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March 15, 2020

Dear Tufts Staff,

Starting immediately, we will be taking additional measures to continue to reduce the number of community members on our campuses with the purpose of increasing social distance and protecting ourselves and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19.

Tonight and tomorrow, supervisors will inform staff if it is essential that they continue to report to work for the purposes of maintaining the University’s operational and academic continuity. If you are not in this group, you should take all necessary steps to be able to work from home by Tuesday, March 17, at the latest. Post-docs and graduate students will receive specific information related to their work via an additional communication from the Provost’s Office.

I want to emphasize that although much of the University staff will be working from home, this does not mean that the University is closed. Our work, and Tufts’ important mission in the world, continues. Staff members will still be expected to work their regular hours, keep up with e-mail, and be available for online meetings and phone calls as necessary. We will be continually assessing the situation and will advise when employees can return to their regular work spaces.

Please read this entire email for important information about this transition.

Prepare technology for working remotely

Please closely follow the instructions that Tufts Technology Services has outlined to ensure that your work laptop or home PC is set up to allow you to work remotely. Among other things, this guide includes information on:

  • preparing your equipment,
  • testing your internet connection,
  • ensuring that you can connect to Tufts resources,
  • forwarding your Tufts phone to a home or mobile phone, and
  • accessing chat and conferencing tools.

If you need technical assistance, please contact TTS at 617-627-3376 or it@tufts.edu.

Bring necessary resources home and prepare your workspace

Take steps to ensure you have the proper set up at home, and that you have left your workspace in the correct condition for a lengthy absence.

  • Bring home your laptop, mouse, keyboard, docking station or any other technology you need to continue working remotely.
  • Take home any paper files or resources you need to perform your work, recognizing that guidelines around proper handling of confidential materials remain in place.
  • If you need supplies such as pens, paper, or notepads bring those home as well.
  • Clean all food out of your desk.
  • Turn off and disconnect any devices, such as heaters, lamps, coffee pots, etc.

Illness and self-quarantine

If you are ill, we ask that you refrain from working and use sick time instead. We are offering sick day extensions to people who may not have enough remaining sick time for this use – our priority is the health and well-being of our staff.

Please see the detailed HR FAQs for more information about policies if you are in quarantine, isolation, or otherwise sick.

Please note: If you have been directly exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should contact your physician for guidance, report it to your supervisor, and report it to covid19@tufts.edu.

Information for caregivers

We understand that many schools and day care centers have temporarily closed or moved to online education due to this emergency. If your children are at home and are of the age that they require your direct supervision, we recommend you use family sick time. We are offering additional family sick time for anyone who doesn’t have remaining time for this use, and your supervisor will be ready to work with you to make the proper arrangements for your situation.

Please see the detailed HR FAQs for more information about caregiver policies.

Health resources

In the event that you need medical care, we recommend that staff reach out to their primary care provider or seek care through a local emergency room/urgent care provider.

Additionally, the Tufts Employee Assistance Program is a valuable resource for mental health support, counseling, logistical support, or any similar need that may arise during this period. This service is free for all staff members, and can be a great asset during emergencies.

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You will be receiving additional information from your school or division about the implementation of these changes.

Meanwhile, we will continue to keep you informed as we have additional announcements. Please visit go.tufts.edu/coronavirus, where you also will find guidance on precautions, medical assistance, support and mental health services, and links to reliable sources of information.

We appreciate your patience and support as we make these changes and adjust to the current situation. In all of this, we are working to keep the well-being of our community at the forefront of our decisions–a task that simply would not be possible without the support of our staff. Thanks again for all you do for our students, faculty, and broader Tufts community.

Mike Howard

Executive Vice President