Information for Faculty + Researchers

Fried Chemistry Lab reopens after Covid-19 shutdown

Scholars across Johns Hopkins are meeting the circumstances imposed by COVID-19 with creativity and persistence to stay connected with students and further their research. The university is assisting them in their endeavors by working to maintain critical operations and plan for future impacts of the pandemic.

We’re grateful for your feedback, patience, and flexibility as we navigate this rapidly evolving situation together.

OCTOBER 14
Spring planning for faculty

A discussion of the planning process for spring 2021, with a focus on the guiding principles for decision-making and key areas of consideration.

A better online instructional experience

This fall, faculty and students participating in virtual coursework can expect a vastly improved learning experience thanks to 35 newly created learning studios dedicated to enhancing online instruction. Located in buildings across the Homewood campus, each of the teaching hubs will allow instructors to broadcast their classes using state-of-the-art equipment, including document cameras, screen sharing, whiteboard cameras, and big-screen TV monitors that display a near life-size Zoom-style grid of students.

Pandemic’s effects on junior faculty

This summer, the University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee (UPAAC), a cross-divisional group that is lending critical faculty perspectives to JHU’s academic response to the pandemic, convened a series of listening sessions with more than 80 junior faculty from each of the university’s academic divisions. Those conversations helped form the basis of a comprehensive report that examines four main themes of concern: caregiving, career advancement, teaching and training, and lack of agency.

In a message dated Aug. 13, President Daniels and Provost Kumar offered some preliminary responses in what promises to be an ongoing conversation about how best to support those launching their academic careers at Johns Hopkins so that they may succeed here in the years ahead.

Research guidelines

Guidance for the phased reactivation of lab-based, library-based, and human subjects research

Instructional guidelines

General guidance on plans and considerations related to academic and learning activities

Return to Campus Guidance

Details on operational issues, health and safety guidance, and expectations for use of campus facilities

Screening + Testing

Recommended COVID-19 screening, testing, and contact tracing protocols for JHU campuses and facilities

Frequently Asked Questions

University operations

What is the status of activity on our campuses?

Johns Hopkins University has been conducting an extensive planning process to guide a careful, phased approach to resuming activities on its campuses. Each step in reopening is in accordance with state and local regulations and our own assessment of the public health status and operational readiness of our community.

We are currently planning for an expansion of on-campus activities for the spring semester as long as the public health situation allows it, including offering undergraduates in-person residential and educational opportunities.  Graduate and professional schools are also determining their plans for the spring and will announce them shortly. For the remainder of 2020, however, we will continue to operate in Phase 1 of our reopening plan.

During our current Phase 1, on-campus activities will be restricted to mission critical functions that cannot be performed remotely. Broadly, this means that most Johns Hopkins affiliates will not be on-campus on a full-time basis and services will continue to be offered virtually. All undergraduate and most graduate students will take their courses online or remotely.

Those who need to be present in their lab, office, or other campus location to conduct research activities can proceed after permission from a researcher’s divisional leadership. Individuals engaging in on-campus research must comply with the guidance in Research Guidelines to reduce density, maintain physical distance, and observe other health and safety measures. Most instruction will remain in an online/remote modality, and the standards and expectations for teaching will be determined by each school individually. For example, schools may ask faculty and TAs to use campus studios for remote instructional purposes—these will be sanitized and set up with measures to protect users as described in the Instructional Guidelines.

Libraries will be operational, but access will be limited. Most other campus facilities, including recreational centers, will remain closed for the fall semester.

 

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:43pm

How is the university determining which activities are allowed on its campuses?

A number of cross-divisional workgroups are studying the issues, gathering feedback, and drafting plans to guide a resumption of activities. Those plans are reviewed by advisory groups of students, faculty, or health experts as needed and then presented to the university community for feedback before they are finalized. The latest information can be found in the Return to Campus Guidance.

Any decisions to allow on-campus activity will be consistent with both state and local restrictions and our own public health experts’ assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic. While our phased approach seeks to align with the state of Maryland’s approach, the alignment is not automatic, and there may be many times when the university cannot—for public health, safety, and/or operational reasons—be in the same phase as the state, just as not all counties in the state may be in the same phase at the same time. If public health conditions worsen, either locally or regionally, a return to earlier phases may be required.

All plans will follow core principles, chief among them a commitment to equity and inclusivity and the primacy of science and public health guidance offered by the world’s leading public health experts here at Johns Hopkins.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:44pm

What factors will you consider when making a final determination about the spring semester?

