COVID-19 Communications and Guidance
Below is guidance and information for the Tufts School of Medicine community around COVID-19. For the latest updates from Tufts University please visit coronavirus.tufts.edu. Answers to commonly asked questions can be found on the Tufts FAQ page.
Fall Semester 2020
First- and second-year medical students will be on campus for clinical skills training and some small group sessions, and third- and fourth-year medical students will be on clinical rotation.
First year Physician Assistant students will be on campus for clinical experiences and second year Physician Assistant students will be on clinical rotations. Public Health and Biomedical Sciences programs will be remote in the fall.
Community Updates and Resources
Public Health Programs
- Information for Recently Enrolled Public Health Students
- Information on Remote Learning for MPH in Fall 2020
- June 5, 2020 - A letter from the Director and Associate Director of the Public Health Programs on Public Health's fall courses.
- April 13, 2020 - A message to admitted public health students from Dean Must
The School of Medicine has determined that all MBS coursework offered in fall 2020 will be delivered remotely. This decision was made after extensive research and consideration of many different options. As a program on the Health Sciences Campus that requires no on-campus clinical training, the MBS Program has the ability to take advantage of remote delivery, allowing for social distancing that will contribute to national efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and to protect the health and safety of the Tufts community.
The Tufts School of Medicine Professional Degree Programs are well prepared for remote learning based on our existing well-established online degree offerings. As always, our course content will closely mirror the Tufts medical school curriculum, using the same outstanding teaching faculty who teach our professional students. Professional schools across the country, as well as internationally, recognize the rigor of our curriculum as evidenced by acceptance of our students to more than 120 schools.
A hallmark of the MBS Program from its inception has been the close interactions between students and faculty. We are confident that our students will continue to feel well connected to their courses, instructors, and each other. Every student has a pre-professional academic partner (advisor) who has no more than five advisees. In one-on-one advising sessions, your advisor gets to know you, to understand your strengths and specific educational and professional goals. Your assigned advisor is available to talk with you as often as necessary about academic issues as well as helping you apply to professional school. In addition, we have a robust program of workshops on utilizing strategic study skills, applying to professional school, writing your Personal Statement, and putting together the optimal package of recommendations.
Tufts University is strongly committed to civic engagement and community service. In the MBS Program, we provide enrichment opportunities including free health clinic volunteering, hospice work, Meals on Wheels, working in homeless shelters, and more. The MBS program can facilitate service activities for students residing both within and outside of the Boston area, in-person and virtually.
To help you gather as much information about our Program as possible, we have extended our schedule of virtual visits and webinars for admitted students. You are also always welcome to contact us directly to ask to schedule a conversation with a current student or admissions counselor.
As a continuing student who has completed your coursework, the transition to remote delivery should have little effect on you. Your academic partner continues to be fully available to you as you complete your thesis and navigate the admissions process for professional school. If you are working on a library thesis, you will be able to connect with your thesis mentor(s) by videoconference and to access the Hirsh Health Sciences Library, as well as research librarians and writing consultants. If you were planning a laboratory thesis, you should be in touch with your mentor to discuss any possible changes in project or timing due to COVID-19.
Your academic advisor will be in close contact to help ensure you meet your specific educational and professional goals. We will continue providing both social and academic activities virtually to enrich your Tufts experience. As always, our superb career services staff are available remotely to review your career aspirations and work with you individually to optimize your time at Tufts to meet them.
Please visit the MBS Admissions & Tuition page for information related to COVID-19.
Guidance for Researchers
TUSM Phase II Guidelines for Re-opening of Basic Science Laboratories
Goals of the guidelines
- Establish safety guidelines for restarting basic science research in concordance with current best practices that will minimize risk to laboratory workers at such time as the state and local authorities have removed the stay at home directives.
- Create a low-density environment that will allow us to:
- Establish best practices for maintaining a safe working environment
- Identify potential risk areas before increasing density to Phase III
- Establish a safety baseline that can be used as a fallback position without a full shutdown should a future surge in virus spread in the state require a pull back from a higher density workplan.
Caveats and limitations
- We will follow a rigorous set of steps to create a carefully controlled work environment based on best current evidence. However, it is not possible to create a 100% safe working environment.
- Changes to the guidelines will likely need to be made in real time as conditions change and we identify issues with operationalization.
- Safety will depend upon availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for the level of interaction and proper training in its usage as well as individual compliance with the safest practices.
- These guidelines apply to healthy individuals without increased risk factors for severe COVID-19. Laboratory workers with health concerns should develop individualized plans with their supervisor and/or Human Resources.
The regulations governing all activities taking place on the campus are outlined in the University Return to Campus guidance. University guidelines for laboratory research can be found at OVPR Research Ramp Up website. University-wide guidelines supersede individual school policies except where specifically exempted.
The additional TUSM specific guidelines for reopening are as follows:
- The maximum number of people assigned to a floor have been reviewed by a TUSM committee and are documented in the attached floor plans.
- Primary work areas are assigned to maintain a minimum of 6 feet between personnel, and, in some cases, greater than 6 feet when the probability of frequent close interactions is high.
- In certain locations, a physical barrier between laboratory benches will need to be installed to allow investigators to work facing each other while in adjacent bays. These locations are indicated on the attached floor diagrams. Laboratories will be provided with materials vetted by the Boston Fire Marshal, Tufts EH&S, and the Tufts Biosafety Office for fire safety, chemical resistance, and ability to be decontaminated for use in the installation of the barrier. Only one side of the bench can be used until the barriers are installed.
- It is understood that people will need to move from their primary location but a minimum of 6ft of distance should be maintained at all times in the laboratory.
- Use of shifts is encouraged to allow for maximum utilization of laboratory spaces; however, at no time can the number of people assigned to a floor exceed the maximum designated capacity covered by the guidelines above (it is however recognized that people may occasionally need to move to other floors to utilize cores or shared equipment. Use of core facilities will require prior arrangement through sign ups as will shared equipment. Placement of equipment that is shared by multiple laboratories should be optimized so that users can access while preserving the 6 ft minimal distance from others on the floor.)
- Work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home and laboratory personnel should minimize the time that they spend in the laboratory.
- Laboratory workers wishing to perform experiments requiring prolonged interaction by lab members working closer than 6 ft. apart must request an exception in their re-opening plan. Granting of the exception is dependent upon the availability of proper personal protective equipment to allow close contact. During Phase II, granting of exceptions will be limited to critical experiments that cannot be performed under social distancing (e.g. animal surgery requiring the cooperation of two scientists).
- If training of new researchers or teaching new skills is critical and cannot be deferred to Phase II, please consider using streaming or recorded video (trainer records or streams example procedure; trainee streams or records solo run of procedure for critique by trainer). Otherwise, refer to #3 above.
- Lunchroom and conference space utilization should be organized to minimize the number of people using the room at one time. The maximum number of people in lunchroom and conference spaces is designated on the floor plans. A distance of 15 ft between unmasked employees who are eating should be maintained. To the greatest extent possible, employees should eat and drink alone in enclosed office spaces, or in open areas outside the buildings on campus.
- Usage of restrooms should be kept to one person at a time unless specifically designated for greater occupancy.
- For cleaning/disinfection of lab surfaces and common equipment, and surfaces following use of lunch/break space, please follow List N on the EPA website. 70% ethanol or isopropanol solutions are examples of allowed disinfectants.
- Post signs for each piece of common equipment to remind that cleaning after use is needed, and to recommend an appropriate agent from List N (to avoid damage from inappropriate agents; this may require some equipment-specific investigation of damage risks).
- Consideration should be given to arranging traffic flow on each floor in such a way as to minimize chances of contact. In some cases, a pattern for traffic between floors will be established for each building with some stairways designated as “up” and others as “down” only. Follow posted signs.
- All pre-COVID regulations for safety as stipulated by IBC protocols must be adhered to and an amendment must be requested if it is not possible to meet these safety stipulations under the current conditions.
- Laboratories where an infected individual has been identified will be closed until a thorough cleaning of areas that the employee has worked can be performed (anticipated time ~ 1-2 days). Floors where more than one individual has become infected within a two-week period will be closed until the laboratory can be cleaned and the work plan can be re-reviewed by the chair and a safety committee consisting of the Vice Dean for Research and a representative from facilities to identify areas of potential workplace transmission. Once it is determined that either no changes are needed or that the necessary changes have been made, the floor can be reopened.
- Use of headphones in laboratories and common spaces will be prohibited. Similarly, use of cell phones while walking in hallways is also prohibited.
