Your health and the health of our community is our primary concern. Our collective safety requires everyone to consistently follow best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19—wearing face coverings, maintaining physical distancing, following proper hygiene, and reporting any symptoms. 

Any Johns Hopkins community member who feels ill or is concerned about exposure is encouraged to call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The JHCCC supports all JHU students, faculty, and staff, although it is primarily intended for people experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who are currently within driving distance of Baltimore. Employees should also use the call center (not Occupational Health) if you need clearance to return to work after being tested or recovering from COVID-19.

The call center is staffed by Johns Hopkins nurses and physicians and specially trained nursing and medical students. When you call, a representative will instruct you about next steps depending on your circumstances. They will arrange for testing if needed and assist in transmitting information to Occupational Health.

“We are working … to build a fall experience that maximizes, to the extent possible, the inherent benefits of our traditional togetherness with the expectations of continued COVID-19 disruptions.”

Stephen Gange, executive vice provost and professor of epidemiology

Compliance with Safety Guidance

All members of the university community are expected to fully comply with the policies, protocols, and guidelines outlined in the university’s Return to Campus Guide. Noncompliance with COVID-19 campus health and safety guidelines could result in loss of access to university facilities as well as corrective and/or disciplinary action.

If you have a concern or complaint regarding noncompliance of JHU COVID-19 safety measures by a member of the Hopkins community, please make a confidential report immediately via the online form or by calling 844-SPEAK2US (844-773-2528).

Required Daily Health Checks

Faculty, staff (including bargaining unit staff), and students who come to campus to work, study, or for any other reason are required to complete a daily health check on a mobile app/website called Prodensity. The short questionnaire asks specific questions to assess a user’s actual symptoms and/or exposure risks. Answers yield a status to a campus pass, which can be used to grant/deny campus access. The campus pass expires after 12 hours. You may not report to campus unless you have a green campus pass. More information

Personal Safety Practices

Read protocols and recommendations related to face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and more

Monitoring Symptoms

The university is relying on everyone to engage in daily self-monitoring; you may not report to campus unless you are free of all symptoms potentially related to COVID-19

Frequently Asked Questions

I feel ill or am concerned about exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. What should I do?

All Johns Hopkins affiliates (students, trainees, staff, and faculty) are strongly encouraged to use Johns Hopkins resources when symptomatic or concerned about exposure. Anyone who feels ill or is concerned about exposure is encouraged to call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The call center is staffed by Johns Hopkins nurses and physicians and specially trained nursing and medical students. When you call, a representative will instruct you about next steps depending on your circumstances. They will arrange for testing if needed, assist in transmitting information to Occupational Health, and conduct contact notification. Further, the caller will be given instructions regarding quarantine before a test can be secured. The criteria for testing are updated on a regular basis, and the most current criteria will be used when there is an assessment over the phone.

As has always been the case, individuals who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 should self-isolate at home except to get medical care until it’s safe to be around others.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 9:42pm

I am living with someone who has tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. What should I do?

Anyone who feels ill or is concerned about exposure is encouraged to call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. The call center is staffed by Johns Hopkins nurses and physicians and specially trained nursing and medical students. When you call, a representative will instruct you about next steps depending on your circumstances. They will arrange for testing if needed, assist in transmitting information to Occupational Health, and conduct contact notification. Further, the caller will be given instructions regarding quarantine before a test can be secured. The criteria for testing are updated on a regular basis, and the most current criteria will be used when there is an assessment over the phone.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 9:43pm

Who is notified if I test positive?

Individuals who test positive will be contacted by a health care worker to receive guidance regarding self-isolation, monitoring of symptoms, and general health advice. Positive test results will be reported (as required by law) to the Maryland Department of Health, which will be responsible for the associated broad contact tracing. In addition, the JHCCC will conduct a short interview with the test-positive affiliate regarding their on-campus activity and contact with other JH affiliates as part of our own investigation, contact analysis, notification process (ICAN), to help determine if other JH affiliates may have been exposed by a JH affiliate or in a JHU-associated environment.

The ICAN/JHCCC team will do everything in its power to maintain the anonymity of the test-positive affiliate. JH affiliates who may have had meaningful exposure to a COVID-19-positive affiliate will be notified, without being told the identity of the COVID-19-positive affiliate unless consent is provided. These additional affiliates will be advised to self-quarantine for a period determined by the date of the potential contact and exposure. If affiliates are not contacted by the JHCCC, it means the JHCCC has determined that no meaningful contact with or exposure to a COVID-19-positive affiliate has taken place.

