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May 29, 2020

Dear students, faculty, and staff,

As the effects of the pandemic continue to be felt, President Anthony Monaco yesterday outlined in a message to the Tufts community the university’s efforts to maintain its financial well-being. (Provost Nadine Aubry and I were co-authors of this message.) These endeavors are guided by three core goals: maintain the high quality of a Tufts education, care for our faculty and staff, and ensure the long-term health of the university.

The university’s major revenue sources have decreased due to the pandemic, while IT expenses and need for financial aid have increased, along with the need for critical investments to reduce the risks for students, faculty, and staff when they repopulate our campuses.

In addition to the previously announced hiring moratorium, wage freeze, suspension of discretionary spending, and hold on capital projects, new actions are being taken to address our financial situation while still allowing Tufts to fulfill its vital mission. These include: increasing the FY2021 endowment payout; limiting capital expenditures to those necessary for life and safety, building integrity, and the university’s response to COVID-19; reducing the amount of vacation staff can carry over to one year, which will be phased in over the next 18 months; and school- and department-specific reductions to address budget shortfalls. Learn more here.

In addition to these measures, all of Tufts senior leaders—including the president, provost, executive vice president, vice presidents, and school deans—have agreed to take voluntary compensation reductions.

We also invite you to share your ideas, not just for how we can reduce our expenses, but also how we can take advantage of our intellectual resources and traditional strengths to further fulfill our mission while creating novel revenue opportunities that help address challenges emerging from this pandemic. Please email your ideas to budgetsuggestions@tufts.edu.

Tufts Civic Engagement

Tufts continues to be civically active during the pandemic. An online platform organized by Tisch College has connected hundreds of members of the Tufts community amid COVID-19 to virtual and local volunteering opportunities. Tufts is also offering emergency grants to nonprofits in its host communities to help them implement services associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tufts experts regularly offer their views and advice on issues of concern surrounding the pandemic. A Tufts professor of economics offers his thoughts on where the economy goes from here, and a professor and an alumna offer tips for cooped-up couples to strengthen fraying relationships.

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.

2020 Census Information for Students

Our host communities of Boston, Grafton, Medford, and Somerville are counting on us to make sure all Tufts students are counted in the 2020 Census. The census is a mandatory headcount, taken every ten years, of all persons living in the United States. It takes only a few minutes to complete the census and doing so is vital to our surrounding communities.

According to official guidelines, all students should be counted at the address where they had been living for the majority of the year, regardless of any recent relocation due to the circumstances surrounding COVID-19.  All students who were living on campus at the beginning of the spring 2020 semester will be counted automatically by the university in our response to the 2020 Census. No action is required.

All students living off-campus in the local community will have received an invitation to participate in the 2020 Census sent to their addresses. If the invitation was received at your address, please follow the instructions and use the unique Census ID that is linked to your physical address. If your address was vacated before the invitation was received, please review instructions for participating in the census without an ID.

You may respond online at my2020census.gov, over the phone, or by mail. Please note that everyone who is, or was, living or staying at an address during spring 2020 should be counted by filling out the census for that address. All residents, including international students, should be counted. Please coordinate with any former roommates or housemates to ensure that information is submitted for your residence. 

All census data is protected by federal law, and your personal information cannot be used against you by any government agency or court. No citizenship question is included in the census. 

For additional information, please watch this video created by Tufts Census Action. If you have questions, please email covid19@tufts.edu.  

Six Tips for Producing Do-It-Yourself Videos at Home

Teaching@Tufts offers a valuable list of helpful suggestions to make the most of video presentations, including producing videos of the highest possible quality, along with links to more resources. Learn more here.

Update on Child Care in Massachusetts

The university’s coronavirus FAQ pages now have three questions and answers about Massachusetts’ plan for reopening child care and summer camps, and about child-care benefits available to Tufts employees. Find out more here.

In addition, Tufts’ Employee Assistance Program (KGA) has tips for finding alternative caregivers; you can contact them for help in your search. (They also provide information and support on COVID-19 issues as well as a multitude of other topics.)

Webinar for Students and New Graduates on Navigating the Pandemic

Tisch College of Civic Life is launching an eight-part weekly webinar series this summer aimed at supporting students, including the Class of 2020—and the Tufts community generally—during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Navigating the Pandemic: Knowledge, Resilience, Civic Purpose and Engagement will be offered on Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ET, starting June 10. It draws on the expertise of Tisch College faculty and staff, Tufts faculty in a variety of academic disciplines, and experts from Boston-area universities, hospitals, and community nonprofit organizations.

Upgrade Zoom Now 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, we want you to 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

The university’s newly redesigned 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 the university. 

Best regards,

Mike Howard
Executive Vice President