- Due to continued shortages of PPE for our medical colleagues, please do not use face masks of a greater performance standard than is absolutely necessary. Medical grade masks, N95s, etc. should only be used when dictated by a particular laboratory’s PPE requirements.
- Attached to this document are the currently approved numbers of people assigned to specific locations for each laboratory. If your laboratory is not listed, you are NOT approved and cannot have people return to the laboratory.
- Faculty who choose to come into the building must be counted as one of the permitted personnel for the day. Faculty should be coming into the building only if they are performing laboratory work or to pick up essential materials to work from home. Faculty without active laboratories should only be coming in to pick up essential materials and will not be allowed to work from their office during this phase.
Regulations related to operation of scientific Core Facilities
Regular operation of the Core Facilities will be renewed, to the greatest extent possible. Core Facilities activities will prioritize the supply of scientific services to Tufts University labs and lessees if there are issues with capacity. Outside work that can be accommodated under the distancing guidelines for all labs will also be allowed. Animal facilities operate under the auspices of the University will develop independent rules that TUSM users will need to adhere to.
Reporting and Enforcement
If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have come in close contact with someone with COVID-19, please report immediately by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Guidelines for the procedures related to COVID-19 can be found at https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/health-and-medical/.
Laboratories are asked to comply with the above guidelines for the safety of all. Suggestions for improvement in practices or incidents of non-compliance can be reported anonymously at TUSM Reopening Anonymous Reporting. If you wish to receive a direct response to your suggestion, you may also direct them to your Dept. Chair or to email@example.com.
The intent of these policies is to ensure the safety of our research community. We hope that the policies create a culture of safety in our community. Upon receipt of a report of a first incidence of non-compliance with the COVID guidelines, the laboratory will be issued a warning and will have to undergo a discussion session with the Vice Dean for Research. Continued infractions within a lab will result in individual or lab-wide restrictions. A second incidence of non-compliance in the laboratory will lead to suspension of the individual (if the same individual) for two weeks or a reduction of allotted personnel slots in the laboratory by 50% for 2 weeks if it is a different individual. A third offense will lead to closure of the laboratory for 4 weeks regardless of whether it was the same person committing the offense.
All previously issued warnings to laboratories will be reset to zero now and at the start of each new phase.
Re-Opening Committee Members
Leon Reijmers (Neurosciences)
Marta Rodriguez-Garcia (Immunology)
Larry Feig (DMCB)
Carol Kumamoto (Microbiology)
Jonathan Garlick (Dental)
Michael Thomas (Puretech)
Albert Tai (Core facilities)
Daniel Volchuk (GSBS)
Pam Yelick (Dental)
Terah Schramberg (Administration/facilities)
- OVPR COVID-19 Information & Research Resources
- OVPR Research Ramp Up website
- OVPR checklist for reopening
- Return to Campus Guide
- Daily Health Screening
- TUSM Reopening Anonymous Reporting
Research Reopening FAQs
Is it safe for me to come back to campus to work?
The School of Medicine and University are working very hard to make coming back to work as safe possible. While there is risk, our goal is to make going to work safer than going to the grocery store. We understand that there are many reasons why it may be difficult or unsafe for an individual to return to campus. If you have a concern, please reach out to one of the many resources available: Office of Equal Opportunity, Human Resources, Department Chair, Linden Hu, Terah Schamberg, or the anonymous reporting portal to help address any issue you might have.
Returning to Tufts Campuses Course
What is the returning to campus course?
This required course includes guidance on the use of PPE such as face coverings, hand hygiene, and social distancing practices that must be followed by all employees working on campus.
Where can I find this course?
This course is available on Tufts Learning Center.
Do I have to complete this before returning to campus?
This is required for all employees returning to work.
How long will it take to complete the course?
Approximately 7 minutes.
What is the health check that needs to be filled out to come to work?
Prior to arriving on campus each workday, faculty and staff, including postdoctoral scholars and doctoral students, will need to complete a Daily Health Screening Survey to attest that they are not experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently come into contact with someone who is confirmed to have COVID-19. Upon completing the survey, individuals will immediately receive an email confirming whether they can come to campus. Those approved to come to campus may be required to show the email to a school administrator, supervisor or building security guard upon arrival. The survey can be accessed via:
- the Tufts mobile app
- the Healthy @ Tufts portal (Daily Healthy Status Survey)
How do I prove that I passed the health check?