No single public health metric will be determinative. Rather, our public health and infectious disease experts will advise the university based on a combination of factors and trends. We routinely review a comprehensive set of data, at the city, state, national, and global levels. We look at a number of metrics, including daily new cases, hospitalizations, ICU admissions, and mortality, as well as a set of Hopkins-specific capacity metrics that include testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine. In addition to our ongoing review of metrics, our public health experts are also conducting modeling in an attempt to forecast the trajectory of the disease in populations of relevance to us.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:44pm

What do I need to know if I want to come to campus?

Individuals who are on-campus need to be aware of the following requirements that are detailed in this guidance:

  • Daily health check using Prodensity
  • Use of appropriate face coverings and adherence to other health/safety guidance, including physical distancing
  • No smoking or vaping
  • Mandatory influenza vaccination (by Nov. 20)
  • For the limited number of residential students, COVID-19 testing will be conducted upon arrival and on an ongoing basis throughout the semester

In addition, individuals engaging in on-campus research must comply with Research Guidelines and individuals engaging in on-campus instruction must comply with Instructional Guidelines.

Last updated: Oct 29, 2020 11:54am

Can events be held on campus?

No external (commercial, community, etc.) events will be held on-campus during fall 2020. Internal events for Johns Hopkins affiliates 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.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:50pm

Are visitors allowed on campus?

Only mission-critical Johns Hopkins affiliates will be permitted on campus during Fall 2020. Non-mission-critical visitors and guests, family members, and pets are prohibited. Visitors associated with K-12 partnerships, including participants, are also prohibited for Fall 2020.

Last updated: Aug 21, 2020 12:56pm

Are recreational facilities open?

All on-campus recreational facilities will remain closed for Fall 2020. For Spring 2021, we plan to open the rec center, Brody Learning Commons, and Milton S. Eisenhower Library with limits on density and reduced hours.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 3:43pm

Do decisions about activities and the health and safety protocols apply to buildings not located on the university’s main campuses?

All of the reopening plans and the health and safety guidelines established by the university will apply to people taking part in activities in all of its owned or leased locations.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 9:45pm

How does the university’s phased approach align with the state of Maryland and Baltimore City?

The university is guided by the types of activity allowed by both the state and the city along with its own evaluation of public health and medical advice from Johns Hopkins experts. Regardless of the numbered phases, the university will not allow more activities than the city and state, and at times, it may allow less. Specific instructions for university affiliates are provided by email, on the Hub, and through school- and department-specific communications.

Last updated: June 22, 2020 4:06pm

Health + safety

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

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

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

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

Instructional activities

How will JHU offer classes this spring?

All undergraduate classes and academic activities will continue to be online during the fall semester. The university is making plans to expand in-person activity for the spring semester and to offer some classes in person and others remotely or in a mixed modality. For some students, depending on their courses, all classes may remain virtual even when they are living on or near campus.  Students will not be required to come to campus and will be able to maintain their academic progress remotely.

Graduate and professional programs will continue to evaluate their own operations, and many are expected to offer some in-person activities in the spring subject to strict public health guidelines. Decisions about specific programs will be communicated by the schools.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 4:20pm

Will faculty be required to teach courses in person this spring?

No. Faculty will continue to have the option to teach remotely, including at the instructional studios that have been constructed at various locations on campus.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 4:22pm

How are faculty members preparing to teach effectively in remote/online modalities?

Schools recognize that supporting instructors in further mastery of pedagogical and technological options through training and resources will be essential for ensuring the success of remote/online instruction in the fall. All school teaching and learning staff have been asked to prepare a scalable plan for supporting faculty who may need to adapt to new teaching modalities.

In addition, schools and the university are co-investing in new technological resources to enhance the digital experience based on recommendations and guidelines developed by the Online Resources Workgroup. KSAS and WSE have constructed dozens of remote teaching studios on campus to help faculty provide a truly engaging educational experience.

Last updated: Aug 6, 2020 4:43pm

Research activities

Is the university allowing researchers to return to campus?

Critical COVID-related research has been ongoing on campus with research teams practicing appropriate safety protocols. As of June 15, other laboratories were permitted to reopen, with approved plans that reduce capacity, require face coverings and physical distancing, and improve cleaning protocols. On July 16, the university announced an expansion of its guidance that allows non-lab researchers, including humanists, social scientists, and computational researchers, to do on-campus work that cannot be done remotely with approval from their department and division.

The resumption of on-campus research activities in Phase 1 continue to be limited only to those activities that actually require a person to be on campus. Any and all research work that can be accomplished at home via telework continues to be done at home, and people are asked to only be on campus for the time periods necessary to accomplish required on-campus work.

