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

NOTE: For any emergency health needs, please contact the Tufts University Police immediately at x66911 from any campus phone, or from an off-campus or cellular phone:

  • Medford/Somerville: 617-627-6911
  • Boston: 617-636-6911
  • Grafton: 508-839-5303

If you have additional questions beyond those listed below, please email covid19@tufts.edu.

What should I do if a member of our community is identified as 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.
Will you be notifying the community every time someone tests positive?

With the rapid rise in positive COVID-19 cases, we won’t be sending 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.

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. Students no longer on campus should notify their local or state public health department.

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

You should 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.

What healthcare options are available for students who remain on the Medford / Somerville campus?

Beginning March 16, Health Service will remain open throughout Spring 2020 for urgent care only, with modified hours for students who remain on campus or in the local area. Please consult their hours of operation each day, as they may be subject to change.

The Health Service will be locked. Please call 617-627-3350 if you want to be seen. If you are ill, a Health Service staff member will bring you into the building.

Health Service is closed for all routine care, but students may call if they have a question. Students who need a prescription can call when they are on the porch of Health Services, and a staff member will bring their prescription out.

If you have a known exposure to someone with COVID-19 or become ill yourself while away from campus, please email covid19@tufts.edu. Your information will be kept strictly confidential and may assist us in tracking the spread of COVID-19.

What resources are available for counseling and mental health?

Beginning March 16 at Counseling and Mental Health:

  • Students currently in care with a counseling and/or psychiatric provider: 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.

What is the impact on Student Health Insurance?

Student Health Insurance coverage remains unaffected by the move to online instruction. 

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.

I’m a staff/faculty member and may have COVID-19, or my colleague has an assumed case of COVID-19. What should I do, and when can we resume work?

Per the topmost question in this FAQ (“What should I do if a member of our community is identified as a potential or COVID-19 positive individual?”), anyone who suspects that they have COVID-19 should please email covid19@tufts.edu immediately. Members of the Tufts community who have an active COVID-19 infection are asked to self-isolate. Please contact your primary care doctor/health care provider and follow their advice. You should notify your supervisor/department chair 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.)

Other members of the Tufts community with whom you had close contact should also self-quarantine. (See previous question about the definition of “close contact.”) You should share with your supervisor/department chair the names of the members of the Tufts community with whom you have had recent close contact. Without divulging your name, they will follow the steps in the questions earlier in this FAQ.

If you have been deemed an essential employee and had symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath, but were not tested, you may return to work after at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath); and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

If you have been deemed an essential employee, had symptoms associated with COVID-19, and tested positive for COVID-19, you may return to work after you feel better and have had two negative tests more than 24 hours apart. You will need to provide medical clearance in order to return to work.

If you have been deemed an essential employee, had no symptoms and tested positive for COVID-19, you may return to work after 7 days have passed since your first positive test.

(Note: As the situation evolves, it will likely be that the majority of the people with the symptoms mentioned above have COVID-19. As testing becomes more available, the CDC and health care professionals will be recommending more testing.)

One of my colleagues tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-quarantining. As a supervisor/department chair, what should I tell my staff/department?

Per the topmost question in this FAQ (“What should I do if a member of our community is identified as a potential or COVID-19 positive individual?”), 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.

One of my colleagues has symptoms associated with COVID-19 and is self-quarantining but hasn’t been tested or doesn’t have results. As a supervisor/department chair, what should I tell my staff/department?

Per the topmost question in this FAQ (“What should I do if a member of our community is identified as a potential or COVID-19 positive individual?”), anyone who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 should please email covid19@tufts.edu immediately. The colleague who is showing symptoms 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.”) If the employee who was advised to self-quarantine will be tested, without divulging the name of that colleague to anyone, you should tell those staff members/department members who are on that recent close contact list that they should also self-quarantine as someone they have been in contact with is exhibiting symptoms. Let them know that, as soon as the test results have come back, you will contact them. 

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. 

Currently, the CDC recommends self-observation for symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. They may appear 2-14 days after exposure, though most people experience symptoms within 5-7 days of exposure. If you have symptoms, call your health care provider for advice. Practice social distancing and stay at least six feet away from others when possible. For the latest guidance on what to do if you develop symptoms, visit the CDC’s What to Do If You Are Sick website. (Note: As the situation evolves, it will be likely that the majority of the people with the symptoms outlined at the start of this paragraph have COVID-19. As testing becomes more available, the CDC and health care professionals will be recommending more testing.)

One of my colleagues lives with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and is self-quarantining but is asymptomatic and hasn’t been tested. What should I tell my staff/department?

