Information for Faculty + Researchers

Fried Chemistry Lab reopens after Covid-19 shutdown

Johns Hopkins University is actively planning for the staged return of activity to our campuses, with the hope and expectation that the university will be substantially back to normal this fall. This includes the anticipated return of the majority of our staff and faculty to campus in person by mid-August for the start of the semester.

Regular in-person contact among faculty, students, and staff is fundamental to the vitality of our university. The presence of our staff in Baltimore is also critical to our role as an economic anchor in the city, and we are anxious to reconvene as a community as quickly and safely as we can. We also recognize that our collective return may look different from our past “normal” and must incorporate the lessons learned over the past 12 months about balancing work, home life, and wellbeing. We, like many organizations, are thinking deeply about the future of work, and university leadership will take a considered and consultative approach to our long-term policies guided by clearly articulated principles that are informed by research, deliberation, and data.

Zoom town hall
Fall planning town hall

Topics addressed include vaccination guidelines and requirements; our planning for academics, housing, and dining; staff return; and our expectation for how COVID testing and other health and safety protocols may change in the fall with improving conditions

Our plans are predicated on continuing public health strategies to promote a safe campus and community. However, with increases in vaccine availability and distribution, we are now able to add vaccination as a critical component to our campus safety plan. We strongly urge, and may soon require, all faculty and staff to be vaccinated. 

The pandemic continues to present unpredictable challenges, and we will monitor state and local COVID-related restrictions to ensure that our operations abide by them. If we have to scale back our plans to protect the public’s health on our campuses and in our surrounding communities, we will do so.  

Additional details about the policies and procedures that will accompany the careful expansion of on-campus activity will be included in the forthcoming Return to Campus guidance in late April.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

University operations

What is the status of activity on our campuses?

Johns Hopkins University has moved to Phase 2 of its reopening plan, with expanded on-campus activity for the spring semester, including offering undergraduates in-person residential and educational opportunities. Graduate and professional schools have determined their own plans for the spring. This is part of a careful, phased approach to resuming activities, and 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.

During our current Phase 2, we have resumed medium-risk activities with continued reliance on strict physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and appropriate masking requirements, along with frequent testing, contact investigation, and analysis of all symptomatic students and employees. Broadly, this means that some programs have resumed in-person, low-density activity, and always with an online option. Graduate instruction and research labs continue with low density, six-foot distancing, and with masking. Undergraduates may be granted permission to participate in on-campus research, subject to the decision by individual Principal Investigators and incorporation into their Return to Research plans. Limited residential housing (single rooms only) and dining (“grab and go” and/or limited seating based on public health guidance) are available.

Libraries are operational, but hours are more limited than they were pre-COVID to ensure ample time for daily cleaning. Hours vary from facility to facility and will be modified as necessary. The Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center (OCR) on the Homewood campus and the Cooley Center at East Baltimore will operate with limited capacity and offerings.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 11:37am

How does the university determine which activities are allowed on its campuses?

Cross-divisional workgroups study the issues, gather feedback, and draft plans to guide the university’s resumption of activities. 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 are 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 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 at Johns Hopkins.

Last updated: April 12, 2021 4:37pm

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
  • 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: March 30, 2021 10:31am

Can events be held on campus?

No external (commercial, community, etc.) events will be held during Phase 2. Internal (JH affiliate attendees) events will be limited as follows:

  • All events deemed mission critical during Phase 2 shall be reviewed by HSE and require permission from the appropriate dean’s office or University Administration department. These activities may include events that cannot be effectively conducted virtually and are directly related to research, education, and student activities.
  • JHU guidance will not exceed local regulatory public health rules in restricting group sizes and participants are expected to wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet physical distancing.
  • Event capacity is the number of people who can fit in the room while maintaining 6 feet between them, with a maximum of 10 people.
  • Outdoor event capacity will be based on state and local guidelines, venue capacity, and physical distancing requirements and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but is generally limited to 25.

Last updated: April 12, 2021 4:43pm

Are visitors allowed on campus?

Generally, visitors to the JHU campus—including guests, family members, and pets—are prohibited. Visitors associated with K-12 partnerships, including participants, are also prohibited in Phase 2.

Prospective students and research volunteers will likely be permitted on campus under controlled conditions and for specific types of protocols.

Last updated: Dec 18, 2020 10:42am

Are recreational facilities open?

The Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center on the Homewood campus and the Cooley Center at East Baltimore will operate with limited capacity and offerings.

At Homewood, strength and cardio equipment will be available with a maximum facility capacity of 60 patrons. Patrons must agree to and abide by Rec Center protocols regarding physical distancing, face coverings, and cleaning. Group exercise classes will be offered virtually.

In-person classes, with a maximum capacity of 10 per class, will be offered pending the availability of instructors. All group exercise participants must register and use their own mats. Tennis courts will also reopen. The Rec Center will employ an enhanced cleaning and equipment sanitization schedule. The locker rooms will remain closed. There will be no equipment checkout and no towels provided. Athletic field use will be activity-dependent and requests for use evaluated by staff.

Similar capacity limitations will be published for the Cooley Center.

More information on protocols and programming can be found in this Jan. 29 message to students.

Last updated: Feb 1, 2021 9:17am

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

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

Last updated: Dec 16, 2020 3:36pm

What is the university’s guidance on travel at this time?

Nonessential travel outside of the Greater Baltimore area is strongly discouraged for undergraduates at any time. Undergraduate students are required to register personal travel with Prodensity so they can receive support for prompt testing and self-quarantine upon return. A negative test is required before resuming in-person activities. We urge other students, faculty, and staff to understand the risks before undertaking personal travel. Before making personal travel plans, please review the CDC’s travel guidance. All nonessential university-sponsored travel (both international and domestic) remains suspended.

Last updated: April 12, 2021 4:40pm

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

Fall 2021 Planning

Will students and faculty be required to be on campus?

Yes. Our expectation is that classes that were conducted in person before the pandemic will be in person this fall, with the exception of large (greater than 50-person) lectures, which will be conducted online or broken into smaller sections for both public health and pedagogical reasons. Faculty and students at heightened risk for severe outcomes from COVID may seek accommodations through the Office of Institutional Equity or the Office of Student Disability Services, respectively.  

Last updated: April 9, 2021 3:14pm

Will all courses have remote/online options?

No. Courses will not be required to have online or remote options. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:34am

What grading policies will be in place this fall?

Grading policies will be determined by individual divisions, but the expectation is that most will return to pre-COVID policies. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:34am

Will the fall semester schedule be modified as a result of the pandemic?

No. We anticipate a normal fall schedule, starting on August 30 and including all planned instructional breaks, including Thanksgiving. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:34am

Will the university consider permanent alternative work arrangements, as many businesses are now doing?

As always, there may be discrete areas and roles where more flexible work arrangements are best, and we anticipate differences between business units or functions in what the return to in-person work looks like. We, like many organizations, are thinking deeply about the future of work, and university leadership will take a considered and consultative approach to our long-term policies guided by clearly articulated principles that are informed by research, deliberation, and data. We will convene a staff working group to collaborate with our deans, staff members, and consultative bodies such as the University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee to develop those guidelines and templates for various work arrangements and share those with the community in the next few weeks. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:31am

Haven’t we just proven that we can carry out the university’s mission while working remotely?

We have been amazed by the resilience of our staff during the pandemic and their ability to quickly adapt to challenging new circumstances. However, we do not yet know what the effects of large-scale remote work will be on productivity, culture, and innovation over the long term. In particular, we have little experience in hybrid work environments in which some team members are on site and others are working remotely. 

We also consider the university’s role as an anchor institution in Baltimore to be central to its mission, and the physical presence of thousands of our faculty and staff on our campuses every day contributes meaningfully to the city’s economic and cultural vitality. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:31am

Are there any opportunities for flexible or remote schedules?

As always, there may be discrete areas and roles where more flexible work arrangements are best, and we anticipate differences between business units or functions in what the return to in-person work looks like.  Managers will determine work schedules according to business and operational needs, with the review and approval of their divisional dean and a central review to ensure consistency across the institution. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:32am

My child care arrangements have changed as a result of the pandemic. Can I get an exemption from the return to in-person work?

We sought to provide ample notice before the return to work date so that employees with caregiving obligations can make arrangementsEven so, we recognize that for many, the resumption of in-person work may be affected by whether your K-12 children return to in-person school and other COVID-related child care and caregiving obligations. We will work closely with units to address these issues as they arise. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:32am

How can I be sure that the facilities are ready to receive everyone back at the same time?

Similar to our approach to resumption of on-campus research, we will ask each of our departments and divisions to develop brief tailored plans to guide staff return in their areas. Work groups including staff will convene in April to develop a template to share with units by May 1. Units will then submit their work plans by June 1 for review by our Facilities and Human Resources teams, and approval by the dean, DBO, vice presidents, or vice provost. Once a plan is approved, units may begin gradual return over the summer for those staff who wish to do so, with the majority of faculty and staff required to be working on campus in mid-August. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:33am

Where will I eat safely?

