Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Hopkins community on August 12, 2021.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
Now that Baltimore City has reinstated a masking policy, owing to the rise in COVID cases in Maryland associated with the delta variant, we want to clarify how that affects the university’s mandate, communicated to you on Wednesday, Aug. 4, that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors. The School of Medicine resumed its indoor masking requirement on Friday, July 30, per Johns Hopkins Medicine policies. APL has its own policies for individuals on its property but for APL staff members who work, teach or attend classes at other JHU or JHM campuses, the mandates for each campus apply and can supersede APL guidelines.
Indoors, face coverings are universally mandated across JHU campuses, except in the following situations:
In single-occupancy offices
In residence hall dorm rooms/suites/apartments, only with roommates
The Baltimore City mask mandate provides an exception when eating. Anywhere on campus, momentary unmasking for drinks/snacks remains permitted. We are permitting meals outdoors without distancing/masking restrictions and in indoor spaces where a 6-foot distance from other people can be consistently maintained. Eating in cubicles and shared offices with 6-foot distancing is, therefore, permitted, but masks are required when not eating. Facilities staff are working on establishing areas across campus for de-densified dining.
University-sponsored events on campus may provide only pre-packaged, grab-and-go food to be taken away to eat outdoors or in physically distanced areas indoors. Sit-down meals, buffets, and platters at these events are suspended. These guidelines also apply to off-campus events anywhere in Maryland and D.C.; local and venue rules apply in other areas.
Vaccination remains the most important step you can take to keep yourself and your family safe. While recent data suggests that the delta variant can be transmitted by and among people who have been vaccinated, the COVID vaccines remain remarkably effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. Johns Hopkins University has mandated that, as of Aug. 1, all faculty, staff, and students need to have documented their full vaccination or to have applied for an exception on medical, religious, or pregnancy grounds, and so far more than 80% have done so—in excess of the general population. Our goal remains to reach as close as possible to 100% vaccination within our community, and we have begun to follow up with those who have not yet documented their vaccination.
We continue to plan for an in-person fall semester, including a broad return of staff to in-person work. We are confident that this guidance, combined with our vaccination mandate, will help us keep our community safe and prevent transmission to other vulnerable populations.
As always, your health and safety remain our top priorities, and we will continue to monitor conditions to determine whether our COVID safety protocols need to be adjusted. Thank you for maintaining proper COVID safety practices throughout the pandemic and assisting us with preparing for a productive, rewarding, and healthy fall semester.
Stay safe and be well,
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer