COVID-19 Information for the A&S Community
Updated June 1, 2020
The safety of the Tufts community is of the utmost importance to both the Tufts University administration and the A&S Dean’s Office. As circumstances around the COVID-19 situation are evolving daily, please refer to the go.tufts.edu/coronavirus FAQ for the latest information.
On June 1st, the university shared its Return to Campus Guide. The document provides guidelines and resources to ensure the health and safety of students, faculty and staff as well as the general public, as Tufts begins a gradual, phased return to campus.
Undergraduate and Graduate students should visit the Students and Families section of University FAQ.
Staff and faculty should also continue to visit https://go.tufts.edu/coronavirus for the latest news and FAQs from the University. As the circumstances around the COVID-19 have been changing daily, please continually refer to that for updates to the university's guidance.
Read the latest information on research at the Office of the Vice Provost for Research's website.
Temporary Telecommuting Policy during COVID-19 Crisis
In coordination with Executive Vice President Mike Howard’s email to employees, everyone should review the university’s telecommuting policy and identify and notify employees who could work from home to minimize the chance of spreading the virus. Because of the dynamic and fast-moving nature of COVID-19, the university is temporarily not requiring the telecommuting form to be completed and signed. Supervisors simply need to track which of their employees are working remotely and coordinate with their individual supervisor, EAD, or VP on any applicable departmental remote-work guidelines.
Tufts Technology Resources has put together the following materials to support staff and faculty members with technology needs.
A&S Staff with specific questions or concerns should contact Tony Luongo.
Distance Learning and Remote Instruction Resources
What resources are available to help faculty and staff transition to distance instruction?
Tufts Technology Services has provided a number of tools and resources to help faculty and staff work remotely, including a "Keep Teaching" guide of good practices in the online classroom and online training and one-on-one consultations for faculty who need support adjusting to remote teaching.
Tisch Library is offering several options for using and accessing library collections in support of online teaching. Learn more.
The Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT) is offering:
- Regular postings with concrete ideas for how to engage, assess, and support students remotely on the Teaching@Tufts blog.
- One-on-one support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with "HELP!" in the subject line and they will connect you with someone as quickly as possible.
What should a faculty member do if they have technical problem while teaching remotely?
Tufts Technology Services is offering faculty and TAs coaching and live support. The Service Desk is being ramped up and additional services include:
- 1:1 live coaching session prior to class.
- See upcoming dates and times for trainings and drop-in sessions for faculty to learn how to optimize teaching remotely. You can also watch recorded versions of trainings.
- If issues arise during class, email email@example.com and they will get a technician to help asap.
- Students can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-627-3376 if they have problems connecting during a class or have difficulties accessing their course materials.
What resources are available to students as we transition to remote learning?
Students can learn more about the transition at the Learning Remotely resource page, which includes tools for online learning and strategies for participating effectively: https://it.tufts.edu/learning-remotely.
Students can also email email@example.com or call 617-627-3376 if they have problems connecting during a class or have any problems accessing their course materials.
Where can I upload recorded lessons for students to view asynchronously?
The simplest method is to upload recorded lessons to Box and share the link with your students. Please remember to set the student's permission to viewer only. You can also post to Canvas under My Media. Learn more.
How can I ensure that my course is an accessible experience for students with disabilities?
Student Accessibility Services will remain open virtually with normal hours. Any student with an approved accommodation that has given their faculty an accommodation letter should expect that their accommodations will continue in the online environment. Appointments and check-ins with SAS will continue via phone or video conference. The process for registering for accommodations will proceed normally.
Review from the Student Accessibility Services’ Guide to Remote Accommodation Implementation for some helpful tips.
What is the recommendation when teaching a class of students across different time zones?
Faculty teaching synchronously may be teaching students across many time zones; therefore, we ask you to teach during your regularly scheduled time block for Eastern Standard Time. This may lead you to find that you end up preferring asynchronous solutions. If you consider rescheduling the class to a time that works for all students (or scheduling multiple smaller discussion forums at different times), please keep in mind that your students are taking multiple courses this semester, and we want to avoid course scheduling conflicts.
