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COVID-19 Guidance: Guidance and operational updates for Cummings School and its veterinary teaching hospitals

Testing, Reporting, Quarantine, and Isolation Requirements

Important Changes to Testing Protocols

  1. If you are going to be off campus for more than 7 days and will be out of compliance, please email and let them know when you will leave and when you will return to campus.  This will avoid out-of-compliance emails and phone calls.
  2. Sunday testing is once again back to 9:30 am – 10:00 am only in the Admin Building.
  3. All drive-through testing general times are suspended, and they are by appointment only through
  4. Changes for Long Weekends.
    1. There will be no testing on Sundays on long weekends and regular Monday testing (including 6 am testing) is suspended. On the Tuesdays following long weekends, the schedule will be changed as outlined below.
    2. Saturday testing will run as normal on long weekends.
    3. Testing will be available on long weekends on Mondays from 2:00 – 3:00 pm in the Admin Building for those who need a negative test prior to returning to campus.
    4. On Tuesdays following long weekends, testing in the hospital will run from 8:30 am – 11:30 am, and then testing will run from noon – 5:30 pm in the Admin Bldg.
Surveillance Testing Program Schedule (Updated 5/17/21)

Long-weekends:  note that there will be no testing on Sunday and Monday testing will be reduced to 2:00-3:00 pm in the Admin Building.  Tuesday morning testing will occur from 8:30 – 11:30 am on the Tuesday following long weekends and afternoon testing will run from noon to 5:30 pm in the Admin Bldg.

Missed testing or need to re-test:  please go to the next available testing period, or when you will next be on campus if you have a long commute.

Regular testing: If you are on campus weekly, you must get tested each week.  If you are not going to on campus for a week, you may miss a testing week.  You must then get tested the next time you return to campus (i.e., if you normally test on Thursdays and miss a week, you must test on Monday if that is your first day back)

Drive-through testing: Only available to those given special direction.

Day Time Location Primary Group+ Test Results Usual Return*
Monday 6:00 – 7:00 am Treadmill Room (HLA) Overnight staff Tuesday by noon
8:30 am – 3:30 pm Treadmill Room Hospital/clinic staff Tuesday by noon
Tuesday 8:30 am – 5:30 pm

Admin Bldg


Students/general staff Wednesday afternoon
Wednesday 5:00 – 6:00 pm Treadmill Room Hospital/clinic staff/others Friday by noon
Thursday 8:30 am – 3:30 pm Treadmill Room Hospital/clinic staff/others Friday by noon
Saturday 9:00 – 9:30 pm Treadmill Room Hospital/clinic staff Monday early morning
Sunday 9:30 – 10:00 am Admin Building All Monday early morning

*Test return times are usual return times and are not guaranteed.  Tests would not be considered late until early evening on the day of usual return.

+The primary group indicates the group the time is generally intended to serve. We try to limit mixing where possible, so when possible please stick to the appropriate primary group time. However, there is no absolute restriction on attending any of the times identified.

Surveillance Testing of Employees and Students (Updated 12/11/20)
  1. All employees and students of Cummings School who are coming to campus must be in our regular surveillance testing program. The intent of the program is to monitor the occurrence of COVID-19 on campus and to reduce the risk of transmission by asymptomatic individuals.
    1. Testing is not intended for diagnosis of symptomatic individuals and is primarily for the purposes of protecting people who may interact with the tested subject (and so become infected if they are asymptomatic and positive for COVID-19).
    2. Symptomatic testing will occur through healthcare providers for individual faculty and students. Symptomatic individuals are not to come to campus for testing.
    3. All faculty, staff, and students coming to campus must be tested weekly, or on the day they come to campus when they come to campus less frequently than once a week. The only exception is contactless pick-up (i.e. picking up mail and leaving).
    4. New staff members must have one negative test at Cummings School before starting regular shifts.
    5. Please e-mail if you have questions about testing or scheduling your tests when you are not on campus as a regular testing time.
  2. Surveillance testing is a PCR-based test on an anterior nasal swab self-collected under observation. Test analysis will be provided by the Broad Institute.
    1. Testing sites will be set up on campus for regular sample collection (see below).
  3. Tufts University is covering the cost of all surveillance testing.
  4. Employees and students who engage within 6 feet on a regular basis (e.g. clinics and hospitals), teach or learn in larger group settings (>10 people in a room), or who interact directly with students on a regular basis will be tested once per week.
  5. Employees who do not regularly interact directly with students and graduate students must have been surveillance tested within one week of coming to campus or be tested on the first (or only) day they come to campus during a week.
    1. Faculty who periodically will engage with students in larger groups or at distances of less than 6 feet will be routinely tested only during periods when they are interacting with students.
    2. You do not need to be tested on weeks when you are not on campus or working in clinics. However, you must be tested on the first day you return to campus.
    3. The only employees who may come to campus without being tested are those who work remotely full-time and are coming for contactless pick-up (i.e. picking up mail and immediately leaving).
  6. Communication of test results
    1. Negative test results will be available directly to employees and students, via email.
    2. Employee positive test results will be transmitted directly to Marathon Health, who will contact employees to provide the result and appropriate directions on quarantining, health monitoring, and steps for return to campus. All positive individuals will be required to contact for permission to return to campus (see section above for more details).
    3. Student positive results will be transmitted to OEHN. OEHN will contact positive students and provide directions on quarantine, health monitoring, and steps for return to campus. OEHN will also notify Marathon Health of student positives and will notify Cummings School if students are being required to isolate.
    4. Marathon Health will carry out all contact tracing of asymptomatic COVID-19 positive individuals and issue guidance that is in accordance with Cummings School specific procedures outline above. Marathon Health will notify Cummings School of employees and students who are required to quarantine. Follow up will be provided by Cummings School and Tufts University.
    5. Cummings School will ultimately be responsible for approving return to work. Cummings School will not shorten any return to work approvals from healthcare providers but may request longer stay-off-campus periods to align with its practices.
  7. Testing details
    1. Testing will be PCR-based, using an anterior nares swab (i.e. swabbing just inside the nostril).
    2. Because it is PCR-based, it will also meet the requirements for release from the MA quarantine.
    3. Turn-around time is 24 hours after samples arrive at the Broad. So, test results from a sample collected during the day on Monday, for example, should be available by Tuesday evening.
    4. You must have an active, undamaged Tufts ID card for the testing—you will register for the test by scanning your card, which will register you in the system and upload the request to The Broad Institute (where the analysis is performed). You will receive an email with your test result if it is negative and a phone call if it is positive. You can expect to hear by the evening of the day following your test results.
  8. Testing schedule and location
    1. Sampling will occur at times and locations as posted on our website. (See Cummings COVID-19 Info Hub.)
    2. Testing will be offered in the treadmill room in the large animal hospital for clinical faculty and technicians, diagnostic faculty and technicians, and for V21 students.
    3. Testing will be offered in the KCR in the Admin Building for V22, V23, V24, graduate students, and other faculty and staff.
    4. Students and employees at Tufts at Tech will be tested at the Grafton campus.
    5. Students on rotation at Tufts VETS and TVFS (Woodstock) will be provided time to get tested on the Grafton campus.
    6. Employees at Tufts Veterinary Field Service will be tested on-site at the Woodstock campus.
    7. Students on externship will be tested the week prior to the externship experience and on return.
    8. Snow days: If a snow day falls on Monday or Thursday, normal testing will be offered. If a snow day falls on a Tuesday, testing will be canceled; individuals should come on the next available testing day. If a snow day falls on a Saturday or Wednesday, the special testing offered in the hospital will remain in effect.
  9. Use of antibody screening to determine population-based screening of the campus community for previous exposure (i.e. to assess “herd immunity”) may be instituted once a commercially available, properly validated antibody test is available. The purpose would be to assess trends in overall exposure of the campus population. This may be done either by random sampling of a subset of employees and students as a measure of exposure control or may be complete population sampling as indicated.
  10. Use of antibody testing to determine prior exposure in an individual and as a guide to assess risk and management will only be implemented once it has been determined that an appropriately sensitive and specific test is available, and/or once it has been determined that presence of antibodies provides disease protection. Currently, available antibody tests are not sufficiently validated to be of use on an individual basis.
Requirements and Drive-Through Testing Following Exposure to COVID-19 (Updated 12/18/20)

If you are exposed through close contact to COVID-19 off-campus, you will need to quarantine for 14 days and stay off campus, unless you follow the specific testing protocol outlined below. Please inform us through the email if you have exposure to COVID-19 on or off campus.