Last updated: July 22, 2020 4:46pm

Are graduate students allowed to return to on-campus research during Phase 1? Are undergraduates?

Graduate students involved in laboratory research that requires on-site activity may return to campus while adhering to safety protocols based on their specific lab plan. Undergraduate students are not part of the Phase 1 return to research.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:44pm

When will researchers be able to resume clinical and human subjects research?

Clinical and human subject research will require a gradual, phased reopening that allows for a safe, systematic approach to restarting research. The human subjects research plan is included in the Return to Research Guidance document: https://covidinfo.jhu.edu/assets/uploads/sites/10/2020/06/Research_Restart_Guidelines_Phase_1.pdf

Last updated: July 22, 2020 4:58pm

Will there be any loosening of hiring freeze once the labs begin to reopen?

The current hiring freeze will remain in place. As described previously, we will allow exceptions for hiring to meet critical needs, particularly roles essential to program or clinical activity related to the COVID pandemic. Exceptions to the freeze will require written approval of the dean.

Last updated: June 3, 2020 8:26am

Will researchers have access to library resources?

Starting Monday, June 29, JHU affiliates may check out books and other circulating materials from all Hopkins libraries following procedures—such as requesting books online and picking them up at library entrances—outlined on the Johns Hopkins Libraries Return to Research web page.

Also, on Monday, July 6, JHU graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, and staff researchers may begin to reserve time slots to work with noncirculating materials in the Sheridan Libraries Special Collections Reading Room (Homewood), the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives (Mount Washington), and the History of Medicine Library (East Baltimore) while following safety protocols.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:45pm

Is the supply store open?

Yes, the supply store remains fully operational.

Last updated: June 3, 2020 8:27am

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

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

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

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

Employee information

How will I know if I am supposed to return to my JHU location?

Decisions about resuming work activity, once approved, will be communicated through deans, vice presidents, vice provosts, divisional business officers, or other senior leaders. We anticipate that the need to reduce the number of people coming to campus to meet social distancing requirements will continue for some time, and many employees who can continue to effectively work remotely will likely continue to do so for the near future.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:29pm

Will the increase in students on campus in the spring mean staff will be required to be on campus?

For the most part, staff who are currently working remotely will continue to do so in order to keep density low on our campuses. Only those needed on campus to support in-person research and academic activities will return. Divisional and department-specific plans are being developed now and managers will provide adequate notice to those who should return. Human Resources stands ready to support anyone who requires accommodations and adjustments.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 5:09pm

What if I want to return to working on-site at JHU or can’t do my job remotely?

Managers will make decisions about telework in accordance with university guidelines. As more activities resume, it will be important to keep the density of individuals low and have those who can work remotely continue to do so.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:30pm

What if I don’t want to return to on-site work because I have concerns about my health and safety, the health and safety of family members who are at increased risk, or other issues?

Based upon CDC guidance, some people may be at higher risk of experiencing negative COVID-19 outcomes due to their individual circumstances. Faculty, staff, students, and other trainees who fall into the CDC’s definition of a vulnerable person, as defined and discussed further on the centers’ website, may learn about reasonable accommodations available or request reasonable accommodations to their work or learning environment.

Information for faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows on the accommodations process may be found on the Office of Institutional Equity website, by phone (410-516-8075), or by email (oie@jhu.edu, titleixcoordinator@jhu.edu or OIEdisability@jhu.edu). Students should contact the Student Disability Services Coordinator at their respective school to begin the process. As always, anyone with a documented disability or who needs a religious accommodation, pregnancy or nursing parent adjustment may pursue accommodations as well.

Individuals who do not fall within the CDC guidelines for a “vulnerable person” but are concerned about returning to a JHU location due to their individual circumstances (such as household members who may be at higher risk) should contact their departmental or divisional human resources manager to discuss their concerns and whether adjustments may be made to address them. You may also contact the Office of Employee and Labor Relations in Central HR at EmployeeRelations@jhu.edu. Students with similar concerns should contact their dean of students or equivalent at their school. An adjustment may be made immediately and may be in place while the accommodation approval process is underway.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:31pm

Will individuals have notice before they are asked to return to campus so that they can set up child care, travel to Baltimore, or make other necessary arrangements?

The university understands that individuals will have a variety of needs to attend to, and PIs should consider appropriate notice to lab teams as part of their return to research plans.

Last updated: June 3, 2020 8:24am

Will faculty members be penalized if they think it is too soon to provide in-person instruction and prefer to continue remote instruction?

Faculty members are encouraged to reach out to appropriate university resources (outlined in the question above) if they require a health-based accommodation, and to discuss other potential adjustments with their departmental or divisional human resources manager. Any accommodation or adjustment will depend on the technology available to teach effectively—and the university is making more technology available to assist faculty in holding effective online or remote classes—and the social distancing appropriate for the individual faculty member.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:32pm

Will employees be able to have flexible schedules to offset personal or family concerns, such as revised school schedules or child care challenges? Will telework be offered as a permanent option?

The university will make every effort to provide enough advance notice for employees to make arrangements for child care and other individual needs. Individual departments will continue to follow HR policies for flexible work schedules and any concerns should be discussed with the employee’s manager. No decisions have been made about long-term telework options.

All university employees have free premium Care.com memberships, which allow you to perform self-directed searches for a variety of caregiving needs. You must register through JHU’s portal at or call 855-781-1303. In addition, you can use the Care.com digital portal to post a position for an in-home provider on your own. Care.com’s website also has information about child care safety during COVID-19.

If you are required to return to work on-site and cannot find childcare, refer to the Sick and Safe Leave policy and JHU’s general Sick Leave policy. Also, FMLA entitles eligible employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave in a 12-month period for specified family and medical reasons. For specific questions regarding leave, contact HR Business Services at 443-997-2157 or HRBusinessServices@jhu.edu.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 8:44am

Where can I find out more information about the COVID-19 workforce relief funds? Can I make a contribution to those funds to support my fellow workers?

More information about the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Workforce Relief Funds can be found on the Human Resources COVID-19 resource page, under the Financial Resources header. The university has set up two funds to provide support for our lowest-resourced employees and displaced contract workers who are in need of financial assistance as a result of the pandemic. These funds—the COVID-19 Employee Relief Fund and the COVID-19 Contract Worker Relief Fund—will follow the eligibility requirements set forth in the recent federal relief program. Right now, these funds are provided solely by the university, but we appreciate the request from so many of our faculty and staff who want to help their fellow workers by contributing to these funds, and we are exploring ways to make this possible.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 10:35pm

Financial implications

What is Johns Hopkins’ current estimate of the fiscal impact of COVID-19?

The university’s mitigation actions and efforts to restart research, clinical, and educational activities, along with some unexpected, one-time factors, significantly improved JHU’s financial foundation. An original estimate, shared in April 2020, was that without mitigation efforts we could see projected losses of $100 million in FY20 and $375 million for FY21 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021).

As a result of the very strong performance of many of our divisions in the first three quarters of the last fiscal year, as well as mission support for the School of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins Health System, increased federal funding, and some expense reductions as a result of the pandemic, we finished FY20 with a modest $75 million surplus (1.2%) on a budget of $6.5 billion. However, substantial challenges remain for the current fiscal year, for which we currently project a $73 million deficit, a figure that would be far worse without the one-year pause on retirement contributions and the salary freeze enacted for FY21.

Much uncertainty remains, particularly if the winter months bring another surge in COVID cases and subsequent disruptions to our operations.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 8:51pm

Will the university continue its austerity measures, including halting 403b contributions and the salary and hiring freeze in FY21?

We plan to continue the austerity measures put in place for the current fiscal year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021). Even with them in place we still project a deficit of $73 million, and we must continue to exercise fiscal caution given the possibility of a second COVID surge or economic downturn. However, we do not anticipate significant additional mitigation actions this fiscal year, and we are working closely with the divisions to ensure that we can keep our commitment to resume retirement contributions, salary increases, and hiring in the fiscal year that begins next July (FY 2022). The end of those austerity measures is built into the university’s multi-year planning for FY22 forward.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 8:59pm

Why are austerity measures necessary if the university finished FY20 with a surplus?

The better-than-expected result in FY20 reflects three strong quarters of fiscal performance across most divisions before the COVID pandemic, as well as one-time factors such as increased federal funding and mission support for the School of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins Health System. The suspension of retirement contributions was not a factor in that result, as it did not take effect until the beginning of FY21 in July. This fiscal year, we will experience a full year of COVID’s effects, and we project a loss of $73 million even after the austerity measures. If they were not in place, the deficit would be much worse.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:01pm

Under what conditions would the university reconsider the pause in retirement contributions?

We continue to expect a significant loss in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021), and we are concerned about the possibility of additional financial impacts from a second surge in COVID cases that would require another shutdown of clinical, research and other operations, worsening our position. As a result, we continue to operate conservatively. However, if our results continue to improve throughout the fiscal year, we will reconsider our austerity measures, including the pause on retirement contributions.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:06pm

University divisions have announced furloughs and layoffs over the past few months. Will there be more?

