Testing at Tufts
Tufts has implemented a comprehensive coronavirus (COVID-19) testing program across all four of our campuses for the fall semester. Effective testing will allow us to slow the spread of the disease on our campuses by allowing us to identify those who have COVID-19, arrange for their isolation from others, assist them in receiving the care they need, and begin the contact tracing process. It will also provide the university with information about the spread of the disease on our campuses to help inform decisions about campus operations.
Our comprehensive testing program is part of a broader effort to protect the safety of members of the university and our host communities. Education, masks, physical distancing, hand hygiene, self-reported diagnosis, active health screening, enhanced ventilation, and ongoing cleaning are all essential elements in the prevention of disease transmission. No single intervention can prevent an outbreak but, together, these measures—especially the wearing of masks—are effective at mitigating risk.
The following sets forth the university’s COVID-19 testing program and tries to answer commonly asked questions on the various elements of testing.
Completion of the COVID-19 screening survey is required for all students living on or coming to campus and for all faculty and staff before arriving on campus each day. (There is no additional assessment, such as taking your temperature before entering a building once on campus.) Faculty members, students, or staff who exhibit symptoms (e.g., fever, respiratory symptoms, new occurrences of muscle aches, loss of taste, gastrointestinal symptoms) or who have been in close contact with someone who is confirmed as having COVID-19 in the previous 14 days, should not be on campus or should remain in their residence hall until they have been evaluated by a health-care provider and have been cleared to return to campus.
Arrival Testing for AS&E Students
All AS&E students who are designated as in-person this fall are required to complete arrival testing and participate in routine/surveillance testing. Here are the steps you must take when you first arrive to campus:
- Go for your first COVID-19 test at either 62R Talbot Ave. on the Medford/Somerville campus or 230 Fenway on the SMFA campus.
- HOURS OF OPERATION: 62R Talbot is open daily, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. 230 Fenway is currently open Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
- RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS: If you need to check into your residence hall, first go to your test, then go to the Office of Residential Life and Learning at 20 Professors Row for your room key. NOTE: Residential students coming from out-of-region who have a roommate will be required to complete their quarantine in a separate quarantine building.
- AFTER-HOURS ARRIVALS: Plan to go for your test first thing the next morning.
- You are on your initial arrival quarantine from the moment you arrive to campus until you receive the results of your first test. You should not leave your residence hall room or apartment (if you live off-campus) during this time. You may request meal delivery from Tufts Dining Services via the mobile app.
- In-region students (undergraduate and graduate) are cleared after their initial test returns negative.
- Out-of-region students (anyone from locations other than MA, NH, VT, ME, CT, NY, and NJ)* will need to complete an extended arrival quarantine which lasts an additional 6-7 days.
- After your initial test, you will need to come back to a testing site for your next two tests. Do not use the CampusKey app to schedule these tests. You will not be in the system until you have completed your extended quarantine.
- After you have completed your extended quarantine, you will enter the routine/surveillance testing program.
- Undergraduate students and on-campus graduate students will be tested twice a week regularly. Your next two tests will be three days apart, e.g., If you arrive on a Friday, your next test will be Monday, and the third test will be Thursday.
- Off-campus graduate students will be tested once a week regularly. Your next test will be one week from your arrival date.
*Although the states designated by Massachusetts as in-region now includes CO, DE, OR, PA, WA, WV and WY, it is too late to consider them in-region for Tufts arrival testing protocols.
After students have completed their arrival tests, they will receive an email with instructions to download and use the CampusKey app to schedule all future tests.
Please note that tests taken elsewhere before arriving at Tufts will not count toward a student’s arrival testing protocol. For consistency, it is important that all tests are taken at Tufts. We are partnering with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to administer our testing program.
As noted in the chart below, not everyone who is part of the Tufts community is part of the asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic/routine surveillance testing protocol. Surveillance/routine testing is NOT designed to test every individual. In accordance with the guidelines below, students, faculty, and student-facing staff are tested one or two times per week in order to identify individuals who are asymptomatic (infected but not exhibiting symptoms), so isolation and contact tracing protocols can be initiated.
Who Will Be Tested?
