Announcements and Updates 2021-2022

The University has revised its COVID-19 safety protocols. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with them and to visit the Tufts Coronavirus website before coming to campus. That website will always be your best source for current information. Circumstances and guidance could change over the summer, and we want you to be aware of this possibility.

Please visit the Student Message Archive to view messages sent to AS&E students during the current academic year (link below). Students have received these messages via email on the dates indicated.

This Year's Student Messages

Fall 2021 Campus Arrival Information

On August 5, 2021, we shared fall 2021 campus arrival information with our students and their families. Here is the information by audience group:

Summer 2021 update on COVID-19 protocols

Following recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Governor Baker’s decision to lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts effective May 29, Tufts University will update its COVID-19 policies and procedures effective June 1, 2021. The changes outlined on this page apply to all Tufts’ campuses and are effective immediatelyPlease visit https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/ for further details.

Vaccination requirements for students

All vaccines approved by another country or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted as meeting Tufts’ requirement for vaccination. Individuals who have received a non-WHO approved vaccine may be offered one approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Students (including undergraduate, graduate, professional, and non-traditional students) must be vaccinated prior to participating in on-campus classes or activities. For students in the School of Arts and Sciences (including SMFA at Tufts), School of Engineering, School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, Fletcher School, Friedman School, and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, the deadline for vaccination will be July 1. For students in all other Tufts schools, the deadline will be prior to the beginning of the fall semester. We will assist students who have limited access to a vaccine in meeting this requirement shortly after their arrival on campus. Like other vaccine requirements in place for students, medical and religious exemptions will be considered. More details about this policy, including information on how to submit proof of vaccination status, is posted at tufts.edu/covidvaccine.

Protocols for mask wearing, gatherings, physical distancing & dining

Mask Wearing

  • Fully vaccinated individuals (defined as 14+ days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or 14+ days after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) are not required to wear masks or physically distance outside. However, individuals who feel more comfortable wearing a mask outdoors for whatever reason, are encouraged to do so.
  • Non-vaccinated individuals are advised to continue wearing face masks and physically distance outdoors until they are fully vaccinated.
  • Tufts requires that all individuals, whether vaccinated or not, continue to wear masks indoors, except when alone in an office or when eating. We hope that the indoor mask requirement may be eased at a later date. This decision will be based on future levels of vaccination coverage within the Tufts community (students, faculty, and staff), our neighboring communities, and the state, and ongoing low incidence of COVID-19 infections. Even after routine mask wearing indoors is dropped, there may be certain circumstances (e.g., very large indoor gatherings) where their use may be encouraged or people may feel more comfortable wearing them.
  • Per the state’s guidance, face coverings are required for all individuals on public and private transportation (including rideshares, livery, taxis, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations), in healthcare facilities, congregate care settings, and health and rehabilitative day services.

Gatherings & Room Occupancy

  • There are no limits on the size of indoor or outdoor gatherings. Standard pre-COVID room occupancy limits will apply, including in conference rooms, offices, classrooms, laboratories, gyms, studios, and libraries.

Physical Distancing

  • People are no longer required to remain six or more feet apart outdoors or indoors, including in conference rooms, offices, classrooms, laboratories, gyms, studios, and libraries.

Dining

  • Until high vaccination coverage among on-campus faculty, staff, and students can be verified, we encourage outdoor dining throughout the summer and early fall.
  • All in-person events and office parties should be held outside with prepackaged food.
  • Indoor dining returns to pre-pandemic capacity and we encourage everyone, particularly those who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, to use good judgment when it comes to their proximity to others while eating in any setting.
  • For events, food will be prepackaged; self-service buffets and potluck are not permitted.

Testing, quarantine, isolation & Daily Health screening

Testing

  • COVID-19 surveillance testing will be once a week for all students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and vendors who are on campus regularly and in contact with others. For other circumstances, see guidance on Testing at Tufts.

Quarantine

  • Vaccinated close contacts of a COVID-19 case will not be required to quarantine; however, they must participate fully in the contact tracing process and monitor themselves for symptoms of infection. Those identified as close contacts by Tufts contact tracers will be instructed on who to contact if symptoms develop.
  • Unvaccinated close contacts of a COVID-19 case must quarantine. Unvaccinated close contacts will be tested on day 6 or 7 after the exposure and released from quarantine on day 8, if negative, with symptom monitoring for a total of 14 days.

Isolation

  • Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate at home or in the mods (Somerville/Medford/SMFA students only) for 10 days. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 either through Tufts University surveillance or externally is expected to participate fully in the contact tracing process and identification of close contacts. Per state guidance, individuals with a positive COVID-19 test must be cleared by a medical professional prior to return to classes or to work.