Other notifications include:

  • Employees (faculty, staff, post-docs): Supervisors of test-positive employees will not be notified of an employee’s COVID-positive status unless the employee gives consent to do so; the supervisor will simply be notified that the employee is off-duty. Test-positive employees must secure clearance for return to work from Occupational Health prior to returning to campus.
  • Students: Students who have a test ordered and are asked to quarantine will be reported to their respective school’s student affairs representative as being ‘off-duty.’ If a student provides consent, additional information will be provided. If the student tests negative, the school will be notified that the student is cleared. If consent is not provided by the student, a committee will review and evaluate the potential public-health risk to others. The committee can recommend and the university can elect to report the student’s COVID-positive status to the school’s student affairs representative without consent should the public health risks warrant such action. This will be a very rare circumstance. Test-positive students must secure clearance for return to class/campus from the Student Health Center prior to return.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 9:45pm

I need clearance to return to work after being tested or recovering from COVID-19. What do I do?

Employees should contact the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. if they need clearance to return to work after being tested or recovering from COVID-19. Employees should not call Occupational Health for this activity. Graduate Students who are working on campus and need to be cleared should contact their respective Student Health Center (SOM, SON, BSPH – contact UHS; all other schools contact Homewood Health Center)

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 9:44pm

I was told to quarantine for 14 days because I had “meaningful” exposure to someone who tested positive. However, my test came back negative—why do I need to still quarantine?

You should stay home and quarantine for 14 days after your last known contact with a person who has COVID-19, even if you have tested negative. Because the incubation period of the virus varies, you can still be incubating the virus even if you test negative and may become infectious later during the 14-day window.

Last updated: Oct 22, 2020 2:18pm

I tested negative—is it safe to travel or not be so strict in adhering to public health guidelines regarding socializing?

COVID tests are not perfect. While a negative test result means that it is unlikely you have COVID-19, sometimes there are false negatives. So even if your test is negative, you must follow basic prevention strategies, wash your hands frequently, wear a mask, and practice physical distancing.  If  you have a fever, cough, or cold symptoms, you should remain home, minimize contact with others, and call the JHCCC.

Last updated: Oct 22, 2020 2:22pm

Is the information I share with contact tracers confidential? Could I face disciplinary action?

The priority of health measures such as social distancing, masking, and the services JHCCC and ICAN provide are to maximize the health and safety of JHU students, faculty, staff, and the surrounding community.

  • The JHCCC will not share data for the purposes of disciplinary action. It is important to note that if Student Affairs or university officials receive reports of misconduct or non-compliance though other channels, the processes of the Student Conduct Code may be enacted.
  •  Behaviors such as lying, omitting or providing false information during the contact investigation is a violation of the Student Conduct Code.
  • Integrity, honesty, and care for one another are the values that will enable us to live and learn on campus in the coming months.

Last updated: Oct 22, 2020 2:24pm

Will everyone be required to wear face coverings while at JHU locations?

Everyone must wear face coverings (including all faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral fellows, other trainees, guests, vendors, and visitors) indoors and outdoors, on campus and in university buildings, and in and around leased spaces, except when in a single-occupancy office with a closed door or while eating or drinking at least six feet away from others.

Due to recent studies and in alignment with Johns Hopkins Medicine, the following are not acceptable as face coverings:

  • Any face covering with an exhalation valve
  • Neck ‘gaiter’ coverings
  • Bandanas

Exceptions to the requirement to wear face coverings outdoors will be made for individuals whose employment requires they work outside full time (e.g security, some facilities staff, etc.). They will need to wear face coverings when interacting with the public or when unable to practice social distancing.

The university will provide face coverings for JHU affiliates, who may also elect to use their own face coverings. Face coverings should be non-medical types in order to maintain supplies for health care use. Cloth face coverings must only be worn for one day at a time, and must be properly hand washed or laundered before subsequent use. They must at a minimum fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face, be secured (e.g., with ties or ear loops), cover the nose and mouth, allow for breathing without restriction, and be able to be laundered without damage or change to shape.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:55pm

What are the physical distancing requirements on campus?