Where can I find information about intellectual property (IP) agreements and policies for online learning?
The move to virtual learning has prompted some faculty members to ask the Deans about the University's IP policies. For online courses that are running during this Spring and Summer 2020 semesters, there are no separate IP policies. The regular University’s IP policies still apply. You can find those here.
Access to University Facilities and Support
Will I have access to the libraries?
The libraries will maintain virtual resources and business operations to fully support academic continuity and facilitate the completion of courses, research projects, and degrees. Please check the library website for updated information.
Scan & Deliver is on hold to comply with Governor Baker’s directive to close physical workplaces. This service will resume once it is safe for library staff to return to campus.
Tufts community members with checked-out materials should be assured that we understand this is an extraordinary situation. Overdue fines are suspended for all items, including interlibrary loan materials. Due dates for all borrowed items will be extended past the start of the fall semester.
Will the International Center be open?
International students are receiving guidance directly from the International Center regarding immigration and visa-related questions. The International Center will remain open throughout Spring 2020 with normal hours. Appointments and check-ins will continue via phone or video conference beginning March 16.
Are there resources for students facing severe financial burden due to the closing of the dining halls and/or additional travel costs and fees?
Yes. The FIRST Resource Center at Tufts is supporting students with such needs. Additionally, the cultural centers within the Group of 6 are sitting with individual students and identifying how their needs can be met.
Are there project-specific technical and research resources available for SMFA faculty or students?
If faculty or students need assistance with brainstorming ways to complete projects with limited or alternative resources, the SMFA Studio and Library teams will gladly provide guidance via email or Zoom sessions by appointment.
Please contact these respective teams at:
Studio Team: SMFAstudioteam@tufts.edu
SMFA Library Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graduate Students' Concerns
Please contact email@example.com if you have additional questions that are not addressed here.
How will PhD candidates defend their dissertations this semester?
Thesis and dissertation defenses are successfully being conducted entirely online. We ask that every attempt be made to ensure the high quality of such defenses. GSAS and Tufts Technology Services recommend using Zoom. If you have technology related questions, please contact TTS at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-627-3376. You are welcome to stream the event. Please note that on-campus defense parties are not permitted, and any off-campus events cannot be sponsored by or supported by programs or departments. The Certificate of Fitness and Approval of Thesis/Dissertation for Submission forms which typically require original ink signatures may be signed electronically and emailed to Graduate Student Services for May 2020 degree candidates. For more details, see the email sent from Student Services on March 12.
How should I respond if a prospective or admitted graduate student contacts me?
The Office of Graduate Admissions continues to closely monitor the developing situation regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The admissions process for the Fall 2020 semester is proceeding normally. We are working on plans to ensure that all admitted students will have the opportunity to study at Tufts in the Fall. Tufts International Center has responded to some frequently asked questions on COVID-19 that may be helpful for incoming international students. Tufts University has made the difficult decision to suspend all on-campus events until June 30. As a result, we will not be holding any on-campus tours or information sessions until further notice. If you are unsure of your response, please forward the email or call to the Office of Graduate Admissions at email@example.com or 617-627-3395.
How do I access software that was available on-campus at the library, but that I may not have on my personal computer?
TTS lists software available to students for download through Access Tufts via the Tufts Virtual Lab – which may be accessed from any personal device with an internet connection. Adobe Creative Cloud is now available free to Tufts students for the Spring semester (through May 31, 2020).
EP/EN Grading Policy for Spring 2020
View the EP/EN Form
Recently the faculty voted that students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences may select an EP/EN option for graduate courses taken in the spring 2020 semester. The deadline to choose this option is April 27th. This policy is limited to this semester and is due to the exceptional circumstances presented by COVID-19 and the current health crisis.
If this grading option is selected by the student, a grade earned of B- and above will receive an “EP”, exceptional pass, notation on the transcript. Any grade earned below B- will be designated by the “EN” grade, meaning exceptional circumstances, no credit earned. This grading will appear on the transcript for the spring 2020 semester.
Please note the following regarding EPN grading:
- Once the EP/EN option is chosen, the student cannot then ask to switch back to a letter grade. So, if a student ends up scoring an "A", they will only see an "EP" on the transcript and cannot later be restored.
- Your course instructors will not know whether a student is taking a course pass/fail or or for a letter grade. Faculty will submit normal letter grades which are then converted to EP/EN by the registrar's office.
- Tufts combined degree students (e.g., BS/MS; BA/MA) who wish to double count/transfer in undergraduate courses for graduate credit will only have courses considered if an EP grade is earned, or if they received a letter grade of B- or higher. All course double counting/transfers are at the discretion of the program faculty approval.
Where can graduate students look for additional information?
- Contact the GSAS Dean’s Office directly by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GSC Hosted Online Forum- Students will be able to find information about resources for remote learning and food pantries, among other topics. They can also chat with other graduate students and use this platform to make posts on housing (sublet/looking for roommates). Please contact email@example.com with any questions.
- Weekly Announcements- these will continue to be sent out by the GSAS office every Monday morning and will include changes and updates regarding COVD-19, internship and grant opportunities, Tufts and graduate student-related information, and more.
- Health and Wellness Information: https://students.tufts.edu/health-and-wellness
- Tufts’ Official COVID-19 website: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/
- FAQs about COVID-19: https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/faq/
- Follow the Graduate Student Council on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TuftsUniversityGSC – The GSC is connecting students to important resources like remote learning tools and food pantries, among other topics.
Read the latest information on research at the Office of the Vice Provost for Research's website.
March 19, 2020 statement on research continuity and updates from the Office of the Vice Provost for Research
All on-campus research activities should be suspended effective immediately and no later than March 20th at 5:00 PM. For the latest updates, please visit https://viceprovost.tufts.edu/ or the Research section of the University FAQ.
Health and Wellness Questions
If a staff person must self-quarantine, how does this impact sick time?
If you are ill, the University asks that you refrain from working and use sick time instead. Tufts is offering sick day extensions to people who may not have enough remaining sick time for this use. If you or someone in your home is self-quarantined, please stay home and work remotely. If for some reason, you are not able to work remotely, arrangements will be made and you will not be penalized for remaining home.
Please see the detailed HR FAQs for more information about policies if you are in quarantine, isolation, or otherwise sick. If you have been directly exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, you should report it to your supervisor and also report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tufts understands that people may be concerned about coming in to work or commuting, even if you personally are not in self-quarantine, isolation, or otherwise ill. If you feel that this applies to you, please discuss the situation with your supervisor.
I'm feeling very anxious. Does Tufts have any resources for me?
We recognize the fear and anxiety that our students, staff, faculty, and larger community are experiencing at this unsettling time. Please take time to assess your own wellbeing and needs, and tend to both your physical and mental health. Faculty and staff may seek support through the Tufts Employee Assistance Program at any time. Our colleagues at Harvard also recently circulated this helpful article.
How do I request medical or family illness leave if I or a family member become sick and I cannot continue to teach?
If you or a family member are sick, and you need to request medical or family illness leave, contact your chair and academic dean as soon as possible so that they can make arrangements to cover your course/s. Maria Tripodi from the Faculty Affairs Office will process the paperwork for your leave, so please include her as well.
How will courses be completed if an instructor needs to request a medical or family illness leave?
The Arts and Sciences Deans will work with the department's chair or program director to identify someone to hire to finish the course, including grading, if necessary.
Events, Meetings, and Travel Questions
Can I hold a meeting or event on campus?
No, meetings on campus are prohibited. One-on-one meetings between students and their faculty advisor should be conducted virtually. For more information, please see the Events and Operations section of the University's FAQ.
What is the status of study abroad programs?
Fall 2020 study abroad (both through Tufts Programs Abroad and external providers) has been cancelled. Please see the Tufts Global Education's Study Abroad COVID-19 FAQ for more information.
What is the status of Commencement for 2020 graduates?
Please see the latest communication from President Monaco about Commencement.
What can I do to get a refund or avoid cancelation fees on scheduled travel?
Please refer to the University FAQs Travel section.