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. If members of the Tufts community develop symptoms, they should call their health care provider for advice. For the latest guidance on what to do if you develop symptoms, visit the CDC’s website.

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 departure from the country in question. 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 is the difference between self-quarantine, self-isolation, and self-monitoring?

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 fever by taking their temperatures twice a day and remain alert for cough or difficulty breathing. (If they feel feverish or develop measured fever, cough, or difficulty breathing during the self-monitoring period, they should self-isolate, limit contact with others, and seek advice by telephone from a healthcare provider or their local health department to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.) (References: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC)

If I am a student on campus and I am self-quarantining, how can I get food to my on-campus residence?

If you are on a dining plan, dining services will bring you food.

If you are not on a dining plan through Tufts, you can use an online grocery delivery service such as Amazon or Peapod.

How is “close contact” defined?

The CDC defines close contact as

  1. being within approximately 6 feet (2 meters) of a COVID-19 case without a mask for more than 15 minutes; close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case; or 
  2. having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on).
What do couples do if they’re self-quarantining? Do they sleep apart? Eat in separate rooms? Even if they’re not sick?

If both partners are healthy and self-quarantining, there’s no need to eat or sleep in separate rooms. 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.

If one of you becomes sick, the CDC recommends designating a “sick room” in your home and isolating the sick person in that room as much as possible. This person also should use a separate bathroom, if possible. Visit the CDC’s What to Do If You Are Sick website for the latest guidelines.

I have a dry cough and runny nose that tends to disappear in the daytime but returns every night. Is this cause for concern?

Dry cough and runny nose can be associated with many different causes including allergies and the common cold. If you are concerned about whether your symptoms could be consistent with coronavirus, which is most commonly associated with cough, fever and shortness of breath, check with a doctor/health care provider. If a doctor/health care provider says you should self-isolate for 14 days, after which time your symptoms resolve, you should be fine to end isolation. 

I’m beginning to have mild symptoms of coronavirus, including joint and muscle pain and chest congestion. What should I do?

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, you should remain in close contact with your primary care physician and follow their advice on when you need to self-quarantine, for how long, and if they recommend you be tested for COVID-19.

Is there any way to know if a fever is a sure sign of the virus?

Fever is very common with COVID-19, but it is not always present. Body aches and chills are also common. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing symptoms, you should contact your primary health care provider for guidance on what steps you need to take. People who are feeling sick are advised to stay home and to self-quarantine for 14 days.

What is the incubation period for people starting to show symptoms of COVID-19?

According to the CDC, symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Most people experience symptoms within 5-7 days of exposure. 

Even if someone has no symptoms, is the incubation period two weeks? After the two weeks, can someone see people without risk of infection?

The most likely incubation period for COVID-19 is two weeks. There have been a few cases with a longer incubation period, but it is quite rare. The CDC has answers to frequently asked questions about how COVID-19 spreads and how to protect yourself. 

I have been asked to self-isolate because I have an active COVID-19 infection, based on my healthcare provider’s assessment. What if I do not have enough sick time?

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.

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.

I have been in contact with at least one person who tested positive for COVID-19. The 14-day incubation period has ended. I had mild symptoms but did not meet the criteria for testing. Is it safe for me to resume work?

If you are not experiencing any symptoms after the 14-day incubation period, it is most likely safe for you to resume work. Out of an abundance of caution, we recommend that you continue to monitor your symptoms, remain in close contact with your primary care physician and follow their advice.

If my child is not sick, but their school is closed due to COVID-19 and I need to care for them, can I be paid while I am not working?

We understand that many schools and day care centers have temporarily closed or moved to online education due to this emergency. 

If your children are at home and are of the age that they require your direct supervision, we recommend you use family sick time. 

All benefit-eligible employees can use up to 10 sick days per year for the care of a child or children. If family sick days have been exhausted or are not available, and you are unable to work, you will be paid up to 10 additional days.

I have been deemed an essential employee but a member of my household has COVID-19. Should I go to work?

Employees who are well, but who have an ill household member at home with COVID-19, should not work. Employees should consult first with their healthcare provider and also notify their supervisor that a household member has COVID-19. (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.) These situations typically require self-quarantine for members of your household. Please refer to the Q&As above regarding self-quarantine.

Do I have to bring a physician’s note clearing me to resume work if I have COVID-19?

Medical clearance is necessary to resume work if you have had confirmed COVID-19. According to the CDC, “The decision to discontinue home isolation precautions should be made on a case-by-case basis, in consultation with healthcare providers and state and local health departments.” If your department has additional return-to-work requirements, please adhere to those as well.