Everyone on campus is expected to follow physical distancing practices. They should:

  • Stay at least 6 feet (about two arms-lengths) from other people whenever possible
  • Not gather in groups
  • Stay out of crowded places and avoid large social gatherings
  • Engage in noncontact methods of greetings that avoid handshakes
  • Stagger breaks and meal times during the day
  • When eating or drinking indoors or outside, maintain at least 6 feet of separation

Additional planning for occupancy limits in labs and classrooms is addressed in the research and instruction guidance documents.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 1:43pm

What should I do if safety protocols are not being followed by others?

Every member of our community is empowered to request compliance with guidance set forth here and in other university communications. Those who encounter noncompliance with guidance may notify the university via the JHU Hotline at:

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 12:00am

What follow-up does the university do when it receives reports that students are non-compliance with the Return to Campus Guidance?

Allegations of student non-compliance are referred to Student Conduct and follow the procedures outlined in the Student Conduct Code and the Reinforcement of University Guidelines for Students, to determine the appropriate disciplinary action for COVID safety concerns. The Student Conduct Code covers student and student group/organization misconduct. The expectations for compliance with these guidelines are consistent with content found in existing university policy, specifically outlined in the Student Conduct Code. Except in egregious cases, the Reinforcement of University Guidelines provides for progressive enforcement that would not involve disciplinary action for a first offense. Students are expected to comply with the public health directives and local ordinances where they are currently residing.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 2:18pm

What measures will be used to monitor student off-campus behavior?

Because we recognize that our Baltimore and D.C. campuses are part of a larger community, and that our students are currently living all over the world, we are advocating for compliance with public health measures that will help minimize the spread of COVID-19 regardless of location. Beyond the normal JHU Campus Safety and Security patrols and the Student Life Student Community Liaison who supports undergraduates, there is no additional monitoring in place.

Students who are not on-campus or residing in the Baltimore or D.C. area should comply with the public health directives and local city or country ordinances where they are currently residing.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 2:19pm

Are only students being held accountable for the Return to Campus Guidance, or does it also cover faculty and staff?

Expectations regarding the following of all university COVID-19 guidance, including distancing and masking, apply to all university affiliates, including faculty and staff, not just students. Staff non-compliance is handled via the usual HR disciplinary process; faculty noncompliance is handled via applicable professional misconduct policies and procedures. All non-compliance is first approached in a collegial way, with an emphasis on education.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 2:23pm

Does the 10-person gathering limit apply to protests, demonstrations, or other forms of free expression?

When University leadership was setting gathering limits, the intention was not focused on demonstrations. Instead, the focus was on social gatherings in off-campus housing in the communities immediately surrounding our Baltimore/DC schools/campuses. The University supports the right to free expression. We encourage students who want to engage in demonstrations to follow guidance from their local jurisdictions. For those participating in demonstrations in Baltimore City, students should look to the COVID-19 Executive Orders from the Mayor for guidance.

Free expression is not prohibited by the Return to Campus Guidance, and the University is strongly supportive of “the right to speak and create, to question and dissent, to participate in debate on and off campus, and to invite others to do the same, all without fear of restraint or penalty” as articulated in the University’s Statement on Academic Freedom. The guidance states that while JHU remains in Phase 1, event capacity on campus is a maximum of 10 people unless exceptions are approved by Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE)/Risk Management. As noted in the Freedom of Expression Guidelines, students interested in organizing or engaging in protests, demonstrations or other acts of public expression are strongly encouraged to reach out to the Offices of the Provost, Student Life, and Campus Safety and Security to determine viable options, especially during Phase 1 of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are not asking for students to make a choice between protesting and their health. Instead, we are asking for students to work with our offices to ensure this can be done safely.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 4:02pm

How does the 10-person limit affect religious services?

The Guidance does not prohibit students from attending religious services off campus. Page 17 of the Return to Campus Guidance states the following regarding events on campus:

No external (commercial, community, etc.) events will be held on-campus during Fall 2020. Internal (JH affiliate attendees) events will be limited as follows:

  • All events deemed mission critical during Fall 2020 shall be reviewed by HSE and Risk Management and require permission from the appropriate Dean’s office or University Administration department. Mission critical activities include activities that cannot be effectively conducted virtually and are directly related to critical research or other activities deemed essential.
  • Event capacity is a maximum of 10 people unless exceptions are approved by HSE/Risk Management. JHU guidance will not exceed local regulatory public health rules in restricting group sizes.
  • All participants are expected to wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet physical distancing between themselves and others.

We encourage students to follow Baltimore City, Washington, D.C., or their local public health orders on religious services and to adhere to public health measures.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 4:03pm

Can I attend off-campus exercise classes that have more than 10 people?

We encourage students to follow Baltimore City, Washington, D.C., or their local public health orders on exercise classes and to adhere to public health measures including wearing a mask and social distancing.

Last updated: Sep 25, 2020 4:07pm

Can you eat outdoors without your mask if you’re more than 6 feet from someone?

Yes—exceptions to the campus requirement for universal face coverings include time spent in a single-occupancy office with a closed door and eating or drinking at a physical distance of at least six feet from any other person.

Last updated: Sep 2, 2020 11:41am

Will the university test each person who comes to a JHU location?

For the fall, while we remain in Phase 1 of our reopening plan, widespread screening of everyone who comes to campus is not in place. Before the start of the spring semester, JHU will adopt a mass testing plan that will require a test before students return to campus and will require twice-weekly testing conducted by the university for undergraduates.

Testing will be required at least once weekly for faculty, staff, graduate students and post docs who are (1) participating in or directly supporting in-person, on-campus classes (with exceptions for clinically-based instruction) or (2) regularly exposed to undergraduates. In addition, the divisions may require testing for any faculty, staff, graduate students or post-docs who are deemed to have a heightened risk of exposure. Testing will be available and/or required for faculty, staff and students who are asked to quarantine due to exposure on campus, or who were working or learning in the same enclosed space (e.g., classroom or lab) at the same time as someone who tests positive. In addition, testing will be required for specific groups of contract workers and vendors, and all approved visitors.

Optional, free testing will be available on a weekly basis beginning in January for all asymptomatic affiliates who are on campus. More information and detailed guidelines for testing will be available in December, including test collection locations on all campuses and instructions for how to make testing appointments and receive test results.

The university will continue to provide medical management testing for those exhibiting symptoms of COVID or who have been identified for screening through our contact tracing process.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:48pm

Is the university enforcing quarantine and tracing contacts for anyone who has symptoms?

Anyone who feels ill or is concerned about exposure should call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Callers to JHCCC who are ill or are concerned they may be infected with SARS-CoV-2 will be asked a series of questions regarding their symptoms and possible exposure to others who have COVID-19. For those individuals who meet the criteria set by the Johns Hopkins Infection Control Team in collaboration with Occupational Health, the JHCCC will arrange an appointment for a COVID-19 test.

Individuals who test positive will be contacted by a health care worker to receive guidance regarding self-isolation, monitoring of symptoms, and general health advice. Positive test results will be reported (as required by law) to the Maryland Department of Health, which will be responsible for the associated broad contact tracing. In addition, the JHCCC will conduct a short interview with the test-positive affiliate regarding their on-campus activity and contact with other Johns Hopkins affiliates as part of our own investigation, contact analysis, notification process (ICAN), to help determine if other Johns Hopkins affiliates may have been exposed by a Johns Hopkins affiliate or in a JHU-associated environment.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:55pm

When testing is expanded, how quickly will COVID test results be made available? Will it be the rapid test or PCR?

Our mass testing program will use saliva samples, and our goal is to provide results within 24 hours.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:56pm

Why are undergraduates going to be tested more often than graduate students, faculty, or staff?

Our testing policies are informed by the most successful practices that have emerged from our peer institutions during the fall semester and from emerging data about the pandemic. Undergraduates, because they typically live in congregate settings, tend to be at higher risk of contracting COVID, and of spreading it to a larger number of people, making early detection of asymptomatic cases particularly important in this group. At peer institutions that have conducted in-person operations during the fall semester, the vast majority of COVID cases are among undergraduates.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:57pm

Why is testing going to be mandatory for many faculty, staff, and graduate students?

Our testing policies are informed by the most successful practices that have emerged from our peer institutions during the fall semester. Although other institutions have seen none to very little transmission associated with classroom instruction and laboratory settings, and there has been no known transmission in our laboratory settings, we concluded that mandatory testing for many faculty, staff, and graduate students is prudent, particularly for those who come into regular contact with undergraduates. Individuals within our community face varying degrees of risk of serious outcomes from COVID, and individuals have varying degrees of risk tolerance. We and many of our peer institutions have concluded that including many faculty, staff and graduate students in our mandatory testing program, and offering optional testing for all affiliates, provides the greatest level of safety and peace of mind to the community.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:58pm

Are you considering technology for doing contact tracing or enforcing physical distancing?