Surveillance/routine testing for students begins after the first arrival test is completed. Testing schedules for students are determined by their residential arrangement (i.e., living on- or off-campus), frequency of campus use, and (for students with clinical components to their educational programs) exposure to patients or the general public. The chart below provides more detail on the required testing frequency for each category of student.
Students who are studying remotely this semester and living in the Medford and Somerville area are invited to participate in Tufts comprehensive testing program. It is required that you follow the testing program for the entire semester and agree to test at the frequency designated and at the times assigned to you by the Tufts CampusKey testing app.
To join the program, you must complete the Remote Medford and Somerville Student COVID-19 Testing Registration Form.
Once you have completed the registration form, you will receive information about how to download an app that Tufts has created for this program and schedule your first test.
Deciding to participate in the comprehensive program does not change your remote status to in person. You will still be considered to be a remote student, which means you will not be able to come onto campus for any reason other than taking a COVID-19 test or accessing medical care at Health Services. You will not be permitted to register for in-person courses and you will not have access to campus facilities such as the Tisch Fitness Center, university libraries, or campus dining facilities.
Tufts is covering all of the costs associated with the program. If you were to test positive, we would encourage you to isolate on campus within the modular housing units we have established for this purpose. While in isolation at “the mods,” Dining Services would be provided to you, at no cost to you.
For students studying remotely this semester and living off-campus who may need or want to be tested but do not want to be part of the Tufts testing protocol, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/stop-the-spread for information on when and where to be tested.
|Audience||Testing Requirement||Testing Frequency|
|Undergraduate (i.e., Arts & Sciences and Engineering, including SMFA) Students Including on-campus and off-campus students||Required||2x/week|
|Graduate/professional school students living on campus (in particular those engaged with undergraduates)||Required||2x/week|
|Graduate/professional school students living off campus and taking classes in person||Required||1x/week|
|Off-campus/online graduate students (e.g., Fletcher, TUSDM students) using school facilities and coming to campus at least 1x/week||Required||1x/week|
|Graduate students not on campus (e.g., at clinical affiliates or participating in a fully online program) and who are not working in a lab on campus, and who come to campus less than 1x/week||Not required||N/A|
Dental students and residents depending on frequency of patient contact.
Testing once per week: Individuals who are in direct contact with patients for sustained periods of time (potentially others based on supervisor/chair/dean’s input).
Testing once every other week: Individuals who are in research settings, non-direct patient care (e.g., at a front desk behind a plexiglass barrier), students and residents that are accessing facilities for non-clinical care).
Testing once per month: Individuals in settings where they are in an isolated office, coming in on rare occasions for some tasks.
|Requests for testing (e.g., individuals who believe they have been exposed)||Medford/Somerville and SMFA campus students should consult the Student Health Service.||N/A|
Faculty, Staff, and Researchers
Those being tested have been identified by their school or administrative unit leadership as individuals whose positions put them at greater risk of exposure. Testing schedules for surveillance/routine testing will be determined by the nature and frequency of their interaction with residential students, patients and the general public in the course of their responsibilities at Tufts. Deans’ offices and division leadership teams have worked to determine which faculty and staff should be integrated into regular testing based on their individual responsibilities (including teaching, research, and student support work) in line with their units’ planning for the return to campus. The chart below provides more detail on who is required to participate in Tufts testing program and how often.
Faculty and staff working on campus who are not part of the surveillance/routine testing program are deemed at very low risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 on campus if they follow guidelines for social distancing (i.e., maintaining at least six feet from others), wearing a face covering or mask, and frequent hand washing. In order to reduce density on campus, employees who can perform their job functions remotely will continue to remain off-campus through at least the end of the calendar year. If you only work from home or are not in one of the testing categories described in the chart below, you will not be a part of the surveillance/routine testing program.
Faculty and staff who are not required to be tested per the guidelines below should consult with their healthcare provider if they wish to be tested.
If you have questions about why you were or were not added to the testing program, please contact your supervisor, or your department, division, or school leadership.
At this time, Tufts is not providing testing to the families of faculty, staff or students.
Employees are not required to have received a negative COVID-19 test before their return to campus. However, they should always complete the daily health screening survey before arrival on the days they plan to be on campus.
|Faculty, Staff, and Researchers (including student researchers and post-docs)|
|Audience||Testing Requirement||Testing Frequency|
Except those who are teaching exclusively online
Faculty and staff in frequent contact with students
Residential life, dining, and custodial staff (Note: In this context, "frequent” is defined as every day and multiple times per day.)
|Dental faculty and staff in direct contact with patients for sustained periods of time.||Required||1x-2x/week|
Faculty and other staff, including teaching staff, researchers and post-docs with routine (e.g. daily or several times a week) interactions with students, patients, with each other, or with the public.
Faculty, post-docs, students, and research support staff who work in a Tufts University laboratory research facility and who interact with other faculty, post-docs, students, or research support staff.
Faculty, post-docs, students, and research support staff who work in a Tufts University laboratory research facility, interact with other faculty, post-docs, students, or research support staff, and come to campus less than 1x/week.
|Must receive a surveillance test on the days they come to campus.||Variable|
Excluding individuals covered in the two rows above, faculty, post-docs, students, research support staff and other staff working remotely or with infrequent visits to campus (e.g. less than once a week), performing research alone, or working on campus with no interaction with students, patients, with each other, or with the public.
|Faculty and staff with underlying health conditions (conditions including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, COPD, weakened immune system from solid organ transplant). Please see an additional note immediately below about underlying conditions.||As required in the categories as listed in this table; otherwise the individual should consult their primary care physician.||N/A|
|Requests for testing (e.g., individuals who believe they have been exposed)||Faculty and staff should consult their primary care physician.||N/A|
|Vendors||May be required||Will depend on frequency on campuses|
*Exemptions from surveillance testing will be determined by the Dean or Executive Associate Dean of the relevant School in collaboration with the OVPR and University Infection Control.
An additional note on researchers: Testing may also be required if research work involves close contact with faculty, staff or students for extended periods of time as determined by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR). In most circumstances research can and should be conducted with appropriate social distancing.
Certain underlying conditions (including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, sickle cell disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD), and weakened immune systems from organ transplantation) may predispose an individual to worse outcomes from COVID-19 compared to those without underlying conditions.
Students, faculty and staff with underlying conditions will be tested at the same frequency as all others in their category. There shall be no increased frequency of testing of individuals with underlying conditions. The public health COVID-19 surveillance testing approach used by Tufts is designed to identify asymptomatic (and pre-symptomatic) cases, and their contacts, and support appropriate isolation and quarantine measures. Increased frequency of testing of individuals with underlying conditions does not provide increased protection to these individuals. The most important measures to mitigate risk include hand hygiene, use of masks, and physical distancing. Individuals with underlying conditions are urged to speak with their primary care physician to better assess their personal risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and should consider working (or studying) remotely and or making other accommodation. For additional information, please see the Fall 2020 Campus Guide for AS&E Students and the Return to Campus Guide for Faculty and Staff.
Arrival (onboard) testing locations
Gantcher Center will be used for arrival (onboard) testing for both on- and off-campus students. Only scheduled appointments will be accepted. Students can sign up for their arrival time through the housing portal in SIS. Both on-campus and off-campus students who are attending Tufts classes in person should sign up for an arrival time.
Arrival testing will take place at 116 Harrison Avenue (formerly the bookstore), Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Arrival testing for DVM and graduate students will occur in the Jean Mayer Administration Building, except for V21 students who will be tested in the Hospital for Large Animals (treadmill room). The first testing will be available on August 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for V22, V23, and V24. Students will receive times available for testing by email in advance. After August 20, testing will be available by scheduled appointment on Tuesdays.
If you develop symptoms before your scheduled arrival on campus, you should promptly be evaluated by a medical provider to arrange testing, and you must inform us immediately if your test is positive by reaching out to the health service on your campus. We will work with you on a plan to come to campus after you have been cleared by your medical provider.
Who to contact:
Call Health Services at 617-627-3350.
Call the Boston Testing Center at 617-636-3686 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, to discuss your symptoms and next steps with a clinician.
Individuals previously diagnosed with COVID-19 infection confirmed by molecular diagnostic testing (PCR) may continue to have detection of viral RNA for several weeks. Students who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 or been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 6 weeks prior to their arrival on campus should contact the Health Services at 617-627-3350. We will ask to review your laboratory report and medical documentation supporting the fact that a healthcare professional cleared you from isolation. We will advise you on when you should re-enter the testing program based on the date of the diagnosis.
