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March 18, 2020

Dear graduate students, professional students, and postdoctoral scholars,

We hope that this message finds you well and healthy during this public health crisis we are facing. As you may have seen from Executive Vice President Mike Howard’s recent email, the university is taking additional measures to continue to reduce the number of community members on our campuses with the purpose of increasing social distancing and protecting ourselves and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19.

To this end, the university has asked all non-essential staff to work from home effective Tuesday, March 17th. We are writing to confirm that this policy applies to master's and graduate certificate students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral scholars (and not to clinical certificate students/residents), most of whom engage in learning and/or work that have not been identified by their advisors and supervisors as essential to the university’s operational and/or academic continuity. As a result, most master's and graduate certificate students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral scholars will be expected to work from home or their residence hall effective immediately and no later than Friday, March 20th. Moreover, all students will take their courses remotely as all courses in all schools have been, or soon will be, converted to a remote format.

An email has also been sent to all faculty by Provost Nadine Aubry, Vice Provost Kevin Dunn, and Tufts University Faculty Senate President Melissa Mazan to encourage faculty to work remotely unless their work is deemed essential to the university’s operational and/or academic continuity (e.g., clinical activities). 

If you have not yet discussed your status with your advisor/PI/supervisor, please do so now so that you may take the necessary steps to work remotely, or to focus your time on campus attending to essential matters in a manner that observes social distancing and current CDC guidelines, and the evolving state and federal requirements. Please minimize your travel on your campus or between campuses, and be in touch with your advisor/PI/supervisor with any questions you may have about your university responsibilities at this time. For those of you who do not work directly with an advisor/PI/supervisor please direct all questions you may have to your school’s Office of Student Affairs.

Individuals whose supervisors have determined that they are not essential to the university’s operational and/or academic continuity must work with their PI/supervisor to identify tasks that can be completed remotely. Suggested activities are as follows:

  • Continuing to conduct research that does not require your presence in physical facilities or experimental laboratories remotely
  • Writing papers, thesis chapters and grant proposals
  • Conducting a literature survey
  • Reviewing articles
  • Conducting analyses on your experimental data
  • Compiling data and/or synthesizing research.

Doctoral thesis proposals and thesis defenses can be carried out virtually during this time. Each school’s Office of Student Affairs can assist in arranging these activities where necessary.

The International Center has confirmed that there will be no immediate term change in visa status for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on a visa while education and research/scholarship activities continue remotely. The International Center will continue to monitor developments and advise departments and visa holders as the situation continues to unfold.

Please monitor and refer to specific guidance from your school/center. The latest guidance and information applicable to university staff can be found here: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/3-15-2020-staff-update/. Tufts Technology Services has also posted the following guidance on working remotely: https://it.tufts.edu/working-remotely/.

During this dynamic time period, the university will regularly post any updates to these guidelines.

Please contact your school’s Office of Student Affairs or the University’s Postdoctoral Scholars Officer, Andrew Bohm, with questions.

Please remember that we have a shared interest in maintaining a campus community free from discrimination. We must remain committed to preventing and containing, as necessary, an outbreak of COVID-19 within the Tufts community in a manner that is not in any way discriminatory or exclusionary. Our goal is to promote a culture of awareness and vigilance that is universal, and not specific to any nationality, race, ability, or other protected category.

We are most grateful for your patience and cooperation in this challenging time for all, and wish you the best for a healthy and successful end of the spring semester.

Sincerely,

Nadine Aubry, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President

Kevin Dunn, Ph.D.
Vice Provost

Caroline Attardo Genco, Ph.D.
Vice Provost for Research