Beginning Aug. 26, 2020, individuals returning to campus will be required to complete a daily health check using a mobile app/website called Prodensity. The short questionnaire will ask specific questions to assess a user’s actual symptoms and/or exposure risks. Answers will yield a status to a campus pass, which will be used to grant/deny campus access. The campus pass expires after 12 hours. People may not report to campus unless they have a green campus pass.

This app has provisions for check-in and check-out of campus spaces, although this is not yet operational campus-wide. For those campus spaces (e.g. labs and research areas) that elect to manage density using this app, users may need to scan QR codes to ensure compliance with capacity limits. Please refer to individual laboratory policy for specific requirements.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 1:48pm

How does Maryland’s MD COVID Alert exposure notification system relate to JHU’s Prodensity?

MD COVID Alert has been adopted by the State of Maryland as an implementation of Apple/Google’s Exposure notifications express technology.  When two cell phones have been in close proximity, and later one of those phone users reports that they had a COVID diagnosis, MD COVID Alert informs the other phone.  No names are shared as to who is COVID positive—the system doesn’t even know the identities of the phone owners.

Use of this system is completely voluntary (opt-in) and assists state contact tracing efforts.   This technology is independent of, and does not in any way replace or substitute, JHU’s mandate to use the Prodensity health check and the contact tracing done by the JHCCC.  Contact tracers at the JHCCC do not have access to the data MD COVID Alert notifications or data.  If a JHU affiliate calls the JHCCC and states that they have been notified by MD COVID Alert that they may have been exposed, they will be managed as other JHU affiliates who have reported exposure to someone with COVID.

 

Last updated: Nov 20, 2020 3:02pm

Is the university providing access to adequate, appropriate PPE?

The university will provide faculty, staff, and students with two reusable cloth face coverings appropriate for meeting the masking requirements for its campuses. More substantial PPE will be provided in situations where the work of the laboratory called for that level of PPE before the COVID-19 outbreak, or where strict physical distancing requirements cannot be met (e.g., equipment requires two persons for safe usage).

Last updated: June 30, 2020 8:56am

What is the plan to clean university buildings, especially those with high traffic?

Custodial crews will clean common areas, lobbies, restrooms, classrooms, and conference rooms daily based on CDC guidance. Several times daily, custodians will provide additional cleaning of high touch points (stairwell and room door handles, elevator buttons, etc.).

Individual affiliates will be expected to clean tables, surfaces, or labs with which they make contact and wipe down personal workspaces. Before starting activity in a space and before leaving any room in which they have been working, individuals must wipe down all areas with a cleaning agent. This includes any shared-space location or equipment (e.g. copiers, printers, computers, A/V and other electrical equipment, coffee makers, desks and tables, conference tables, light switches, door knobs, etc.). People should avoid using other affiliates’ phones, desks, offices, or other tools and equipment and should clean and disinfect them before and after use.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 10:06am

What is the plan for safe use of elevators?

A university workgroup, in consultation with the faculty Health Advisory Group, determined that occupancy in elevators should be limited to four and that individuals should wear face coverings and press elevator buttons with another object (knuckle, elbow, etc.) if possible. Everyone should wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol upon departing the elevator.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 10:53am

What is being done about air ventilation in buildings in light of the danger of airborne transmission?

The ventilation—the number of air exchanges per hour and amount of fresh air intake—in each building is being reassessed and increased when appropriate. Facilities is also performing preventative maintenance checks to ensure filters have been changed and that systems are working properly.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 10:57am

Will Hopkins buses and shuttles observe safety guidance?

Everyone who takes public transportation or uses JH buses and shuttles must wear a face covering. Vehicle capacity will be set to limit density and in consultation with public health experts and regulatory guidance. The current limits are set at 24 passengers per JH bus and one rider group (single request) per van with a limit of eight passengers. For buses, passengers will be asked to enter via rear door only. Buses and Blue Jay Shuttle vans are cleaned after each driver’s shift using HSE-approved, hospital-grade products and high touch points are cleaned several times a shift by each driver.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 10:58am

How will the university enforce safety measures in bathrooms?

Individuals are asked to take responsibility for respecting social distancing while using restrooms. Hand dryers will be disconnected and paper towels provided. Education and awareness signage regarding hand hygiene will be provided.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 11:06am

Will there be restrictions related to whether individuals who have traveled outside the area, or the country, can come to JHU locations?