Spaces to safely eat and drink will be designated throughout our facilities as part of our broader planning for a return to campus. Details on required distancing and other protocols while eating will be determined closer to the fall semester based on evolving public health considerations. 

Last updated: April 9, 2021 11:33am

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: Dec 16, 2020 3:38pm

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: Dec 16, 2020 3:40pm

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

Is everyone required to wear face coverings while at JHU locations?

Face coverings must be worn by everyone—including all faculty, staff, students, postdoctoral fellows, other trainees, guests, vendors, and visitors—indoors on campus and in university buildings and in and around leased spaces, on JHU transportation, and in some outdoor settings where individuals are gathered such as athletic events, performances, and the May 27 undergraduate commencement ceremony at Homewood Field. As of April 30, 2021, JHU campuses will no longer require face coverings in most outdoor spaces when 6 feet of distance can be maintained.

The following are not acceptable as face coverings:

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

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: April 30, 2021 4:34pm

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
  • Observe gathering limits: As of March 31, 2021, the limit on all undergraduate outdoor gatherings is now 25 people, with a 10-person limit for indoor undergraduate gatherings. More information
  • 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: March 31, 2021 3:02pm

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:

Failure to comply with the health and safety guidelines places our community at risk for spreading the virus, which endangers our health and may result in further disruption of research and educational activities. Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) has the authority to shut down facilities and activities that are noncompliant with these health and safety precautions.

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?

In Phase 2 of our reopening plan, widespread screening of everyone who comes to campus is not in place. Before the start of the spring semester, JHU adopted a mass testing plan that required a test before students return to campus and, as of Feb. 5, requires all undergraduate students living in the Baltimore area are required to be tested three times per week.

Testing will be required at least once weekly for faculty, staff, graduate students, trainees, and post-docs who are either participating in or directly supporting in-person, on-campus classes (with exceptions for clinically based instruction) or regularly exposed to undergraduates. In addition, the divisions may require more frequent testing or require mandatory testing for affiliates deemed to have a heightened risk of exposure. Testing frequency may be increased to two times per week, based on public health conditions.

Testing is free and available at one of the nine JHU asymptomatic COVID testing sites and will continue throughout the semester (testing frequency may be increased, based on public health conditions). Test centers are located at Shriver Hall and four other locations on the Homewood campus, plus additional sites at Peabody, Harbor East, D.C., and East Baltimore.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 12:52pm

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

Why are undergraduates 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: April 12, 2021 4:55pm

Why is testing 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: April 12, 2021 4:56pm

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?

JHU will have wellness kits available for all undergraduate students, which include a face mask, hand sanitizer, a digital thermometer, and cleansing wipes. Residential undergraduate students will receive their wellness kits at move-in and off-campus undergrads can pick up a kit prior to the start of the semester. All faculty, staff, and graduate students who are on-campus will be provided with a face mask through their division.

Beginning on approximately March 15, free high-quality, three-ply, reusable face masks with bendable nose wires and adjustable ear loops will be available at all on-campus COVID testing sites.

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: March 10, 2021 1:54pm

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.

We are putting extraordinary demands on the JHU cleaning and custodial staff. If you are on campus, please take a moment to thank them for their efforts.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 1:56pm

What is the plan for safe use of elevators?

Affiliates should limit density to a maximum of four per elevator, with each person occupying a corner. While using the elevator, face coverings must be worn, and individuals should press elevator buttons with another object, their knuckle, their elbow, etc., if possible. Everyone should wash hands or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol upon departing the elevator. Elevators are an area designated for more frequent cleaning.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 1:57pm

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 rides JHU buses and shuttles must wear a face covering while on the bus/shuttle and avoid touching surfaces with their hands to the maximum extent possible.

Based on input of our public health and safety experts, starting on Saturday, May 15, JHU transit buses may transport up to 30 passengers at once, which is an increase from the previous guideline of 20 passengers. Bus windows should remain open as weather permits. At this time, Blue Jay Shuttle vans are still limited to six simultaneous passengers.

Last updated: May 12, 2021 2:25pm

How will the university enforce safety measures in bathrooms?

Use of restrooms should be limited based on size to ensure at least 6 feet between individuals. Fixtures will be limited to 50% to support physical distancing requirements. Individuals should wash their hands thoroughly after use to reduce potential transmission of the virus. Electric hand dryers will be disconnected, and paper towels will be provided in all public restrooms.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 2:02pm

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

Non-essential travel outside of the greater Baltimore area is strongly discouraged for undergraduates at any time. Undergraduate students are required to register personal travel through the Prodensity app or website so they can receive support for prompt testing and self-quarantine upon return and until a negative test is received. All non-essential university-sponsored travel (both international and domestic) is suspended at this time. University-sponsored travel includes all travel funded by the university or its sponsors, including discretionary funds, and all travel sponsored or organized by student organizations, regardless of the funding source. Essential travel may include time-critical research, clinical care delivery, and/or clinical trials, as determined by an affiliate’s dean or designee. Personal travel should be undertaken with an understanding of the risks. Before making personal travel plans, review the CDC’s travel guidance.