Daily Health Screening

  • While the prevalence of COVID-19 has fallen dramatically, the virus has not been eliminated and the potential for serious illness from infection remains, especially among immunocompromised and or unvaccinated members of the community.
  • All faculty, staff, affiliates, and students who are coming to or living on campus are required to complete the daily health status survey. This is critically important since even those who are vaccinated can become infected and transmit the virus, though the likelihood is significantly reduced.
  • Students, faculty, and staff should stay home when feeling sick! Individuals with flu-like symptoms should seek medical care and receive a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work or classes.

For more details on testing, quarantine, isolation, and daily health screening, visit Testing at Tufts.

Visitors

The information in this section applies to visitors who are not already part of the regular surveillance testing on campus.

  • Visitors who are indoors and wearing a mask at all times do not need to be tested.
  • Visitors who are indoors and are in situations where eating and drinking will happen (e.g., indoor event, luncheon, or coffee) are required to be tested, irrespective of vaccination status.
  • Visitors who interact with patients in a healthcare setting (e.g., dental exam proctors) are required to be tested.
  • Visitors who provide students with hands-on instruction are required to be tested.
  • Outdoor visitors do not need to be tested, but unvaccinated visitors should wear face masks and physically distance.
  • Visitors are permitted to use indoor restrooms on campus (masks must be worn).
  • For more details on testing for campus visitors, please see Testing at Tufts.

Travel

  • All domestic and personal international travel is allowed without restrictions.
  • All Tufts-related international travel must follow the current review process, including approval by the dean or division VP’s office and review by the ITRC for students and by the Integrative Safety Committee (ISC) for research-related travel.
  • All travelers (personal and Tufts-related) must follow arrival quarantine protocols according to their vaccination status.
  • All travelers should be familiar with and follow local guidance at their destination.
  • Even if fully vaccinated, travelers should follow safe travel guidelines to protect themselves and others.

For details on arrival testing for both domestic and international travelers, including unvaccinated international students arriving for summer or fall courses, see Testing at Tufts.

In collaboration with local and state boards of health, we will continue to monitor and respond to local, national, and international data and trends. Thus, our guidance may change. However, our primary objective is to create and maintain a very positive experience for students, faculty and staff throughout the summer and into the fall. During this time of transition, it is important that everyone respects other community members who may wish to continue wearing a mask or practice physical distancing. People have different levels of comfort, and we remain responsible for protecting, supporting, and looking out for the physical and mental health of one another.

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Plans for Fall 2021

Here in Greater Boston and the United States, the widespread availability of effective vaccines is greatly reducing the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. While the battle is not won and we will have to continue to exercise caution to protect the immunocompromised and others who remain vulnerable to serious illness on campus and in our host communities, we are making headway.

Because of this progress, many of the restrictions that were in place during the last academic year have been revised or eliminated. If you were on campus last year, we thank you once again for the many personal sacrifices you made in service to the community and the greater good.

In addition to the following information, if you are an international student and have any questions about coming to Tufts this Fall, we encourage you to reach out directly to our International Center by emailing internationalcenter@tufts.edu.

Campus Arrival

Returning students with campus housing assignments will return to campus on Sunday, September 5, unless you are a varsity fall sport athlete, resident assistant, or involved in some other early arrival program. If you are in one of these categories, you will receive arrival information separately later in the summer. Students with campus housing assignments will not be permitted to arrive early unless approved formally by the Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL).

Classes begin on Wednesday, September 8.

When you arrive, you will be required to take a rapid COVID test, results of which will be known within 30 minutes. If you test negative, you can go about your activities and begin your weekly COVID-19 routine testing program within 3 to 4 days. If you test positive, you need to isolate for 10 days in your off-campus apartment or in the Mods. You will be put in touch with a clinician from Tufts Health Service who will follow your case and can provide medical advice and monitoring.

Arrival procedures and dates for students who live off-campus are still in development and will be shared with you before the end of June.

Any student arriving from an international location who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 upon arrival to campus will be required by state and local health regulations to quarantine for 7 to 10 days before leaving their rooms or off-campus apartments. You are fully vaccinated 14 days after your second dose of a two-shot vaccine or your first dose of a one-shot vaccine such as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Students who have not submitted proper vaccination records will be contacted if they will be required to arrive early to complete this required quarantine and get a COVID-19 vaccination. You will be considered not fully vaccinated and will be required to quarantine if you have not uploaded your vaccination information.

You will receive more information about campus arrival as it becomes available. You may also check the Residential Life web page for updates.