You will receive an email that you have passed the health check, present this to the Public Safety officer at the entrance of the building. In the future, this check will be tied to your badge access.
How often do I need to complete the health check?
You must complete this each day before you come in to work. It is valid for the day that you completed it should you have to leave the building and return.
Entering the complex
Where can I enter the complex?
- During normal business hours, you may enter through M&V and/or Jaharis.
- During off hours, only the M&V entrance will be open.
- Do not prop doors open or come through other entrances in the complex.
What is the process for entering the building and getting to my lab?
- Before coming to work, you should complete the health check. If your results are such that you are permitted to come to work, arrive with the ability to prove that you have passed the health check (we are working on developing an onsite process for those that do not have a smartphone or a printer at home).
- Tap your badge on the reader outside the building, show your approved health check to the public safety officer, tap your badge on the reader at the security desk.
- Use the hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
- Then, grab your mask and head to your lab.
- If no one is around, you may remove your face covering or mask (that you’ve worn into the building from home) and put on your university issued PPE.
- If there is a line of people behind you, please continue on towards your lab and make the switch outside of the laboratory in a place where you can ensure that you will not run into someone else.
- A paper bag will be provided by your department to place your mask into when/if you need to take it off.
Do masks have to be worn at all times?
Unless you have a health exemption, you are required to wear a mask or respirator at all times in the building where there is potential for you to encounter another person. This includes all active laboratory spaces. If you are alone and in an office space with the door closed, you may remove your mask.
Can I wear a cloth mask to work?
For individuals that are working in a laboratory setting, you may wear your cloth face covering to the building and into the building, but not in the laboratory.
Where do I get my mask to wear in the lab?
You will receive a disposable mask upon entry of the research complex.
How many masks do I get per day?
We ask that you try to use only one mask per day. If this one mask gets compromised in some way, you may go down to the public safety desk to get another mask. *Please note, when you need a mask it will be available to you. We want to distribute only one mask per day due to the limited availability of masks across the country – conserving these resources when possible will not only help the Tufts community but it will also help other researchers across the country.
Do I have to take mask off when I leave the lab?
You are allowed to wear your mask throughout the day even if you leave the laboratory. At the end of the day, you should dispose of your mask in one of the trash receptacles in our building and put on your home mask.
Should I wear gloves when I’m not in the lab?
Gloves may not offer much additional protection from COVID-19 beyond good hand hygiene. Laboratory gloves cannot be worn outside the laboratory unless the IBC has granted an exemption for your project. The choice to wear non-laboratory gloves outside the lab is up to the individual but they should be clearly identifiable as non-laboratory gloves.
What is the C&W cleaning schedule?
We have requested this and will post it on each floor once it is received. We will also update this document when this has been provided.
What can be used to clean high touch areas within the lab?
While custodial crews will continue to clean office and workspaces based on CDC and other public health guidelines, additional care should be taken to wipe down commonly used surfaces. Before starting work and before you leave any room in which you have been working, you must wipe down all work areas with a CDC approved disinfectant. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, light switches, doorknobs, etc.).
What is the protocol for entering and exiting the bathroom?
During Phase 2, we are asking that no more than one person be in the bathroom at a time. Exceptions to this suggested occupancy limited will be posted. Use hand sanitizer that is placed outside the bathroom (if available) and knock on door and ask if it is occupied. If no one is in the bathroom, turn the sign on the door from vacant to occupied. Wash your hands after using the bathroom. Official guidance for cleaning the high touch spaces in the bathroom will be provided ASAP. You should use a paper towel to turn the handle to open the door. Upon exiting the bathroom, use hand sanitizer and then turn the sign on the door to vacant.
Where can I eat my lunch?
Each lab has a designated space to eat lunch. Please refer to your lab/floor’s detailed space diagram for reference.
Can I take off my mask in the lunchroom?
If you are in a lunchroom/office that permits only one person, please close the door before taking off your mask. You may take off your mask (be sure to follow the guidance for proper removal of PPE) and place it in your paper bag. After you are done eating your lunch, put your mask back on before leaving the room.
How do I clean the lunchroom before I leave?
Please follow the same guidance as in the labs for high touch areas. Wipe down all areas that you have touched with a 70% ethanol or isopropanol solution and paper towel before leaving the space.
What if my designated lunchroom is permitted to have two people?
Please follow the same guidance as if you are in the room by yourself (follow the same cleaning protocol, etc) but be sure to sit on opposite sides of the room (at least 15 ft apart) and face opposite directions.
What if my lunchroom has the one sink for people to use to wash their hands or dishes?
Please sit as far away from the sink as possible and face away from it. If you’re able to sanitize your hands and re-mask while the person is using the sink, that is preferable. Or, the person can wait for the other person to leave the lunchroom before washing dishes or use a bathroom sink to wash their hands.
What if my usual lunchroom is in an open space and it has not been designated as a lunchroom
Open spaces cannot be used as lunchrooms. However, people are allowed to use the space with their mask on as a non-laboratory workspace as long as they maintain 6 ft distancing.
What are vendors required to do before they enter the building?
Most vendors have their own protocols for keeping their staff safe (PPE, hand hygiene, etc) but will also follow guidelines provided by Tufts. In cases where contactless delivery is possible, that is the preferred method. More information regarding this should be forthcoming.
Will Airgas continue to deliver to my lab?
Yes. Please note that they have been overloaded with requests and are not responding as readily as they have in the past. Please plan well in advance to avoid delays in your deliveries.
Shipping and Receiving
Will deliveries be brought into the lab?
Shipping staff have been told that they can leave deliveries inside the lab door if a photocopy of your ID is taped to the wall or a table near the entrance of the lab. We are working on email notifications when this is completed and will update when we receive more information.
What if I don’t want to leave a photocopy of my badge near the entrance?
How many people are permitted to be in each lab?
Please refer to your lab’s approved plan.
Where can I find my lab’s approved density plan?
All plans will be posted outside the doors of the labs so that all occupants of the building are aware of the density in each space.
What if I need to go to another floor to use equipment or get supplies?
The Phase 2 occupancy plan allows people stationed on one floor/lab to work on another floor/lab occasionally. For example, lab members may need to use a piece of shared equipment.
What if the PI needs to come into the lab and we’re already at our assigned number of people?
If the PI needs to come into the lab, and staff is already in taking up the approved occupancy, someone from the lab will need to leave to make space for the PI. Occupancy will be measured by wing/floor and not PI so different PI laboratories in the same space may “swap” allotted slots as long as the overall occupancy for the floor does not exceed the approved number.
What if we see someone not following the recommended guidelines or exceeding the approved occupancy?
After report of a safety violation, the laboratory, including the PI, will be given additional instructions regarding the safety protocol. A subsequent violation by the same laboratory member will result in suspension of that person from laboratory work for 2 weeks. A second violation in the laboratory by a different person, will result in a 50% reduction in allotted personnel in lab. A third violation by the laboratory will result in closure of the laboratory for 4 weeks.
Current guidelines for each elevator are posted on the elevator doors. If 6 ft distancing can be maintained in an elevator, more than two people can ride at the same time however the maximum number is 4.
Travel to Campus
Will the School or the University provide financial assistance for people to park on campus?
Currently, the School of Medicine and the University are unable to provide financial assistance for parking.
Can faculty allow their staff to park in their parking spot?
This is permissible as long as all rules and regulations provided by the parking office are followed. Please contact them to see how this can be achieved: ParkingandTransportDepartment@tuftsmedicalcenter.org or call 617-636-5580.
What if public transit is the only way I can get to campus and I’m not comfortable travelling that way?
During Phase 2, anyone that is not comfortable coming to work for health related reasons, they should contact the Office of Equal Opportunity to discuss an accommodation. People should also discuss their concerns with their supervisor to see if there are alternate work arrangements available. You can also reach out to your HR business partner if you need assistance: Michelle Boucher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I plan on using public transit to come to work, how can I do that safely?
If you are using public transit, please follow all of the guidance provided by the MBTA.
Who do I contact if I need additional access to research building now that I’m working a later or earlier shift?
Please send this request to your department manager and have them send their department list to Terah Schamberg: email@example.com.
Positive COVID-19 results
What if I come into close contact with someone who has been identified as having a potential or positive COVID-19 diagnosis?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can go to this website for additional details for what constitutes a close contact and what to do if you have had close contact with a known COVID-19 positive person.
Will the lab be closed if someone on the floor tests positive for COVID-19?
