Fall 2020 health and wellness

| August 27, 2020

Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to all Johns Hopkins students on August 27, 2020. Since then, the university’s contract with TimelyMD has been extended to June 2022.

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:

We are embarking on a fall term that will be unlike any other. For new students, you are likely starting your Hopkins experience in a way that’s a lot different than what you imagined. For the large majority of returning students, it probably feels odd to go “back to school” without being on campus. But we are in the midst of a serious pandemic. We are fortunate that positive cases at JHU to date have been limited and contained, including a recent cluster of positive COVID-19 cases among a small group of returning undergraduates living off-campus in Charles Village, and for which contact investigation protocols have been enacted by contacting any directly impacted individuals. Nevertheless, it serves as a reminder that we have a collective responsibility to help maintain our community’s health and safety. The university stands prepared to support you in that effort with enhanced programming and staff this fall, and to share some of the best practices that have shown their effectiveness in the safe operations of our labs and other research facilities during the summer.

Wellness Website

wellbeing.jhu.edu provides students with a comprehensive guide to Hopkins wellness, including:

Our office also supports a regularly updated Instagram account (@jhuwellness) that highlights wellness resources, events, and news relevant to Hopkins students.

University Wellness Providers

The Student Health and Wellness Center (serving KSAS, WSE, and Peabody) and University Health Services Primary Care (serving Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health) are open and operational for primary care needs. If you would like to speak with a medical provider, please call your respective health center, and staff will determine an appropriate course of action based on your geographic location, presenting symptoms, and insurance needs. Telemedicine visits are available only to people currently in Maryland.

Please visit the JHU Wellness website to clarify which resources are available to you, particularly if you are enrolled in AAP, EP, SAIS, Carey, or SOE.

The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center (JHCCC), which can be reached at 833-546-7546 seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., supports all JHU students, faculty, and staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Primarily intended for those currently within driving distance of Baltimore, the JHCCC will evaluate your symptoms, order testing if needed, and conduct contact investigation for those affiliates who test positive. More information on the JHCCC and testing is on the coronavirus information website.

Mental Health Resources

University mental health providers continue to consult and provide services to students, primarily via telehealth. Contact the Counseling Center, University Health Services Mental Health, or the Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program (JHSAP) to discuss options for care. Please visit the JHU Wellness website to clarify which center(s) serve your school. In addition to university mental health providers, the following resources are also available.

  • The university has extended its partnership with TimelyMD to augment our current services and make mental telehealth counseling free and available to all Johns Hopkins students. Originally launched in April 2020 and now available through Jan. 24, 2021, TimelyMD has been a popular and safe way to access talk therapy. New features include limited psychiatry services accessible through a JHU mental health provider referral. Learn more about TimelyMD, including how to access it, on the wellness blog.
  • Hopkins affiliates enjoy free premium access to the Calm app and its meditation instruction, sleep assistance, mindful movement and stretching tutorials, and relaxing music.
  • Full-time students also have access to the SilverCloud platform, an interactive online learning module for cognitive behavioral therapy techniques.

Diversity and Inclusion

It has always been our mission to provide students with high-quality medical and wellness services. We also recognize that this has been a time of extreme stress and uncertainty, and that the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism have disproportionately impacted Black people and other people of color.

We are listening and committed to meaningful actions to support underrepresented and marginalized students. A recent wellness blog post summarized some recent efforts, including the hiring of additional counselors and ongoing training for clinical staff.

COVID-19 Precautions and Influenza Vaccinations

After the university learned of the small cluster of undergraduates who tested positive for COVID-19, the JHCCC conducted its contact investigation process, and we are working with those students to prevent further spread of the virus. A JHU affiliate dashboard to be posted soon will track data on the number of tests administered by Hopkins along with numbers on positive and negative test results.

We want to emphasize once again the seriousness of the pandemic, the ease with which it can spread, and the need to be vigilant in following public health guidelines. The university’s decision to conduct the fall semester online for undergraduates and most graduate students does not eliminate the risk of infection, and we continue to urge those students who do not need to be in Baltimore for the fall semester not to travel back.

Wherever you are located, we encourage you to follow public health guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19. Actions such as wearing face coverings, washing your hands frequently, staying at least six feet from others, and restricting your travel will be vitally important for everyone this fall. We also refer you to these tips, which apply universally and have been successfully implemented in the limited campus operations that have resumed.

Any JHU affiliates on campus for any reason, whether indoors or outside, are required to use the Prodensity app. All members of our community should, of course, be mindful of their health and be alert for symptoms.

Testing for COVID-19 will also be part of our ongoing efforts. Again, all affiliates who have COVID-19-related symptoms and are in the Baltimore area should contact the JHCCC. Undergraduate students who have been granted an exception to live in university housing will be required to participate in testing upon arrival and regularly throughout the semester.

While students, staff, and faculty who are on campus are required to get a seasonal flu vaccination, we highly recommend that everyone get one this year. We are currently working out the details for a free influenza vaccination program in partnership with a retail pharmacy, making the program available to all Johns Hopkins University students, whether on campus or in off-campus housing. The small number of students who have been granted an exception to live in university housing must provide proof that they have received the vaccine or be vaccinated at move-in. More details have been provided to those students.

We welcome your questions and input about our approach to health and wellness at Hopkins. Please email your ideas and concerns to [email protected].

In this time of change and uncertainty, we will continue to innovate and implement the best ways to support all Hopkins students in maintaining and improving their physical and mental health.

Be well,

Kevin G. Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being