COVID-19

Last updated: May 22, 2020
For the most up-to-date information, please visit go.tufts.edu/coronavirus.

Face Coverings
• (May 1, 2020) Governor Baker issued an order requiring everyone in Massachusetts to wear a face covering in public if unable to maintain a distance of six feet from other people, effective May 6th. As of April 29th, the City of Somerville is requiring face masks to be worn at all times in public places.

Travel Information
• University-connected and -sponsored travel, both domestic and international, is prohibited through June 30th for faculty and staff and through August 20th for students. This will be periodically reassessed (May 1, June 1, July 1, August 1) based on governmental guidance.

• Personal domestic and international travel is strongly discouraged, except for the purposes of students returning home.

• Faculty, staff, and students returning from countries with CDC Level 3 travel warnings for COVID-19 must self-quarantine for 14 days in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Visas and Financial Information
• (March 18, 2020) From the International Center: There will be no immediate term change in visa status for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars on a visa while education and research/scholarship activities continue remotely.

• The university has set up a number of hardship funds to assist students who are facing unexpected expense due to the crisis. Please apply if you are in need.  Additional donations are always welcome!

Commuter Benefits
• If you purchase your commuter benefits through the payroll deduction system, you will need to change your enrollment through the EBPA benefits website by the 4th of the month to stop the payroll deduction for the following month’s commuter benefits. In other words, you must cancel your enrollment by Saturday, April 4, for example, in order to avoid a deduction for the May benefits.

Classes
• Classes (including research talks and journal clubs) will be moving online as of March 25 at the latest for the remainder of the semester.

• Registration for Summer and Fall classes will open as normal in early April.

Events
• All events have been canceled through June 30, 2020.

Thesis Defenses
• Thesis defenses will be held online (Webex or Zoom) through the end of the semester.

Meetings
• Meetings should take place over Webex or Zoom.

Staff
• All non-essential staff will be expected to work from home (effective March 17, 2020, no later than March 20, 2020). This applies to master’s and graduate certificate students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral scholars (and not to clinical certificate students/residents).

Research
All research at Tufts University has ramped down (as of March 13, 2020). The ramp-down will continue at least through May 18th (the end date of Governor Baker’s Stay-At-Home Order).

• PIs and supervisors are responsible for coordinating a ramp-down strategy to enable remote work to the maximum extent possible.

Only essential basic/wet laboratory research is to be performed . Essential work includes animal care, checking on liquid N2 tanks. Experiments that are not critical must be postponed.

• Phase 1A Research Ramp-Up:
The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) is working to set in place protocols for cleaning and disinfecting, lab safety standards, PPE, and signage to comply with the state’s Phase I requirements. More information can be found here.

#FlattenTheCurve
• RNA Isolation kits are urgently needed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for COVID-19 detection. If you have any of the following that you could donate (they will be replaced when more are available), please contact Ryan Lavoie at the Brigham:
– QIAamp® Viral RNA Mini Kit
– QIAamp® MinElute Virus Spin Kit
– RNeasy® Mini Kit (QIAGEN)
– EZ1 DSP Virus Kit (QIAGEN)
– Roche MagNA Pure Compact RNA Isolation Kit
– Roche MagNA Pure Compact Nucleic Acid Isolation Kit
– Roche MagNA Pure 96 DNA
– RocheViral NA Small Volume Kit

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. You should wash your hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

• Cover your cough with your upper sleeve or elbow to keep germs from spreading. If you cough into your hand, immediately go wash your hands.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Avoid sharing drinks, food, and/or cigarettes or vaping products.

• Maintain social distancing.

• 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. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with other people.

Mental Health
• A Tufts Boston student Buddy system has been launched to have pairs of students regularly check-in on each other by phone or Skype to keep our spirits up in the absence of daily face-to-face contact. Students can sign up here: CoronaBuddies. While many people might prefer to choose their own buddies for this, we hope you will consider signing up for a random buddy so we can pair people who may feel that they don’t have anyone to go to

• Counseling resources are available through Talk One2One Student Assistance Program on the Health Sciences Campus.

• The Student Advisory & Health Administration Office (SAHA) is a division of Student Affairs for the Boston and Grafton Health Sciences Campuses.

• Other places to seek help: BetterHelp, iHope, and the University Chaplaincy.

Helping Others
Tufts Civic Impact – Tisch College has launched Tufts Civic Impact, to help coordinate volunteer efforts around the COVID-19 crisis.  The platform will organize and train Tufts students and staff who could be deployed, if/when they are needed, either virtually or in-person, (health, safety and state or local travel restrictions allowing) to support response efforts on our campus and in partnership with our host communities.  For additional information and to sign up, click this link.