The labs will be closed for cleaning by an outside group, probably a two-day process depending on the size of the lab. During the closure, tracking and tracing will occur to determine if anyone else in the laboratory had a close contact with the positive person. If more than one person on a floor tests positive for COVID-19, the school will re-evaluate procedures on that floor to determine if changes are warranted and whether it is safe to reopen the laboratory.
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Communications from Dean Bates
Tuesday, March 24th - Updates & Town Hall on Friday
Dear TUSM Community,
Given Governor Baker’s recent order, Tufts University believes our current work guidelines comply with the new definition of essential services. While our TUSM buildings will remain open, we prefer that everyone work and study at home whenever possible. For those who work in labs, OVPR sent out an announcement last week with helpful information. Additionally, further restrictions on personal and work travel may be forthcoming as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
To continue our open flow of communication, I am hosting another virtual TUSM Town Hall for faculty and staff on Friday (3/27) at 3pm ET and I ask that you email email@example.com with any questions or concerns so we can talk through them together on Friday.
- After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing personalized information about how to join the meeting.
- We will continue to record these town halls so if you’re not able to attend, you will find it posted after the meeting on TUSM’s YouTube channel.
Thanks and I look forward to seeing you on Friday.
Peter W. Bates, MD
Dean ad interim
Professor of Medicine
Monday, March 16th - A Video Message from Peter W. Bates, Dean ad interim
Dear Tufts Community,
Although my video covers some of the major news and guidance that university and school leaders have shared in recent days, I also wanted to briefly recap some of those details should it be useful.
- Our administrative offices on the Boston campus remain open, and new measures are immediately being put into place that will assist staff in working remotely. You will find that information here.
- We encourage individuals to communicate electronically as much as possible and to be understanding of delays in responsiveness that occur due to this unprecedented situation.
- Everyone should continue to practice meticulous hand hygiene and social distancing practices.
- For faculty, students and staff who believe they may need evaluation and possible COVID-19 testing, please see the University’s FAQs relevant to this concern or contact your supervisor or dean for guidance.
- Tufts University and TUSM will continue to send you further information and guidance as it becomes available.
- For general information from the University, you will find all of President Monaco’s messages as well as other helpful resources here; you can also email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any follow-up questions.
- For urgent questions or concerns that remain, please contact me at email@example.com.
Thank you for your continued patience and solidarity during this time.
Peter W. Bates, MD
Dean ad interim
Professor of Medicine
Wednesday, March 11th - A Message from Peter W. Bates, MD, Dean ad interim
Dear Tufts University School of Medicine Colleagues,
I’m writing to follow up on President Monaco’s message of last evening which announced unprecedented changes in our academic programs and day-to-day work life in response to the entry of COVID-19 into our community. As disruptive as these may seem, these changes are designed to protect all of us, sustain our academic mission, and reduce potential viral transmission. Let me first address adjustments that all of us will need to make.
Effective immediately through April 30
- School offices and research facilities will remain open; this policy may be revised as new information develops, so it’s important to check coronavirus.tufts.edu for updates and helpful information. Faculty and staff may have some flexibility to work from home but will need to coordinate with their supervisor. Tufts Technology Resources has put together the following materials to support staff and faculty members with technology needs.
- All University-related international and domestic travel (including air, bus and train) is prohibited. Personal travel is strongly discouraged. Commuting is not included in this ban, so consult your supervisor if you have concerns about public transportation. Options could include adjusting your schedule so you are commuting during non-peak hours.
- In an effort to reduce the potential spread of the virus, it is important to limit the density of gatherings, and whenever possible alternatives to in-person gatherings should be pursued. If necessary, an upper limit of 25 attendees is recommended. This ban includes seminars and related activities. If you work in an open large-group setting, consult with your supervisor about working in shifts.
Beginning March 23
- Academic instruction for medical students will be virtual with rare exceptions approved by the Dean for Educational Affairs. Clinical rotations for medical students will continue but may be adjusted by the Dean of Student Affairs or the sponsoring clinical site.
- PA, MBS, HIA, Public Health, GSBS and other program learning activities will be governed by similar principles – students should consult with their dean and program leaders.
Specific questions about academic programs should be directed to your relevant dean, program director, supervisor or research lab manager. You will also receive specific research guidance from the Office of the Vice Provost separately.
These decisions will create challenges for all of us. The potential impact of COVID-19 on our community, our health care system, our university and our school of medicine is enormous. This is our opportunity to come together as a community, to think creatively about how we teach, learn, work, and help each other through a difficult challenge.
