COVID-19: Week in Review (5/1/2020)
May 1, 2020
Dear students, faculty, and staff,
Tufts is continuing to respond to COVID-19. At the emergency dental clinic, director Patrick McGarry, D83, and his dedicated staff sprang into action as the pandemic hit, creating a COVID-19 safe space and treating more than 200 emergency cases, both adults and children. “The majority were in acute pain—the kind of pain that medication wasn’t going to help,” McGarry said.
Other Tufts experts are helping respond, bringing clarity to difficult circumstances. Parents are concerned that with classrooms closed, their children might be falling behind, but a Tufts elementary education professor says that it’s time to reexamine what learning looks like and the forms it can take.
With so many people working and taking classes from home due to COVID-19, there have been concerns that our digital infrastructure is under strain, but Fletcher School assistant professor of cybersecurity policy Josephine Wolff assures us the Internet won’t break.
The challenges of accessing food are getting steeper for many during the pandemic, say experts at the Friedman School—but there’s no cause for panic. Still, COVID-19 has highlighted weaknesses and inequities in America’s food supply system, as well as the need to fix them.
At the same time, a new Tufts group is drawing attention to the spread of coronavirus in prisons, jails, immigration detention centers, and juvenile facilities, and pointing out that those cases affect us all—those who are ill among the incarcerated need to be treated in the same hospitals as everyone else.
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.
Events Prohibition Extended to June 30
The prohibition of all events, including on-campus events and Tufts-sponsored off-campus events, has been extended to June 30, 2020. Until then, in-person meetings of any size should be avoided. Members of the Tufts community are encouraged to instead use remote technology such as Zoom, WebEx, Skype, Google Hangouts, and conference calls to meet. The university will continue to monitor the situation. If national, state, and local regulations and advisories should change, and safety considerations allow, revisions to this policy will be considered and communicated to the Tufts community.
Frequently Asked Questions
The university’s FAQ pages around COVID-19 are being updated regularly. Please visit the site if you have questions.
Governor Baker Issues Order Requiring Face Covering in Public for Mass. Residents
Governor Charlie Baker today (May 1) issued an order requiring everyone in Massachusetts to wear a face covering in public—including inside businesses, outdoors, or on public transportation—if they are not able to keep a six-foot distance from others, as reported in the Boston Globe. The order, which will go into effect Wednesday, May 6, states that people will have to cover their nose and mouth—with anything from a bandanna or T-shirt to a homemade or painter’s mask—unless they can successfully social distance.
Related: Somerville Requires Face Covering in All Public Settings
As of April 29, the city of Somerville is mandating that face masks be worn at all times in public in order to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Somerville Board of Health and Mayor Joe Curtatone issued the order to require face coverings to be worn at all times in public. It applies to anyone age two or older when in any public indoor or outdoor space. A one-week grace period was issued to allow time to comply. For more information, go to https://www.somervillema.gov/facecoverings.
Get Answers to Your FAQs About HR Programs & Services During COVID-19
To assist the community, Tufts Human Resources has outlined a series of frequently asked questions (FAQs) with information about our programs, services, and benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These FAQs focus on programs and services, such as training and wellness opportunities, as well as questions about benefits related to medical clearance for returning to work after being ill, the impact of the CARES Act on your benefits, commuter benefits, and changes to your dependent care flex spending.
See the HR Programs & Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic page to find answers to these questions and additional benefits and resources to help support you during this time.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
A reminder for anyone who needs to be on campus: Following CDC recommendations, face masks are required for those on all campuses at Tufts.
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 continue to ask for your patience, and I sincerely thank you for your cooperation, understanding, commitment, and flexibility as we move forward together.
Executive Vice President