Although the university-wide mitigation measures announced in April greatly reduced the need for employment actions, furloughs and layoffs were regrettably necessary within some units of the university as a consequence of the financial losses due to COVID-19. Those decisions were made at the divisional and departmental level, including within university administration. Although we face considerable uncertainty related to the ongoing pandemic, we do not anticipate additional widespread employment actions at this time.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:08pm

What reserves did the university have to cope with a fiscal crisis like this one?

In 2011 the university engaged in an analysis of its ability to withstand an economic downturn or other major fiscal event or pressures, and in the intervening years it markedly strengthened its balance sheet to weather revenue and/or liquidity disruptions. Since 2011, JHU’s net assets have grown at an annual average of 8%, its cash has grown at an annual average of 10%, while its debt has been held essentially level (prior to the pandemic).

Johns Hopkins’ improved cash reserves will certainly reduce the severity of the mitigation efforts the university will be required to undertake due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, given the pandemic’s uncertain nature and duration as well as increased costs to safely maintain continuity in university operations, we must also make substantial, multi-year reductions in our expenditures.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:11pm

Will the university keep undergraduate tuition at the reduced rate for the spring semester?

Tuition for the spring semester will be at the originally published rate. As indicated in August, the 10% tuition reduction for the fall was a one-time occurrence included in a package of supports in recognition of the hardships associated with our change of plans for the semester.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 4:57pm

University officials have said Johns Hopkins operates on “thin margins.” Why is that?

As a non-profit, Johns Hopkins reinvests its funds in faculty, student aid, facilities, and our community as we pursue excellence in our teaching, research, clinical, and service missions. The university typically achieves an operating surplus (which means more revenue than expense) that ranges between 1% and 2% of our total budget. Those surpluses, though small as a percentage of our total budget, fuel the strategic growth of the university.

Johns Hopkins’ surpluses are typically smaller than those of its peer universities. The main reason for this is the fact that funded research, which requires significant institutional subsidies, represents the largest share of university revenues.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:18pm

Are other divisions essentially being asked to bail out the School of Medicine and its loss of clinical revenue?

No, other divisions are not being asked to bail out the School of Medicine (SOM) and have not provided subsidies.

Per the Responsibility-Centered Management model of budgetary accountability (RCM), SOM has taken a number of very significant and difficult actions to address its financial challenges before and after the start of the pandemic. SOM has also benefitted from mission support from JHHS.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:19pm

Why can’t JHU deans determine the salaries and benefits of their employees?

In the response to this crisis, it is true that the deans did not (as they normally do) act individually to determine the salary increases for the employees of their respective divisions. Rather, university leadership, which includes the deans, decided for a number of reasons, to move on a uniform basis to freeze salaries for all university employees for fiscal year 2021.

Employee benefits have always been managed centrally and, for a number of legal and administrative reasons, cannot vary across divisions. The deans, as well as the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee (FBAC), play an important role in advising on any major changes in benefits, and the deans were particularly involved in the decision to suspend retirement contributions for FY21.

All of the deans supported the decisions to freeze salaries, to freeze staff hiring, and to suspend retirement contributions for FY21 in order to minimize the need for massive employee furloughs and/or layoffs and reductions in employees’ salaries. They also supported those steps in order to provide budgetary breathing room for the schools to make additional carefully considered decisions in response to the COVID-related fiscal effects.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:24pm

Why haven’t benefits been changed for employees of the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)?

The APL’s corporate structure is different from that of the schools and its employee benefits have been administered separately from the university since its inception. APL employees receive benefits under retirement and health and welfare plans and programs that are completely separate from university employee benefit plans and programs. The APL also has a different approved fringe benefits rate with its federal sponsors than the university rate.

There have been other times in the past when the APL has experienced reductions in its benefit programs when the university has not.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:29pm

Why doesn’t JHU borrow money to get through this crisis?

The university has borrowed money to support operations through this crisis.

The university raised $300M (in a transaction that was originally planned for capital investment needs) in early March 2020. JHU also subsequently borrowed another $214M in short-term debt to ensure sufficient cash levels through this crisis.

The university anticipates that the combination of its debt, the cash reserves that divisions and the university as a whole have carefully accumulated over the past decade, as well as the actions taken to reduce expenses will position the university to not only meet cash obligations (i.e., payroll, vendor payments, debt payments, etc.) through this crisis but also position the university to make critical investments in its missions into the future. Given the uncertain nature and duration of the pandemic, the university continues to manage cash reserves conservatively.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:30pm

Why doesn’t JHU tap the endowment to get through this crisis? How much of the endowment has no restrictions on it? Why not increase payout on the unrestricted endowment?

