Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Johns Hopkins community on February 7, 2021.
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
We write to update you on the cluster of COVID cases detected among Homewood undergraduates last week, the steps we have taken to address the situation, and our plans for the week ahead.
After a peak of 44 new COVID cases among Homewood undergraduates from tests administered on Tuesday, Feb. 2, we saw cases trending down significantly over the next two days with just three new cases detected out of the approximately 1,800 tests administered to them on Friday. We will continue to monitor testing results from the weekend and early this coming week, but if these trends continue, we will resume in-person classes and activities for Homewood undergraduates on Thursday, Feb. 11.
Until then, the following conditions will be in effect:
Ensuring the health and safety of the Johns Hopkins community and that of our Baltimore neighbors is our top priority, and we will continue our aggressive measures to detect and isolate new COVID cases, strictly enforce our COVID safety policies, and respond to community concerns. We thank all members of the Hopkins community and the surrounding neighborhoods who have reported potential COVID safety issues through the LiveSafe app or our phone hotline (844-SPEAK2US), and we assure you that we follow up on all reports. LiveSafe is available to the public (not just JHU affiliates). It is the best way to report events in real time and includes options for anonymity.
During the weekend, Campus Safety and Security investigated several reports of possible violations of the prohibition on all gatherings. Thankfully, most proved to be unfounded or did not involve Johns Hopkins affiliates. We are, however, investigating a reported gathering yesterday among members of a Johns Hopkins fraternity as a potential violation of the ban on such activities that was announced last Thursday; in the meantime, we have ordered members of that fraternity to undergo daily COVID testing and to remain in their residence pending test results.
The disciplinary process under the student conduct code is underway in relation to one or more known gatherings in potential violation of university COVID policies at 3209 N. Charles St. (known as the Wawa House) last weekend. In addition to individual responsibility, organizational sanctions are also possible for groups involved in organizing the events, including athletic team members who live at that property.
During the weekend, the university also took steps to bring more off-campus undergraduates who have tested positive into university-controlled isolation housing to better protect them and others. To clarify the terms used, with approximate days based as directed by health care professionals:
We, in cooperation with the Baltimore City Health Department, are continuing an extensive contact-tracing process for each person who tests positive. If you are determined to have had meaningful contact with a COVID-positive Johns Hopkins affiliate, you will be contacted immediately for any necessary follow up. The city health department handles notification in cases in which COVID-positive JHU students, faculty, or staff have contact with non-affiliates.
We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the large majority of our students who have strictly followed the university’s COVID policies and regulations. As outlined in the Johns Hopkins Social Compact we have a collective responsibility to each other and to our Baltimore neighbors to do everything we can to stay safe and protect each other. We are hopeful that we will be able to resume our planned in-person classes and other activities for Homewood undergraduates later this week, and we will keep you informed of any new developments.
Vice Provost for Student Affairs
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being