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Testing Protocols for Winter Break and Spring Semester

| Category:
Faculty and Staff, All Campuses

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we near the end of the fall semester, many of you are planning for the winter break between December 24 and January 19, when spring onboarding begins. We want to let you know what the testing protocols will be during this period and about changes to the protocol starting next semester.


Faculty and staff who work or need to be on campus during winter break

Faculty and staff who work on campus or have an essential business need to access campus facilities during the break will either continue with your current testing schedule or will need to begin routine testing. If you plan to be on campus less than once a week, you should plan to test on the day of your visit. However, you will need to be in the testing program in order to be tested.

If you need to join the testing program, please contact your supervisor or department chair who will work with the VP of your division or your school’s EAD to have them add your name to the list.

If you are coming to campus, you must also follow the university’s protocols for isolation and quarantine. For more information, see the Tufts Winter Break Testing webpage.

If you are symptomatic, have tested positive or are concerned that you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should contact the Jumbo Health Center at or 617-627-0467 or your primary care doctor and follow their guidance.

Faculty and staff who will not be on campus

If you are not planning to be on campus during winter break, you should not to come to campus to test and you may not use the testing program for clearance to travel. You should continue to follow the university’s protocols for isolation and quarantine, and you will have access to the quarantine testing provided at Tufts if needed.

When you return to campus after winter break, you will be required to test on your first day back and again 3-4 days later. After you receive two negative tests, you may resume your surveillance testing schedule as described on the Testing at Tufts page. This means you will be tested three times over the span of 7-8 days after returning to work on campus.

Please note that if you are enrolled in surveillance testing during the regular semester you may receive appointments in CampusKey during winter break. These appointments may be ignored if you are not coming to campus.

Faculty and staff who work exclusively remotely should not come to campus to be tested.

Faculty and staff at the School of Dental Medicine and Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Due to clinical operations, faculty and staff at the Dental School and Cummings School will be required to receive two negative tests before returning to campus after winter break. They will need to arrange their schedules to allow time for this testing. For convenience, or if necessary, Dental School faculty and staff may test on the Medford/Somerville campus.

Availability of surveillance and quarantine testing is subject to the Tufts testing centers’ operating hours. For hours of operation, see the testing calendar.


Effective immediately and continuing into the spring semester, all Tufts faculty, staff, researchers, research assistants, and post-docs on all campuses who are accessing Tufts facilities, and affiliates who are physically present in Tufts research facilities, must test once a week, or on the day they come to campus if they come to campus less than once per week.

Residential life, dining, and custodial staff working in dormitories and dining facilities are required to test twice a week.

All visitors to any Tufts campus who need to enter a Tufts University building must complete the Daily Health Status Survey on the day of their campus visit.

Exemptions from surveillance testing will be determined by the Dean or Executive Associate Dean of the relevant School in collaboration with the OVPR and University Infection Control Health Director.


Essential Travel Quarantine

The Tufts Travel Policy put in place in October is still in effect. All travel (both in-region and out-of-region) during the pandemic is strongly discouraged, except under exceptional circumstances. In general, exceptional circumstances are those in which your physical presence is essential (e.g., the death or life-threatening illness of a close family member,). While we understand that travel for other important life events (e.g., family reunions, vacations, holidays, weddings) may be very important to you, it is not truly essential during a pandemic.

Travel on Tufts business is prohibited except for essential purposes. Faculty and staff must obtain the approval of their school dean (or their designee) if they wish to travel domestically or internationally for research and scholarship purposes. If travel is international, the requirement that faculty and staff register their international Tufts-related travel in the Travel Registry remains.

In accordance with the Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order, all travelers returning from out-of-region locations are required to remain in quarantine for 14 days or until they have received a negative result from a COVID-19 test. During winter break, Tufts provides COVID-19 testing only to faculty and staff who remain in the testing program because they are working on campus during that time. If you will not be working on campus during winter break, you should not come to campus to test and you may not use the testing program for clearance either to or from travel.

After the winter break, and during the spring term, Tufts will provide COVID-19 testing for faculty and staff returning from travel, as long as they are routinely working on campus during the term. If employees come to campus outside of their normal working hours to be tested in order to be released from the mandatory MA travel quarantine, they will not be compensated for this time.

If faculty and staff working on campus and returning from travel choose not to test, they must consult with their supervisor and use either their vacation or personal time to complete the required 14-day quarantine period.

Faculty and staff working exclusively remotely are not eligible for COVID-19 testing at Tufts, but they are still required to abide by Massachusetts’ rules. They may continue working remotely while quarantining under the Massachusetts’ travel order.

Faculty and staff may not come to a Tufts campus after returning from essential travel until they have either received a negative COVID-19 test or have completed the mandatory 14-day travel quarantine. 

Quarantine for Close Contacts

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has updated its COVID-19 quarantine guidance based on new recommendations from the CDC. In response to this new guidance, Tufts has revised its policy for close contact quarantine. See Winter Break Testing for Faculty & Staff for more information on this and other winter break testing protocols.

We wish you and your loved ones a happy holiday season and a healthy and safe winter break.

Best wishes,

Michael R. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., University Infection Control Health Director

Kim Ryan, Vice President of Human Resources