Plans for lifting COVID-19 restrictions on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses (Faculty & Staff)
March 16, 2022
Dear members of the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campus community,
Over the coming weeks, we anticipate taking steps to gradually lift many of the COVID-19 mitigation measures that we have had in place throughout the pandemic, including surveillance testing and mandatory mask wearing on our campuses. For the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses, our plans have been coordinated with and have benefitted from input from the boards of health of Somerville, Medford, and Boston.
Tentative plans for relaxing COVID restrictions on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses are outlined below. We are taking these steps cautiously and will be able to do so only if the rate of COVID-19 cases among our campus population remains low after returning from spring break on March 28. Should levels of community transmission or the number of cases at Tufts increase or should a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern emerge, we may need to reinstitute mitigation measures appropriate to the perceived risk at the time. We will review and adjust these plans as circumstances change. As always, our decisions regarding these measures will be based on science, data, and public health guidance.
Mask Wearing & PPE: Actors, musicians, and singers are no longer required to wear masks or use PPE during performances. Masks and PPE are still required for rehearsals and practice. Audience members must wear masks.
Phase 1: April 8, 2022
Surveillance Testing: Required surveillance testing will be replaced with voluntary surveillance testing. Employees who want to participate should test at their former cadence of 1x per week. This will be supported by symptomatic testing for anyone experiencing symptoms of SARS-CoV-2. Testing for travel will also be available.
- Feeling sick? If you don’t feel well and are exhibiting symptoms, do not come to campus. Individuals with flu-like symptoms or who have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 in the previous 14 days should seek medical care and receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work or classes.
- Testing out of isolation. Students will continue to require a negative antigen test to be cleared from isolation.
Mask Wearing & PPE: During this phase, Tufts will continue to require that all individuals wear masks indoors, including in classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, dining halls, and residences, except when alone, when eating, or in a residence hall room with one’s roommate. For details, visit https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/healthy-at-tufts.
- Masks must be 3-ply surgical grade, KN95, or N95, not cloth.
- If there is a continued decline in COVID-19 cases on our campus, faculty in large lecture halls (>12 feet away from the front row) may choose to lecture without a mask.
Visitors & Events: Follow current university guidelines for masking, food, and vaccination requirements for events: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/events-guidelines.
Phase 2: April 15, 2022
Surveillance Testing: Surveillance testing will be replaced with symptomatic testing only. Testing for travel will be available. Stay home if you are feeling sick. Students require a negative antigen test to be cleared from isolation.
Mask Wearing & PPE: Masking will be optional for everyone, including individuals with accommodation; however, we strongly encourage everyone (especially those with accommodation) to wear masks indoors. One-way masking protects the wearer—even when interacting with someone who is unmasked. This is especially true if the person wearing a mask is wearing a high-quality, medical grade respirator, such as the N95 or KN95. It is important to respect one another’s personal comfort level and decisions about mask wearing.
As we are planning these changes, we want to take the opportunity to thank each of you for the efforts you have made over the past two years to help ensure the health and safety of our school community. Without all of us pulling together and doing our part every step of the way, we would not have made it to where we are today as successfully as we have. We now live in a world where SARS-CoV-2 will be a constant, but we can live and thrive in it providing we take the necessary steps to ensure the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our entire community.
Please note that our plans for lifting COVID-19 restrictions are independent of Tufts flexible work initiative being led by Tufts VP of Human Resources Kim Ryan. The flexible work initiative is intended to expand work flexibility options to include remote and hybrid schedules for Tufts staff, based on job categorizations and on the business needs of each school and department. You will be hearing more about flexible work in the coming weeks.
James M. Glaser
Dean, School of Arts and Sciences
Professor of Political Science
Dean Ad Interim, Tufts School of Engineering
Karol Family Professor
Dean, The Fletcher School
Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Dean, Tisch College
Joseph H. Auner
Dean, University College
Austin Fletcher Professor of Music
Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H.
University Infection Control Health Director and Associate Professor of Medicine