There are no such restrictions for travelers at this time, but the university will be subject to any future such federal, state, or local restrictions. Students returning to campus for instruction in the fall will need to be aware of any restrictions at that time related to where they are traveling from, and they may be asked to quarantine upon arrival if government regulations dictate.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 9:48pm

Who pays for COVID-19 tests, particularly if people need multiple tests after resuming activities on campus?

There is no cost to the individual being tested.  Since the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) on March 18, all forms of public and private insurance, including self-funded plans, must now cover FDA-approved COVID-19 tests and costs associated with testing with no cost-sharing.

Last updated: June 22, 2020 4:39pm

Lab safety

What safety precautions are in place for on-campus research activity?

Our current Phase 1 guidance outlines a number of safety guidelines including:

  • There are maximum occupancy rates for each designated space.
  • Researchers can expect to return at significantly decreased density compared with normal operations, and research teams may need to stagger work schedules/shifts to limit density.
  • Face coverings are required to be worn at all times indoors and outdoors, unless inside a single-occupancy office with a closed door or eating at an appropriate distance from other people.
  • Each lab must work with its school’s facilities team to develop a plan for regular cleaning and disinfecting of laboratory space.
  • Schools must provide specific guidance on the use/limits on common spaces and shared instrumentation, based on guidance from the University and HSE.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 1:57pm

How are safety protocols applied across so many different kinds of research spaces and specific program requirements?

JHU’s Phase 1 lab readiness is based on a PI-driven approach, with school and university oversight. PIs are the most knowledgeable about the details of their research space, workflow, personnel, shared instrumentation, and program priorities.

Every laboratory must have an approved reopening plan as well as a shut-down plan (in the event of increased infection rates and/or as dictated by public health or government guidance/mandate) in place before resuming on-campus work. Approval of reopening plans developed by PIs occurs at the department level first and then the relevant dean’s office. While the specifics about how particular labs will achieve compliance with central safety guidance will be left to PIs, adherence to safety requirements is a requirement for labs to be permitted to continue on-campus work, and personnel are provided easy means for reporting violations.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:42pm

What is the requirement for distancing in research labs?

The university originally set its requirement at 400 square feet per individual in a laboratory. As of July 22, individual PIs may present a higher occupancy plan to their respective school administration responsible for reviewing such plans and make a case for why a higher occupancy level is both safe and needed. One basis, but not the only basis, for a higher occupancy level would be to bring the occupancy of a laboratory up to 50% of pre-COVID levels. Typical occupancy levels would be one person per 300 square feet and occupancy should not exceed one person per 200 square feet.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 9:40am

Is the university providing access to adequate, appropriate PPE?

The university will provide faculty, staff, and students with two reusable cloth face coverings appropriate for meeting the masking requirements for its campuses. More substantial PPE will be provided in situations where the work of the laboratory called for that level of PPE before the COVID-19 outbreak, or where strict physical distancing requirements cannot be met (e.g., equipment requires two persons for safe usage).

Last updated: June 30, 2020 8:56am

If I test positive for COVID-19, what information is shared and with whom?

If you are ordered for a test after calling the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center, your supervisor or Student Affairs representative will receive an “off-duty” notice. If your test comes back positive, then the JHCCC’s ICAN team will automatically initiate a contact investigation.

The JHCCC ICAN team will follow up with anyone with whom you are determined to have had “meaningful contact” and instruct them to isolate. In some cases, if necessary to determine potential exposure, your name will be shared with close contacts with your consent. If you do not provide consent to the JHCCC, an analysis will be conducted to determine if there is a public health risk that presents a substantial risk of harm to others. If that is determined to be the case, the JHCCC will disclose the test results to your supervisor and anyone else who may need to know your identity in order to mitigate risk and limit exposure to others.

If you test positive for COVID-19 on a test not ordered by the JHCCC, you are not required to disclose your test result to your principal investigator or supervisor, but you are strongly encouraged to contact the JHCCC so that a contact investigation can occur. The test results of individuals who are not tested via Johns Hopkins are not automatically provided to a Hopkins contact investigator.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 9:02pm

How does the university learn if an employee or student working in a lab tests positive for COVID-19?

