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questions and answers are available

Are the libraries open?

All Tufts libraries continue to provide digital resources and remote assistance for research and teaching, including consultations, workshops, and the addition of digital materials to our collections. While most Tufts Library spaces are still closed to the public, we are making plans to resume some services that require staff to be on site. All library operations will follow Tufts health and safety guidelines. Please check the following links for library-specific information and contacts:

Tisch, Lilly, & SMFA Libraries

Hirsh Health Sciences Library

Ginn Library

Webster Family Library

Digital Collections and Archives (DCA)

Tufts community members with checked-out materials should be assured that we understand this is an extraordinary situation. Overdue fines are suspended for all items, including interlibrary loan materials. Due dates for all borrowed items are extended past the start of the fall semester. Further information about returning borrowed materials will be forthcoming later this summer.

Is the gym open?

All indoor athletics facilities are currently closed. 

After consulting with the cities of Medford and Somerville, Ellis Oval outdoor track (College Avenue), the Voute tennis courts (Professor’s Row) 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.

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

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.

What should I do if I was a close contact of a potential or COVID-19 positive individual?

If you have been in close contact with someone who has been identified as having a potential or positive COVID-19 diagnosis, please email covid19@tufts.edu immediately.

Please provide the following information in your e-mail to covid19@tufts.edu if it is available to you:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Affiliation (student, faculty, staff)
  • Dept./School
  • Symptoms (if any) and any known contact with someone who has either tested positive for COVID-19 or is exhibiting symptoms
  • Date of onset of first symptoms
  • If you’ve been tested (yes/no)
  • Results of the test, if any
  • Date of email

It would be helpful to understand how you received that information and any details that would help us follow up.

  • If you believe you have been exposed and are a student at Tufts, please contact our Health Service at 617-627-3350 and we can offer guidance.
  • If you are a staff or faculty member, please contact your physician for guidance and alert your supervisor.
  • See the CDC's recommendations for self-isolation.

If you test negative for COVID-19, but live in a household with someone who tests positive, it would be recommended that you quarantine for 14 days following your last close contact with the person who is positive. If household members are not able to avoid close contact with one another, the exposed person will need to quarantine for 14 days after the sick person is cleared by their health care professional.

Do I have to wear my mask all the time when I am at work?

The CDC has indicated the COVID-19 pandemic is a threat to public health and therefore everyone who is able to wear a mask or face covering should wear one whenever possible unless you have an approved accommodation. In addition, Tufts COVID-19 policy requires everyone to wear a mask or face covering in the workplace with few exceptions outlined in other related questions.

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.

What restrictions exist around athletics and athletic fields?

After consulting with the cities of Medford and Somerville, Ellis Oval outdoor track (College Avenue), the Voute tennis courts (Professor’s Row) 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.

Following a decision of the NESCAC presidents, the NESCAC league and championship play were canceled in the winter. Further, Tufts, like many of our NESCAC colleagues, did not have any spring sports for the remainder of the semester. We recognize the dedication and hard work of our student athletes, and we look forward to resumption of NESCAC competition in the future.

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

We do not send out a broad notification every time there is a positive result within the university community. We will be working closely with medical and public health authorities on all necessary contact tracing and alerts.

What does it mean to “self-quarantine”?

If you are asked to self-quarantine after being in contact with someone who has a coronavirus infection, you should stay home – in your room, your apartment, or your house. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social gatherings until 14 days after the date of your contact. Follow these guidelines for self-quarantine:

  • Report any symptoms of COVID-19 – fever and cough or shortness of breath– immediately to Health Service (if you are a student).  The phone number is 617-627-3350.  If we are closed, you will be connected with our nurse advice line. (Staff should contact their personal health care provider and notify their supervisor.)
  • Stay in your room, apartment or house. Do not go to work, classes, athletic events, or other social or religious gatherings until 14 days after your departure from the country in question.
  • Limit contact with other people as much as possible. This includes isolating yourself as much as possible from anyone living in your residence by staying in your own room with the door closed.  If you have to leave your room, wear a surgical mask if one has been provided to you.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your upper arm or a tissue. Never cough in the direction of someone else.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use alcohol-based hand rubs after coughing or sneezing or throwing a used tissue in the garbage.
  • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding, or any other items until you are no longer asked to self-quarantine.

What should I do if I’ve been exposed to someone who had direct contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19?

Contacts of contacts do not need to be quarantined or tested if they are asymptomatic. The CDC recommends self-observation for symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure, though most people experience them within 5-7 days. For the latest guidance on what to do if you develop symptoms, visit the CDC’s website.

Make sure you are remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible. Make sure you are sanitizing any shared surfaces, e.g., doorknobs, faucet handles, etc.

Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough. Keep germs from spreading by coughing into your sleeve, not your hand.
  • Avoid sharing drinks, food, and/or cigarettes or vaping products.
  • If you share a room or apartment with someone who is sick, try to stay at least 6 feet away to prevent exposure through coughing.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Keep your personal space as clean as you can.

For overall health information about the Novel Coronavirus, please visit the CDC’s website to review their latest FAQs.

If you are experiencing symptoms, please contact your primary healthcare provider or Tufts Health Service nurse’s station at 617-627-5154.

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

Faculty and staff at Tufts who test positive will be interviewed by their local Department of Public Health (DPH) to determine who they might have come in contact with. The DPH will then notify those who may have been exposed. Students who are still living on campus should notify Health Service at 617-627-3350 if they have tested positive, and Health Service will then notify those who have been exposed. They will then be interviewed to determine who they might have had contact with on the university campus. Students on campus should also notify their local public health department. Students no longer on campus should notify their local or state public health department and do not need to notify Health Service.

I rely on lip reading and my colleagues don’t realize I do this in the workplace. Can I ask everyone I work with not to wear a mask when speaking to me?

Please contact the Tufts OEO Accommodation Specialist, Johny Lainé, who will be able to assist you and your work group with this situation. 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. Transparent masks may be an acceptable adaption in this situation with the support of the Tufts OEO Accommodation Specialist, Johny Lainé at 617.627.3298.

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

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. Please contact the Tufts OEO Accommodation Specialist, Johny Lainé at 617.627.3298 for support in this situation.

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.