Note: This letter originally appeared as an e-mail sent to the Hopkins community on January 13, 2023.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community,
As we prepare to start a new semester, we would like to keep you informed about COVID-19, flu, and RSV and how these illnesses affect our campus and community.
The Maryland Health Department has rated the respiratory illness activity in Maryland as Moderate.
The CDC estimates that at least 15 million Americans have already been infected with the flu this season, and over 100,000 hospitalized—a caseload much larger than last winter’s, when many Americans were still following COVID-related precautions.
During this holiday weekend, you may consider taking the following steps to stay protected and help prevent the spread of COVID, RSV, and flu.
Get a bivalent COVID booster. COVID vaccines are safe and free, and they offer the best protection against current COVID strains. Our vaccination policies for students and employees will remain unchanged during the upcoming term. For campus guests, only divisions that host on-campus guests who stay overnight in JHU on-campus residential facilities will be responsible for communicating the vaccination requirement and ensuring compliance. This includes prospective-student visitors who stay overnight in JHU-operated residential housing and those participating in JHU summer residential programs.
You should also get the flu vaccine, as the immunization (or an approved medical or religious exception) is required of all students, trainees, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff who will be on our campuses. If you have not already done so, or are new to JHU, please get the flu shot and download proof to the Vaccine Management System. There is no vaccine for RSV.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Transportation Security Administration suggest wearing a mask, especially when traveling and in public spaces.
Practice safe and healthy hygiene—cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or upper shirt sleeve, not your hands; clean frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and mobile devices; get plenty of sleep; be physically active; manage your stress; drink plenty of fluids; and eat nutritious food.
Home test kits and masks will be available at JHU at least through Spring Break, and distribution information is online. Self-tests are available at pharmacies and retail locations.
Symptomatic testing will continue to be available to students through the Student Health and Wellness Center. Employees should contact their medical provider for symptomatic testing.
Positive tests should be submitted to JHU.
Regardless of test results, all affiliates who have COVID symptoms are encouraged to stay home and away from JHU campuses until all the symptoms are gone. We expect faculty to be flexible in appropriately accommodating students who are ill and are following this guidance.
We thank you again for all you have done this year to prevent the spread of COVID on campus and in the surrounding community.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being