Last updated: March 10, 2021 2:06pm

Is the university COVID testing program free for JHU affiliates?

Yes. The university is covering all testing costs, and your insurance will not be billed. While you may be asked to verify insurance information in MyChart, testing will not be billed to either you or your insurance.

Last updated: March 23, 2021 11:50am

Lab safety

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

Our current Phase 2 guidance outlines a number of safety guidelines including:

  • There are maximum occupancy rates for each designated space.
  • Researchers can expect 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.
  • Cleaning protocols remain; limited shared surfaces; some common areas reopen with distancing rules
  • 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: March 15, 2021 10:45am

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

JHU’s 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 was required to 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 occured 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: March 15, 2021 10:48am

What is the requirement for distancing in research labs?

Starting on April 1, 2021, density restrictions in labs will be relaxed and low-density in-person group meetings will be allowed.

In labs, we will now require the equivalent of a 7.5-foot diameter around each person, allowing for approximately 44 square feet per person, compared to the previous standard of 150 feet per person. It is the same standard now in place in Johns Hopkins classrooms and the same or similar to the restrictions now in place at many peer universities, which have also seen little to no evidence of COVID transmission in lab settings.

For meetings, participation will be limited to 10 people, including the PI, in spaces large enough to allow participants to maintain 6 feet of physical distance from one another. Meetings in faculty offices are not allowed. Masks must be worn, and no food may be served. Remote options must be made available for anyone not comfortable with meeting in person.

Both changes are in accordance with current Centers for Disease Control guidelines and have been reviewed and endorsed by Johns Hopkins’ Health & Safety Planning Committee.

 

Last updated: March 25, 2021 3:13pm

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:

Failure to comply with the health and safety guidelines places our community at risk for spreading the virus, which endangers our health and may result in further disruption of research and educational activities. Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) has the authority to shut down facilities and activities that are noncompliant with these health and safety precautions.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2020 12:00am

Is the university providing access to adequate, appropriate PPE?

JHU will have wellness kits available for all undergraduate students, which include a face mask, hand sanitizer, a digital thermometer, and cleansing wipes. Residential undergraduate students will receive their wellness kits at move-in and off-campus undergrads can pick up a kit prior to the start of the semester. All faculty, staff, and graduate students who are on-campus will be provided with a face mask through their division.

Beginning on approximately March 15, free high-quality, three-ply, reusable face masks with bendable nose wires and adjustable ear loops will be available at all on-campus COVID testing sites.

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: March 10, 2021 1:54pm

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 833-546-7546 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: Dec 3, 2020 9:41am

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 833-546-7546 and go home.

Last updated: Dec 3, 2020 9:42am

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 833-546-7546. 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: Dec 3, 2020 9:45am

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?

Undergraduate tuition for the spring remains at the originally published rate.

As announced in August, the reduction in undergraduate tuition for the fall semester was a one-time action taken as part of a package of supports in recognition of the university’s decision to pivot to remote-only education in the fall semester.

This spring, the university is offering an in-person experience for undergraduates who want one. In order to deliver this successfully and safely it has incurred substantial additional expenses related to COVID mitigation measures, including facilities for testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine.

Last updated: March 12, 2021 1:12pm

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?

Undergraduate tuition for the spring remains at the originally published rate.

As announced in August, the reduction in undergraduate tuition for the fall semester was a one-time action taken as part of a package of supports in recognition of the university’s decision to pivot to remote-only education in the fall semester.

This spring, the university is offering an in-person experience for undergraduates who want one. In order to deliver this successfully and safely it has incurred substantial additional expenses related to COVID mitigation measures, including facilities for testing, contact tracing, and isolation and quarantine.

Last updated: March 12, 2021 1:12pm

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 rides JHU buses and shuttles must wear a face covering while on the bus/shuttle and avoid touching surfaces with their hands to the maximum extent possible.

Based on input of our public health and safety experts, starting on Saturday, May 15, JHU transit buses may transport up to 30 passengers at once, which is an increase from the previous guideline of 20 passengers. Bus windows should remain open as weather permits. At this time, Blue Jay Shuttle vans are still limited to six simultaneous passengers.

Last updated: May 12, 2021 2:25pm

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

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

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