Lastly, Tufts University Executive Vice President, Mike Howard, will send a more detailed message with staff guidelines soon. If you have questions that I haven’t addressed, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peter W. Bates, MD
Dean ad interim
Professor of Medicine
Alumni & Friends
Friday, March 13th - Tufts School of Medicine and COVID-19 Message for Alumni and Friends
Dear Alumni and Friends,
I am writing to share some important information about Tufts University’s recent response to COVID-19.
On March 10, President Tony Monaco sent a message to students, faculty, and staff outlining plans to help limit the spread of the novel coronavirus on our campuses and among our communities, particularly those among us who are most vulnerable. Beginning March 23, academic instruction for TUSM students will be virtual with rare exceptions. Clinical rotations for MD students will continue but may be adjusted by the dean of student affairs or the sponsoring clinical site. Physician Assistant, MS in Biomedical Sciences, Health Informatics & Analytics, Public Health, and other program learning activities will be governed by similar principles. You can read the president’s full message to the community here.
One immediate measure we are taking that may impact you is the cancellation of all on-campus events that include external visitors, and all Tufts-sponsored off-campus events, through the end of April. Given that, we have decided it is prudent to cancel the 2020 Medical Alumni Reunion scheduled for May 1–3. If you were planning to attend, you will receive a separate email notification and information about reimbursement, if applicable.
These unprecedented changes in the school’s academic programs and day-to-day life have resulted in unforeseen circumstances for students. Circumstances like these can be difficult to overcome without support, and people have been asking us how they can help. In response, we have started an Unexpected Hardship Fund for medical, public health, and professional degree students, which will help support students who have unforeseen expenses.
I encourage you to stay up-to-date on the university’s latest announcements regarding COVID-19 here and invite you to send any questions you may have to email@example.com.
Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Tufts’ core values of community and civic responsibility and for all the ways that you may choose to support the school as we navigate these exceptionally challenging and unprecedented circumstances.
With best wishes,
Peter W. Bates, MD
Dean ad interim
Professor of Medicine
Boston Campus Student Resources
We understand that COVID-19 has brought on many new stresses for students. Students are now doing work remotely, often in settings that aren’t optimal for studying; and may now be distanced from support networks and in addition to curricular obligations, students may be worried about the financial and health impacts that the pandemic has on family and friends. We want to make sure students are aware of the ongoing mental health support and wellness activities to help during these times.
What resources are available for counseling and mental health support on the Boston campus?
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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to be connected with a chaplain by phone, Zoom, or WebEx.
Student Wellness Programs remain in full swing during this period of remote learning. Please see the weekly Wellness Newsletter or contact our campus wellness advisor, Snaggs at Sharon.email@example.com or 617-636-2700.
Mindful practices can also ease stress. Christina Pastan, D91, DG94, director of Mind-Body Wellness at the School of Dental Medicine, talks about some of these practices here. She will lead virtual drop-in meditation on Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. through May 28, and virtual yoga on Tuesdays at 4:30pm through April 28. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the elist.
Additionally, every Wednesday from 11:30am-noon, Marathon Health is hosting virtual meditation sessions sponsored by Tufts Human Resources. Everyone is welcome, and no previous meditation experience is needed. To log in with video, click https://tufts.zoom.us/j/491278942; the meeting ID is 491 278 942. To join by phone, call 646-558-8656 and enter meeting ID 491 278 942.
Are Boston Campus Student Affairs offices open?
All Student Affairs Offices remain fully operational and are ready to support students who need additional academic support or personal advising. For the MD program, please call 617-636-6534.
The PHPD Office of Student Services is currently working remotely and has opened a virtual drop in office which you can access by clicking on this link. Use the virtual office for any services for which you would normally come see us in person, and we will connect you with the correct person in our office to assist you Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm. We are also still available at our regular phone number, 617-636-0935, and are able to check voicemail and respond as needed. You may also email our Student/Academic Services Assistant for help.
The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Office of Student Affairs continues to work remotely and may be reached by email or by calling our main phone number 617-636-3777. Staff are available Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm or by appointment outside of that time frame.
In light of directions from Tufts and public health authorities, Hirsh Library ceased in-person operations at 12pm on Monday, March 16th. Library staff will work remotely and information services will be available virtually during normal library hours. Check the Hirsh Library website for hours and more information.