Tufts University has established specific requirements for return to campus. You should be tested as soon as possible after being exposed. You must also be tested on Day 6 or 7 on campus by drive-through testing and have a negative test to be approved for return to campus on day 8. We will also ask you to be tested again around Day 10 post-exposure

If you are permitted to return to campus on Day 8, you must take your temperature daily and monitor for symptoms until Day 14. If you develop a fever, chills, or other symptoms, stay home and email

Drive-Through Testing

Drive-through testing is only available for individuals on quarantine and/or who have been directed to access the service. You cannot go through our regular testing when you are on quarantine, unless you have been cleared as an essential worker.  If you are on quarantine, please email and they will provide directions for drive-through testing that are relevant to your situation.

Drive-through testing is not to be used for travel-related quarantine and testing requirements. It is only for individuals with known exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or when directed through

Spring Break Guidance for Students, Faculty and Staff (Updated 2/11/21)

We are still planning on holding spring break this year. We feel it is important for the health of our students, and our faculty and staff.

We ask that you not engage in any strictly vacation travel (e.g. going to Florida beaches) over the break—and especially that you not engage in any large group activities. If you do intend to engage in vacation travel outside Massachusetts over the break, you should email for specific guidance on returning to campus.

We recognize that traveling to visit family is important and that many of you will do this. However, when you visit family who are not part of your core household or who you do not see on a regular basis, it is considered a high-risk activity as most people do not wear masks and social distance when inside under these circumstances. (The majority of positive cases in Massachusetts are family transmission.) Therefore, traveling out of state and spending time with non-household members indoors (e.g., staying with family or friends) will result in a requirement for two negative tests prior to return to campus. Depending on the exact situation and timing, tests must spread over 3 to 7 days, with the second test typically at least 5 days, and preferably 6 to 7 days, after return to Massachusetts.

To facilitate this, all pre-clinical and graduate programs will be remote the week after spring break.

All students are asked to be back in Massachusetts and in their usual residence by the evening of Sunday, March 21, and must be back no later than Monday, March 22. If you have left the state, you will require one negative test to come out of the Massachusetts quarantine (i.e. Monday, March 22). Your second negative test should be no earlier than Thursday, March 25 and no later than one day before you are required to return to campus (leaving enough time for the test result to get back).

Faculty and staff are expected to follow a similar testing regimen for return to campus if they leave Massachusetts and stay with non-household members or engage in other high-risk activities. Email for specific guidance.

Tufts Daily Health Check (Updated 8/14/20)

All employees and students must complete the Tufts Daily Health Check online before coming to work.

Temperature Checks (Updated 8/14/20)

All employees and students are expected to take their temperature twice a day. If their temperature is above 100.0, they should stay home and monitor unless there is an obvious, non-illness related explanation (including having a high normal range). A temperature of 100.4 is considered a fever and always requires staying home for a minimum of 48 hours after resolution of the fever. All fevers should be reported as illness.

What if You are Sick? (Updated 10/20/20)

All individuals normally coming to campus who are sick or unwell for any reason are required to stay at home or to leave the workplace immediately.

Anyone who is sick or unwell should email for specific guidance and be cleared to return to work or school.

In addition, you must notify the appropriate supervisor that you will not be coming to campus:

  • DVM students should notify the Office of Academic Affairs. Fourth-year students should also notify their rotation director.
  • Graduate students should notify the Graduate Programs Manager and their Graduate Program Director. 
  • Staff should notify their immediate supervisor
  • Faculty should notify their department chair 
  • When you email, please provide the following information:
      • Summary of symptoms
        • What they are
        • When they started
      • Work or school history (if relevant)
        • Where you work or what academic program and year are you in?
        • When were you last on campus?
        • When are you scheduled to return to campus (day, time)?
      • History
        • What was your physical location(s) when on campus in the 48 hours before you became sick?
        • In the 7-14 days preceding illness, did you engage in any group activities?
        • Did you travel in the last 14 days? Is yes, where did you go?
        • Did you interact with anyone who was sick, had suspected COVID-19, or was diagnosed with COVID-19?
        • Do you share living quarters with anyone else from the Cummings community?
    • Contacts
        • Please make a note of the names of anyone in the Cummings community who met the following criteria, through on-campus or off-campus interactions, as you may be asked to provide this information at a later date:
          • spent more than 10-15 consecutive minutes within 6 ft, even while wearing masks
          • more than 5 minutes within 6 ft, while not wearing masks. This is for internal use only.
          • Was in direct physical contact with you.
          • Other general contacts, including those working in a confined space or room with the individual for greater than 60 minutes (even if not within six feet), should also be reported
  • What will happen next?
    • When appropriate, you will be asked to contact your PCP or an urgent care center. We may ask you to see if you can get tested.
      • If you can get tested, please ask for a PCR-based test because an antigen-based test has too high a false negative rate to rule-out COVID-19. However, if a rapid antigen test is positive, it is considered diagnostic. With a negative antigen test and appropriate symptoms, we will still consider you a possible or probably COVID-19 case.
    • If it is determined that you do not have COVID-19 by your healthcare provider, through appropriate diagnostic testing, or because of the course of symptoms, we will ask you to stay home until you have been symptom-free for 24 h in cases of non-flu like/non-respiratory illness, and at least 48 h in cases of flu-like illness or any illness with a respiratory component (cough, runny nose, etc). If disease is conclusively diagnosed and is not contagious, you may return to work in accordance with the guidance of your health care provider.
    • If you are determined to have COVID-19 or probably or possibly have COVID-19, we will follow the CDC guidelines or those of your healthcare provider (whichever are stricter). This is outlined in the next section

General Guidance

  • Remember you must stay home if you are sick until it has been confirmed to be non-contagious and you have permission to return to work from a healthcare provider (if relevant) and from Cummings School.
  • The symptoms of COVID-19 are varied and are easily mistaken for allergies, a common cold, and other viral infections. Please be extra cautious when sick. We do not want other people to get sick with a non-COVID-19 disease, which would still require them to stay off campus.
  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Tiredness
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Muscle aches
    • Chills
    • Sore throat
    • Runny nose
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Headache
    • Chest pain
What Happens if You have Symptomatic, Probable or Positively Diagnosed COVID-19 or if You have a Positive PCR or Antigen-based SARS-CoV2 (Coronavirus Test)? (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Any employee or student testing positive is asked to report the positive test to, and provide all the information outlined in the previous section for when you are ill.
    • Employees should also report their absences to their supervisor
    • Students must inform the relevant Office of Academic Affairs or the Graduate Program manager.
  • Anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 is expected to cooperate fully with the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative.
  • Employees and students should follow all guidelines of their health care provider (HCP) and should communicate the guidelines provided by their HCP to the school.
  • Any of the above scenarios will result in a stay-off-campus request of ten days, with at least 24 h of no fever (without fever-reducing medication), and markedly improved symptoms in accordance with the CDC and MA DPH guidelines.
  • Return to Campus: All employees and students who have been quarantined or asked to stay off campus must receive permission from Cummings School before returning to campus.
Contact Tracing on Campus (Updated 11/09/20)

If anyone with confirmed or probable COVID-19 is on campus, we will carry out contact tracing. Contact tracing for positive tests through our on-campus testing will have contact tracing by Marathon Health (see below). All other contact tracing (probably COVID-19; positive symptomatic) will be carried out on-campus by OEHN (and/or other appointed individuals). This is why we ask for the information above when you are sick. Please note that the Department of Public Health may do additional contact tracing. We do not do contact tracing for off-campus individuals.

In order for proper contact tracing, it is important that you provide as accurate information as possible. 

In assessing the steps required following close contact, it is important that we have the details.

  • Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or longer over 24 hours (CDC and MA DPH guidelines) of someone with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or a positive diagnostic test (symptomatic or asymptomatic). The period for determining close contact is 48 hours prior to symptom or, if asymptomatic, 48 hours prior to a positive test.
  • If surgical, procedure, or N95 masks and eye protection (i.e. full healthcare PPE) were worn, the interaction will not be considered a close contact based on distance.
  • Within the hospital, if cloth masks or non-medical grade (NMG) disposable masks were worn at the time and all other protocols were followed, it will not be considered a close contact for the purpose of issuing stay-off -campus requests.
Guidelines for Stay-off-Campus Requests Following Close Contact On or Off Campus (Updated 8/14/20)

The following guidelines are in place related to close contact with a case. A case is defined as anyone with probable COVID-19, symptomatic positive for COVID-19, or asymptomatic positive for COVID-19. This includes co-workers, employees, family members, friends, roommates, or any other person in your life with whom you may have close contact (as defined above).

  • Please note that if someone in your life has close contact with a case outside of your presence, as long as that the person in your life remains asymptomatic and does not test positive, you are not required to stay-off campus.
  • For employees or students not working in our clinics and hospitals, close contacts of highly probable COVID-19 cases, including employees and students (DVM or graduate), will be asked to stay-off campus and follow all MA and DPH isolation and quarantine guidelines.
  • In our clinics and hospitals, CDC and MA guidelines for essential workers in a veterinary clinic will apply, as modified below:
    • MA and CDC Guidance states that critical workers, like veterinarians and their staff, can be permitted to continue to workfollowing a potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the workplace.
    • If someone was in close contact (time and distance) with a case and either party was not wearing appropriate PPE (as per our guidelines, which include cloth or NMG disposable masks), there was direct physical and unprotected contact, or the case coughed or sneezed on the contact, then the contact will be asked to stay off campus for 14 days and will be expected to follow MA quarantine guidelines.
      • This could be an on-campus or an off-campus contact.
    • If close contacts in the hospitals or clinics, based on time and physical distance, were following all of our PPE and behavior guidelines at the time, they will not be asked to stay off campus following close contact as long as they are asymptomatic and following our regular on-campus testing protocol.
      • This is consistent with the CDC and MA guidelines for veterinarians and staff working in a veterinary clinic.
  • At any time, an order from a healthcare provider or the Department of Public Health can override our guidelines and require someone to self-quarantine.
  • To summarize, this means that we will not be automatically issuing stay-off-campus requests to hospital and clinic employees and fourth-year students who meet the time and distance requirements for close contacts, but were following our PPE guidelines, continue to follow all of our guidelines, are asymptomatic, and have regular testing.
What Happens if a Family Member, a Guest, or a Roommate Who has Traveled Out of the Designated Travel Zone or has Engaged in High-risk Activity Comes to Stay at My House? (Updated 8/14/20)
  • If someone is quarantining in your house, they need to comply with the MA requirements and CDC guidelines for quarantine. If collectively you cannot comply with the quarantine guidelines within the house (i.e. you cannot quarantine from the person who traveled), then you will also need to quarantine to be in compliance with MA state guidelines
  • If you can stay separate from them in the house or apartment (you have not been in close contact with them since they have been put in quarantine, and you can avoid close contact in the house), then we will not require you to stay off campus.
  • Guidelines to avoid close contact include:
    • Individual in quarantine stays in a separate bedroom.
    • You maintain 6 feet of physical distance at all times—and wear masks in the house.
    • You do not share food or utensils. The quarantining individual should not do the cooking or serving. You should not eat together. Use gloves to handle their dishes.
    • Keep windows open to increase airflow if possible
    • Separate bathroom is preferred. If you must share, bathroom is to be cleaned and disinfected after use by the quarantining person.
    • Avoid handling or sharing pets between the quarantining and non-quarantining individual.
    • Wash hands often, clean high-touch surfaces, etc.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Summary of Key PPE Policies (Updated 11/09/20)
  1. ALL PERSONNEL and anyone coming onto the Cummings School campuses or on any Cummings School-related activity must wear a mask at all times on campus. The minimum acceptable mask is a cloth mask that meets the CDC guidelines, but it is preferred that everyone wear the 3-ply disposable masks provided by the university. Masks must adequately cover the mouth and nose and fit snugly to the face.
  2. It is strongly recommended that appropriate eye protection, in addition to masks, be worn when working within six feet for extended periods of time (>15 minutes). There may be exceptions to this during specific activities such as surgery or other interventional procedures when eye protection interferes with the ability to carry out the activity or compromises personal safety.
  3. Gloves are not required on a routine basis.
PPE Requirements and Compliance Issues (Updated 8/14/20)

The PPE requirements outlined in this policy are MANDATORY. The final authority for implementation is the dean.

The critical process in ensuring compliance is education and moral suasion. We should all engage in the appropriate behavior such that it is socially unacceptable for someone not to comply. Immediate peer feedback is the first approach to increase compliance. Requesting support from immediate supervisors or chairs is the next step.

We have established an anonymous reporting system for non-compliance. Reports will be monitored and provided to the relevant individual for action (listed below):

  1. DVM students – Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
  2. Graduate students – Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
  3. Hospital/clinic/LAMS staff – Relevant Director
  4. Department and research staff – Relevant Chair
  5. Administrative staff, tenants – Executive Associate Dean
  6. Senior Leadership Team and Administrators – Dean

In the event that an individual repeatedly fails to comply (e.g. a third request or warning), putting themselves or others at risk, the matters should be brought to the dean who will determine the appropriate next steps in consultation with the relevant individual from the list above.

