Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Hopkins community on June 29, 2021.
Dear Johns Hopkins Faculty, Students, and Staff,
We write with important information about how to comply with Johns Hopkins University’s recently announced COVID vaccination mandate for all students, faculty, and staff, and with an update on our masking policy for vaccinated affiliates. Achieving as close to universal vaccination as possible within our community is crucial to our ability to come together safely this fall, and on July 1, we will launch a registration system for you to document your vaccination status, similar to the one used to report flu vaccination.
On Thursday, we will provide a link and further instructions for registering your vaccination status with the university, and we urge you to do so as soon as possible, with a deadline of August 1.
Furthermore, based on guidance from the CDC and our own experts, the low prevalence of new COVID cases in the region, and changes to city and state requirements, as of July 1, those who have documented via the JHU vaccine registry that they are fully vaccinated will no longer be required to wear a mask, indoors or outdoors, on university property.
Please note: School of Medicine faculty, students, and staff will be governed by Johns Hopkins Medicine vaccination and masking policies and will receive a communication with details from JHM later today.
How the registration system will work
The Vaccine Management System (VMS) will ask you to upload a photo of your vaccination card. The photo must clearly show your name and that you have been fully vaccinated. For those who have received a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer and Moderna), your documentation must indicate that you have received your second dose.
Affiliates who have received a WHO-authorized vaccine overseas will need to upload a certified English translation of the documentation. If you were vaccinated through a JHM clinic, your documentation is likely already recorded, but you will need to log in to VMS to confirm your data.
Detailed instructions on how to upload your vaccine documentation, and what to do if you lack this documentation, will be sent by email on Thursday, July 1, when VMS launches.
How to get vaccinated
If you have not been vaccinated, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible to meet the August 1 deadline.
All Johns Hopkins affiliates in Maryland and Washington, D.C., can schedule a vaccination appointment through Johns Hopkins Medicine in MyChart. Johns Hopkins University is also hosting a vaccine clinic at the Glass Pavilion on the Homewood campus on Thursday, July 8, where faculty, staff, students, and contractors can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Visit the COVID Vaccine Information site for more information about the clinic. Vaccinations are free, and staff can use COVID-19 vaccine leave for time off while they receive or recover from the vaccination.
Updated masking policy
After the state of Maryland and Baltimore City eliminated their masking requirements, we consulted with Johns Hopkins public health experts, the University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee, and others, and determined that we can also safely drop the university’s masking requirement for vaccinated individuals.
As soon as you receive email confirmation that your documentation has been successfully uploaded, you will no longer be required to wear a mask, indoors or outdoors, on Johns Hopkins University property. Vaccinated persons who have registered their documentation also may eat or drink in proximity to others without regard to physical distancing. Those who have been granted exceptions from the vaccination mandate will still be required to wear masks indoors, to be regularly tested for COVID, and to only eat on campus when distanced from others.
While it is safe for those who have been fully vaccinated to go without masks, we know that many people will choose to continue wearing them and to eat while physically distanced from others, and we expect all members of the community to be respectful of that decision.
We will continue to evaluate public health conditions, and if we need to reinstate a masking requirement or other measures to ensure community safety, we will do so.
Who is covered by the vaccination mandate
COVID vaccination is required beginning August 1 for all JHU faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who will be working or studying at a U.S.–based Johns Hopkins University campus or worksite (including Keswick, Mt. Washington, Washington, D.C. campuses, etc.), with the exception of all School of Medicine affiliates, including members of both clinical and non-clinical departments, who will be governed by JHM policy.
This vaccination requirement also applies to bargaining unit employees and contractors, with the exception of contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of mail and goods.
Requesting an exception to the mandate
Johns Hopkins will grant exceptions to the COVID vaccination mandate for medical or religious reasons, with appropriate documentation, and for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Having had COVID-19 in the past is NOT a permissible exception. However, if you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Affiliates in that situation may request a medical exception past August 1 to wait to get the vaccine until 90 days have elapsed.
Requests for an exception to the vaccine mandate must be made through VMS as well. The system will be able to process medical and religious exception requests when it launches on July 1. On Friday, July 16, functionality will be added to VMS that enables affiliates who are either pregnant or attempting to get pregnant to request an exception. If you would like to request a pregnancy exception, please wait until then to access VMS to submit your request.
Testing and compliance
Once you have uploaded your vaccination documentation through VMS, you can stop mandatory COVID testing and masking, consistent with state and local guidelines, with the exception of residential undergraduates, who will be required to test upon arrival and once weekly even when vaccinated. School of Medicine affiliates will be required to follow JHM policies.
Compliance with the vaccination mandate will be monitored through Prodensity (similar to flu shot compliance last fall). Those who have an approved exception will be required to be tested twice each week (with the exception of School of Medicine affiliates, who will follow Johns Hopkins Medicine’s once-weekly testing policy) and continue wearing a mask.
Anyone who has not uploaded documentation of vaccination into the VMS, or who has an exception but is not testing and masking as required, will receive a red campus pass and will not be permitted to access campus and/or JHU resources.
Vaccine documentation will be validated after it is uploaded, and you will be contacted if there are any questions about your documentation. In addition, managers will receive information on the vaccination status of the members of their team, to help support and ensure compliance. Misrepresenting vaccination status or knowingly providing false documentation is a violation of university policy and will be subject to discipline.<
Updated FAQs are available. If you have additional questions about next steps, exceptions, etc., please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We appreciate all that you do as we continue working toward a safe return to campus. We are confident that the new vaccination requirement will help our community to get back together as quickly as possible.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk and Compliance Officer
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer