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April 24, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

In a virtual town hall meeting last week for faculty and staff, President Anthony Monaco and senior leadership offered explanations about the university’s response to the pandemic and information about what lies ahead for Tufts.

“When the pandemic is over, we cannot go back to the way we were. These are uncharted waters for all of us,” the president said. At the same time, he offered, the university is determined to maintain its academic excellence, commitment to civic engagement, and standing as an R1 research institution. He also outlined the immediate steps Tufts will take to confront the considerable economic impact of recent events, including instituting a salary and hiring freeze and halting capital projects. (Read more on Tufts Now.)

As states start thinking about when to re-open, a new report by the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tisch College is helping, too, by showing how contact tracing can help contain COVID-19. Tufts administrators are working with state and local authorities to determine how university operations will be impacted as Massachusetts considers how and when to lift stay-at-home guidance. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t slowed down the entrepreneurial spirit at Tufts. Earlier this month, the Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition quickly adapted to the current situation and made the event virtual—with very positive results. And faculty and staff in the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts recorded video greetings to students learning at a distance, which were well received.

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.

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

A reminder for anyone who needs to be on campus: Following CDC recommendations, face masks are required for those on all campuses at Tufts. 

External Study Abroad Deadline Is April 30

The Tufts Global Education office reminds students who are interested in participating in an external/non-Tufts study abroad program for Fall 2020 that the deadline to request a study abroad leave of absence is Friday, April 30; extensions to this deadline will not be granted.

Given the level of uncertainty surrounding program providers’ ability to host some programs, the office is encouraging students to explore alternative options, such as considering a future term instead. Students are strongly advised to ensure that study abroad during their final year is compatible with graduation and should consult with their advising dean. Those with questions should contact the office at globaleducation@tufts.edu

Athletics Resources for Home Use

Athletics Department staff have put together a fitness/wellness resource page that includes videos made by Tufts athletics staff demonstrating exercises people can do at home. By necessity and design, these self-produced videos are not fancy, but do a good job conveying useful information.

Links to some good—and free—libraries of exercise videos available online are also on the page. And just for fun, Athletics Department staff also included some TV shows, podcasts, and book recommendations to help the community through this time.

Extending Well-Wishes to the Class of 2020

Though we can’t gather in person this spring to celebrate the Class of 2020, I invite you to help make this moment special and memorable for this year’s graduates by sharing your best wishes and congratulations with the class. Please consider recording a brief (10-20 second) video message for the Class of 2020, and then submit your video online. University Communications and Marketing can accept videos through Tuesday, May 5, and then will share the videos with the graduates on Sunday, May 17 as part of the All-University Degree Conferral Ceremony (or the virtual commencement ceremonies for schools that are holding those ceremonies).

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