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How is “close contact” defined?

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The CDC defines close contact as someone who:

  • Is within six feet for 15 minutes or more over the course of a 24-hour period, of a positive COVID-19 person/case, starting two days before the onset of illness and through illness state, OR
  • Provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19, OR
  • Had direct physical contact with (touched, hugged, or kissed) a positive COVID-19 person, OR
  • Shared eating or drinking utensils with a positive COVID-19 person, OR
  • Was sneezed or coughed on by a positive COVID-19 person, transmitting respiratory droplets to them.
Last update: Thursday, Oct 29, 2020 - 11:54am

How should I report misconduct?

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If you want to report a situation involving a possible violation of university rules, you may notify your RA (if you live on-campus) or the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs for your school. You may also submit an anonymous report online through EthicsPoint or email the Office of Community Standards

Tufts has student ambassadors who walk around the Medford/Somerville campus educating their peers and reinforcing positive behaviors that will help slow the spread of the virus, including mask wearing, physical distancing, and keeping gatherings to no more than 10 people. We know that the vast majority of Tufts students are following these guidelines for their own wellbeing as well as that of their community.

Last update: Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020 - 11:08am

What is the difference between self-quarantine, self-isolation, and self-monitoring? 

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Isolation is the term used to separate people who are sick from people who are healthy. Quarantine means to separate and restrict the movement of healthy people who may have been exposed to an illness to see if they become sick. Monitoring means to monitor themselves for symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a dry cough, or fever by taking their temperature twice a day and remaining alert for coughing or difficulty breathing.

Last update: Thursday, Aug 20, 2020 - 10:41am

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:

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

Will you be notifying the community every time someone tests positive?

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We do not send out a notification every time there is a positive result within the university community. We will be working closely with our COVID-19 testing and contact tracing providers as well as medical and public health authorities on all necessary contact tracing and alerts.

Last update: Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020 - 2:12pm

What steps is the university taking any steps to increase or change cleaning protocols?

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The university has proactively instituted enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures in response to emerging viral pathogens; these include the application of EPA-approved disinfectants on communal, high-use surfaces. We stand ready to alter these practices as CDC guidance and/or the situation at Tufts changes. In the event that deeper environmental cleaning becomes necessary, the university is working with an outside vendor to ensure that this can be done swiftly and thoroughly.

Dispensers throughout campus are being restocked with CDC-recommended hand sanitizer, and we will install additional dispensers as needed. We continue to monitor our inventory of hand soap, disinfectant, sanitizer and paper products to ensure uninterrupted availability of these products throughout campuses.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 10:11am

What is the policy for visitors on campus?

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See Testing at Tufts for the latest guidelines for visitors on campus. The complete Visitor (and Meeting) policy is available on AccessTufts.

Last update: Thursday, Apr 22, 2021 - 4:21pm

What restrictions exist around athletics and athletic fields?

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After consulting with the cities of Medford and Somerville, Ellis Oval outdoor track (College Avenue) and Triangle Park (corner of Powder House Boulevard and College Avenue) are now open.  Physical distancing and other local guidelines still apply. The vast majority of our Medford/Somerville campus is also open for walks and passive use.

The Steve Tisch Sports & Fitness Center, including Hamilton Pool, on the Medford/Somerville campus is open for use by students, faculty, and staff who are part of the Tufts testing protocol this fall. New protocols have been developed to prioritize the health and safety of everyone using or working in the facility, including physical distancing, spacing out of fitness equipment, and regular cleaning and disinfecting of equipment and surfaces. The implementation of these protocols has caused significant changes to the normal use of the facility. For example, some equipment and areas of the fitness center are not be available for use, face masks are required, the number of concurrent users of the fitness center (and the duration of each visit) is limited, and advance reservations are required to access the facility.  For more information on the Tisch Fitness Center protocol or to make a reservation, please visit:

Following a decision of the NESCAC presidents, NESCAC league and championship play were canceled for the 2020-21 winter season. Along with our NESCAC colleagues, Tufts varsity teams practiced, but did not compete, in fall sports during the 2020 fall semester.  We recognize the dedication and hard work of our student athletes, and we look forward to resumption of NESCAC competition in the future.

Last update: Tuesday, Oct 20, 2020 - 11:35am

I am a neighbor of Tufts University. What happens if a Tufts student living in my neighborhood becomes infected with COVID-19?

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Through its contact tracing program in partnership with the Jumbo Health Center, Tufts quickly identifies anyone, including students, who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive and ensures that they are notified and told to self-quarantine for the required 14 days.

Students who have tested positive are directed to isolate. Those who live on-campus and test positive move to specialty isolation housing. Those who live off-campus are strongly encouraged to do so at the isolation units on the Tufts campus, where they will be monitored by a clinician. If they isolate off-campus, Tufts provides the resources they need during their recovery so they can remain safely in their residence. Students in isolation are not permitted to leave until they have medical clearance. The identity of anyone who tests positive will remain confidential to protect their privacy as well as those who may have been in close contact with them.

It is worth remembering that people can get COVID-19 without doing anything wrong and being in quarantine or isolation does not imply that an individual was irresponsible or violated any rules.

For more information on isolation for students, see For more on quarantine, see

Last update: Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020 - 11:05am

I wear glasses and sometimes my mask fogs up my glasses and I can’t see.

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Please contact the Tufts OEO Accommodation Specialist Johny Lainé at 617.627.3298, who will be able to assist you with this situation. Typically, masks or face coverings that come up underneath glasses will alleviate this issue. There are few physical or mental health reasons why someone cannot wear a mask or other type of face covering in the workplace. When wearing a mask or cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency or introduce significant safety concerns, adaptions and alternatives will be considered.

Last update: Monday, Aug 17, 2020 - 10:08am

Do I have to wear my mask all the time when I am at work? I have a physical or medical reason that prohibits me from wearing a mask.

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If you are able to wear a mask or face covering in the workplace you must do so unless you have an approved accommodation. When wearing a mask or cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency or introduce significant safety concerns, adaptions and alternatives will be considered whenever possible to increase the feasibility of wearing a cloth face covering or to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading if it is not possible to wear one. Please contact the Tufts OEO Accommodation Specialist, Johny Lainé at 617.627.3298 if you have questions or wish to request an accommodation.

Tufts University recognizes that wearing masks or cloth face coverings may not be safe or possible in all workplace situations for some people. In some situations, wearing a mask or cloth face covering may exacerbate a physical or mental health condition, lead to a medical emergency or introduce significant safety concerns.  We encourage you to work with the Tufts Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) if you have questions or concerns about wearing a mask or cloth face covering in your Tufts workplace. In many situations, OEO has already found acceptable and safe adaptations, alternatives and accommodations for those individuals who are unable to wear a mask or cloth face covering because of a physical or mental impairment or sincerely held religious belief. OEO will engage in an interactive dialogue with you in order to increase your feasibility of wearing a mask or cloth face covering safely in your workplace with the goal of reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 across Tufts University.

Last update: Friday, Aug 14, 2020 - 4:09pm

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