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What resources are available for students for counseling and mental health?

We understand that COVID-19 has brought on many new stresses for students. We want to make sure students are aware of the ongoing mental health support and wellness activities to help during these times.

Boston Campus students in all programs can continue to access counseling services now available remotely through Talk One2One. The phone number to access this service is 1-800-756-3124. This is both a 24-hour emergency helpline as well as a way to access the mental health counselors assigned to the Boston campus for ongoing counseling.

The University Chaplaincy continues to be available to all members of the Tufts community for emotional and spiritual support, to talk about grief and loss, or generally to be a listening ear. Please email chaplaincy@tufts.edu to be connected with a chaplain by phone, Zoom, or WebEx.

Student Wellness Programs remain in full swing during the summer. Please see the weekly Wellness Newsletter or contact our campus wellness advisor, Sharon Snaggs at sharon.snaggs@tufts.edu or 617-636-2700.

Students who were in care with a counseling and/or psychiatric provider at Counseling and Mental Health: You and your current clinician should be in touch by phone or through the Medicat Secure Health Portal to arrange a call or video chat to discuss how to proceed.

Initiating Counseling: CMHS is not able to initiate care with students remotely. Students who are not in the local area who are seeking to initiate counseling can access telemental health care through iHope or BetterHelp, or through area resources near their locations.  If you are having trouble securing care and would like assistance with the process, you may call CMHScat 617-627-3360 and tell the front desk you are seeking remote referral help.

Last update: Thursday, Jun 18, 2020 - 11:12am
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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.

Should I wear a cloth mask when I come to work at Tufts?

Following CDC recommendations, face masks are required for those on all campuses at Tufts.

Face masks or face coverings must be worn by all staff working on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g. common work-spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.). Cloth face masks should be worn for one day at a time and must be properly laundered before use again. Disposable masks will be provided by Tufts.

The City of Somerville has issued an emergency order mandating face coverings in public; violators will be subject to a fine of $300. The order will remain in effect unless notice is given that it is no longer necessary, or the Board of Health declares that a Public Health Emergency no longer exists. 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.

If you have questions about how to best wear your mask while working, please speak with your manager or supervisor.

For more information about the use and care of face coverings, please refer to the Return to Campus guide.

Last update: Monday, Jun 15, 2020 - 4:32pm
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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.

If I have COVID-19 and have no available sick time, what are my options?

If you are sick, you should get rest and take care of your health for a speedy recovery. If you have exhausted your sick time, you will be advanced up to 20 additional sick days to assist with your recovery. Working from home is a question that needs to be addressed in advance with your supervisor, and if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, working would not be the primary concern. If you have questions about other paid time off options, talk with your supervisor, or call your HR Business Partner for assistance. 

Last update: Friday, Jun 26, 2020 - 5:50pm
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Someone I manage tested positive for COVID-19. What should I tell my staff or department?

As a manager, the protocol in place now (as of June 2020) is to report the case to COVID-19 at the email address below.  You should communicate the employee’s absence (with no explanation needed) to those staff members who are responsible for covering the workload for the absent person. Any further information sharing would impinge on the individual’s privacy and may violate HIPAA. 

Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 should please email covid19@tufts.edu immediately. The colleague who has tested positive should share with you the names of the members of the Tufts community with whom they have had recent close contact. (See previous question about the definition of “close contact.”) Without divulging the name of that colleague to anyone, you should tell those staff members/department members on that recent close contact list that they should also self-quarantine, as someone they have been in contact with has tested positive. 

While sharing information about possible COVID-19 infection is important to the public health, please prioritize the privacy of the affected individuals. Please do not ask any questions of your employees that would violate their medical/health privacy. While you may ask about COVID-19 and its symptoms, you are not allowed to ask about unrelated medical issues. 

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, you should keep in contact with your primary care physician. Follow their advice on how long to self-quarantine and whether you should be tested for COVID-19.

Last update: Friday, Jun 26, 2020 - 5:45pm
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I am an employee who has COVID-19. What if I don't have enough sick time?

If you are concerned that you will not have enough sick time to cover your illness, you can contact your HR Business Partner to talk about pay options.  Non-exempt employees have both sick time and extended sick leave options; exempt employees have sick time that is available.  If all sick time options are exhausted, there may be vacation or personal time pay options as well. 

Individuals who have an active COVID-19 infection are asked to self-isolate.

If you have been diagnosed with, or you are suspected to have, COVID-19, you should notify your supervisor and should not work at this time. (Note: If your school (e.g., TUSDM’s COVID-19 response team) has an exposure response team, please make sure to report any exposure/illness to that response team and follow the protocol of your school.) 

Use your paid sick time and report your request for leave with leave administration at leaves@tufts.edu. If you do not have any remaining sick time, the university will advance sick time for up to 20 days to pay you so you may stay home during a COVID-19 illness or during an illness resulting from COVID-19. If you require additional leave, please contact your Human Resources business partner.

If you have had an active COVID-19 infection, you will need to provide medical clearance in order to resume work.

Last update: Friday, Jun 26, 2020 - 5:44pm
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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 healthcare options are available for staff or faculty?

In the event that you need medical care, we recommend that staff reach out to their primary care provider or seek care through a local emergency room/urgent care provider. In addition, you may take advantage of the TeleHealth benefit available to staff members who are enrolled in university health plans.

Additionally, the Tufts Employee Assistance Program is a great resource for mental health support, counseling, logistical support, or any similar need that may arise during this period. This service is free for all staff members and can be a great asset during emergencies.

Last update: Friday, May 1, 2020 - 3:07pm
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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.

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.