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Fall 2020 Move-In Update

July 29, 2020

Dear Students:

We are writing to share details about our move-in plans for the Fall semester. 

We hoped to be in touch with you about these plans much sooner, but additional information and guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has caused us to reexamine the best way to welcome students back to campus this Fall.

The new guidance will cause us to delay the arrival of some students and add quarantine time to the arrival of others, and will cause us to frontload additional testing resources to coincide with student arrivals. It will necessitate that some students participate in the first few days of classes remotely, instead of in-person. And, due to the new travel restrictions, it will require some students to move into their residence halls independently, without help from parents or loved ones. 

These changes bring challenges – for all of us. But they also reflect our best efforts to prioritize the safe arrival of all students who wish to return to campus this Fall. While we have had to shift our plans to accommodate these new realities, one thing about our move-in plans remains unchanged – Tufts faculty and staff will be here to welcome students to campus and to help them settle into their new surroundings. 

The information that follows includes detailed plans for students living on- and off-campus. Additional information can be found at the Tufts move-in website. There is a great deal of information to cover, so we want to begin by offering you some key points.

  • Massachusetts has established health and safety requirements for anyone traveling to the Commonwealth, including mandatory quarantines for people arriving from certain regions. 
  • Tufts has established additional requirements for returning to campus for the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and host communities.
  • Arrival dates will be staggered to allow students who must complete a quarantine period to do so before the arrival of students who are not required to quarantine. Campus arrival dates will begin on August 16 and will end on September 13.
  • We are developing a variety of new virtual programs and activities, such as reading groups, video watch parties, workout classes, games, and more, that will engage and safely connect students with one another during their quarantine periods to make the time pass as productively and comfortably as possible.
  • The first day of classes will remain September 8. This means that some students may need to attend class remotely during the first four days of class before they move into campus housing. All courses will be offered as originally planned. We have asked faculty teaching in-person or hybrid courses to accommodate students who need to participate in their courses remotely in the short term. Students who will need such accommodations are encouraged to contact their instructors the week before courses begin for additional information.

New Guidance
Effective July 1, Massachusetts enacted guidance that requires everyone traveling to the Commonwealth from international locations or from states identified as having high rates of COVID-19 to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Massachusetts. On July 24, the Commonwealth amended its guidance to allow individuals to reduce the quarantine period by testing negative for the virus within three days of arriving in Massachusetts. Under this new guidance, individuals coming to Massachusetts from locations that require a quarantine period must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form before arriving in the state.

In an effort to further reduce the risk of exposure among our students, faculty, and staff, as well as our host communities, we are requiring all students to complete their arrival testing and all subsequent testing through Tufts. This means that we will not accept COVID-19 test results taken prior to arriving in Massachusetts or tests taken at locations outside of Tufts.

Revised Arrival Plans and Dates
Consistent with the new guidance, our arrival schedule will be organized by region. All students will be designated as either “in-region” or “out-of-region.”

  • In-region: Students arriving from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts are considered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as being “in-region.” (Note: Hawaii is also considered “in-region” by Massachusetts, but for our purposes, students traveling from Hawaii will be included in the out-of-region group.)
  • Out-of-region: Anyone arriving from U.S. states other than those listed above (including Hawaii), or from any international location will be considered to be arriving from “out-of-region."

Below is a summary of the most significant aspects of the new plan for in-region and out-of-region students living on- and off-campus. Additional details are available on the Office of Residential Life and Learning’s move-in website.

Move-In Dates
To accommodate these changes, the move-in process will extend from August 16 to September 13 as follows:

Region Housing Type Move-In Dates
In-region On Campus Sept 8 – Sept 12
In-region Off campus Sept 1 – Sept 8
(if permitted by lease)
Out-of-region On campus Aug 27 – Aug 30
Out-of-region Off campus Aug 16 – Aug 26
(if permitted by lease)

 

Arrival Protocols for Testing and Quarantine

Region Housing Type Testing Quarantine
In-region On Campus Upon arrival, must take one COVID-19 test. Quarantine until they receive a negative test.
In-region Off campus Upon arrival, must take one COVID-19 test. Quarantine until they receive a negative test.
Out-of-region On campus Upon arrival at Tufts, must quarantine in their room until the student takes and receives three negative COVID-19 test results. The anticipated wait time for completing the entire testing series is 7 to 8 days. Students will be required to stay in their assigned residence room until they complete the entire testing series. Meals will be delivered until students receive their negative test result. they may leave their room to get food and receive medical care during the rest of the quarantine
Out-of-region Off campus Upon arrival at Tufts, must quarantine in their off-campus apartment until the student takes and receives three negative COVID-19 test results. The anticipated wait time for completing their entire testing series is 7 to 8 days. Students will be required to stay in their leased residence until they complete the entire testing series.

