Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on August 1, 2022.
Dear Faculty, Staff, Students, and Postdocs,
We are excited for the approach of the fall semester and anticipate a return to the most normal operations we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic. COVID remains a serious challenge locally, nationally, and globally, but based on our experience in managing the pandemic within our community—and your diligence in following best practices to prevent the virus’s spread—we believe we can safely enact further loosening of our public health restrictions. Our full set of policies will continue to be updated oncovidinfo.jhu.edu, but here are some important things for you to know for the beginning of the fall semester:
Undergraduate residential students should self-test no more than 72 hours before arriving on campus/in Baltimore. While we are not asking for verification, students who test positive should notify Student Health using this form and remain off campus and isolate for a minimum of five days. They will be advised to test again after five days and should not return until they have a negative test and are asymptomatic or have resolving symptoms and are cleared by Student Health staff.
Routine asymptomatic testing will not be required for any population, including those with exceptions to the university’s vaccine mandate. We may reinstate testing requirements for particular groups if necessary to address outbreaks during the semester. Voluntary PCR-based saliva testing will continue through the fall semester and free rapid test kits will continue to be available to all affiliates.
Masking is no longer required in any campus spaces, including for individuals with exceptions to the vaccine mandate. Masking is highly effective at preventing the spread of COVID, and we may reinstate the mandate for certain groups or in certain circumstances.
Individuals may choose to continue masking themselves based on their individual circumstances, and we will continue to provide free, high-quality masks for all affiliates.
We are continuing to require a full course of COVID baseline vaccinations and at least one booster shot of all JHU employees and students. Documentation must be provided through ourVaccine Management System. Our policy for granting medical and religious exceptions remains unchanged and can be found on thecoronavirus information website.
We have added Novavax as an option for baseline vaccination but are still requiring an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) booster shot as soon as individuals are eligible, regardless of their initial vaccine.
Individuals arriving from overseas who received a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization but not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose).
Isolation and Leave:
If you have any COVID or flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle or body aches, coughing, congestion or a runny nose, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or fatigue, do not come to campus for class or work. Johns Hopkins faculty and staff who feel ill or are concerned about exposure to the coronavirus should continue to utilize the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Students should call 410-516-5709 seven days a week between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., or email SHWCintake@jhu.edu.
Anyone testing positive should isolate for at least five days and until they are free of symptoms. Employees are still eligible for 10 days of COVID leave in addition to other forms of leave, which can be used for one or more infections over the course of the pandemic (up to 10 days total across all infections, not per infection).
We are continuing our current policy of employing isolation in place for residential undergraduates who test positive in most circumstances. Limited alternative accommodations will be made in cases where isolation in place can’t be done safely, as determined by our medical professionals.
Events, Gatherings, and Dining:
No restrictions are in place with regard to events and gatherings or serving food and beverages.
As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, these policies reflect close consultation with Johns Hopkins experts in public health and infectious disease, as well as compliance with state and local regulations. We will continue to closely monitor public health conditions, and if we need to reinstate control measures to protect the health and safety of our community and our neighbors, we will do so. However, based on the near-universal vaccination of our community as well as the proven effectiveness of measures such as the use of high-quality masks, we have every expectation that we will be able to complete the fall semester in person as planned.
School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows will continue to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine policies. The Applied Physics Laboratory 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. Likewise, university affiliates must follow APL policies when on its campus.
Unfortunately, COVID is not the only public health risk we face. Although we are not aware of any cases among JHU affiliates, we are monitoring the recent spread of monkeypox and have begun conversations with the Maryland Department of Health regarding monitoring of cases, testing, contact tracing, and procedures for treatment of infected individuals. As with COVID, we are assembling a group of public health and medical professionals to guide our response to monkeypox, and we will keep you informed as the situation develops and as doses of the monkeypox vaccine become available.
We look forward to seeing you on campus soon.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer