Close Menu

October 14, 2020

Dear Student,

We are sending this message to all undergraduate and graduate students today to share important information about our plans for the Spring semester.

The faculty have approved the following revisions to the academic calendar for Spring 2021:

  • The first day of classes will be on Monday, February 1, 2021.
  • Spring break has been shortened to a long weekend and in-person students will be directed not to travel. There will be no classes on Friday, March 26.
  • The last day of classes will be Wednesday, May 5. 
  • Reading period will be on Thursday, May 6.
  • SMFA Review Boards will be May 6-14 (unchanged).
  • Final exams will be May 7-14 (unchanged).
  • Senior Week will be May 15-23 (unchanged).
  • Commencement will be Sunday, May 23 (unchanged).

(Please Note: No decisions have been made about the status of Senior Week and Commencement at this time. More details will be shared in March.)

Classes will start later in Spring 2021 to create a longer Winter Break allowing for students to arrive on a staggered basis between January 19 and 29 and complete their testing and quarantine requirements before classes begin. You can review the full academic calendar on our website.

With the academic calendar in place, we look forward to welcoming you back to our campuses this spring. As was the case in the fall, the decision to study in person or remotely or to take a leave of absence will be entirely yours. We wholeheartedly support whichever path you choose.

Register your Spring 2021 plans

Our ongoing and extensive preparations for the Spring semester require an accurate understanding of how many students wish to return to campus in-person and how many wish to live in campus housing. Indeed, knowing your intentions impacts every aspect of our planning for course modalities and registration, academics, student support, and residential-life operations as well as our extensive plans for testing, monitoring, and the density of our facilities.

We understand that some students may be unable to return to campus, and that international students in particular may find themselves facing many challenges. International students can contact our International Center for assistance with questions regarding visas and travel.

All students are required to let us know whether you intend to participate in this Spring term in person or remotely. We encourage you to discuss your options with people you trust, such as family members or your physician, before reaching your decision.

Complete the Spring 2021 Intent Form by Friday, October 30, 2020.

Undergraduates who choose to apply for a leave of absence must also submit a leave of absence application through SIS by November 1, 2020.

Complete the Spring 2021 Intent Form

Courses and Registration

Once again, Arts and Sciences and Engineering courses will be offered in various formats: some will focus on in-person lectures and discussions, others will be offered fully virtually, and many will have a hybrid or multiple-modality model, combining a mix of remote and in-person instruction. Virtual learning may be available either synchronously – live, with students all participating at the same time – or asynchronously, enabling students to participate at a time that works best for them. The studio arts curriculum offered by SMFA at Tufts will continue to mix in-depth virtual instruction with options for students either to have access to studios and facilities in-person or receive supplies and equipment at home to complete coursework.

Spring classes will be available to search in SIS on November 2, including each course’s delivery method (in-person, hybrid/dual modality, virtual). Registration for Spring 2021 courses will be available through SIS in mid-November as shown in the academic calendar.

A commitment to health and safety

Your health, safety, and well-being, as well as that of others at Tufts and in our larger communities, are paramount. Nothing has been more important in our decision-making about our plans for the Spring.

Should you decide to attend in person this spring, you will be required to join us in committing to our health and safety protocols. In particular, the 24/7 masks requirement, physical distancing expectation, mandatory COVID testing, daily symptom screening, and the requirement to have no large social gatherings will all remain Tufts policy for the entire academic year, and possibly longer.

All the policies in the Fall 2020 Campus Guide for Students carry forward to the Spring term. We strongly encourage you to review the guide, which includes important information about campus health and safety protocols, housing and dining, academic life, and more.

Arrival testing, quarantine, and dates

Once we know your intentions for the Spring, we will share more details about the arrival-testing procedure, quarantine for students returning to campus, and move-in dates. We will once again be asking out-of-region students to arrive earlier than in-region students so that they can complete their testing and quarantine periods first. Out-of-region students will arrive between January 19 and 23; in-region students will arrive between January 26 and 29.

Campus housing

If you currently have on-campus housing and plan to return for the spring semester, you will be able to keep your current room and are guaranteed on-campus housing. No action is needed to stay in your current assignment.

If you were not in-person during the fall semester but would like to apply for campus housing, log into the housing portal in SIS to complete an application for spring 2021 housing. This application is due by November 9, 2020.

Please note that the housing portal can only accommodate a set number of users at a time. If you have trouble logging on, please try to access it again at another time.

If you have a housing assignment for the Spring semester and decide you do not want to live on campus, you can change your mind without a financial penalty if you let us know by November 9, 2020. Visit the housing portal in SIS to complete the housing form if you no longer need housing for the Spring.

Final thoughts

As we make plans for the spring, there is much to consider during the remainder of the fall. If you are currently in-person, we will soon be asking you to share your plans for Thanksgiving and the end of the semester, and we look forward to sharing the Thanksgiving holiday with many of you. As a reminder, if you wish to travel during the Thanksgiving break, you will be required to complete the fall semester remotely. More information about the University’s plans for the holiday will be shared soon.

We very much hope that you will decide to return to campus this Spring. We are available to answer any questions you have about the coming semester and to assist you in your decision-making.

Although this is a deeply challenging moment in global history, we have faith in the collective strength of the Jumbo community. 


James M. Glaser, Dean, School of Arts and Sciences

Jianmin Qu, Dean, School of Engineering

Nancy Bauer, Dean, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University

Robert G. Cook, Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Karen Panetta, Dean, Graduate Education, School of Engineering

Camille Lizarríbar, Dean, Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer for AS&E