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questions and answers are available

Under what circumstances will I be asked to be in isolation? Is the situation different for on- and off-campus students? What about SMFA students?

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If/when students test positive for COVID-19 as a result of either their arrival/onboarding test or their surveillance/routine tests during the semester, if they live on campus, they will be moved to on-campus modular residential units (the mods) for isolation and health monitoring. For those living off-campus with a positive test, we will strongly encourage them to use the modular housing on campus so they may be monitored medically.  For those students attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and living off-campus in Boston, Brewster Ambulance Services will provide transport from Boston to the mods in Medford/Somerville campus. More information about isolation is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:38am

If I test positive for COVID-19, how long must I remain in isolation?

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Any person with a positive test for COVID-19 OR symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms, must remain in isolation (i.e., stay away from others) until:

  • At least 10 days (minimum) have passed from the date of the positive test
    AND
  • No fever (i.e., no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) for at least 24 hours
    AND
  • Any symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) have improved
    AND
  • At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset (Note: This means that people with symptoms may be required to quarantine for longer than the minimum 10 days if they have no symptoms on the date of testing but develop symptoms after.)
  • Your health-care provider has advised that it is safe to leave isolation.
Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:37am

Should I wear a cloth mask when I go outside for essential activities?

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Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all students, faculty, staff and visitors in the presence of others when on campus, in common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, dormitories, dining facilities and other shared spaces. The only exception to this is when an individual is alone in an office, in your own dormitory bedroom or greater than 6 feet from anyone else when outside.

The City of Somerville requires face masks be worn whenever anyone is in any public space—indoors or outside—regardless of the person's ability to socially distance; non-compliance is subject to a $300 fine by the city. A similar order exists in the City of Medford, but violators are not subject to a fine. Tufts University police officers will take notice of anyone not following these orders on campus.

Individuals who believe it is unsafe to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition or disability, or other protected reason should consult with their supervisor, HR business partner or dean's office. A good option for the hearing impaired who rely on lip reading and facial queues: https://www.theclearmask.com/.

Disposable masks will be provided by Tufts in all of its buildings for use by students and employees.

Cloth face coverings may also be worn, but will not be provided by the university. Cloth face coverings should only be worn for one day at a time, and must be properly laundered before use again. The fabric design or pattern for cloth face coverings should be appropriate for the workplace and classroom. See the CDC's guidelines on the use of cloth face coverings.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 4:22pm

How do I know if I have been exposed to someone in the Tufts community who tested positive for COVID-19?

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Tufts University is partnering with the Broad Institute to administer routine and exposure/symptom-based testing of students, faculty, and student-facing staff for the COVID-19 virus. When they receive a positive test result, Broad will contact the local board of health and Tufts Health Service to notify students or Marathon Health to notify faculty and staff who have tested positive. 

This will also initiate the contact tracing process with Marathon Health. Marathon Health will record the date of symptom onset and gather a list of close contacts within the Tufts community starting 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms. Marathon Health will then notify all close Tufts contacts.

More information about contact tracing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 4:09pm

Are there procedures I need to follow whenever I come on-campus?

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Yes, prior to arriving on campus each workday, faculty and staff, including postdoctoral scholars and doctoral students, must complete a Daily Health Screening Survey to attest that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently come into contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19. Upon completing the survey, individuals will immediately receive an email confirming whether they can come to campus. Those approved to come to campus may be required to show the email to a school administrator, supervisor or building security guard upon arrival. The survey can be accessed via:

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 4:07pm

As a student, what testing will I need to do upon arrival on campus this fall?

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All students who choose to participate in the fall semester in person will be regularly screened and tested for the COVID-19 virus. The first step will be to test all students when they arrive on campus. This is called onboarding testing.

On the date of their move in, students living on-campus will be required to arrive at a testing site to complete their COVID-19 test. Prior to arriving at Tufts, students living off-campus will need to register for an arrival date with the Office of Residential Life and Learning so they can schedule the first COVID-19 test that will begin their official testing regimen.

More details about the return to campus for students on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses is available on the Student Life website. More information about onboarding testing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 11:06am

Can I opt out of the contact tracing program?

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You cannot opt out of the contact tracing program. The program is essential to control the spread of the virus. You will not be identified during the process in which those individuals with whom you have had close contact are notified about their having had close contact with someone who has tested positive. Your medical information will be held in confidence in accordance with HIPAA regulations and best practices. More information about contact tracing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 10:38am

Where will my confidential information be stored?

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This information varies by campus. Please visit the Testing at Tufts resource for the specifics about where an individual’s information will be securely stored.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 10:19am

What constitutes exposure to an infected individual?

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Current guidance for exposure includes being within six feet of a COVID-19 positive person for more than 15 minutes. Passing someone in a hallway or being in the same building with an infected individual does NOT constitute exposure. More information about exposure and close contacts is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 10:01am

Is it possible for the testing process to produce an incorrect negative result in some people who have COVID-19?

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It is possible for the test to produce an incorrect negative result in some people who have COVID-19. Students who test negative but have symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns about exposure to COVID-19 should contact Health Service, and employees should contact their healthcare provider, to determine if they should be retested or take other actions. More information about testing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 9:59am

If my positive test result initiates contact tracing, will my identity remain confidential?

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During contact tracing, your identity will remain confidential. Those identified through contact tracing as needing to be notified will not be given your name. More information about contact tracing is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 9:56am

How will I learn about my testing results?

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If your test produces a negative result, you will receive an e-mail with a link directing you to a confidential health portal established by the Broad Institute, where you may obtain your test results. After your first negative test, you will receive an email inviting you to create an account to log in and view results. If a student or employee’s COVID-19 test is positive, the individual will be contacted by phone by a healthcare clinician/provider and given instructions for appropriate next steps and care, and will be able to begin isolation, which also initiates the contact tracing process. More information about notification of test results is available in the Testing at Tufts resource.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 9:52am

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.