Overiew of Face Masks (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. For the purposes of this document only, non-medical grade (NMG) face coverings are included with PPE.
  2. This policy does not modify any identified needs for masks related to specific activities in clinics or research laboratories, such as surgical procedures, or BSL 2/BSL 3 protocols.
  3. ALL PERSONNEL and anyone coming onto the Cummings School campuses or on any Cummings School related activity must wear a NMG face mask, a surgical mask, or a respirator (e.g. N95, KN95, P100, PAPR) at all times that they are in an indoor public space and when outdoors within six feet of another person, unless a medical exemption is provided.
    1. At the time of writing, Massachusetts requires all individuals to wear a face mask or a cloth face covering in public indoor and outdoor places where social distancing is not possible.
    2. Masks may be removed to drink and eat, but a minimum six-foot distance must be maintained (or other physical barrier must be present) from other people.
    3. The dean is responsible for authorising any changes in required mask use guidelines.
    4. Cummings School requires use of NMG masks (see below; includes cloth and NMG disposable masks) as a routine mitigation measure. It does not accept cloth face coverings such as bandanas, scarves, or extended neck coverings.
    5. Tufts university will supply all employees and students with 3-ply NMG disposable masks, to be used at a rate of 1 per day. Only masks for days on campus will be provided.
    6. Employees or students who wish to use non-medical grade cloth masks will be provided with three cloth face masks which they are responsible for maintaining and washing after each day of use. They may also use their own. These must adequately cover the face and nose, be a minimum of 2 layers of material, and fit snugly to the face.
      1. Employees and students may provide their own cloth masks, but they must at a minimum meet the CDC requirements. See below for details.
    7. If an employee or student cannot wear a mask on an extended basis as a mitigation measure, they may be excused with a medical note. This may only be approved by the dean, associate dean for academic affairs, or associate dean for research and graduate education. Alternative protective mechanisms will be required. The normal approved alternative protective mechanism will be wearing of a face shield at all times and, if it can be tolerated, an alternative looser fitting cloth face covering. In accordance with Tufts policy, a face shield cannot routinely be used to replace a face mask.
    8. Employees who require the use of a respirator (e.g. N95 mask) for health reasons must provide a medical documentation through Human Resources. Students should provide the Office of Academic Affairs or the Graduate Program manager with these documents.
    9. Any style of face mask provided by the university will meet the CDC’s performance requirements, if they are available.
  4. When working within 6 feet for extended periods of time (>15 min), eye (face) protection must also be worn in addition to an appropriate face mask. The exception to this may be for the primary and first assistant surgeons when eye wear interferes with the ability to carry out the activity. (see Eye Protection section for details.)
Proper Use of a Face Mask (Updated 8/14/20)
  • It is important to use a face mask properly for it to be effective in mitigation.
  • Masks must be worn to cover the mouth and nose at all times.
  • Masks should fit reasonably snugly to the face. N95 respirators must be fit tested (see N95 section for details on fit testing).
  • Wash your hands prior to and after either putting on or taking off a face mask.
  • Wash your hands prior to and after adjusting the mouth or nose area of a face mask.
  • Avoid touching the actual mask – use the strings or ear loops to handle the mask. Avoid touching the inner and outer surfaces.
  • Do not put a used face mask down on any common use area. Masks should be left around the wearer’s neck during the day if removed for any reason (e.g. eating)
  • Disposable masks should be worn for a maximum of one day only or until wet or dirty. They should immediately be disposed of in a proper trash receptacle.
  • Cloth masks should be washed at least once a day and should be changed any time they are wet or dirty.
  • Masks with one-way exhalation valves are not acceptable.
  • If an exemption is required for a specific activity, it must be approved by the relevant supervisor, the relevant area director, and by the dean. In all cases, an alternative form of protective face covering, or specific requirements related to physical distancing, isolation, and/or disinfection must be in place before it will be approved.
Non-medical Grade Masks (Updated 8/14/20)
  • NMG masks refers to a purpose-produced mask that covers the mouth and nose.
    • NMG masks include cloth masks and NMG disposable masks. (Note: CDC includes cloth masks under cloth face coverings, but common usage is “cloth face mask.”)
    • NMG-disposable masks may be used. Minimum 2-ply, 3-ply preferred.
  • Cummings School will provide either 3-ply disposable NMG masks or 3 cloth masks.
  • NMG masks are to be worn as a routine mitigation measure. The purpose of NMG masks is to reduce the risk of asymptomatic carriers spreading respiratory droplets that could infect other people.
  • NMG masks are not intended to protect the wearer, although they may provide some protection. As a result, they are not to be worn when SARS-CoV-2 is known to be present or has a reasonable probability of being present.
  • NMG masks do not replace surgical or procedure masks or respirators when those are indicated by the nature of the activity.
  • Employees and students were initially provided with three cloth face masks. However, after August 1, 2020 Tufts University will provide NMG 3-ply disposable masks for use by all employees and students.
    • Employees or students who wish to use cloth masks instead of disposable masks may request cloth masks from Cummings School or they may provide their own. Cloth masks must adequately cover the face and nose, be a minimum of 2 layers of material, and fit snugly to the face. Please see .
    • Cloth (or disposable) masks should not have any attachment, treatment, or stitching that impacts the integrity of the layers that cover the mouth or nose.
    • NMG masks that do not appropriately cover, stay in place, or fit snugly will not be permitted.
  • Masks should be changed if they become dirty or wet during the day.
  • In research labs, where taking home of materials for washing is not permitted under biosafety regulations, NMG disposable masks (minimum 2-ply, 3-ply preferred) must be worn at a minimum. Procedure or surgical masks may be worn if available and must be worn if indicated by the activity. If you are wearing an NMG disposable mask in the lab, it should be discarded, and you must wear another disposable mask or a cloth mask upon exiting.
  • Surgical masks and N95 respirators should not be worn when NMG masks are acceptable, because of on-going limitations in PPE supplies. We may permit surgical masks once the supply chain improves globally.
  • Students and employees may use either disposable, non-medical grade masks or cloth masks for routine wear when an NMG mask is indicated.
  • NMG masks are required at all times in indoor public spaces and not just when you are in the presence of another person.
    • Individuals in a single, private office are encouraged but not required to wear a face-covering if they are alone and their door is closed.
    • Individuals who are alone in their own personal vehicle do not need to wear a mask while driving on or off campus.
    • Individuals who are in a school vehicle that may be used or contain other Cummings employees or students must wear a face covering at all times, unless the cab will be disinfected prior to another individual entering or using the vehicle. Face coverings must always be worn if more than one person is in the vehicle.

When possible, limit vehicles to two people and physically distance as much as possible within the vehicle.

Surgical Masks (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Because of on-going limitations in availability of surgical and procedure masks and the CDC guidelines that they be preserved for use in the health care system, use is limited to situations with specific requirements.
  • When surgical masks are required, they will be provided by the school.
  • Surgical masks (Level 1) are used in certain veterinary procedures (teaching, clinical or research) to protect the patient and will continue to be used for those purposes.
  • Procedural masks (Level 1 - 3) are used during dentistry (teaching, clinical, or research) and other procedures to protect the wearer and will continue to be used for this purpose.
  • Surgical masks or respirators (N95 respirators) may be required according to specific clinic or research protocols for enhanced protection.
    • Please refer to specific hospital/clinic or research protocols for use.
    • Normally, one mask will be provided per day or per four hours of use.
  • Additional eye protection (e.g. goggles or face shield) are highly recommended during the COVID-19 pandemic when people are carrying out procedures requiring surgical masks and working in close proximity (< 6 ft) for consistent, extended periods of time (15 minutes). However, given that they may interfere with surgical procedures or provide safety hazards when working with large animals, they are not mandatory for the primary clinician or diagnostician and relevant assistants.
    • The primary default is always physical distancing and even when surgical masks are worn, efforts to maintain physical distance should still be in place.
    • Intermittent periods of proximity over an extended time do not require use of surgical masks.
N95 and P100 Respirators (Updated 8/14/20)
  • N95 or equivalent respirators should not be used for routine face coverings unless medically indicated. This is to preserve N95 respirator supply for required internal and health care system use.
  • All respirators with exhalation valves, including N95 respirators, do not meet the requirements of this policy, because the exhalation valve allows unfiltered exhaled air to be released.
  • N95 respirators may be required in specific situations according to clinic and/or hospital protocols, or research protocols
    • These protocols must be followed when in place.
    • Cummings School will provide N95 respirators or an alternative, when required.
  • N95 respirators must be properly fit-tested and individuals must have medical clearance evaluation prior to use. Please see Tufts Respiratory Protection Program at ttps://
    • Contact Tufts EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) Chris Rock for fit testing.
  • Employees and students with documented medical concerns that place them at higher risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 will be provided with N-95 respirators.
    • Employees should contact Human Resources for an assessment.
    • Students should submit medical documentation to Assistant Dean Barbara Berman.
  • Tufts University also recommends obtaining medical clearance before voluntary (i.e. not required for medical or use reasons and not supplied by Cummings School) use of N95 or P100 disposable one-piece respirators. Contact TEHS for guidance.
  • Employee or students whose only use of respirators involves the voluntary use of respirators (See 29 CFR 1910.134(c)(2)(ii)). Those employees or students must be provided with the information specified in OSHA’s1910.134 Respiratory Protection standard Appendix D of the standard (Mandatory) Information for Employees Using Respirators When Not Required Under the Standard.
Eye Protection: Face Shields or Goggles (Updated 8/14/20)
  • When working within six feet for extended periods of time (>15 minutes), eye protection is strongly recommended, in addition to a face mask. If an interaction is anticipated to last more than a few minutes, eye protection should be put on prior to starting.
    • If wearing a cloth mask or NMG disposable mask, the best eye-protection/face-protection is a face shield.
    • If wearing a surgical or N95 mask, goggles that fit closely to the face may be sufficient, instead of a face shield
    • Students and faculty should wear eye-protection in anatomy laboratories, clinical skills laboratories, and other situations where close-contact is anticipated.
  • For surgery, interventional procedures, and some diagnostic procedures, wearing of additional eye protection or face shields may interfere with the activity. In these situations, individuals directly involved in the activity may choose not to wear additional protective eyewear. Other faculty, staff, or students within 6 ft not directly engaged in the activity should still wear eye protection or face shields, as described above.
  • Face shields or eye protection (goggles) must be worn when required by biosafety or biosecurity protocols and activities in the clinics/hospitals, laboratories, and during research.
  • Each student will be supplied with a face-shield for their personal use. They are to clean it regularly and must not share the shield. Face shields should be stored in a personal bag (cloth or zip-lock type) when not being worn on the head.
  • Face shields or appropriate eye protection will be provided when required according to specific protocols.
  • Employees and students who wish to routinely wear a face shield may do so.
  • Face shields and goggles must not be shared between individuals unless they have been washed with hot, soapy water at a minimum.
  • Wearers must avoid handling the shield or goggle part while wearing. Anytime the shield or goggle part is touched, hands should be washed before and after touching.
  • The face shield area must be washed immediately after taking off, before placing on a surface or hanging up a face shield.
  • Face shields may be used indefinitely provided they remain clear.
  • If face shields need to be discarded because of use in a situation where COVID-19 is known to be present, they will be replaced.
Gloves (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Gloves are not required on a routine basis. Regular handwashing and/or use of hand sanitizer is preferable.
  • When clinic or research protocols require enhanced or full PPE, including gowns, surgical masks, and/or shields, then it is appropriate to wear disposable gloves.
  • Gloves are single use and should be discarded when finished.
  • Use of gloves for all other routine indications in clinical, laboratory, or research should continue as indicated by the specific conditions. Pay attention to proper glove etiquette, removing and disposing properly.
Clinic Clothing and Protective Outerwear (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Clothes that are worn unprotected in the hospital or clinic environment should not be worn outside of the hospital or clinic
  • Protective outerwear may be worn over street clothes or scrubs in lieu of (or in addition to) changing into dedicated clothing.
    • Protective outwear includes lab coats, coveralls, and gowns.
    • Protective outerwear must not be worn in any common spaces outside of rounds rooms within the hospitals or clinics.
    • Protective outerwear should not be worn from home to the clinics/hospitals/labs or from clinics/hospitals/labs to home, either in private vehicles or on public transit.
  • Clothing should be washed regularly at home or through the clinic/hospital system, as indicated.
  • Gowns (washable or disposable) should be worn, as indicated according to research or clinic protocols.
    • For biosecurity protocols
    • For surgical protocols
  • Protective outwear (PPE) should follow standard protocols in research and teaching laboratories.
    • When clinic protocols require it to receive animals from clients or to handle animals at risk of carrying COVID-19 as specified in clinic protocols.

Mitigation Strategies and Guidelines

Physical Distancing (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Physical distancing is an important mitigation strategy. The goal is to maintain at least 6 ft of distance between individuals and to avoid direct contact. This is to avoid transference of droplets through the air or through direct physical contact in order to minimize transmission.
  2. Physical distancing guidelines are intended to avoid close contact.
  3. As much distancing as possible should be maintained at all times. Risk related to exposure does not drop to zero when 6 feet away from a person. Depending on circumstances, virus can be transmitted over much greater distances and time. Care should always be taken.
  4. It is not just the being within 6 ft, it is also the time within that distance. Do not spend unnecessary time within six ft of other individuals.
  5. All physical spaces should be set up to allow 6 ft physical distancing whenever possible.
  6. When physical distancing cannot be maintained because of activity requirements (e.g. care of an animal), time spent within 6 ft of other people should be minimized.
  7. When it is not possible to have 6 ft distance, physical barriers (e.g. plexiglass shields) are also effective. Avert your face when passing or working together in close quarters.
  8. Only one person is permitted at a time in an elevator.
  9. Furniture locations and maximum occupancy numbers for rooms should be respected.
    1. All common areas and meeting rooms require a seating plan to maintain a distance of six feet between people.
    2. People using these rooms must only sit in designated seats.
    3. Total occupancy and air flow are also important.
  10. Use of PPE (see PPE policy) is required at all times, as it will help to mitigate risk when physical distancing is not possible.
  11. Students should not spend time within a six-foot distance of clients unless it is unavoidable. Follow all clinic and hospital policies regarding client interactions.
    1. In most cases, direct interaction with clients will be prohibited.
    2. Communicate whenever possible by telephone, facetime, or other visual apps.
Personal Health Hygiene (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
    1. Wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
    2. Wash your hands before you eat, after you eat, before and after touching your face or mask, whenever you do a procedure, when you use the toilet, and sometimes just because you haven’t done it recently.
    3. Wash your hands immediately before working together with a colleague on a case.
    4. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after contact with high touch surfaces such as phones and door handles.
    5. Hand sanitizer is distributed around the buildings in areas with high touch surfaces. However, it is strongly recommended that all individuals carry personal hand sanitizer and/or hand wipes for personal use.
  2. Clean your workspace and high touch surfaces regularly.
    1. Facilities staff clean communal high-touch areas regularly.
    2. Clean personal spaces regularly. Keep them free of paper and clutter so they can be easily cleaned.
    3. Clean all common computer keyboards and phones before and after use.
    4. Use provided cleaning materials.
  3. Do not touch your face unless you have just washed your hands.
  4. Cough into a tissue or the crook of your elbow. Dispose of any used tissue immediately.
  5. Do not hug, shake hands, bump fists, bump elbows, give air kisses, or use other close forms of greeting.
  6. Do not kiss or cuddle any animals. Follow all clinic and hospital policies related to animal care and contact.
  7. Do not share cell phones or hold them to your face. Use texting, speakerphone, or visual apps.
  8. Do not share pens, books, stethoscopes, etc.
Classrooms and Laboratories (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Programs and class years will be assigned primary classrooms to use and should limit their movement to other parts of campus.
  2. If students are in a rotating schedule for on-campus activities, students should be assigned in such a way that they are on-campus for whole days at a time and such that roommates (when feasible) are on-campus at the same time.
  3. Maximum class and laboratory size should be targeted to be 25, but only as the room size allows. Class sizes of up to 50 may be permitted with specific exemptions (includes need to keep 6 ft spacing in class) or as the case numbers in Massachusetts decline (requires approval by the dean).
  4. Classrooms/conference rooms: Only as many students who can sit in a learning space and leave 6 ft physical distance should be permitted in the space. Lecture theaters and other classroom space will be posted with maximum occupancies. The exception is if physical partitions are present between seating spaces.
    1. When a class size is too large to permit all students in the class at the same time, then students will be assigned days to come in to minimize interactions.
    2. Consideration will be given to grouping students who are living together into classroom groups to minimize additional interactions.
    3. When students are in lecture style seating, the largest room available at the time, respecting on-campus travel movements, should be used.
    4. Students will be assigned individual seating in classrooms for the day.
    5. Students should wipe their individual area with provided disinfectant wipes at the end of the day.
  5. Laboratories: Laboratory space occupation for teaching shall be such that a minimum of approximately 50 - 125 sq ft is available per student. However, it is recognized that students may need to work together at less than 6 ft spacing, sometimes for extended periods of time. The specific requirements of the PPE policy must be followed.
    1. Students should wear disposable gloves for laboratories and dispose of them properly at the end of the laboratory. Hands should be washed afterwards. Exceptions to the need to wear gloves will be communicated.
    2. Students are expected to clean and disinfect tools and working surfaces on completion of the laboratory, using provided supplies.
  6. Clinical Skills, Surgical Exercises, Simulation: The PPE and protocols applied in clinic settings will be applied to these laboratories.
  7. Classrooms, laboratories, and common areas shall normally be surface disinfected by facilities staff at the end of every day, and in no cases less frequently than every two days.
  8. Students are not to go to lectures or laboratories on other campuses. This will directly affect the Master of Science in Public Health and the Master of Science in Conservation Medicine programs.
Teaching, AV, and Computers (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. All formal classes should be held in the largest rooms available. When possible, in classrooms such as those in the Admin Building, open windows during lectures. (Note: the KCR is being used for testing and will not be available for classes)
  2. Please respect all room occupancies and seating arrangements. Do not rearrange furniture.
  3. Faculty and students are requested to take care when entering and exiting classrooms to minimize interactions and time within 6 ft distance. Please respect marked entrance and exit doors where possible.
  4. Students must wear masks at all times when in the buildings and in the lecture theatres.
  5. Students must sit only in designated seats and must sit no less than six feet apart at all times.
  6. Students must clean their seat area at the end of class, using provided wipes or other cleaning material.
  7. Faculty must wear masks at all times when in buildings or lecture theatres.
    1. It is recognized, however, that lecturing or leading a prolonged discussion with a mask can be tiring and some faculty members may find it difficult. It is suggested that faculty members try cloth and NMG disposable masks to see if one is more suited to them.
    2. If there is a reason that a faculty member is unable to lecture with a mask on, please consult with the relevant Associate Dean for alternatives.
  8. Faculty should stay behind the podium and installed plexiglass shield to lecture. Under no circumstances should the faculty member be within six feet of the students, and should try to stay 10-15 feet away.
  9. Faculty members are advised to wipe the computer keyboard and microphone prior to their lecture. They must clean the podium/computers on completion of their lecture, with provided materials.
  10. Keyboard covers are to be placed on all common-use computers, in classrooms and throughout the campus. Wipes to clean keyboards and hand sanitizer (in fixed holders) are to be placed at all classroom or conference room podiums (this is not required in clinics/hospitals due to easy access to supplies and the distribution of the keyboards).
  11. Only fixed microphones are permitted for use (no lapel microphones).
Environmental Cleaning (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. All areas in the school must be cleaned regularly following standard cleaning protocols (weekly).
  2. Use EPA-registered cleaning products with an emerging-viral-pathogens claim for disinfection.
  3. High-touch surfaces (door handles, railings, elevator buttons, etc.) must be cleaned and disinfected at least two times a day.
  4. If an individual is diagnosed with COVID-19 and they spent considerable time in a single fixed location (e.g. an office), use of the area should be restricted until the cleaning and disinfection has been accomplished.
    1. Area shall be cleaned and disinfected as soon as possible. This may require an outside contractor.
    2. If the area is not required, it may be left unused for 14 days, at which time facilities shall deep clean and/or disinfect as required.
  5. General area cleaning and disinfection should be instituted in all common areas that a confirmed COVID-19 person has occupied in the 48 hours priors to onset of symptoms or a diagnosis of infection in an asymptomatic person.
Meetings (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Business meetings of Cummings employees should be held by internet conference whenever possible.
  2. No business meetings of more than 10 people should be held at any time and then only in locations where 6 ft physical distancing can be maintained.
On-campus Movement (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Unnecessary travel around campus is restricted. When at all possible, employees and students are to remain within their designated work or learning area.
  2. Dedicated classroom space will be assigned to DVM classes and master’s program classes.
  3. Access to clinics and hospitals is restricted to students who are on rotations or other specific learning assignments.
  4. Employees are expected to limit themselves to their primary hospital area unless required to go to another area for a specific activity.
  5. Hospitals and buildings should not be used as thoroughfares.
    1. Students and employees should enter by the outside door that is closest to their destination.
  6. When not prohibited by fire code or required to make the space functional, keep doors open to limit the need to touch doors or door handles.
  7. Stairs will be designated for going up and going down, whenever reasonable, to minimize interactions in stairwells and facilitate traffic flow.
Common Areas (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. Common areas will have limits placed on the number of people who can use them at one time.
  2. Seating and tables in common areas will be reduced to encourage appropriate physical distancing.
  3. Individuals not respecting room restrictions may have access restricted.
Food (Updated 11/09/20)
  1. No shared food sources are permitted. Food that is purchased should be provided in individual boxes or bags.
  2. Elms Café eating area is now open on a limited basis for in-person dining. Eating outside will be permitted as long as physical distancing (> 6 feet) is maintained.
Phelps Fields, Tennis Courts, and Gym Facilities (Updated 11/09/20)
  1. All sporting activities that result in personal contact are prohibited until further notice.
  2. All on-campus gyms are closed until further notice.
  3. Basketball courts and tennis courts can be used by Grafton employees and students who are in the regular testing program as long as 6 feet of distance is maintained. Masks are required at all times outdoors on campus, except when eating and drinking at an appropriate social distance.
    1. Basketball courts are limited to four people at a time, with two people at each net or end. No games are permitted.
    2. Tennis courts may be used to play singles or doubles, with 6 feet being maintained at all times.
    3. Phelps Fields are closed for the winter.
Events and Programs (Updated 8/14/20)
  1. The following programs will be delivered/conducted remotely/online between May 1, 2020, and April 30, 2021:
    • Adventures in Veterinary Medicine
    • All K – 12 outreach programs
    • All continuing education programs
    • Prospective student days/recruitment events
    • Admissions interviews
    • Tufts Veterinary Orientation Program (TVOP) and other orientation events
    • All events such as Varis seminars/Animal Matters/etc. that might normally have had off-campus attendees will be live-streamed and only open to internal attendees, with limits on in-person attendance
    • Community Cat Clinics
  2. The following programs will be suspended until further notice. Alternatives will be sought.
    • On-campus fall open house
    • On-campus Parents’ day/weekend
    • External group events