            *Any student who tests positive for COVID-19, will be isolated in a separate housing unit.

If you develop symptoms before your scheduled arrival on campus, you should promptly be evaluated by a medical provider to arrange testing and inform us immediately if your test is positive, again by reaching out to the Health Service (617-627-3350) as stated above. We will work with you on a plan to come to campus after being cleared by your medical provider.

Staggered Arrivals for Off-campus Roommates Arriving from Different Regions
Roommates from different regions are asked to stagger their arrivals so that out-of-region roommates arrive first and have at least 7 days to complete the arrival protocols for testing and quarantine. This applies to both on campus and off campus housing.

Graduate Students
In the coming weeks, graduate students assigned to campus housing will receive more information about signing up for an arrival date.

Graduate students living off campus will be contacted separately to register for an arrival date so that they can receive their first COVID-19 test and begin the testing regimen. Information on how to sign up for an arrival test will be shared in the coming weeks.

Move-in Procedures
The Commonwealth’s guidance also necessitates changes to Tufts’ move-in procedures and will make it difficult for parents, family members, and loved ones to participate in the move-in process for students arriving from out-of-region.

  • Parents, family members, or friends who would be arriving in Massachusetts from out-of-region (regardless of where their student is arriving from) may accompany a student for move-in only if they have met Massachusetts’ requirements by either completing a 14-day quarantine upon arrival or have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival. Parents, family members, or friends who would be arriving in Massachusetts from in-region (regardless of where their student is arriving from) do not have to be tested or quarantined. 
  • All students, whether in- or out-of-region, will be required to stay in their rooms after they move in and receive the results of their first COVID-19 test at Tufts, without exception. This means that any persons helping with move-in or accompanying students must plan to depart campus as soon as their student has moved in and been tested.
  • Limit of 2 persons. Whichever region you are coming from, we ask that no more than two individuals come to campus to assist each student during move-in. This is to ensure social distancing and to lessen the number of people moving into a building at any given time.
  • Please note that the state’s “transitory travel” exception does not apply to out-of-region parents, guardians, or other people assisting a student coming to the Tufts campus. While the exception permits travelers to drive through Massachusetts or to connect to their airplane, bus or train, or to stop at a highway rest stop, this exception extends only so long as is reasonably required for the traveler to complete their transit, make any necessary airplane, bus, or train connection, or make use of travel services such as at a highway rest stop. It does not apply to college move-ins.

Because masks will be required while moving in (regardless of the outside temperature or the physical exertion required), students are advised to keep the moving process manageable for themselves by using options that reduce the amount of lifting done on move-in day:

  • Drive and Drop Option: The Office of Residential Life and Learning still plans to offer a drive and drop option for students who wish to drop items in their room before their official move-in date. More information on this opportunity can be found on our website.
  • Shipping Items to Campus: The Office of Residential Life and Learning has information on the move-in page explaining the process of shipping items to campus in advance of arrival. Tufts Mail Services will deliver boxes and packages to your on-campus room, consistent with social distancing and other health guidelines and subject to delivery schedules and limitations. 
  • Moving Assistance: Moving assistance will be provided by professional movers on the designated arrival days. Additional information will be available closer to move-in. 

Final Thoughts
There are a number of things that all of us can do to keep ourselves and everyone else healthy, whether on campus or at home. 

Regardless of the current rules or guidelines in your state, we are asking in the strongest possible terms for you to start now taking action to limit your risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Please:

  • wear a mask at all times outside your home,
  • practice physical distancing with friends by staying six feet apart,
  • avoid crowded areas such as beaches and bars,
  • and practice good hand washing technique

Before returning to campus, we strongly encourage you to have a conversation with your parents or family members about how you will manage a quarantine or illness, including sharing medical information, decision-making and general expectations. You should also have a similar conversation with your roommate(s) now to discuss how you will manage a quarantine or illness and agree as a team that you will do your best to stay healthy prior to your arrival.

We recognize this will be a difficult time for our students, particularly those who must complete a quarantine period. We are developing a variety of new virtual programs and activities, such as reading groups, video watch parties, workout classes, games, and more, that will engage and safely connect students with one another during their quarantine periods to make the time pass as productively and comfortably as possible.

Since our founding in 1852, Tufts has empowered generations of students to extend knowledge, to lead the world forward, and to do so with compassion. The circumstances in which we find ourselves today have made these aspirations more relevant and important than ever. Thank you for choosing Tufts. We look forward to engaging with you in the coming academic year.
 

Sincerely,

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