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November 3, 2020

Dear Students,

Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts released new public health orders and advisories designed to mitigate the transmission of SARS-Cov-2 that have implications for the Tufts AS&E community.

As you are aware, the number of new COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in Massachusetts has been increasing steadily over the last few weeks, which is why these new measures are being put into place by Governor Baker. We support the Governor’s new actions, which become effective on Friday, November 6 at 12:01 a.m.

While the number of COVID-19 cases within our Tufts community has been well below the state average that could change very quickly. In fact, on campus, we have recently seen an uptick in the number of new cases in isolation and close contacts in quarantine. Our contact tracing, isolation and quarantine policies and procedures are working well, and we sincerely thank everyone for their cooperation. These recent increases in numbers illustrate how we could go from a manageable situation to one requiring significant new restrictions in just a matter of days.

We recognize and appreciate how hard everyone is working to comply with our COVID-19 policies and requirements. 

As the weather turns colder and we move indoors, our high rate of negative tests may provide a false sense of security. Individual choices directly affect everyone in our community and our ability to sustain our in-person campus experience could be at risk. Thus, your continued compliance is critical, and any violations of our COVID policies--including our Thanksgiving travel policy--could swiftly erase months of our collective hard work. 

For students who are going home for Thanksgiving and finishing the semester remotely, it is especially important to act with increased caution to ensure that family and friends at home who could be at higher risk do not get infected.

What are the Commonwealth’s new requirements?

Below are the Commonwealth’s updated orders and advisories that take effect Friday, November 6, 2020 and their implications for you:

  • Face coverings are required indoors and outdoors regardless of social distancing. Tufts has mandated this more stringent face covering standard since August while also requiring social distancing. Keep doing what you are doing! This includes when you are walking or jogging alone. Please do not be in the habit of pushing down your mask when others are not around and pulling it up when you see people approaching.
  • Social gatherings are limited to 10 people or fewer indoors. Tufts has already mandated a limit of 10 people for both indoor and outdoor gatherings. These restrictions remain in place.
  • Stay-at-home advisory from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Tufts will now instruct students to be in their residence halls or off campus apartments by 10 p.m. unless they are in the library; working in an art studio, computer, teaching, or research lab; fulfilling their employment obligations; are seeking medical care; or are going to or returning from these locations.

However, the stay-at-home advisory will mean that access to the Campus Center will end at 10 p.m. Indoor dining will end at 9:30 p.m. and take out options will conclude at 10 p.m. The fitness center, gym, and indoor pool will all close at 9:30 p.m.

The SMFA studio hours will remain unchanged. Please visit the Tufts Shuttle website for important updates to the SMFA shuttle service. While we recognize this may impact students in different ways, we need to comply with the government’s requirements during a time of increased risk.

Due to the serious health risks to our community and our host communities, students who violate any of our COVID-19 related policies will be subject to disciplinary action.

None of us has lived through a global pandemic, and there is no blueprint for how to manage a university experience during one. It is our civic responsibility to follow the Commonwealth’s and Tufts’ public health guidance to prevent the spread of this virus for the good of everyone at Tufts and in our neighboring communities. 

Thank you for all that you have been doing to follow all of this guidance. We greatly appreciate the sacrifices that you have been making. Working together for the common good is what Tufts students do, and you continue to make us proud.

Sincerely,

Michelle Bowdler, Executive Director, Health & Wellness
Marie Caggiano, M.D., Medical Director, Health Service
Camille Lizarríbar, J.D., Ph.D., Dean of Student Affairs and Chief Student Affairs Officer for AS&E
Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., University Infection Control Health Director

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