Guests, Visitors, and Other External Persons on Campus (Updated 12/11/20)


  • Any visitor, guest teacher, or vendor coming to campus must have approval from the dean’s office (which can be requested by emailing the dean directly with a copy to Stephen Libuda), and they must follow all protocols. The approval request needs to include who is coming, when they are coming (specific day and time), what they are doing, where they are going, etc. When an request is approved, specific guidelines also will be provided. Part of this process includes asking the standard COVID-19 questions (travel, symptoms, etc.). There must be a point of contact who will oversee activities. If there are to be repeat visitors, then as outlined below, we can approve in advance or set additional criteria as outlined below.
  • New guidelines:
    1. Anyone who needs to work within 6 feet of our employees may be required to be tested. We will decide via the process outlined in Part of 1 above and set criteria.
    2. Anyone who is coming sporadically and may be called in on an emergency can be approved in advance with specific conditions.
    3. Anyone who is coming over multiple days in a row (especially for five 5 days or longer, and/or who is working in close contact with others) will be required to get tested, and they should be registered as an affiliate in advance.
    4. Anyone who is expected to come five or more times over the spring term will be required to register as an affiliate and get tested on the days they are on campus in our system.
  • How to register affiliates:
    1. The following information should be submitted to the dean’s office: First name, last name, address, email address, date of birth, phone, race (optional field), ethnicity (optional field), gender (M/F/O).
    2. The affiliate should provide a cell phone photo to prepare an ID. All photos must have a white or an off-white background. Label the photo file using the naming convention of “last name_first name”.
    3. Send the photo(s) and the file to the dean, with a copy to Stephen Libuda.