COVID-19 Vaccines

All in-person students are required to have been vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have a medical or religious exemption. We encourage you to get vaccinated now and upload your proof of vaccination to our secure Patient Portal by Thursday, July 1. International students are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 now. However, they may receive their COVID-19 vaccinations when they arrive in the United States. Current guidance requires 7-10 days of arrival quarantine for unvaccinated international students. If you are receiving a two-dose vaccination (Pfizer, Moderna), do not upload your information until you have received both doses, even if that is after the July 1 deadline.

International students are encouraged to get vaccinated against COVID-19 now. However, they may receive their COVID-19 vaccinations when they arrive in the United States if they are unable to access vaccine over the summer. All vaccines approved by another country or the World Health Organization (WHO) will be accepted as meeting Tufts’ requirement for vaccination. Individuals who have received a non-WHO approved vaccine may be offered one approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in consultation with a clinician in the United States. International students with additional questions regarding Fall 2021 arrival may also reach out to our International Center.

Students who are unable to access the vaccine over the summer should contact the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs in order to arrange an arrival time that allows for quarantine before they plan to participate in any programming. Students who have been vaccinated but have not submitted proper vaccination records will need to follow the procedure for unvaccinated students until their documentation has been received, which may delay their ability to fully participate in programming.

Pre-orientation and orientation participation

We expect that the vast majority of students will arrive on campus vaccinated. Those students who will need to be vaccinated and/or quarantined upon arrival, will be able to participate in programming once they receive at least their first dose and complete their quarantine. They will still be required to follow all guidelines for unvaccinated people until they meet the definition of being fully vaccinated.

Masking

Wearing face masks will be required when you are indoors, including classrooms, laboratories, studios, libraries, dining halls, and residences. Within your off-campus apartment or residence hall, face masks must be worn in communal areas such as lounges, kitchens, and hallways. Masks are not required outdoors.

Residence Hall Visitors

Tufts students participating in surveillance testing may visit Tufts students living in other residence halls in accordance with the ORLL guest policy; however, occupancy limits and mask wearing policies will be in effect.

Non-Tufts visitors will not be allowed in residence halls. (Parents and guardians may assist with move-in and must wear face masks.)

Dining

While outdoor dining will be encouraged in the Fall, we anticipate all our campus dining locations will be fully operational.

Athletics

We are preparing for a full resumption of athletics, including club sports and intramurals. Varsity athletes will be tested in the same testing cadence with other students; any additional guidance that may come from the NCAA or the NESCAC will be applicable. 

Campus Organizations

Student organizations and student groups will be able to conduct meetings and events in person.

Singing and Wind and Brass Instrument Playing

Indoor practices and performances will be permitted with appropriate, instrument-specific PPE (e.g., masks for singers; masks for wind and brass instrument players; reed instrument bags; etc.). There is no distance requirement between performers and the audience. Audience members do not need to wear masks outdoors.

There will be no PPE requirements or other COVID-19 restrictions for outdoor practices and performances.

Theater Rehearsals and Performances (non-singing)

Performers and audience members must wear masks indoors.

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Class of 2025 Student Housing

As admitted students confirmed their intention to attend Tufts this Fall, we learned that the Class of 2025 will be slightly larger than anticipated.

This situation is also occurring at other selective colleges and universities this year.

To fulfill our commitment to house all first- and second-year students, the Office of Residential Life and Learning (ORLL) has leased space at the Hyatt Place Hotel in Medford to serve as an additional first-year residence that will accommodate approximately 100 incoming students.

Students were randomly selected to be assigned to the hotel residence. We anticipate they will be housed there for both semesters.

The hotel residence will operate just as all of our first-year residence halls do, with Resident Assistants and full access to the programs, activities, and resources available to all first-year students.

These students will receive preferential treatment in next year's housing lottery, giving them an advantage in selecting sophomore housing preferences.

General information about residential life and move-in can be found on the ORLL web page. If you have additional questions or need additional information, you can contact our Residential Life staff at ResidentialLife@tufts.edu.

Class of 2025 Housing Questions and Answers

Why is this happening? 

The desire to attend Tufts has never been higher. We received 31,198 first-year applications, a 35% increase over the prior year. We admitted 11% of applicants this year compared with 16% the year before. All universities—including Tufts—admit more students than they anticipate enrolling based on historical models that predict how many of those students will change their plans to attend between April and September. In a normal year, a small number of students elect to attend college elsewhere, apply for a personal or medical leave, or request a gap year. That is not happening this summer as much as anticipated, and the predictive models are not as accurate. Admitted first-year students, for the most part, are not changing their minds this year.

Are other schools dealing with the same issue or is it just Tufts?

We understand that many highly selective colleges and universities across the country are finding that they have larger entering classes than their enrollment models predicted.

Will the need for increased housing at Tufts happen every year now?

Demand for campus housing consistently exceeds our capacity. We currently only guarantee housing for first- and second-year students and have limited capacity to house juniors, seniors, and graduate students. For this reason, we are planning to expand our campus housing capacity through the construction of a new residence hall. The new residence hall will enable us to accommodate more of our students in the future and potentially alleviate pressure on the apartment rental market in our host communities.

Has this happened before at Tufts? 

Yes. In 1978, the enrollment models at Tufts and other universities did not get the projections correct. Tufts housed students that year at the Sheraton Commander in Harvard Square.

Why are first-year students being chosen to be housed off-campus?

The need for additional housing is a direct result of an increased number of first-year students above our expectations. Because more first-year students have accepted our offer of admission than expected, we secured additional space for those additional students. Continuing students had already selected housing before first-year students had confirmed their attendance.

How did you pick the students who are being housed in hotels? 

We assigned students to the hotels as we do to other housing on campus. This is done primarily based on the questionnaire that all students fill out that matches individuals with compatible roommates. The selection process was random among the pool of first-year students arriving on September 1.

Will students be required to stay in the hotel for the entire year, or will it be possible for them to move to campus in the spring? 

We anticipate that the students assigned to the Hyatt Place residence hall in Medford will remain there for the year.

Will you be giving students housed in the hotel a refund or reduction in housing costs? 

No. The cost of providing these accommodations exceeds our current room fees, and Tufts is absorbing those expenses.

What impact will this larger incoming class have on campus resources such as dining, academic advising, or the library?

While we believe our campus resources can accommodate these additional students, we will be closely monitoring all of our operations and will swiftly make adjustments as needed. Even in a normal year, dining can be a little challenging at the start of the Fall semester until students develop their own unique schedules for when they arrive at the dining centers. This tends to even out after the first week or two.

What are you doing to ensure the students in the hotel will be integrated in activities and social experiences with students on campus? 

The students housed in the hotel will be encouraged to participate fully in all of our campus programs, events, and activities alongside their first-year classmates. We don't anticipate that their experience will be very different from the rest of the Class of 2025 with the exception of having to allow a little extra time to get to and from their residence.

Because the residential experience is such an important part of a Tufts education, will you give students the option of delaying their enrollment until next year if they don't want to live in the hotel? 

Students may still have the option to apply for a gap year, but we would hope they would not consider doing so based solely on their housing assignment. Gap year requests are made through the Office of Undergraduate Admissions.

Will you give first-year students an exemption to live in off-campus housing if they don't want to stay at the hotel? 

No.

Why can't you use the Mods to house students on campus? 

The "Mods" are temporary housing that was built on the university's tennis courts to enable students who test positive for COVID-19 to quarantine. We are continuing to utilize the Mods for isolation and quarantine housing related to COVID-19.

How far is the Hyatt hotel from the Medford campus?

Less than one mile.

How will students get back and forth to campus? 

A dedicated shuttle will provide frequent access from the Hyatt Place residence hall to the center of the Tufts campus and also to the Davis Square T stop.

Will students have to be on campus for meals, or will meals be available at the hotel? 

Students living at the Hyatt Place residence hall will have regular campus meal plans, but a light breakfast will be available at the hotel daily for no extra cost. Additionally, the cafe/coffee shop in the hotel will accept JumboCash for students who wish to purchase coffee, a snack, or a late-night food item.

Are the hotel and the surrounding area safe?

Medford and Somerville are generally safe, welcoming, and vibrant cities. However, our campuses and the Hyatt Place residence hall are located in the city center and students need to be aware of their surroundings and take some precautions. The university offers advice on living in a city setting to all first-year students during orientation. Tufts Public Safety is collaborating with the hotel's existing security team and the Medford Police Department to enhance the safety of our students.

Who will students turn to if they need help from Tufts while living at Hyatt Place? Will there be an RA present? What about emergency services?

There will be Resident Assistants present on the floors of the Hyatt Place residence hall to assist and guide students just as they do in any of our residence halls. Student health and safety support will be managed directly through Tufts Health Service and Counseling and Mental Health, and Tufts Public Safety will work closely with Medford services for routine responses. As in the Medford/Somerville campus, local emergency services will also be available to respond.

Will other hotel guests be made aware that students are living at the hotel? Will the residential students have their own floor(s) or other section of the hotel away from regular guests? Will access to those floors be controlled?

Tufts students will be on several full floors of the Hyatt Place, which will be labeled as Tufts residential space. While there will be other guests at the hotel, the space designated for Tufts students will be clearly labeled and guests will be discouraged from entering the Tufts floors of the hotel. Students will have access to all common areas of the hotel including the pool, fitness center, lobby, and a specially designated common room exclusively for Tufts students on the ground floor of the hotel.

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