The endowment cannot ethically or prudently (or with the majority of its funds, legally) be used as a rainy-day account to carry the university through this crisis.

JHU’s endowment is a collection of more than 4,000 individual funds, most of which have been given over time by donors. About 84 percent are restricted legally via gift agreements and Maryland state law as to how much may be expended in a given year and for what purpose(s). The other roughly 16% of the endowment, nearly $1 billion, represents “quasi endowments,” which are funds (in most cases from donors) invested in the endowment based on the university’s decision rather than required by donor terms.

A significant portion of these quasi endowment funds are designated for specific purposes, such as faculty support, financial aid or research. In addition, divisions and departments rely on them for annual expenses and if they were to be used for cash in the short term, they would have to be repaid.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:34pm

Why is the university continuing to spend money on construction projects?

We will continue to limit capital projects, moving forward only with those that are mission critical or impact health and safety and/or for which dedicated funding has been secured, such as the donor-supported 555 Pennsylvania Ave., SNF Agora Institute, and Homewood Student Center projects. In many cases, we are continuing planning and feasibility work during this period, not undertaking construction spending.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:36pm

What is Johns Hopkins’ current estimate of the fiscal impact of COVID-19?

The university’s mitigation actions and efforts to restart research, clinical, and educational activities, along with some unexpected, one-time factors, significantly improved JHU’s financial foundation. An original estimate, shared in April 2020, was that without mitigation efforts we could see projected losses of $100 million in FY20 and $375 million for FY21 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021).

As a result of the very strong performance of many of our divisions in the first three quarters of the last fiscal year, as well as mission support for the School of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins Health System, increased federal funding, and some expense reductions as a result of the pandemic, we finished FY20 with a modest $75 million surplus (1.2%) on a budget of $6.5 billion. However, substantial challenges remain for the current fiscal year, for which we currently project a $73 million deficit, a figure that would be far worse without the one-year pause on retirement contributions and the salary freeze enacted for FY21.

Much uncertainty remains, particularly if the winter months bring another surge in COVID cases and subsequent disruptions to our operations.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 8:51pm

Will the university continue its austerity measures, including halting 403b contributions and the salary and hiring freeze in FY21?

We plan to continue the austerity measures put in place for the current fiscal year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021). Even with them in place we still project a deficit of $73 million, and we must continue to exercise fiscal caution given the possibility of a second COVID surge or economic downturn. However, we do not anticipate significant additional mitigation actions this fiscal year, and we are working closely with the divisions to ensure that we can keep our commitment to resume retirement contributions, salary increases, and hiring in the fiscal year that begins next July (FY 2022). The end of those austerity measures is built into the university’s multi-year planning for FY22 forward.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 8:59pm

Why are austerity measures necessary if the university finished FY20 with a surplus?

The better-than-expected result in FY20 reflects three strong quarters of fiscal performance across most divisions before the COVID pandemic, as well as one-time factors such as increased federal funding and mission support for the School of Medicine from the Johns Hopkins Health System. The suspension of retirement contributions was not a factor in that result, as it did not take effect until the beginning of FY21 in July. This fiscal year, we will experience a full year of COVID’s effects, and we project a loss of $73 million even after the austerity measures. If they were not in place, the deficit would be much worse.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:01pm

Under what conditions would the university reconsider the pause in retirement contributions?

We continue to expect a significant loss in the current fiscal year (July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021), and we are concerned about the possibility of additional financial impacts from a second surge in COVID cases that would require another shutdown of clinical, research and other operations, worsening our position. As a result, we continue to operate conservatively. However, if our results continue to improve throughout the fiscal year, we will reconsider our austerity measures, including the pause on retirement contributions.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:06pm

University divisions have announced furloughs and layoffs over the past few months. Will there be more?

Although the university-wide mitigation measures announced in April greatly reduced the need for employment actions, furloughs and layoffs were regrettably necessary within some units of the university as a consequence of the financial losses due to COVID-19. Those decisions were made at the divisional and departmental level, including within university administration. Although we face considerable uncertainty related to the ongoing pandemic, we do not anticipate additional widespread employment actions at this time.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:08pm

What reserves did the university have to cope with a fiscal crisis like this one?

In 2011 the university engaged in an analysis of its ability to withstand an economic downturn or other major fiscal event or pressures, and in the intervening years it markedly strengthened its balance sheet to weather revenue and/or liquidity disruptions. Since 2011, JHU’s net assets have grown at an annual average of 8%, its cash has grown at an annual average of 10%, while its debt has been held essentially level (prior to the pandemic).

Johns Hopkins’ improved cash reserves will certainly reduce the severity of the mitigation efforts the university will be required to undertake due to COVID-19. Nonetheless, given the pandemic’s uncertain nature and duration as well as increased costs to safely maintain continuity in university operations, we must also make substantial, multi-year reductions in our expenditures.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:11pm

Will the university keep undergraduate tuition at the reduced rate for the spring semester?

Tuition for the spring semester will be at the originally published rate. As indicated in August, the 10% tuition reduction for the fall was a one-time occurrence included in a package of supports in recognition of the hardships associated with our change of plans for the semester.

Last updated: Nov 2, 2020 4:57pm

University officials have said Johns Hopkins operates on “thin margins.” Why is that?

As a non-profit, Johns Hopkins reinvests its funds in faculty, student aid, facilities, and our community as we pursue excellence in our teaching, research, clinical, and service missions. The university typically achieves an operating surplus (which means more revenue than expense) that ranges between 1% and 2% of our total budget. Those surpluses, though small as a percentage of our total budget, fuel the strategic growth of the university.

Johns Hopkins’ surpluses are typically smaller than those of its peer universities. The main reason for this is the fact that funded research, which requires significant institutional subsidies, represents the largest share of university revenues.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:18pm

Are other divisions essentially being asked to bail out the School of Medicine and its loss of clinical revenue?

No, other divisions are not being asked to bail out the School of Medicine (SOM) and have not provided subsidies.

Per the Responsibility-Centered Management model of budgetary accountability (RCM), SOM has taken a number of very significant and difficult actions to address its financial challenges before and after the start of the pandemic. SOM has also benefitted from mission support from JHHS.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:19pm

Why can’t JHU deans determine the salaries and benefits of their employees?

In the response to this crisis, it is true that the deans did not (as they normally do) act individually to determine the salary increases for the employees of their respective divisions. Rather, university leadership, which includes the deans, decided for a number of reasons, to move on a uniform basis to freeze salaries for all university employees for fiscal year 2021.

Employee benefits have always been managed centrally and, for a number of legal and administrative reasons, cannot vary across divisions. The deans, as well as the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee (FBAC), play an important role in advising on any major changes in benefits, and the deans were particularly involved in the decision to suspend retirement contributions for FY21.

All of the deans supported the decisions to freeze salaries, to freeze staff hiring, and to suspend retirement contributions for FY21 in order to minimize the need for massive employee furloughs and/or layoffs and reductions in employees’ salaries. They also supported those steps in order to provide budgetary breathing room for the schools to make additional carefully considered decisions in response to the COVID-related fiscal effects.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:24pm

Why haven’t benefits been changed for employees of the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL)?

The APL’s corporate structure is different from that of the schools and its employee benefits have been administered separately from the university since its inception. APL employees receive benefits under retirement and health and welfare plans and programs that are completely separate from university employee benefit plans and programs. The APL also has a different approved fringe benefits rate with its federal sponsors than the university rate.

There have been other times in the past when the APL has experienced reductions in its benefit programs when the university has not.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:29pm

Why doesn’t JHU borrow money to get through this crisis?

The university has borrowed money to support operations through this crisis.

The university raised $300M (in a transaction that was originally planned for capital investment needs) in early March 2020. JHU also subsequently borrowed another $214M in short-term debt to ensure sufficient cash levels through this crisis.

The university anticipates that the combination of its debt, the cash reserves that divisions and the university as a whole have carefully accumulated over the past decade, as well as the actions taken to reduce expenses will position the university to not only meet cash obligations (i.e., payroll, vendor payments, debt payments, etc.) through this crisis but also position the university to make critical investments in its missions into the future. Given the uncertain nature and duration of the pandemic, the university continues to manage cash reserves conservatively.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:30pm

Why doesn’t JHU tap the endowment to get through this crisis? How much of the endowment has no restrictions on it? Why not increase payout on the unrestricted endowment?

The endowment cannot ethically or prudently (or with the majority of its funds, legally) be used as a rainy-day account to carry the university through this crisis.

JHU’s endowment is a collection of more than 4,000 individual funds, most of which have been given over time by donors. About 84 percent are restricted legally via gift agreements and Maryland state law as to how much may be expended in a given year and for what purpose(s). The other roughly 16% of the endowment, nearly $1 billion, represents “quasi endowments,” which are funds (in most cases from donors) invested in the endowment based on the university’s decision rather than required by donor terms.