Full Guidelines

  1. External persons include guests, visitors, research collaborators, contractors, or other external employees with approved, essential business on campus, employees of companies leasing space on campus, clients, and any other non-Cummings individuals.
  2. Any external person coming to campus must have prior approval through the dean’s office (Stephen Libuda is the initial point of contact and will direct the request appropriately).
  3. Any external person coming to campus must have a person who is responsible for the visit. This is referred to as the point of contact (POC).
  4. We are now able, and expected, to provide testing to external persons who will be on campus repeatedly, for extended periods of time, or who will have direct interactions with our students and/or employees.
  5. Any external person coming to campus:
    1. Must follow all current Massachusetts guidelines (see “Travel” section). Critical infrastructure workers do not need to self-quarantine traveling to and on the job site, but must self-quarantine at other times. According to MA guidelines, they may have a negative PCR-based SARS CoV-2 test no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in order to avoid needed to self-quarantine at all.
    2. We ask that external person coming to campus do so within 24 hours of traveling to MA, whenever possible, to reduce the risk of being infectious while on campus.
    3. Must be apprised of all Cummings School relevant policies and procedures by the POC. They must wear a face mask at all times while on campus.
    4. Must be screened for any recent illnesses or symptoms (fever, cough, headache, sore throat) in the previous two weeks through questioning by the Cummings POC.
    5. Must not have been in contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days (determined through questioning).
    6. Must be asked to take their temperature in the morning before coming to campus or be screened by infrared thermometer.
    7. Must attest that they have not traveled in the previous 14 days, have not participated in any gatherings, do not have symptoms, and have not been in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
    8. Must avoid close contact with any Cummings School employees or students.
  6. Guests and visitors include any friends or family of employees or students, volunteers, externship students, visiting professors or clinicians, international visitors, or any other non-Cummings School person who is not here on specific approved business.
    1. Guests and visitors on campus are prohibited until April 2021. This requirement will be lifted when it is deemed safe.
    2. Permission for exceptions must be obtained from the dean’s office in advance of any visits. This will rarely be granted.
  7. Guest lecturers or speakers should normally present by web conferencing and should not be brought to campus unless there is a demonstrable and significant benefit. The recommendation to the dean to approve this must come through the appropriate associate dean who will first review the request. Similarly, students should not go to other campuses to attend lectures or other events.
  8. Clients of clinics/hospitals must follow the specific protocols in place for each location. For clients, the POC is considered the relevant clinic.
  9. Employees of companies renting space on the Grafton campus. Such employees will be provided copies of all the necessary School policies and procedures by the Executive Associate Dean and will be required to follow those policies and procedures at all times while on campus. They must provide their own PPE. The EAD will keep a record of personal contact information and a list of all employees who will be on campus. They must inform the EAD if any of their employees test positive. They must be in compliance with all MA regulations, as well as Tufts and Cummings policies and practices.
  10. Formal research collaborators. Permission for formal research collaborators to be on campus must be obtained from the dean’s office. The dean’s office (Stephen Libuda) will keep a record of all names and personal contact information for research collaborators. The Cummings School POC is responsible for ensuring that they understand and follow all the relevant PPE and Containment and Mitigation Policies of Cummings School. Their presence on campus is restricted to those areas where they need to work. Interactions with other laboratory personnel, employees, and students must be limited. The Cummings POC is responsible for keeping a record of all close contacts during the collaborator’s visit to campus. They must follow all MA guidelines, including travel restrictions.
  11. Regular or one-time contractors or external employees invited to campus for specific business activities. Visits by contractors or external employees must be approved through the dean’s office in advance. They must follow all Cummings School PPE and Containment and Mitigation Policies. Physical distancing must be maintained at all times.
Personal Activities (Updated 8/14/20)

Cummings School and Tufts University cannot dictate how employees or students spend personal time. Nevertheless, Cummings School asks that all employees and students respect the principles and guidelines of this policy in their personal activities to reduce the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19.

Please note that group activities, particularly with people you do not normally interact with, increase risk. It is essential to follow MA guidelines on gathering sizes, to have everyone wear masks, to respect physical distancing, and to avoid inside gatherings.

Research Laboratories
  1. Research laboratories may only permit as many workers in the space as can maintain 6 feet of physical distancing. All procedures requiring two or more individuals in less than 6 feet of distance must be minimized.
  2. At a minimum, disposable non-medical grade masks must be worn at all times when in the laboratory, even if no others are present. Other appropriate masks or respirators should be worn as indicated by the specific procedure or biosafety level.
  3. All other laboratory practices must follow any specific practices as outlined in the school protocols.
  4. Laboratory personnel must disinfect all high-touch surfaces and equipment before using the laboratory and when finished. Follow all laboratory procedures and PPE requirements when handling disinfectants.
  5. Stay conscious of the fact that circumstances may change rapidly, and you may need to suspend operations on short notice.

For more information and resources for researchers—including links to the research reopen surveys—please see Cummings School’s COVID-19 intranet.


Spring Break Guidance for Students, Faculty and Staff (Updated 2/11/21)

We are still planning on holding spring break this year. We feel it is important for the health of our students, and our faculty and staff.

We ask that you not engage in any strictly vacation travel (e.g. going to Florida beaches) over the break—and especially that you not engage in any large group activities. If you do intend to engage in vacation travel outside Massachusetts over the break, you should email for specific guidance on returning to campus.

We recognize that traveling to visit family is important and that many of you will do this. However, when you visit family who are not part of your core household or who you do not see on a regular basis, it is considered a high-risk activity as most people do not wear masks and social distance when inside under these circumstances. (The majority of positive cases in Massachusetts are family transmission.) Therefore, traveling out of state and spending time with non-household members indoors (e.g., staying with family or friends) will result in a requirement for two negative tests prior to return to campus. Depending on the exact situation and timing, tests must spread over 3 to 7 days, with the second test typically at least 5 days, and preferably 6 to 7 days, after return to Massachusetts.

To facilitate this, all pre-clinical and graduate programs will be remote the week after spring break.

All students are asked to be back in Massachusetts and in their usual residence by the evening of Sunday, March 21, and must be back no later than Monday, March 22. If you have left the state, you will require one negative test to come out of the Massachusetts quarantine (i.e. Monday, March 22). Your second negative test should be no earlier than Thursday, March 25 and no later than one day before you are required to return to campus (leaving enough time for the test result to get back).

Faculty and staff are expected to follow a similar testing regimen for return to campus if they leave Massachusetts and stay with non-household members or engage in other high-risk activities. Email for specific guidance.

MA Travel Order (Updated 11/09/20)

The recent MA Travel Order ( has understandably created some confusion, with its requirements and exemptions. The following definitions are helpful in understanding what you need to do under different circumstances:

  • Isolation/Self-isolation: you separate yourselves from others because you are sick (with COVID-19 or something else) or have coronavirus (e.g. asymptomatic positive).
  • Quarantine/Self-quarantine: you separate yourself from others because you might become sick. Quarantine can be “ordered” by a healthcare professional or in response to a public health or government order. This typically occurs when you have a known or possible exposure to an infected individual (because, for example, you were in a high-risk area or engaged in high-risk activities).
  • Stay-off-campus request: This is when Cummings School or Tufts University asks you to stay off campus. We do not have the authority to instruct you to self-isolate or self-quarantine, but we can ask you, for occupational health reasons, to stay off campus. Many people equate a stay-off-campus request with self-quarantine or quarantine, but one relates the latter refers to behavior off campus.

What does the order say?

  • If you travel to or from MA to lower-risk states, MA does not require you to self-quarantine. This list will be updated regularly, so you must always check it at the time of travel. Travel updates happen continuously, and each state has its own set of guidelines. You are responsible for checking guidelines, but please email for advice and guidance on our own return-to-campus expectations.
  • If you travel from any other region or internationally (including Canada), you must quarantine for 14 days on arrival (unless you meet an exemption or test-out as outlined below). Please see state guidance for quarantine requirements.
  • There are limited circumstance-specific exemptions, but unless you are commuting to work or school regularly on at least a weekly basis, they do not apply to our community.
    • Note that critical (or essential) workers traveling for leisure or personal reasons cannot use being an essential worker as a reason not to quarantine. You must still quarantine.
  • There is a test-out option as well. This states that if you get a negative PCR-based test no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in MA or after arrival, the state will not require you to quarantine. Note that you must stay in quarantine until you have the negative test result, and also rapid antigen or antibody tests do not count.
    • The test offered by Tufts University will meet the requirements for the state test-out option as it is a PCR-based test. You are permitted to leave quarantine for the purpose of driving to the testing site on campus and returning home. Note that we cannot guarantee testing will be available on any specific day.
  • MA does not have any restrictions or allowances related to the mode of travel.
  • There are other details on their site that you should consult.
  • Please note: MA is not encouraging travel but is permitting it. Their order contains the following:
    • Employers that permit employer-paid or -reimbursed travel to places other than COVID-19 lower-risk states should take measures to ensure employees comply with this Order. Employers are also urged to strongly discourage their employees from taking leisure travel to destinations not included on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk states.
Travel to or From Massachusetts to Low-risk States (Updated 9/02/20)

Travel to or from a MA-designated low-risk state, at the time of travel, will not result in a stay-off-campus request, provided you do not engage in high-risk activities (e.g. group events, fail to social distance, engage in group activities without a mask, eating regularly in restaurants, etc.).

If you engage in high-risk activities while traveling to MA-designated low-risk states, please contact for advice on required testing prior to return to campus.

