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April 17, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

The members of our community are continuing to respond to the pandemic with creative problem solving, by sharing their expertise, and through demonstrating their care for others:

A team from the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine came together quickly to devise solutions to monitor health changes in the elderly at the community level. Engineering undergraduate William Liu joined with San Diego anesthesiologist Jan Sliwa, A06, M11, to create a way to use snorkel masks as protective gear for emergency and operating-room doctors. Tufts dental students are also leading an effort to make face masks and shields for health-care workers. In relevant content recently shared on Tufts Now: Immunologist Pilar Alcaide, the Kenneth and JoAnn G. Wellner Professor at the School of Medicine, explains how the body’s defense system takes on viruses and why sometimes it loses the fight. Cummings School professor and virologist Jonathan Runstadler is studying if pets like cats and dogs can get the coronavirus causing COVID-19, and Mary-Jane Hanlon, D97, associate dean for clinical affairs at the School of Dental Medicine, advises people how to get dental care in these times.

This week, President Anthony Monaco wrote to faculty and staff about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the university. “We are modeling a wide range of scenarios for the near and medium term and formulating the necessary plans for each,” he said. Read his full message here.

He also wrote to undergraduate students, parents, and families, saying that “faculty and staff are currently working around the clock in order to plan and prepare for a variety of possible scenarios for our fall semester.” He noted that “regardless of the timeline and circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Tufts is and always will be an institution that meets the full financial need of each of our undergraduate students.” Read his full message here.

Though I recognize that portions of the digest below will only pertain to certain groups within the community, I urge you to read the entire message.

Frequently Asked Questions

The university’s FAQ pages around COVID-19 are being updated regularly. Please visit the site if you have questions.

Using Face Masks on Campus

Both the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts are currently recommending that people wear masks in public settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, in addition to following other social-distancing measures like maintaining at least 6 feet between yourself and others.

Faculty and staff on campus must wear a face mask when out in public or near other people during work hours. Students need to do the same whenever they leave their private residences on campus, especially when they travel to places where it may be difficult to maintain social distancing. This includes wearing masks at dining centers, where Tufts Dining employees are putting their own health at risk in order to serve other members of the Tufts community.

Cloth face masks are recommended; they can be fashioned from scarves, bandanas, T-shirts, and other household items. Dust masks may also be used. Make sure your mask:

  • Fits snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Is secured with ties or ear loops
  • Includes multiple layers of fabric
  • Allows for breathing without restriction
  • Can be able to be laundered and machine dried daily, or after each use, without damage or change to shape

Your Health

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please contact your doctor for guidance. If you have had a positive COVID-19 test, please immediately notify covid19@tufts.edu so we can communicate with others who may have been exposed. If you have other questions or concerns, please contact the crisis communications center, which covers all campuses, at covid19@tufts.edu.

As noted above, a reminder for anyone who needs to be on campus: following CDC recommendations, face masks are required for those on all campuses at Tufts.

Tisch College has compiled a list of “Social Emotional, Civic Learning & Mindfulness Resources.” It includes articles, organizations, and webinars that aim to promote emotional resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. These resources have been curated and reviewed by Deborah Donahue-Keegan of the Department of Education, who is also associate director of the Tisch College Initiative on Social Emotional Learning and Civic Engagement. This resource list will be continually updated in the coming weeks.

All AS&E Summer Classes Will Be Virtual

All 2020 summer classes in the School of Arts and Sciences, including GSAS and SMFA, and in the School of Engineering, will be offered in an exclusively virtual format. Also, for undergraduates, AS&E has adjusted restrictions around online courses being used towards undergraduate degree requirements, so online and virtual undergraduate Tufts courses completed in summer 2020 will not be counted toward the current limit of online courses applied toward graduation. You can find this policy adjustment here.

Updates from Tisch Library

We are happy to report that HathiTrust Digital Library has now made a substantial portion of Tisch Library’s print collection available in ebook format. More information is available here.

Library staff have also worked with the Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching at Tufts on a Teaching at Tufts post for faculty, detailing remote support from the libraries.

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. We ask for your patience, and I sincerely thank you for your cooperation, understanding, commitment, and flexibility as we move forward together.

Mike Howard
Executive Vice President