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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, February 26, 2024

Sufficient supply of COVID-19 materials available through spring as Tufts continues to support host communities

A label maker and testing tubes are pictured at a Tufts University COVID-19 testing site on Nov. 8.

Over the course of the semester, Tufts has worked to improve its supply chain for COVID-19-related materials, and is confident in its ability to support its host communities moving forward. 

Paul Wagner, senior sourcing manager, said the university has enough resources to last through the spring.

"Tufts has sufficient inventory of face masks, hand sanitizer and wipes to carry us through the spring 2021 semester and beyond,” Wagner wrote in an email to the Daily. "We also have sufficient supply of test kits on hand for the remainder of the fall semester and put in place commitments to carry us through the spring of 2021."

Wagner added that the university has expanded its network of suppliers to meet the evolving needs of the community, and is not facing shortages of COVID-19 materials. 

“Last summer, as we have all experienced, there were many disruptions within the supply chain. Those constraints have loosened as the semester has progressed and we are not seeing the shortages we did last spring and summer. We have taken advantage of this opportunity to build our inventory levels,” he said. 

However, Wagner said that with the rise of cases on campus, there may be disruptions to the supply chain.

"I suspect there will be some supply chain disruptions as COVID cases increase," he said. 

Wagner expressed that Tufts is in a strong position to meet the supply needs of students, faculty and staff. 

The university's COVID-19-related resources are also being used to support surrounding communities. According toprevious reporting from the Daily, Tufts is providing up to 300 tests every week to residents of Medford and Somerville, free of charge

Rocco DiRico, director of government and community relations at Tufts, said the university is working to build connections with local communities.  

"[Tufts is] also working with Medford and Somerville Public Schools and testing teachers and staff at local schools in both cities," DiRico wrote in an email to the Daily. "Earlier this year, Tufts donated supplies of personal protective equipment that were collected from research, teaching labs and Tufts’ parents to local hospitals."

First-year Matthew Lohmann spoke on Tufts' handling of COVID-19 cases on campus.

"I was impressed with the level of testing and the rapid response time to the spikes that have occurred on campus,” he wrote in an electronic message to the Daily.   

DiRico said that the university has provided 30 emergency response grants of $1,000 each to local nonprofit organizations in Medford, Somerville, Boston and Grafton. Some of the money has been used to purchase personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies and food supplies, according to DiRico.  

He explained Tufts' efforts to prepare its host communities for the months ahead.  

"We look forward to working with Medford and Somerville on an innovative COVID-19 testing program for PK-12 public schools in both cities," DiRico said. "The pooled testing program, developed and validated by Tufts, will enable the Medford and Somerville school districts to provide tests to students, faculty, and staff for approximately one-third the cost of a traditional individual testing program." 

He said the relationship between Medford, Somerville and Tufts has strengthened over the course of the semester and that staff from the university and representatives of Medford and Somerville meet every week to address issues, share information and collaborate on new initiatives. 

DiRico noted that he is confident the university has sufficient resources available to combat the ongoing pandemic.  

"We are confident that the University has the staffing and resources to continue helping our host communities in the weeks and months ahead," he said.