Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Hopkins community on June 9, 2021.
Dear Johns Hopkins Faculty, Students, and Staff,
We write with important updates to our plans for maintaining COVID safety during the summer and the fall semester, including our decision to mandate vaccination for all on-site Johns Hopkins University faculty and staff as of August 1.
Together with our previously announced vaccination requirement for undergraduate and graduate students, this step effectively extends our vaccine mandate throughout the university community, with continued exceptions for medical and religious reasons. It also reflects the unequivocal advice of our medical and public health experts that achieving as near to universal vaccination as possible is the most effective way to keep our community safe as we return to fully in-person and on-site activities.
Fortunately, the vaccine shortages that marked the winter and spring are no longer an issue, and we have been able to provide free vaccination clinics on our campuses for members of the university community. Those clinics will continue throughout the summer at a variety of locations to make vaccination as convenient as possible. Information is available here. International students or others who cannot access the vaccine in their home communities will be able to get vaccinated when they arrive on campus.
To establish proof of vaccination, the university will launch a COVID vaccine registration system on July 1, similar to the one we have used in the past for submitting proof of influenza vaccination. All faculty, staff, and students are required to register their vaccine status by August 1. Please keep your COVID vaccination record and plan to upload an image of it, or apply for a religious or medical exception, through the registration system as soon as possible.
We have compiled a great deal of information about the vaccine’s development, safety, and effectiveness on the Johns Hopkins Get the Facts, Get the Vax website, and we encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to review the resources there. We also have hosted a series of town hall meetings in which members of the community could ask the university’s experts in medicine and public health about the vaccine. The town halls can be viewed here.
We are greatly encouraged by the increasing rates of vaccination and the related reduction in the rates of infection and severe complications of COVID locally and nationally, and we plan to establish much closer to normal operating conditions for students, faculty, and staff this fall.
Below is a summary of our current plans for COVID safety policies for the summer and fall, effective July 1, and more details on our vaccination requirements. Revised return to campus guidance and other information about how to submit vaccination documentation will be forthcoming on our covidinfo.jhu.edu website. As always, we will continue to monitor the public health situation and will make adjustments, either to tighten or loosen our protocols, as appropriate.
We were heartened to see the safe increase in on-campus instruction, research, and other work during the recently concluded spring semester, and we are confident that with broad vaccination we can do even more this summer and fall.
Ronald J. Daniels
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration
Summer and fall operating plans – beginning July 1
COVID vaccination will be required for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who will be working or studying at a U.S.–based university campus or worksite, beginning August 1. That includes:
Members of nonclinical departments at the School of Medicine; members of clinical departments will be governed by Johns Hopkins Health System vaccination policies
Members of collective bargaining units
Contractors who provide services to the university community and whose primary work location is on university properties located in Maryland or Washington, D.C., regardless of employer
Those who are doing business on behalf of the university, including individuals engaged in work-related travel
A required JHU vaccination registry will open on July 1. During the month of July, managers will be working to make sure all members of their team upload proof of their vaccination or submit an application for a religious or medical exception before August 1.
Religious and health exceptions for COVID vaccination will be considered in the same manner as exceptions for the influenza vaccine. Those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant may also seek an exception. The deadline to apply for an exception is August 1—application will be through the JHU vaccination registry.
Any affiliate on-site who has been granted a vaccination exception will be required to participate in twice-weekly COVID testing at Johns Hopkins and mask at all times indoors (even if local and/or university masking requirements are later eased for those who are vaccinated).
For those international students and others arriving from abroad who may not have access to a U.S.– or World Health Organization–authorized vaccine before returning to campus, we will offer a grace period until September 30 to submit proof of vaccination. The university will provide free vaccination upon arrival for those traveling to a U.S.–based campus or worksite from abroad. Until individuals are fully vaccinated, they will be required to mask when indoors (even if masks are not broadly required) and be tested twice weekly.
Influenza vaccination will also be required. This year’s deadline to submit documentation of flu vaccination will be November 19.
Masking, distancing, and testing
Physical distancing requirements will be lifted indoors and outdoors on July 1, though we recommend continued distancing for those who are not vaccinated.
Spaces for eating will be available in both undistanced format (for those who are vaccinated) and distanced format (open to all and required for those who are unvaccinated).
Occupancy limits in elevators and bathrooms will be eliminated on July 1.
In accordance with Baltimore City guidelines, masks will still be required indoors in classrooms, labs, common spaces, and shared offices. If the city eliminates its indoor masking mandate, we may do so as well, but only for those who have been vaccinated.
Once-weekly COVID testing will be required for vaccinated residential undergraduates.
Twice-weekly testing will be required for all unvaccinated faculty, students, and staff.
Testing on demand will remain available for all affiliates.
Daily health checks through Prodensity remain required.
The university’s travel policies will return to normal beginning July 1.
Visitors and guests will be allowed on campus but must follow the same COVID safety rules as JHU affiliates.
Staff return to work
Divisions and departments have submitted plans for the resumption of in-person work by staff, including designation of each position as fully in-person, hybrid, or remote based on operational needs.
The review of these plans will be completed over the next two weeks to ensure a level of equity and consistency across the university while still recognizing the unique needs of each division or department.
Opportunities will be available for those who want to return to in-person work to do so beginning July 1, and we expect workplaces to fully transition into their fall operating posture by mid-August.
We will continue to evaluate our staff operating posture throughout the fall, and divisions and departments will make adjustments based on emerging best practices and evolving public health circumstances.