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January 19, 2021

Dear Tufts Faculty and Staff (including Postdoctoral Fellows),

The following message provides important information on what is expected of you when you return to campus for the spring semester. Since there is a lot of information here, the key points are highlighted up front.

  • If you have any COVID-19, flu-like or respiratory symptoms, you must stay home until you have been cleared to return to work by a health care provider and/or you are confirmed to be negative through appropriate testing.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19 from an entity outside of Tufts University, please provide official documentation of your positive test for our health providers and notify the Jumbo Health Center at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or CummingsCovid@tufts.edu (Grafton campus only).
  • Routine/surveillance testing for employees is either weekly or on the date of your visit.Residential life, dining, and custodial staff working in dormitories, dining facilities, and other staff who are in frequent close contact with students on the Medford/Somerville campus are required to be tested twice a week.
  • If you currently work remotely and need to come to campus for any reason, you must have approval from your supervisor to do so.
  • If you are currently working in a research lab you should continue to follow guidelines (see Surveillance testing below) established for research labs.
  • If you are not working in a research lab and plan to be on campus fewer than five times during the spring semester and will not be in close contact with others when on campus, you are not required to be tested on the days of your visits.
  • You are required to continue to complete the COVID-19 screening survey before coming to campus.
  • The Tufts Travel Policy put in place in October 2020 remains in effect. All travelers returning from out-of-region locations are required by the Massachusetts travel order to remain in quarantine for 14 days or until they have received a negative result from a COVID-19 test. Some schools may have enacted stricter policies. Please make sure to consult with your school or supervisor before returning to campus.

**For details, please read the full email below.**

Surveillance testing

 

All Tufts faculty, staff, researchers, research assistants, undergraduate and graduate students and post-docs who are accessing Tufts facilities at least once a week are required to be tested once a week. You do not need to be tested on the weeks you are not on campus.

All Tufts faculty, staff, researchers, research assistants, undergraduate and graduate students and post-docs who are accessing Tufts facilities less than once a week, but at least five or more times, during the semester are required to be tested on the day of their visit. Appointments for day-of-visit testing are not required.

Residential life, dining, and custodial staff working in dormitories and dining facilities on the Medford/Somerville campus are required to be tested twice a week.

Employees working remotely must be approved by their supervisor to come to campus. Those who come to campus fewer than five times during the spring semester and will not be in close contact with others when on campus are not required to be tested on days of their visits.

See more on surveillance testing protocols at Tufts.

What to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms

Due to the high number of positive COVID-19 cases reported in the state and new, more contagious strains of the virus, it is imperative that each of us do our part to reduce the risk of infection. To this end, if you have symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19 infection, you should assume that you may have COVID-19 and follow the guidelines for isolation until confirmed by testing and consultation with a health care provider.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, and nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. Because many of these symptoms are non-specific, it is easy to brush them off as “my allergies,” “something that I ate,” or a “poor night’s sleep.” Please do not discount any of these symptoms during the pandemic.

Medford/Somerville, SMFA, and Boston Health Sciences campuses: If you experience any of the symptoms above, you must stay (or return) home and notify the Jumbo Health Center (Marathon Health) at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or your primary care physician (PCP) to discuss your symptoms. You should receive symptom or exposure-based testing if advised by your clinician, and testing should be done through you PCP’s office or as directed by Marathon Health. Please do not return to campus until you have been cleared to return to work by your health care provider and you should keep in communication with your direct supervisor or manager.

Grafton campus: If you experience any symptoms, regardless of whether you think they are related to COVID-19 or not, you must stay (or return) home and contact CummingsCovid@tufts.edu, who will provide guidance. You should notify your PCP or seek care at an urgent care facility immediately if you have significant symptoms consistent with COVID-19, as described above. You should receive symptom or exposure-based testing if advised by your clinician, and testing should be done through you PCP’s office or as directed by Cummings COVID. Please do not return to campus until you have been cleared to return to work by your health care provider and through CummingsCovid@tufts.edu. You should keep in communication with your direct supervisor or manager.

What to do if you are exposed to someone with known or suspected COVID-19

Medford/Somerville, SMFA, and Boston Health Sciences campuses: If you are exposed to someone with known or suspected COVID-19, you should immediately quarantine and contact Jumbo Health Center (Marathon Health) at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or your primary care physician (PCP) to discuss your exposure. Do not come to campus if you have had a known or potential exposure until you are cleared to return.

Grafton campus: If you have a known or suspected exposure, you must stay (or return) home and contact CummingsCovid@tufts.edu for guidance. They will provide directions for asymptomatic testing and duration of your quarantine, or they may direct you to a health care provider if you have symptoms.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you test positive outside of the university’s surveillance system, you should notify the Jumbo Health Center at jumbohealthcenter@marathon-health.com or 617-627-0467 or CummingsCovid@tufts.edu (Grafton campus only) to evaluate your individual circumstances and, when appropriate, initiate the contact tracing process so that any Tufts colleagues or students with whom you may have had close contact can be notified of possible exposure. You may leave a voice mail with your name and contact number if it is off-hours. You will be asked to provide official documentation of your positive test result for our health care professionals to review.

Continue to complete the COVID-19 screening survey

We remind you that completion of the daily COVID-19 symptom screening survey (found on the Tufts mobile app or online) prior to coming to campus is both a Tufts University and Massachusetts requirement as part of our opening plan. It only takes 30 seconds and can prevent transmission of infection on campus and alert you that you need to contact your health care provider immediately if you have symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Essential Travel Quarantine

The Tufts COVID-19 Travel Policy remains in effect. All travelers returning from out-of-region locations are required to remain in quarantine for 14 days or until they have received a negative result from a COVID-19 test. Note that schools may have specific guidance related to travel that you must follow. Please make sure to consult with your school before assuming that a single negative test result is sufficient.

During the spring semester, Tufts will provide COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff returning from travel, as long as they are routinely working on campus during the term. If employees come to campus outside of their normal working hours to be tested in order to be released from the mandatory Massachusetts travel quarantine, they will not be compensated for this time.

If faculty and staff working on campus and returning from travel choose not to test or are required to stay-off-campus, they must consult with their supervisor and use either their vacation or personal time to complete the required 14-day quarantine or stay-off campus period. Faculty and staff working exclusively remotely are not eligible for COVID-19 testing at Tufts, but they are still required to abide by Massachusetts’ rules. They may continue working remotely while quarantining under the Massachusetts’ travel order.

Please continue to keep up your strong commitment to minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. To all of you, we express our sincerest admiration and respect for your hard work.

Sincerely yours,

Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H.
University Infection Control Health Director

Kim Ryan
VP of Human Resources