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What are the AS&E travel policies for students in general and for the Thanksgiving break?

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It is becoming increasingly clear that travel off-campus, and in particular attending even small gatherings, has been a factor in many of the COVID-19 cases we have seen at Tufts so far this term. This has been true both for short trips and in-region travel and for longer trips and out-of-region travel. In light of the facts, we want to highlight our general travel policy and share specific new guidelines for Thanksgiving break.

General travel policy

All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic. All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

Thanksgiving travel policy

Beginning with the Thanksgiving break, if you choose to travel, you cannot return to campus and instead must finish the semester remotely. This applies to all AS&E undergraduate and graduate students traveling in-region or out-of-region, and to those living on-campus and those living off-campus but attending courses and/or using campus facilities in-person. 

If students elect to leave campus at Thanksgiving and therefore decide to finish the semester remotely, Tufts will not reimburse or pro-rate housing or dining fees. Students who believe they have a situation that meets the exceptional circumstance definition may request approval from the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs to travel over the break and return by submitting a request. Such requests will be granted rarely and returning students will be required to meet quarantine and testing requirements upon their return.

In addition, this policy also applies to local travel such as attending off campus gatherings of any kind during the break, such as Thanksgiving dinner. The policy’s public health rationale is not how far a student will be traveling but their exposure to individuals who have not participated in our community’s routine testing and protocols. We recognize that this may be an unusual Thanksgiving for many, but limiting travel is vital to our plan to maintain the health of the community. Students and their families, friends, and loved ones are encouraged to celebrate the holiday remotely in creative and meaningful ways.

We are, as always, appealing to our students to adhere to these policies for the greater good of the community, and we appreciate the high level of compliance we have seen so far. Because of the serious health risks travelling and returning to campus during the Thanksgiving break would pose, violations of the travel policy will be addressed via the Student Conduct Resolution Procedure. 

We are making plans to offer students meaningful ways to mark this holiday that both recognize the difficulties and celebrate resilience and our sense of Tufts community. We will share these plans with you in the coming weeks.

Last update: Monday, Sep 28, 2020 - 10:06am

What precautions should I take if I travel?

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You should be aware that traveling—along with other factors—can significantly increase your risk of exposure—e.g., destination, mode of travel, ability to social distance, mask use, use of good hygiene resources and procedures, and avoiding large groups of people in close proximity for extended periods of time. If you do choose to travel, we urge you to exercise extreme caution.

We urge you strongly to:

  • Monitor both domestic and international destinations where COVID-19 is present, as well as information, travel warnings, health advisories, travel and movement restrictions (e.g., use of public transportation, border closings, screening procedures at airports/stations, etc.) and quarantine requirements and conditions at your destination. These do change frequently.

The CDC website, as well as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)U.S. Department of State, and International SOS provide useful updated information. Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering also has an excellent site with daily updates of cases worldwide. 

  • Take basic precautions recommended by the CDC while you travel.  Your risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 depends on your own behavior as well as your travel pattern, destination or means of transportation. Therefore, you should be sure to:        
    • Avoid close contact with sick people
    • Distance yourself from others—stay at least 6 feet away to prevent exposure through coughing
    • Cover your mouth and nose with a face mask
    • Cover your cough with your upper sleeve or elbow
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60 percent to 95 percent alcohol
    • Wipe down frequently touched objects (e.g., phones) and surfaces
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Do not share drinks/food/cigarettes, utensils, vaping products, etc.
  • Speak with your manager/supervisor (including prior to traveling, if possible) on how quarantine guidelines issued by the State of Massachusetts and by the CDC for travelers returning either from domestic or international travel may affect your ability to return to work.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you get symptoms, which include coughing, fever, and difficulty breathing.
Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 2:01pm

As a student participating in-person for the fall semester, will I have to follow any travel restrictions?

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Yes, we are asking students to limit their travel and time away from campus during the fall semester.

Student health and wellness is of utmost concern, as is the health of our greater community outside the boundaries of our campuses. To support a healthy community on campus, all students returning to the Medford/Somerville or SMFA campuses will be required to participate in COVID-19 testing as coordinated by the Student Health Center.  

This applies to students living on-campus and those in off-campus apartments, and other housing in the surrounding area, who plan to attend classes at least partially in person; engage in person with others on campus; or use facilities, such as libraries, on the Tufts campuses.

All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

This advisory is in place for the health of our entire community, since reducing the number of individual exposures is important to reducing further community spread and protecting those who are vulnerable to complications and death from COVID-19. Students should recognize that traveling during their time on campus may put their fellow students and other community members at risk.  

Last update: Friday, Sep 25, 2020 - 6:50pm

Do I need to self-quarantine when I return from travel?

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All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

AS&E students:

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

Students who must travel for exceptional circumstances during the fall semester will be required to go through the arrival testing and extended quarantine period again when they return to campus. The exception to this is Thanksgiving. Students who choose to travel off campus for Thanksgiving, may not return to campus and instead must finish the semester remotely. This applies to all AS&E undergraduate and graduate students traveling both in-region or out-of-region.

Faculty and staff:

Tufts’ policy is that MA and CDC provide the overarching guidance to be followed by travelers. Massachusetts’ new travel order, effective August 1, requires all non-exempted travelers from out-of-state (including residents, and including from out of the country) to fill out a travel form and self-quarantine for 14 days or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result, unless they can present a negative COVID-19 test that has been administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in MA. Exemptions include people commuting to work from another state and those coming to Massachusetts from a “low risk” state.  You should consult MA guidance for the latest updates, as exemptions and restrictions are likely to change.

You should speak with your manager or supervisor (including prior to traveling, if possible) on how Massachusetts and CDC quarantine guidelines may affect your ability to return to work.

For more COVID-19 travel information, visit https://global.tufts.edu/global-travel/covid-19-travel-information.

Last update: Friday, Sep 25, 2020 - 6:51pm

Who can help me if I get stuck while I am traveling?

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If you are on university-related travel, please call International SOS at +1 (215) 942-8478. They can help you assess your situation and find suitable accommodation and medical advice or treatment, if needed.  You will need to follow local guidance on procedures and next steps.

For personal travel, it is highly recommended that you obtain a travel assistance provider. You can buy the International SOS coverage at 20% discount: https://www.internationalsos.com/MasterPortal/default.aspx?membnum=11BCPS000093.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 2:02pm

I am planning to travel for personal reasons. Is it OK to travel?

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All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

All AS&E (including SMFA) undergraduate and graduate students are asked to register in advance of any such exceptional travel during the semester with the Dean of Student Affairs office.

For more COVID-19 travel information, visit https://global.tufts.edu/global-travel/covid-19-travel-information.

Last update: Friday, Sep 25, 2020 - 6:54pm

These FAQs are subject to change. Please check back here for the latest guidance. If you do not  find the information you are looking for, please send an email to COVID19@tufts.edu.