COVID-19 Information for A&S Staff and Faculty
Updated March 27, 2020
Please visit https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/ 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.
The following information addresses common questions from staff and faculty within the School of Arts and Sciences (including the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences).
The safety of the Tufts community is of the utmost importance to University administration and the A&S Dean’s Office. As the COVID-19 situation has escalated, the guidance for in-person meetings has become stricter and more limited:
- Our expectation is that every meeting should be conducted virtually.
- Faculty and staff should not meet in person with students, staff, or other faculty for instruction, advising, and/or research.
- Department meetings, lab meetings, and dissertation and thesis defenses should be converted to virtual meetings.
In this extraordinary time we must do all we can to help protect those around us, not just at Tufts but across our larger community. Each additional contact multiplies the probability of the spread of the virus among a larger group of people. Flattening the curve is the single most important contribution we can make at the moment.
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.
HR has provided the following resources to help employees and supervisors act according to University COVID-19 policies and procedures.
A&S Staff with specific questions or concerns should contact Tony Luongo.
Distance Learning and Remote Instruction
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:
- Zoom roundtables to share remote teaching strategies on a variety of topics.
- Regular postings with concrete ideas for how to engage, assess, and support students remotely on the Teaching@Tufts blog.
- One-on-one support. Email email@example.com 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.
- TTS will staff a Zoom room throughout the business day the week of 3/22 at https://tufts.zoom.us/my/etshelp to help with any issues.
- AV support for live sessions, which includes an online check-in 15 minutes prior to class, and continued support for the first 20 minutes of class. Faculty can request this support in advance here.
- If issues arise during class, email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will get a technician to help asap.
- Students can email email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-627-3376 if they have problems connecting during a class or have any problems accessing their course materials.
How do I use Zoom for instruction?
Tufts Technology Services has added daily online sessions on teaching with Zoom. Sessions are offered for both those who are using Zoom for the first time and those who have some previous experience teaching online.
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 throughout Spring 2020 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 beginning March 16. 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.
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.
In order to comply with Governor Baker’s directive to close physical workplaces, all Tufts libraries will suspend Scan & Deliver services beginning March 24 until at least April 7 (the end-date of the current order). This service will resume once it’s 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 AS&E students able to work for on-campus employers for the remainder of Spring 2020?
The university has developed policies about compensation for on-campus student employees. This information has also been posted on the university’s FAQ. In brief, undergraduate and graduate students with work-study funding will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours through the end of Spring 2020 (May 8). Students will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours whether or not they are able to continue working remotely for their on-campus employer as long as they have work-study funding available.
Undergraduate students who do not have work-study funding—including those who have used up their work-study funding for Spring 2020—will continue to be paid for their regularly scheduled hours through April 4 as the university transitions to remote learning and working. From April 4 to May 8, undergraduate students who do not have work-study funding will only be paid for hours they are able to work remotely for their on-campus employer. Graduate students who do not have work-study funding will only be paid for hours they are able to work remotely for their on-campus employer through May 8.
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: email@example.com
Graduate Students' Concerns
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional questions that are not addressed here.
How will PhD candidates defend their dissertations this semester?
Arrangements should be made between the candidate and the defense committee to complete the defense virtually. GSAS and Tufts Technology Services recommend using Zoom. If you have technology related questions, please contact TTS at email@example.com or call 617-627-3376.
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 April 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-627-3395.
Where should I direct graduate students looking for additional information?
- Contact the GSAS Dean’s Office directly by emailing email@example.com.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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 Researchers FAQ.
For the next several weeks, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research will be hosting Research Town Hall meetings via Zoom every Friday from 12 PM-1 PM.
Please email email@example.com for the Zoom meeting information and with specific questions in advance of each meeting to so that they can tailor the discussion accordingly. Live questions during the meeting are also welcome and should be raised using the chat feature.
Will lab spaces and facilities be open?
All on-campus research activities should be suspended effective immediately and no later than March 20th at 5:00 PM. OVPR will be working with school-based research deans, deans, and center directors to restrict on-campus research activities to those deemed critical to maintaining research capabilities.
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. Student meetings on campus are prohibited. One-on-one meetings between students and their faculty advisor should be conducted virtually. On-campus events will be prohibited through the end of April. Tufts-sponsored off-campus events are prohibited through the end of April as well.
What is the status of Commencement
Please see the communication from President Monaco about Commencement.
Can I travel during spring semester?
All University-sponsored, connected, or funded domestic and international travel for students, faculty, and staff is prohibited. The University also strongly discourages all personal domestic and international travel by students, faculty, and staff, except for the purposes of students returning home. Read more about travel guidance and policies at https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/travel/.
What can I do to get a refund or avoid cancelation fees on scheduled travel?
Please refer to the Travel section at https://coronavirus.tufts.edu/travel/.