In an email to the Tufts community on Thursday, the deans of the Schools of Arts and Sciences and Engineering, as well as Dean Nancy Bauer of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Dean of Student Affairs Camille Lizarríbar and University Infection Control Health Director Michael Jordan announced that all final exams will be conducted virtually effective Friday, Dec. 17 at 9 p.m., and urged students to leave campus for their winter break destinations as soon as possible.
The university also announced that it will require students, faculty and staff to receive COVID-19 booster shots for the spring 2022 semester. This guidance comes after “strongly encouraging” boosters earlier this week. More details about the new booster requirement will be shared in a subsequent email on Dec. 17.
The email explained that the decision to move all remaining final exams to a virtual format was made as a precautionary measure in order to lower campus density and ensure that students could safely leave for winter break amid an increase in COVID-19 cases both locally and nationally.
“Medical guidance suggests that students should disperse as soon as possible,” the email said. “Our COVID-19 protocols have worked extremely well this fall and we want to end on a high note.”
In a separate email to the Daily, Executive Director of Media Relations Patrick Collins stressed that the new guidelines are not in response to a rise in cases on campus.
“This is a precautionary measure that also recognizes that our academic calendar this semester stretches further into December than many of our peers,” Collins said.
Students who are unable to leave campus early are permitted to remain in their on-campus housing.
“We understand it may be difficult for you to change flights or make other arrangements,” the university’s email said. “If you are unable to change your travel plans, you may remain on campus.”
The university’s email also instructed students to wear masks at all times, including in their dorms and off-campus apartments. University administrators recommended 3-ply disposable masks over cloth masks for maximum protection.
The administration’s email also urged students not to gather in groups. Goddard Chapel and the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center will close for the remainder of the semester beginning Friday, Dec. 17. The university instructed all in-person events and social gatherings to be canceled or moved online.
The university will switch from a pooled to individual PCR testing strategy on Thursday evening. All dining centers will move to a grab-and-go format “as soon as possible.”
Although laboratories and studios will remain open, university officials encouraged students not to use those spaces. All campus buildings will close promptly at 10 p.m. daily, beginning Friday.
Administration officials announced they expect Tufts to operate fully in person for the spring semester and will share more details about returning to campus in January.