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March 13, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

This week has seen momentous change, not only at Tufts but also across the world. Countries are taking unprecedented steps to control the spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Health organizations are taking extraordinary measures to stem the spread of the disease, and businesses are fundamentally changing the way they work to protect employees and customers. Higher education is no different. 

On Thursday, March 12, an undergraduate student who had been in isolation tested positive for COVID-19. We are following the guidance of public health authorities pertaining to notification of community members who may have had contact with the student. Those community members will be—or have been—contacted directly by the University and/or Medford Department of Health and provided with information and direction, including information on self-quarantine. If you are concerned that you may have been exposed, please contact the crisis communications center at covid19@tufts.edu.

Like many of our peers, Tufts has taken significant steps to ensure the health, well-being, and safety of not only our students but also our faculty, staff, and the members of our host communities, especially those who are most vulnerable to infection. This is our civic obligation and, although change has been disruptive, it is undoubtedly the right thing to do. 

Because of the volume of communications you have received this week, this email is intended to point you to sources of more detailed information and highlight important developments. The situation is constantly evolving; please visit go.tufts.edu/coronavirus frequently for updates.

Please keep in mind that University and school-based decisions are being made on an ongoing basis with great care and consideration for public health and academic continuity. The University has never taken such extraordinary actions in its history, and we ask for your patience. 

For answers to your questions, please go to our Frequently Asked Questions page for detailed information on topics, including:

We will continually update this page as new information becomes available, including school-specific information. If your question is not answered in the FAQ, please contact the University’s crisis communications center at covid19@tufts.edu. 

Precautions and medical assistance

Per the latest CDC recommendation, people should seek medical care if they have been in a country with sustained community transmission (level 3 risk assessment) in the past 14 days, OR had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 infection and develop symptoms of fever and cough. For more information and resources, please see “Medical Assistance” under “Additional Information” on the Community and Travel Guidance landing page.

To help prevent the spread of illness, including the flu and common cold:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your cough with your upper sleeve or elbow to keep germs from spreading.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, and/or cigarettes or vaping products.
  • If you share a room or apartment with someone who is sick, try to stay at least 6 feet away to prevent exposure through coughing.

Additional guidance for prevention can be found on the CDC website.

We recognize that the impact of COVID-19 is not just physical, and we want to make sure that everyone is aware of support services available. Counseling resources are available through Counseling and Mental Health Services on the Medford/Somerville and Boston SMFA campuses, and through Talk One2One Student Assistance Program on the Health Sciences campuses. Additionally, the Student Advisory & Health Administration Office (SAHA) is a division of Student Affairs for the Boston and Grafton Health Sciences Campuses. Students can also get support through BetterHelp, iHope, and the University Chaplaincy. Faculty and staff may seek support through the Tufts Employee Assistance Program at any time.

To ensure that critical information reaches you quickly, please sign up for TuftsAlert if you haven’t already. This emergency alert system, designed to provide the community with urgent updates, may be helpful beyond the present situation to ensure you have information that is critical to your safety.

Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this unprecedented week at Tufts and for your commitment and flexibility as we move forward together. I sincerely appreciate the efforts of all as we work together to do our part in addressing this pandemic.

Mike Howard
Executive Vice President

For the latest updates and guidance from Tufts University, please visit go.tufts.edu/coronavirus.