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Under what circumstances can I decline my meal plan? Will communal kitchens in the residence halls be available?

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In addition to students studying remotely, the only students who can decline a meal plan are juniors and seniors living in apartments with a less-than-six-to-one resident to kitchen ratio and those who, for medical reasons, are unable to participate in meal plans. Sophomores in spaces designated as having a kitchen may choose a reduced meal plan, but are still required to have one. 

All others will be required to have a meal plan and use Tufts Dining facilities. Information about meal plans is available here.

Community/shared kitchens are open on a limited basis within residence halls except for those within enclosed apartment spaces and in woodframe houses. To prevent virus spread, students are required to wipe down the areas after use and not leave personal belongings in them.

Returning students who canceled their meal plans last spring and wish to re-enroll were encouraged to do so before September 1.

Last update: Thursday, Sep 3, 2020 - 4:59pm

Must students maintain physical-distancing standards in the dining centers?

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Yes. Students who have returned to campus this fall must be willing—and committed—to complying with the university’s public health and safety guidelines to minimize the spread of COVID-19 infection. When seating for dining indoors is permitted, students who choose to eat in the dining halls will be expected to follow these guidelines as well. For now, these guidelines permit students to eat in closer proximity only with members of their residential cohort.  

Last update: Thursday, Aug 27, 2020 - 4:56pm

In the dining centers, how often will commonly touched surfaces (e.g., tables, chairs, water/soda fountains) be cleaned?

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High-contact surfaces will be cleaned every 30 minutes. Current public health guidance requires tables and chairs to be thoroughly cleaned between each seating. No self-service will be allowed. The university cleaning standards will apply to all other aspects of the dining operations. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 4:21pm

Which dining plans can I choose from? 

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First-year students are automatically placed on the Premium Plan. Second-year students in university housing without an approved kitchen must select from the 160- or 220-meals per semester or the Premium Plan. We encourage all other students to enroll in the plan of their choice before returning to campus. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 2:28pm

What dining services will be available? Will I be able to eat in the dining center?

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To comply with state guidance for restaurants, the experience in the Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie dining centers will be significantly changed in 2020–21. 

As the pandemic evolves and state regulations change, it is anticipated that dine-in service will be possible in the dining centers at various times during the academic year, while at other times all service will be takeout only. The timing of inside seating availability will be determined by public health guidance and state and municipal regulations for restaurants. It is thus important for students to familiarize themselves with both the takeout only and dine-in options. 

Only Takeout 

When only takeout is in effect: 

  • All food and beverages will be packaged for takeout. Students may not dine-in, nor may they gather or congregate in the dining centers. 

  • Access to Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie to pick up takeout will be by reservation only to prevent crowding in the dining centers at pick-up time.  

  • Students will be able to select from an appetizing menu of high-quality, nutritious food similar to what they are used to from Tufts Dining. Specials and featured menu items will still be offered on the menus. 

  • Meals will be packaged by Dining staff for takeout. No self-service is currently allowed. 

  • Students are required to wear a face covering at all times in all campus dining locations. 

Dine-In Service 

When dine-in service is permitted, the following practices will be employed: 

  • Takeout will remain available using the protocol specified above. Since there is not enough seating for everyone who may want it, all food and beverages will be packaged for takeout.

  • Reservations will be required for dine-in service. Students may make a reservation to visit the dining center up to several days in advance. The most popular dining centers may limit the number of times an individual student can visit per day to enable more people to enjoy them. 

  • Students may dine in with only members of their residential cohort. 

  • Many chairs and tables will be removed from the dining centers to increase physical distancing. This reduces the number of people who can be in each dining center at one time, therefore many people will need to be flexible with meal times. Students who cannot access the dine-in service can use their meal swipes at any retail location as well as several new service locations being planned. More information on these new “pop-up” locations will be announced later this summer. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 12:36pm

What is Late Night Dining? 

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Late night dining resumed as a pilot program on Friday, September 18 at Carmichael Dining Center and Commons Marketplace. You are able to visit the location and walk through to select your items, which the staff packages for you for takeout. Access to Carmichael is meal swipe only; students can use a meal swipe, JumboCash, or credit card at Commons Marketplace.

Last update: Monday, Sep 21, 2020 - 9:57am

I have food allergies. Will I still be accommodated? 

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The gluten-free pantry and food free of the nine most common allergens will be prepared and served at each meal period from the ALL 9 FREE platform in Dewick-MacPhie. Students with specific dietary needs may be eligible for accommodation and should contact the StAAR Center for more information. The Tufts Dining dietitian is available for more specific information and can be reached at

If you have been approved for reasonable accommodations by Student Accessibility Services in prior semesters, you do not need to reapply. (Please note that, with the former Academic Resource Center, Student Accessibility Services is now part of the StAAR Center.) Tufts will strive to continue your existing accommodations, though some changes and modifications may be necessary.

If you have a newly diagnosed condition, or are new to Tufts and require reasonable accommodation due to food allergies, please contact the StAAR Center for an accommodation. The Tufts Dining dietitian is available for consultation and can provide additional information about the dining program. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 4:20pm

How will the hours and locations of the dining centers be different this year?

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Because fewer people will be able to be in the dining centers at one time, Carmichael and Dewick-MacPhie Dining Centers will offer a fourth meal period, from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m. daily. Hodgdon Food-on-the-Run will be open on weekends this year. Two new services have been added, Carm2 and Dewick2, and are on the Tufts Mobile App. Pre-order your favorite items from that day's menu at Carmichael or Dewick and then come in when it’s ready, scan your QR code and go.

Last update: Friday, Aug 28, 2020 - 3:53pm

If dining is limited, can I get a reduced meal plan?  

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No. Dining is expanding access by allowing meal swipes to be used at all campus locations, and extending dinner service until 10 p.m. You can use two meal swipes each meal period and you’ll be able to pre-order from most locations for pickup. More information on the planned changes will be posted on the Tufts Dining website as it becomes available. 

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 4:21pm

How will Dining Services keep its employees safe? 

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Tufts Dining staff are tested twice a week as part of the surveillance testing, and all have been issued appropriate PPE. Work and service areas have been reconfigured where possible to allow for physical distancing. All dining staff have received additional training and support.

Last update: Friday, Sep 4, 2020 - 11:44am

Is the SMFA Café open? 

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Yes. Dining facilities on both the Boston SMFA and Medford/Somerville campuses are open. Students have received guidance on maintaining social distancing in dining areas. 

Last update: Friday, Sep 4, 2020 - 9:46am

Can I swipe in a friend like I used to? 

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No. Only the meal plan holders will be able to swipe in for meals in the dining centers. Once seating for dining indoors is allowed, our dining center seating capacity will be reduced by physical distancing, including the need to only eat with members of your residential cohort.

Last update: Wednesday, Aug 19, 2020 - 4:30pm

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