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October 30, 2020

Dear Student,

We are writing to share our preliminary plans for the Thanksgiving Break, to invite your input, and to ask about your own plans.

As a reminder, the Thanksgiving travel policy that we shared previously with you requires that unless you have an approved exception, you must not travel over the break if you wish to complete the semester in person. 

We know it is tempting to travel over the break, but it is also dangerous. If we experience a significant number of people leaving and returning in violation of the policy, it will likely be impossible for the University to remain at the current operating status that we have all worked hard to maintain these last several months. A status change would require significant additional restrictions for everyone.

We know it’s hard, and we thank you for your commitment to protect the health of your family, yourself, and your close contacts at Tufts.

If you plan to remain on campus during Thanksgiving Break, please complete our Thanksgiving Break Survey no later than 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3 so that we can get an accurate headcount for the meals we will be providing.

What is being planned for Thanksgiving Break?

If you are remaining at Tufts during Thanksgiving Break so that you can complete the semester in-person, we will be inviting you to:

  • Take time for reflection, relaxation, and recharging. Undergraduate and graduate programs are demanding even under normal circumstances. We want to encourage and empower you to take the four-day break to enjoy pastimes, exercise, and get plenty of rest. While there will be opportunities for activities, we want to keep the schedule light.
  • Celebrate virtually with family and friends. If it is your tradition to share what you are thankful for, to have long conversations with your loved ones, or to catch up with relatives you do not see often, we encourage you to join your family and friends and do so virtually on Thanksgiving Day. Technology allows us to be present and participate in family gatherings in meaningful ways. It can also be fun to have your roommate join you as you Zoom with your family and friends back home.
  • Enjoy a Friendsgiving at Tufts. Thanksgiving 2020 is a time to start new traditions. Spending time with the people you live with at Tufts without the normal constraints of class schedules and busy activities can be a gratifying and memorable experience. Make a favorite holiday recipe for your roommate, share a meal with the people you live with, play lawn games, watch a holiday movie marathon…or mark the holiday in any way that you and your friends will find memorable. Of course, please do so following the Tufts COVID-19 safety protocols of keeping gatherings to 10 people or less, wearing face coverings at all times, and maintaining at least six feet of physical distance between one another.
  • Recognize and thank our dining services staff. Our dining staff have been working full tilt and doing an excellent job in keeping the campus community fed. Help us in thanking and recognizing them by giving them the holiday break off. Regular meal service in the dining halls will end after dinner on Wednesday, November 25 and resume with dinner on Sunday, November 29. Meals will be prepared by local restaurants.
  • Join us in supporting restaurants in our host communities of Boston, Somerville, and Medford. To give our dining staff a break over the holiday, we are creating an innovative partnership where in person students remaining during the break can get brunch and dinner on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday plus brunch on Sunday from locally-owned restaurants. Meals will be provided at no cost, whether or not you have a meal plan and whether you live on or off campus. Many local businesses have struggled as a result of the pandemic, and this is an opportunity to support employment in our local community while allowing our own dining staff to have a break over the holiday. Participating restaurants and distribution logistics will be announced next month.

As plans for Thanksgiving Break take shape, we are inviting your participation! We encourage you to share your ideas about the break with the coordinating team via the survey.

We know you will still have many questions about our Thanksgiving plans. As we continue to finalize them, please be patient. We will be back in touch with additional details as we get closer to the Thanksgiving break.

Final thoughts

Routine COVID-19 testing will continue through the Thanksgiving Break. All students will be required to participate in testing as usual during the break. Failing to appear for a scheduled test may result in your inability to participate in the remaining part of the semester in person.

Due to the serious health risk, students who violate the Thanksgiving travel policy will be subject to disciplinary action.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently told CBS News that the already-rising number of infections may worsen if families travel and gather together for Thanksgiving. He recommends that people forgo social gatherings this holiday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also shared extensive recommendations regarding holiday travel and celebrations that you can review on their website.

Whether you decide to spend the Thanksgiving Break at Tufts and finish the semester in-person or leave campus to be with family and then complete the semester remotely, we recognize that this may be the most unusual Thanksgiving any of us have experienced. However, the sacrifices we are being asked to make are necessary to preserve the health and wellbeing of our campus and our host communities. Thank you again for all of your efforts this semester, and for continuing to protect our communities.

With my best wishes,

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