A significant portion of these quasi endowment funds are designated for specific purposes, such as faculty support, financial aid or research. In addition, divisions and departments rely on them for annual expenses and if they were to be used for cash in the short term, they would have to be repaid.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:34pm

Why is the university continuing to spend money on construction projects?

We will continue to limit capital projects, moving forward only with those that are mission critical or impact health and safety and/or for which dedicated funding has been secured, such as the donor-supported 555 Pennsylvania Ave., SNF Agora Institute, and Homewood Student Center projects. In many cases, we are continuing planning and feasibility work during this period, not undertaking construction spending.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:36pm

How is the university helping people who are hurt financially by the pandemic?

Even as we made every effort to address the fiscal challenges presented by COVID, we took steps to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our community, both across our campuses and in the city of Baltimore. The broad sharing of financial sacrifice across the institution has meant that we have sought to pay particular attention to the least advantaged members of the communities of which we are a part.

These critical COVID-related supports have included: $12 million in emergency funding and additional financial aid to help students whose family situations have changed as a result of the pandemic; more than $1 million to launch two COVID-19 workforce relief funds; the creation of a fund to cover new, unanticipated caregiving expenses for our faculty, staff, and students that is anticipated to cost as much as $18 million; the construction of 127 state-of-the art studios and enhanced instructional spaces for faculty to conduct remote instruction; and more than $2 million in direct funding to assistance programs in Baltimore.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:40pm

Facilities + transportation

Will the university provide shuttles or other transportation options to accommodate staggered or unusual schedules? Will it provide parking options in order to reduce the use of public transportation? Will shuttles have enough space for physical distancing?

Transportation services will continue to run with reduced density, required face coverings for driver and passengers, and increased cleaning. Transportation schedules will be adjusted to meet demand in support of increased research activity while maintaining capacity limitations.

Routes, schedules, and additional information are on the JHM Transportation Services website and the JHU Transportation Services website.

Vehicles are cleaned each driver shift using HSE-approved, hospital-grade products. Drivers will clean high-touch points several times per shift using Lysol or Clorox wipes. Note: Door opening and closing is controlled by operator in all vehicles. Use rear entry for buses.

For those researchers whose schedules may be adjusted, evening and weekend parking will temporarily be provided at no additional cost.

  • East Baltimore: Employees and students may park for free on the East Baltimore campus during “Base Access” time periods which, during the COVID-19 crisis, have been extended to Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 10 a.m. and all day Saturday, Sunday, and designated holidays
  • Homewood: Evening and weekend hang tag requirements are waived and all surface lots will be free until August 17 for the following hours: Monday through Friday, 3 p.m. to 10 a.m. and all day Saturday, Sunday and designated holidays

Last updated: June 26, 2020 3:02pm

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

What is the university doing about employees who are paying for parking and can’t use it?

The university is refunding monthly payments to all employees who paid for university parking for the months of April, May, and June, and employees will not be charged monthly parking fees for July. This will apply to individuals who worked at home and those who were asked to fill essential positions on campus during that time.

You do not have to do anything to receive this refund if you are part of the university payroll-deduction parking program. The refund will appear in your mid-July paycheck. For those employees who paid with pre-tax deductions, under applicable tax guidance the refund is required to be treated as wages or taxable income, so you will see that adjustment on your pay stub.

Please note that monthly parking fees will resume in August. If you wish to cancel your parking because you expect to continue working off-site, or for any other reason, you will need to use the online form to make that request. You can make this change at any time, but in order to avoid paying for August, you will need to cancel by July 15. You will be able to restart parking at any time using the current parking sign-up process for your location, which may require pre-payment.

Last updated: July 21, 2020 5:05pm

Can I go to my campus or building to get things from my office?

Quick trips to JHU locations, such as to pick up items, are at the discretion of your school and department and require approval from your supervisor. Please coordinate with them on the dates and times of any quick trip, so it can be done in accordance with the density measures in place.

Last updated: June 19, 2020 8:40am

Will Johns Hopkins security provide an escort to my car?

Security remains staffed 24/7 with presence inside and outside of buildings, and officers can provide walking escorts (with appropriate social distancing) at any time. For a walking escort for the Homewood Campus, call 410-516-7777 and for the East Baltimore Medical Campus call 410-955-5585. Individual may also use the Live Safe app to engage a virtual escort of their choosing who can monitor their location for the duration of their travel. The app is available online.

Last updated: June 3, 2020 8:26am

JH NEEDS U

Help us protect each other

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Cover your face

Always wear a mask on campus

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Wash or sanitize hands often and don't touch your face

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Distance yourself

Keep six feet between you and others

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If you have symptoms

Self-isolate and call 833-546-7546 right away