All students, faculty, and staff who are participating in on-campus activities should monitor themselves daily for any symptoms. Anyone who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 or who has concerns about exposure to COVID-19 is strongly encouraged to call the the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center, or JHCCC, at 883-546-7546 to be triaged to determine if they meet the criteria for testing. In the case of employees, their supervisor will be informed that the employee is “off-duty” until cleared. In the case of students, their school’s Student Affairs representative will be notified that the student is “off-duty.” The student’s name will be shared with the student’s consent.

The JHCCC will inform you of your test result if you are tested at a Johns Hopkins facility. If your test is negative, your supervisor or Student Affairs Representative will receive a message that you have been cleared. If you test positive, you will remain “off-duty” and there will be no additional communication to your supervisor or Student Affairs representative until you are cleared. You are encouraged but not required to share the information with your supervisor or Student Affairs representative.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 2:00pm

How do I get cleared to go back to work or class after I recover from COVID-19?

Current CDC guidelines allow for anyone who is not severely immunocompromised to return to work if they meet the following criteria:

  1. At least 10 days have passed since symptom onset or asymptomatic testing
  2. At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without using fever-reducing medications
  3. Symptoms have improved.

Employees who believe they have met this criteria should call the Occupational Health Services at the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center (410-614-6000) for an evaluation and clearance to return to work. Individuals who were first notified of the employee’s “off-duty” status will be informed by OHS that they are cleared to “return to duty.”

Students who need clearance to return to class should be instructed to do the following:

  • Students from the schools of Medicine, Public Health, and Nursing should contact University Health Services at 410-955-3250 for an evaluation and clearance to return to class. Individuals who were first notified of the student’s “off-duty” status will be informed by UHS that they are cleared to “return to class.”
  • Students of any other JHU school should contact the Student Health and Wellness Center at 410-516-8270 for an evaluation and clearance to return to class. Individuals who were first notified of the student’s “off-duty” status will be informed by SHWC that they are cleared to “return to class.”

Last updated: July 23, 2020 9:10pm

If someone in a lab tests positive for COVID-19, will the PI be informed?

Due to privacy concerns, a lab’s principal investigator will not necessarily be notified of a lab member’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis. PIs will be notified if a lab member is placed “off-duty” at the time of testing. In the case of students, the Student Affairs representative will notify the PI.

In some cases, the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center may need to disclose the name of the lab member who tested positive to a PI, or designated lab member, who can identify any lab members with whom the individual has had high-risk close contact as part of a contact investigation. In limited cases, disclosure may also be necessary to a PI, or designated lab member, who can identify areas of concern for cleaning purposes. A JHCCC representative will inform anyone who had close contact with the individual who has tested positive, request they quarantine, and refer them for testing as appropriate.

In general, we will not broadly notify affiliates of COVID-positive individuals on-campus. The only possible exception is when we identify clusters or patterns where notification of the broader groups of which the COVID-positive individuals are members may be helpful. In such cases, we will want to assess the setups in case they are not controlling transmission adequately.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 1:11pm

Should a PI notify the rest of their lab that someone in the lab tested positive for COVID-19?

No. Information regarding an individual’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis should not be shared with anyone else—that information is confidential health information.

If the individual who tests positive for COVID-19 tells a PI of their diagnosis, the PI must not disclose the name of the individual who tested positive, except to report the individual’s diagnosis to the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center so a contact investigation process can be initiated.

PIs can share that a lab member is “off-duty.”

Last updated: July 27, 2020 2:18pm

Under what circumstances will JHU conduct a contact investigation?

Contact investigations will be used to trace any JHU affiliates who have high-risk contacts of an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. This includes individuals whose contact with the possibly infected person was within six feet for 15 minutes or more.

A Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center ICAN (Investigation, Contact Analysis, Notification) team traces the infectious period, currently defined as two days prior to the onset of initial symptoms in symptomatic patients and two days prior to a positive COVID test result date for asymptomatic cases. High-risk close contacts will be notified of their exposure, asked to quarantine to prevent additional transmission, and monitored for symptoms through Occupational Health (employees) or Student Health (students).

Last updated: July 23, 2020 1:41pm

If a COVID-19 positive case is reported in the lab or classroom, will all the people who shared that space at the same time be tested?

Not necessarily. Criteria for testing is continuing to evolve. At this time, individuals will only be tested if they have symptoms associated with COVID-19. Meaningful exposure includes individuals whose contact with the possibly infected person was within six feet for 15 minutes or more during the infectious period.

Last updated: Aug 27, 2020 8:55am

Will a lab be closed if someone in the lab tests positive for COVID-19?

