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May 15, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

As we look forward to the summer and fall, Tufts is planning for gradual expansion of clinical operations, ramping up research, and starting the fall semester. In a message to the community, President Monaco outlined the steps being considered, with the health and safety of the community at the forefront of the planning process.

The first parts of the university to repopulate will likely be our clinical and research operations.

Clinics associated with Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine, which have remained open for emergencies, will slowly scale up, with appropriate safety measures in place.

For research, we anticipate the first of three phases of ramp-up to begin in early June, though schools may vary in their implementation timeline. During this phase, strict social distancing and safety guidelines will be followed.

The university’s goal is to resume on-campus teaching in the fall to the greatest extent possible. However, the uncertain trajectory of the pandemic may require us to consider multiple modes of teaching, including the possibility of a hybrid model in which some programs or individual courses are taught in person, some remotely, and some in a dual format.

Similar to the other emerging plans, staff will likely come back in a phased manner based on the type of work being done. (To be clear, the potential lifting of restrictions by Governor Baker as of May 18 does NOT mean that employees will be expected to return to campus on May 18.) When staff do return to campus, there will be notable changes, including screening procedures, guidelines on social distancing and the use of masks, and limitations on the size of in-person meetings.

As I said in my email to faculty and staff yesterday, unless staff are already working on campus as directed by their school or division leaders, they should continue to work remotely. As we plan for a gradual repopulating of our campuses, please be assured that reducing the risk to our campus community is our utmost priority.

Tufts Community Continues to Be Active in Pandemic Response

The Tufts community continues to step up to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Soon after the pandemic reached Boston, a group of researchers from the School of Medicine and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences formed the Boston Biomedical Rapid Response Team—using their lab skills to help Massachusetts process thousands of COVID-19 tests.

Tufts is also donating use of Carmichael Dining Center on the Medford/Somerville campus—especially the refrigeration capacity that is urgently needed—to a coalition of Massachusetts food rescue organizations that have been working overtime to collect and distribute food to a growing number of people in need during the pandemic.

The university continues to adapt to the altered circumstances caused by the pandemic. For example, Tisch Library and Digital Collections and Archives have pivoted to online-only services, and the Medicinal Chemistry class taught by Krishna Kumar, Robinson Professor of Chemistry, quickly incorporated the unfolding pandemic into classes and readings—the last two lectures focused exclusively on COVID-19.

As the world starts considering how to reopen, Bhaskar Chakravorti, Fletcher’s dean of global business, says that nations need to consider three principles before coming out of lockdowns.

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.

Upgrade Zoom for Enhanced Security

Zoom has launched its 5.0 release with added security enhancements, including increased protection for meeting data. Beginning May 30, Zoom will be adding encryption to the 5.0 release and requiring users to upgrade to join meetings.

Given that Zoom has become a critical tool for the community to teach, learn, and work online, we want to ensure you avoid any interruption to service after May 30 by having the latest release installed. Please read more about the security enhancements and how to download and upgrade today.

Preserve Stories of the Pandemic with Tufts Digital Collections and Archives

How has the pandemic changed life at Tufts? Archivists at Tufts Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) are working to preserve Tufts stories related to COVID-19 and are asking for your help. Your writing, photos, audio, and video will help create a fuller picture of the Tufts community in these historic times. Please visit the DCA site to contribute.

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.

Please keep in mind that university and school-based decisions are being made on an ongoing basis with great care and consideration. As we slowly ramp up activities, we continue to be grateful for your cooperation, understanding, flexibility, and commitment to the mission of Tufts University.

Mike Howard
Executive Vice President