not changed. All AS&E undergraduates living either on- or off-campus and all AS&E graduate students living in Tufts-owned housing and playing on varsity teams are still required to be tested every other day. For more on testing frequency by campus and school, see Testing at Tufts. This page will be updated as we make necessary adjustments to the testing protocols.
While the easing of our campus guidelines is a direct response to the encouraging trends we are seeing, there is no guarantee that we will not need to reinstate restrictions in the future. There are COVID-19 variants circulating, which are more contagious than the original strain, and we need to keep ourselves and our community healthy.
For this reason, please continue to do your part by wearing masks, practicing physical distancing, frequently washing or sanitizing your hands, participating fully in COVID-19 surveillance testing, and following the university’s contract tracing and isolation protocols.
Thank you all for your continued patience and vigilance as we work together to stay safe.
Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H.
University Infection Control Health Director