No. Due to the fact that large droplets readily settle out of the air, and there are a high number of air exchanges in a lab, you can safely enter the lab without enhanced respiratory protection (fit-tested N95 mask or PAPR) within three hours of the time a COVID-positive individual was last in the lab. Lab personnel should perform their standard cleaning and disinfection procedures in the lab wearing standard PPE.

If the principal investigator has questions or concerns about cleaning protocols or about when they can re-enter the lab, contact the Department of Health, Safety and Environment for assistance (Homewood: 410-516-8798; East Baltimore: 410-955-5918). If HSE determines that additional disinfection is required, EVS/Custodial Services or an outside contractor may perform that service, under the on-site supervision of the PI (or their designee).

More information is available in the Return to Research guidance.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 4:38pm

How will cleaning be conducted in a lab in which a positive COVID-19 case is reported?

Lab staff will typically perform the cleaning after they can safely re-enter the lab without needing enhanced respiratory protection (a fit-tested N95 mask or PAPR). If staff are uncomfortable with performing the cleaning, the principal investigator should contact the Department of Health, Safety and Environment to arrange for cleaning by EVS/Custodial Services or an outside contractor. HSE will coordinate the cleaning of the lab with the PI and Facilities. The PI or their designee must be present on site to oversee the cleaning.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 4:42pm

How does JHU learn if university personnel are ill or experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms?

JHU faculty, staff, postdocs, and student employees who are working on campus are required to complete a health screening attestation every day they are expected to be working onsite. In addition, employees who begin feeling ill after being onsite should contact the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center at 883-546-7546 and go home.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 4:49pm

If someone in a lab is asked to remain off-site for a few days, how will the PI be notified?

JHU faculty and staff must follow the department’s standard process for reporting an absence from work. In addition, they should talk to their supervisor/local HR representative to determine whether they are allowed to work remotely, if they are feeling well enough to do so.

If a trainee/student is not approved to be onsite, their faculty sponsor will be notified that they must remain offsite. The faculty sponsor will not receive any further information, and they will not have access to the postdoc’s health information. Trainees/students should contact their faculty sponsor, supervisor, or PI directly regarding their absence per policy (RPH 10.3) and should discuss whether and what work can be done from home.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 9:20pm

Someone in my lab has started to feel ill. How should I advise them?

Anyone who feels ill is encouraged to call the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center at 883-546-7546. The JHCCC will indicate if the individual is approved to remain onsite. If the lab member is asked to leave the lab, the principal investigator should ensure they follow this instruction promptly.

A clinician from Occupational Health (for faculty, staff, and postdocs), Student Health Services (for Krieger, Whiting, Peabody, Carey, School of Education and SAIS students), or University Health Services (for School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and Bloomberg School students) will review the individual’s symptoms remotely and follow up with the person who is sick, as needed.

We recommend labs continue routine cleaning and disinfecting of work surfaces, as prescribed in the Return to Research guidelines.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 4:59pm

Someone in my lab or an adjacent lab is ill. Should I be concerned?

Just as was the case before COVID-19, viruses and colds circulate throughout the year. Recent background testing of certain essential on-site reporting populations indicate there is very low circulation of COVID-19 on site at this time. If someone is sick and not approved to be on site, it should not be assumed that they have COVID-19.

Also consider that COVID-19 is primarily spread through person-to-person contact from respiratory droplets (e.g., uncovered sneezing or coughing). The most effective prevention measures remain maintaining adequate physical distancing, wearing face coverings when in the lab, and frequent handwashing. If these measures are followed, it significantly reduces risk of exposure.

It is important to note that touching a contaminated surface is not thought to be the primary way the virus spreads. While this risk of infection via a contaminated surface is relatively low compared to the risk associated with close contact with infected individuals, it is important to continue frequent handwashing and routine cleaning and disinfecting of shared work surfaces to further reduce the potential for transmission.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 8:50pm

I heard that someone in my lab tested positive. How will I know if I was exposed?

As part of the contact investigation, the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center ICAN team will interview the individual who tested positive to determine if they had meaningful exposure to any other affiliates—including individuals whose contact with the possibly infected person was within six feet for 15 minutes or more—during the infectious period. High-risk close contacts will be notified of their exposure, asked to quarantine to prevent additional transmission, and monitored for symptoms. If you have not been contacted by ICAN, you should assume there was not an exposure that requires follow up.

Last updated: July 23, 2020 9:17pm

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