Travel to a High-risk State and International Travel (Updated 11/09/20)

Travel to a high-risk state or international travel will result in a stay-off-campus order and specific guidelines on what testing requirements are needed for return to campus. Please email for guidance. Our general guidelines are outlined below:

  • We will not accept a test taken 72 hours prior to return to MA as a test-out of a stay-off-campus request for students and employees. You must meet one of the following criteria to return to work:
  • Have been back in MA for 14 days and not shown any sign of illness.
  • Minimum testing requirements:
    • Have received a negative PCR-based test result from a tested performed at Cummings School after returning to MA. The test must be repeated at days 4, 7, and 14 days to continue to come to work on campus.
    • If you have engaged in high-risk activities or gone to particular high-risk areas, two or more negative tests taken at 3- to 4-day intervals may be required to return to campus. Please consult for guidance.
    • Assuming most people return on a weekend, samples would be collected on Monday, with results back on Tuesday. This usually allows return to work on Tuesday. Testing will also be available on other days of the week (see below).
  • When traveling for personal reasons, it is the responsibility of employees and students to plan for this time. Employees may use vacation days, personal days, unpaid days, or may work from home to cover these two days. Students should continue their studies online.
Public Transportation (Updated 8/14/20)

Use of public transit, provided you follow all the precautions, wear a mask, and physical distance, will not lead to a stay-off-campus request. This includes train or bus to get to campus, which we have previously requested be avoided unless necessary and an exemption has been granted.

What Happens if a Family Member, a Guest, or a Roommate Who has Traveled Out of the Designated Travel Zone or has Engaged in High-risk Activity Comes to Stay at My House? (Updated 8/14/20)
  • If someone is quarantining in your house, they need to comply with the MA requirements and CDC guidelines for quarantine. If collectively you cannot comply with the quarantine guidelines within the house (i.e. you cannot quarantine from the person who traveled), then you will also need to quarantine to be in compliance with MA state guidelines
  • If you can stay separate from them in the house or apartment (you have not been in close contact with them since they have been put in quarantine, and you can avoid close contact in the house), then we will not require you to stay off campus.
  • Guidelines to avoid close contact include:
    • Individual in quarantine stays in a separate bedroom.
    • You maintain 6 feet of physical distance at all times—and wear masks in the house.
    • You do not share food or utensils. The quarantining individual should not do the cooking or serving. You should not eat together. Use gloves to handle their dishes.
    • Keep windows open to increase airflow if possible
    • Separate bathroom is preferred. If you must share, bathroom is to be cleaned and disinfected after use by the quarantining person.
    • Avoid handling or sharing pets between the quarantining and non-quarantining individual.
    • Wash hands often, clean high-touch surfaces, etc.

Faculty and Staff Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Dependent Care Considerations (Updated 8/14/20)

If dependent care challenges prevent you from returning to campus or fulfilling your position expectations at home, please contact your chair or supervisor and HR (Lucia Hackett).

  • The first approach will be to work with your chair as needed to find alternative schedules or other work arrangements to create a mutually satisfactory solution.
  • HR (Lucia Hackett) can help explore availability of appropriate care options if this can be of assistance.
  • If the first two options cannot resolve the situation, personnel should first use up family sick days if they cannot fulfill important responsibilities working remotely. They may then use vacation days and personal leave, or explore a furlough situation with HR.
  • Specific university policy: For family and/or dependent care, benefit-eligible staff are normally permitted to use 10 of their available sick days per year. While the COVID-19 FAQs are in effect, the university will permit staff to use a total of 20 days of their sick leave to attend to childcare and other dependent responsibilities. For employees running out of sick time, the university will allow you to borrow from your FY21 sick time allowance.
Working From Home (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Personnel working from home will be expected to be available to return to work on campus with a notice of 1 working day.
  • Personnel working from home should be available by email and/or phone during usual working hours.
  • Please let your chair or supervisor know if there are barriers to being able to return to work with 1-day notice or to completing work expectations at home, such as dependent care or health issues.
Health and Vulnerability Considerations (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Faculty and staff who have previously self-identified as vulnerable or high-risk will need to discuss the situation with the OEO and Human Resources in order for on-going accommodations to be put in place. Medical documentation will be needed as part of the process. We will of course extend current conditions while the formal OEO process is underway.
  • The presence of other vulnerable or high-risk people at home will not normally be considered a reason not to work on campus if required.
    1. Personnel may use family sick time, vacation, and personal days if they wish to delay returning to work when requested.
  • For personnel able to continue to meet the majority of their current position expectations from home, there may be no change in immediate circumstances during Stages 1 and 2.
  • For that personnel who cannot complete the majority of their normal work from home and require an accommodation:
    1. Please explore options through your chair, supervisor, and/or clinic or hospital director, HR, and the OEO’s accommodation process. We will work with you to find alternative work arrangements or responsibilities, as necessary
    2. Personnel who qualify under an FMLA leave due to a medical condition or other qualifying event should follow the leave process and reach out to Grafton HR (Lucia Hackett) as necessary.
  • If a high-risk employee cannot complete all or the majority of work from home, have explored OEO’s accommodation process, and will not return to work, the following are options that may be employed while waiting for the COVID-19 situation to resolve:
    1. Use remaining sick time and advanced sick time options
    2. Use vacation and personal time
    3. Explore with HR taking a furlough, which would require paying the employee benefit portion of benefits cost.
Coming to Campus (Updated 8/14/20)
  • Personnel needed on-campus to fulfill their responsibilities as we increase on-campus activities (clinical, research, other) will be asked to return to campus on those days where their contributions are needed.
  • Personnel coming to work on campus generally will be brought in to work a regular shift and will be expected to be available throughout that period.
  • Please let your chair or supervisor and HR know if there are barriers to being able to return to campus as expected, such as dependent care or health issues. We will work with you to find solutions.
  • Staff will be paid for time worked. If you need to be on campus to carry out your work and cannot work from home, please see below if your required work does not provide your normal work hours.
  • Personnel who are able but are not prepared to return to campus may use vacation and/or personal days.

Unable to complete work at home and not enough work in your regular role on campus

  • Because of on-going reductions in on-campus activities, full-time work may not be required of some staff who cannot complete their work from home.
  • In this situation, alternative work arrangements, including alternative responsibilities, job sharing, different hours, use of vacation hours, etc. may be available to assist employees.
    1. If there are two staff with similar functions and only sufficient work for one staff member, we will look to equitable sharing of available work time.
    2. If you want to continue to receive your regular pay and are not working enough time, you may use vacation time to make up the gap.
    3. If you are unable to complete your work at home, are not required on campus for all or part of your regular hours, and do not have vacation time available, please contact your supervisor and HR if you would like to be considered for alternative work arrangements. We will work with you to try to find alternative work or shifts on campus where additional help is required.
    4. If there is not suitable alternative work on campus, we will work with you to try to find additional work that you can perform at home that serves other school functions.
Vacation (Updated 8/14/20)

We ask faculty and staff to be considerate when taking vacations that will require self-quarantine or a stay-off-campus request on return. Please be proactive in ensuring that any self-quarantines or stay-off-campus requests needed on return do not interfere with your ability to fulfill work obligations on campus. Please work with your department chair or supervisor and/or relevant clinic/hospital director/section head well in advance to manage your schedules appropriately.

  • Normal vacation practices remain in place.
  • Faculty and staff are reminded that Massachusetts has a 14-day self-quarantine rule in place when traveling out of state (regardless of the conveyance), unless to identified lower-risk states (see travel guidelines). There are of course some exceptions. Please see the travel section for more details.
  • If you are not able to return to campus when needed because of quarantine requirements following personal travel, this will be your responsibility to manage. You should work in advance with your supervisor or supervisor and/or relevant clinic/hospital director/section head to determine if there are alternate arrangements that can be made to accommodate your work. Otherwise, the time will need to come from your vacation, sick, personal, or other leave time.


Where to Report Non-Compliance with Policies

Report an instance of a student, faculty member, staff member, or outside contractor failing to follow COVID-19 mitigation policies using this Qualtrics link.  

Your report will be recorded anonymously.


Who to Contact with Questions

For questions about testing, travel, or health, please email Nurses will be responding between 10 am and 2 pm to the majority of questions. The mailbox is monitored from roughly 6 am to 9 pm, and we respond in a timely manner when required.

Any concerns or questions regarding COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines should be forwarded to Dean Alastair Cribb.