Surveillance/Routine Testing Locations
62R Talbot Ave is open daily, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. No appointments are scheduled between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. These hours have been set aside to give faculty and staff the option to be tested on a “walk-in basis” on the day of or the morning after their scheduled appointment.
230 The Fenway is currently open Mondays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
116 Harrison Avenue (formerly the bookstore), Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Clinical faculty, technical staff, and V21 students will be tested in the Hospital for Large Animals. All other students and employees will be tested primarily in the Jean Mayer Administration Building.
Symptomatic and exposure-based testing
Students who develop symptoms and need to be tested for symptomatic reasons should contact Health Services at 617-627-3350 to make an appointment.
Employees who develop symptoms should contact the Jumbo Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-0467 or their primary care physician for guidance.
Please do not walk into either Health Services or the Jumbo Heath Center without an appointment. If either the Jumbo Health Center or Health Services determines that the individual needs to be tested, an appointment will be set up at the location for symptomatic testing. The locations for symptomatic testing will be separate from the testing location for surveillance/routine testing. Please do not approach one of the surveillance/routine testing locations without an appointment.
Call the Boston Testing Center at 617-636-3686 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, to discuss your symptoms and next steps with a clinician. In some cases, the clinician may decide it is best for you to be seen in a clinic at Tufts Medical Center or they might decide you should be seen at the testing center for a COVID-19 test. If you need emergency care, call 911 or go to your local emergency room. The testing center is not open on the weekends. For non-emergency situations, you should call your primary care provider’s office to discuss options.
For faculty and staff on the Boston health sciences and Grafton campus who are not in the surveillance testing program, the mass.gov website has a list of testing sites that may be helpful: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download.
The university will cover the cost of arrival (onboarding) and surveillance/routine testing.
Details about the Testing Process
The test being used is the CRSP SARS-CoV-2 Real-time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Assay. This is a safe, high-quality, real-time RT-PCR test intended for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in nose swabs collected from individuals who may have contracted the virus. Testing is limited to the Clinical Research Sequencing Platform at the Broad Institute, which is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), 42 U.S.C. §263a, to perform high complexity tests.
Note: Tufts is not providing antibody/serological testing.
The Broad Institute is providing surveillance/routine testing for all campuses. Test results should be available within approximately 24 hours of receipt of the test at the Broad Institute.
Tests will be self-administered with assistance from Brewster Ambulance Service on the Medford/Somerville and SMFA campuses, Tufts Medical Center on the Boston health science campus, and Cataldo Ambulance on the Grafton campus.
When you are to be tested, you will come into an on-campus testing site and tap/swipe your ID card to automatically print a label for the tube that will contain your cotton swab. You will be able to swab your own nose. When you are done, you will drop your swab into the tube (swab-end down), affix the cap securely to the tube, and hand the tube to the healthcare professional for placement in the box for the next shipment to the Broad Institute. (A video of the testing process is available here.)
In the early weeks of testing, you will be observed by a medical professional. Over time, as the testing process becomes increasingly familiar, we hope to move to a process in which tests can be performed without close supervision.
The testing program is critical to the safety of everyone in the Tufts community. For undergraduate and graduate students, their school’s student affairs staff will ensure student accountability if there is a pattern of missed tests. For faculty and staff, their respective deans, division heads, EADs, or business officers will work with individuals who are having difficulty making their scheduled testing times.
What if you don’t feel well enough to get your test (e.g., you are exhibiting symptoms as noted above)?
Students should call Health Service at 617-627-3350 and speak with a clinician.
Employees should stay (or return) home and notify the Jumbo Health Center at email@example.com or 617-627-0467 or your primary care physician (PCP) to discuss your symptoms. Employees should receive symptom or exposure-based testing if advised by their clinician, and testing should be done through their PCP’s service; they should not return to campus until they have been cleared to return to work by their physician and should keep in communication with their direct supervisor or manager. Tufts is not providing symptom or exposure-based testing to employees at this time. If you test positive, you should notify the Jumbo Health Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-0467 to evaluate your individual circumstances and, when appropriate, initiate the contact tracing process so that any Tufts colleagues or students with whom you may have had close contact can be notified of possible exposure. You may leave a voice mail with your name and contact number if it is off-hours.
