Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Hopkins community on August 27, 2021.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
We are excited to have students returning to our campuses and to be starting another academic year. As we increase in-person activities this fall, we are committed to keeping you safe, and, as we indicated last week, we have decided to take some additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our faculty, students, and staff. We would also like to remind you of some important guidelines to help you protect yourself and your colleagues and to invite you to a town hall next week.
More than 95% of our faculty and 91% of our staff have documented their full vaccination against COVID, and we expect that once students who have not had the opportunity to receive an FDA-authorized vaccine arrive on campus, their numbers will be similar. Thanks to our high vaccination rates and other safeguards we have employed throughout the pandemic, such as masking, testing, and restrictions on eating and drinking, we have seen no documented cases of transmission in laboratory or classroom settings since the beginning of the pandemic. And the diligence of our community in maintaining good public health practices is evident in the initial test results from students moving into our residence halls—less than 0.5% were positive for COVID.
Based on CDC advisories and our consultation with experts in public health and infectious disease, we are confident that these measures are sufficient at this time without the need for distancing or de-densification in our facilities or on university transportation. However, the number of COVID cases regionally and nationally has increased in recent weeks, so out of an abundance of caution, we are enacting the following policies.
Expanded testing requirements for undergraduates. In order to stay aware of conditions among our community and assist individuals who may have been exposed, JHU will require all vaccinated undergraduates, including those who live off campus, to take a saliva test once a week, starting Monday, August 30. (As with other members of the community, undergraduates with approved exceptions to the vaccination mandate will be required to test twice weekly.) Testing locations and information are on the JHU coronavirus information website. Those who have tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days will be excused from testing because it would create false positives. If this is the case, please email SHWCintake@jhu.edu.
Pregnancy exception discontinued. Given recent guidance from the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recommending that pregnant women be vaccinated against COVID, we will no longer allow exceptions to vaccination for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive. Those who have already been granted such an exception will now need to provide documentation of their vaccination or approved exception on medical or religious grounds.
Business travel restrictions. JHU will allow only essential university-sponsored travel, which must be approved by your division. Affiliates will be required to submit travel approval documentation with their expense reports.
We also offer the following reminders:
Stay home if you have symptoms. If you have symptoms consistent with COVID, stay home and call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. You will be provided instructions on whether you need to get tested for COVID and whether and how long you should isolate/quarantine.
Mask use is mandatory indoors for everyone at all times. Even if you are more than six feet from others, you must still wear a mask indoors except when alone in an office with a closed door or when eating in a safely distanced manner.
Complete daily health check with Prodensity. Please be sure to download and use the Prodensity app for daily health checks. We are centrally monitoring the compliance of faculty, students, and staff across the university, but at this time, the system should not be used for spot checks of whether an individual has a red or green pass.
Respect others’ privacy related to vaccination status. Individual students, staff, and faculty may not inquire about another affiliate’s vaccination status. Compliance is being monitored at both the central and school levels. The only exception is for supervisors in a clinical setting (e.g., medical or nursing students in clinical rotations).
The School of Medicine continues to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine policies for vaccination. 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.