If you have symptoms, we ask that you do not come to campus. Please call the testing center at 617-636-3686 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, to discuss your symptoms and the appropriate next steps with a clinician. For non-emergency situations or if the testing center is closed, you should call your primary care provider’s office to discuss options. If you need emergency care, call 911 or go to your local emergency room.
Faculty, staff, house officers, or any students should contact their primary health care provider or contact a local urgent care center. If you are feeling unwell, please do not come to campus. Please email email@example.com and your supervisor if you are an employee. If you are a DVM student, please contact the Office of Academic Affairs as directed, and if you are a V21 student, contact your rotation director. If you are a graduate student, please contact the graduate program manager and your program director. Any employee or student who is required to isolate or self-quarantine should inform the school through the firstname.lastname@example.org email and should not return to campus until cleared by their health-care provider and the school’s health-care monitor.
For faculty and staff on the Boston health sciences and Grafton campus who are not in the surveillance testing program, the mass.gov website has a list of testing sites that may be helpful: https://www.mass.gov/doc/ma-covid-19-testing-sites/download.
We are minimizing risk of exposure to the people providing the tests in the following ways:
Tufts has partnered with Brewster Ambulance Service to provide the clinical support for our COVID-19 testing program. Brewster’s teams of licensed EMTs, paramedics, and nurses receive advanced training in putting on and taking off personal protective equipment (PPE). The clinicians directly monitoring the testing wear N95 respirators, eye protection including a face shield, gloves, gowns or impermeable coveralls, and disposable gauntlet-style sleeves. Other staff in the testing facilities assisting with administrative duties and support functions wear a minimum of a surgical mask, eye protection, and gloves. Brewster has comprehensive doffing and disinfection procedures to minimize or eliminate workplace infections for testing staff.
Dedicated clinical staff, including infectious disease physicians from Tufts Medical Center, will be properly equipped and available at the testing site to manage the program as well as provide their expertise for creating a safe environment for students, faculty and staff as they return to campus.
The university is engaging with Cataldo Ambulance.
What happens if I choose not to be tested?
Because surveillance/routine testing is designed less to protect the individual and more the entire community, it will be mandatory for students who choose to attend courses in person or come to campus, regardless of whether they live on or off campus. Students who do not wish to be tested may only enroll as remote students; under no circumstances should such students have in-person contact with other students or members of the community nor should they come to campus.
Because surveillance/routine testing is designed to protect the entire community as well as the individual, it will be mandatory for faculty who have in-person contact with students to have the appropriate level of testing. Faculty who do not wish to be tested should consult with their department chairs about the possible availability of online teaching opportunities. In addition to not teaching in-person, faculty who are not in the testing program should not plan to be on campus more than once a week during the fall semester and should have no more than incidental contact with students.
Like any protocol that ensures the safety of the staff, faculty, students and other members of the Tufts community, staff who are identified for testing must comply with and participate in university testing, at the times for which they are scheduled and at the locations to which they are assigned. Staff who do not comply with testing protocols or who refuse to participate in safety protocols related to daily health check-ins via the app and adherence to safety rules, daily protocols, and contact tracing will be subject to corrective action up to and including suspension and discharge.
Test-Scheduling App (CampusKey)
Tufts has developed the CampusKey app to allow the university to schedule the 18,800 required tests per week to balance traffic flow, ensure consistent flow through our testing centers, and minimize queuing at the testing centers.
Those who are identified as needing regular testing will receive an email inviting them to download the app (available on the App Store and Google Play).
You will find information on how to download and use the app, including a short video tutorial here: access.tufts.edu/campuskey.
If you have trouble installing or using the app please send an email describing the issue to email@example.com.
If you have questions about scheduling, please email CovidTesting@tufts.edu. Due to the high volume of tests, scheduling cannot be done by email.
How will you learn about your test results? If your test produces a negative result, you will receive an e-mail with a link directing you to a confidential health portal established by the Broad Institute, where you may obtain your test results. After your first negative test, you will receive an email inviting you to create an account to log in and view results. (Negative test results mean the virus was not detected in your specimen.) If a student or employee’s COVID-19 test is positive, the individual will be contacted by phone by a healthcare clinician/provider and given instructions for appropriate next steps and care, and will be able to begin isolation, which also initiates the contact tracing process (described in more detail below).
Test results are sent to your Tufts email address. Check to see if it was moved to your junk or spam folder. The sender would be firstname.lastname@example.org.
During contact tracing, your identity will remain anonymous. Those identified through contact tracing as needing to be notified will not be given your name. (More information about contact tracing is available below.)
Any person with a positive test for COVID-19 OR symptoms of COVID-19, including early or mild symptoms, must remain in isolation (i.e., stay away from others) until:
- At least 10 days (minimum) have passed from the date of the positive test, AND
- No fever (i.e., no fever without the use of medicine that reduces fevers) for at least 24 hours, AND
- Any symptoms (e.g., shortness of breath) have improved, AND
- At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset (Note: This means that people with symptoms may be required to quarantine for longer than the minimum 10 days if they have no symptoms on the date of testing but develop symptoms after.)
- Your health-care provider has advised that it is safe to leave isolation.
Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptoms will be advised to discontinue isolation 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.
Generally, once you have tested positive, you will be removed from the testing protocols for 90 days based on current medical guidance. The COVID-19 tests are highly sensitive and are likely to return positive results long after you are no longer able to transmit infection to others and even well after you have recovered.
If you receive a positive test result from your primary care physician or another entity outside the university, please contact the Jumbo Health Center at email@example.com or 617-627-0467 so that a clinician can evaluate your individual circumstances and notify anyone at Tufts with whom you have had close contact; you may leave a voicemail with your name and contact number if it is off-hours. Note: The university is not currently processing tests from external sources (i.e., organizations other than those with which the university has contracted).
Note: It is possible for the test to produce an incorrect negative result in some people who have COVID-19. Students who test negative but have symptoms of COVID-19 or concerns about exposure to COVID-19 should contact Health Service, and employees should contact their healthcare provider, to determine if they should be retested or take other actions.
A close contact is defined as someone who:
- Is within six feet for 15 minutes or more of a positive COVID-19 person/case from 48 hours prior to the case’s symptom onset 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.
The purpose of contact tracing is to identify and notify in a timely manner close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19 and to educate those contacts on quarantine instructions, symptom monitoring, and steps to take if they become symptomatic. When an individual who is within the university’s testing protocols receives a positive test result, that result initiates the university’s contact tracing process.
Tufts has contracted with Jumbo Health Center to serve as the university’s notification team for contact tracing. When the university receives a report of a positive test for an employee or student, Tufts will notify Jumbo Health Center, which will then contact the individual to confirm the diagnosis, ask the date of the onset of symptoms, and help the individual gather a list of all close contacts starting 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms through illness. Tufts’ contact tracers or a public agency contact tracer will reach out to all individuals who have been exposed to a known-positive individual.
Current guidance for exposure includes being within six feet of a COVID-19 positive person for more than 15 minutes. Passing someone in a hallway or being in the same building with an infected individual does NOT constitute exposure.
As above, the contract tracing program will not reveal the identity of the person who tested positive when informing others that they need to go into quarantine. Testing information, however, will be shared with public health authorities.
Information about rates of infection will be shared with the community on a publicly available dashboard on the COVID-19 website.
For all groups listed below, your testing information will be stored securely in the Broad Institute’s lab information system. It will also be stored in Tufts’ HIPAA secured data warehouse for the purposes of monitoring COVID-19 on campus and supporting contact-tracing efforts; this information will not be retained after the epidemic.
Your information is stored securely in Jumbo Health Center’s Electronic Health Record system. (Jumbo Health Center is providing the medical order for surveillance testing.)
Your information is stored securely in the Tufts’ Health Service's Electronic Health Record system.
Your testing information will not be stored in any additional locations. Boston students: please note that you may also be pre-registered as a patient with Tufts Medical Center in case you need follow-up care.
Your testing information will be temporarily stored in the Occupational and Environment Health Network HIPAA-compliant database only for the purposes of test reporting and will not be retained after the pandemic.
If you are working remotely, you are not likely to be part of contact tracing from Tufts. Tufts will only be contact tracing for positive cases that are exposed by Tufts testing program, or for individuals who have outside tests and those working on campus who receive positive test results from another source.
Health Services by Campus
Visits by students to the Health Service will be by appointment only this fall semester. Students will call in advance and speak with someone about their health needs. Sometimes a telehealth visit will be adequate to address an issue. If an in-person visit is needed, it will be scheduled.
While the School of Medicine, the School of Dental Medicine, and the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy do not provide any in-person medical services for students, UnitedHealthcare StudentResources offers many products and services in addition to health insurance and prescription benefits that are available online.
No on-campus health services are provided.
Visitors will not be allowed on campus unless they have university business to conduct. Visitors are expected to wear masks, maintain hand hygiene, and keep physical distancing. Visitors are also required to complete the same COVID-19 screening that is required each day for faculty, staff, and students on campus. (Depending on the frequency with which they visit campus, they may need to participate in the asymptomatic/pre-symptomatic surveillance testing protocol.)
Information about Self-Quarantining for Undergraduate Students (Medford / Somerville / SMFA)
If the contact tracing process indicates that you have had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you will be asked to quarantine.
For more information on self-quarantining for Tufts undergraduate students living on- or off-campus, visit: http://go.tufts.edu/quarantine.
Information about Isolation for Undergraduate Students (Medford / Somerville / SMFA)
If/when students test positive for COVID-19 as a result of either their arrival/onboarding test or their surveillance/routine tests during the semester, if they live on campus, they will be moved to on-campus modular residential units (the mods) for isolation and health monitoring. For those living off-campus with a positive test, we will strongly encourage them to use the modular housing on campus so they may be monitored medically. For those students attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts and living off campus in Boston, Brewster Ambulance Services will provide transport from Boston to the mods on the Medford/Somerville campus.
For more information on isolation for Tufts undergraduate students, visit: http://go.tufts.edu/isolation.
Other Information for Students (Medford / Somerville / SMFA)
Parents and guardians will not be informed of your test result, but we encourage you to inform your family of your results. The university will only disclose your health information (including the results of the COVID-19 test) in the unlikely event your situation becomes life-threatening or the university is otherwise authorized or required by applicable law to disclose your circumstances or if you have signed a consent authorizing us to disclose your results to your parents/guardians or legally authorized representative.
Arrival and routine/surveillance tests are being paid for by the university.
Residence Life staff will be present in the residence halls as usual, but the responsibility to ensure mask-wearing and physical distancing lies primarily with you. We highly encourage peer-to-peer enforcement of these protocols. Those not wearing masks or practicing social distancing will be addressed.
Faculty and staff who are required to be tested will be provided time to do so.
Staff who have not been instructed to return to campus will continue to work remotely. If your department is offering choices of hybrid scheduling or remote work, speak with your manager about those options.
If you do not qualify for on-campus testing and feel a need to be tested, the university provides eight “wellness” sick-time hours per year to proactively care for your own health, including if you need to go for testing through your primary care provider. Additionally, if family members also need testing, Massachusetts law provides for the Small Necessities Leave, which provides up to 24 hours of time for family events (including for this use).
Note following safety protocols affects us all. If you observe someone not following guidance (e.g., wearing a mask), you should report this information to your supervisor and should email firstname.lastname@example.org. The university will follow up appropriately. For the Grafton campus, please email email@example.com or you may report it anonymously here.
You cannot opt out of the contact tracing program. The program is essential to control the spread of the virus. Again, you will not be identified during the process in which those individuals with whom you have had close contact are notified about their having had close contact with someone who has tested positive. Your medical information will be held in confidence in accordance with HIPAA regulations and best practices.
For hourly employees whose responsibilities don’t allow them to work from home but who are not able to come into work due to circumstances related to COVID-19, your department manager may have worked with you to provide you work that you could complete off-site. During the initial COVID-19 outbreak, if you were out of sick time accruals and were caring for an ill family/household member, the university extended the option of taking an advance on sick time for care of self or of a family member, for a maximum of 20 sick days. The university is not extending additional sick time. If you are unable to return to on-site work, you should work with your manager to determine work that you can do remotely. All benefits-eligible non-exempt employees receive another award of sick time upon their anniversary date, which will be when you have additional accruals. If you have a unique circumstance, contact your supervisor or your Human Resources business partner for help.
If you have a special circumstance not covered by this document, please direct your question(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org.