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.

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.

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

Gilman Hall on Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus
Return to Campus Guide

Recommended health and safety protocols as the university resumes on-campus activities

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

A return to research labs for those who need to be present in the lab to do their work began on June 15 with measures in place to reduce density, maintain physical distance, and observe other health and safety measures. Otherwise, only those performing essential roles are on campus while all other employees and students are continuing to work and learn remotely through the summer. Currently, plans are being made to start the undergraduate academic year on Aug. 31 as long as the public health situation allows for the resumption of on-campus activities. Graduate and professional programs follow a variety of schedules and are communicating their fall plans directly to their students, faculty, and staff.

Last updated: June 27, 2020 9:34pm

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 decision to initiate in-person instruction 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. It may also occur that different campuses are in different phases. 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: June 30, 2020 8:43am

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

Will everyone be required to wear masks 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.

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: June 22, 2020 8:14pm

How will the university ensure physical distancing when on-campus activities resume?

Once JHU affiliates have been instructed to return to campuses and buildings, there are several options departments will consider to maintain required physical distancing measures. They include continuing remote activity and telework wherever possible, scheduling partial on-site activity on alternating days and/or based on shifts, and staggering reporting and departure times by at least 30 minutes to reduce traffic in common areas. Issues related specifically to classroom settings are being considered by the Academic Workgroup and information will be forthcoming.

In addition, the university is requiring that all affiliates follow physical distancing practices, such as not gathering in groups, staying out of crowded places and avoiding large gatherings, engaging in noncontact methods of greetings that avoid handshakes, staggering break times during the day, and using designated areas for meals while maintaining 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: June 27, 2020 9:45pm

Post does not exist

Will the university test each person who comes to a JHU location and trace contacts for anyone who tests positive?

At this time, widespread screening of everyone who comes on site is not in place and currently is not planned. We are evaluating options for testing students who will be residents of university-sponsored housing.

For individuals with symptoms, however, testing is free and available. Specifically, employees and students who report symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and meets CDC and Hopkins Infectious Control criteria will be screened by the appropriate call center and referred for testing if they meet current criteria. A health care worker will contact each individual who tests positive to provide guidance regarding self-isolation, monitoring of symptoms, and general health advice. Those individuals will also be asked a series of questions as part of our contact tracing process to help determine if others may have been exposed in the workplace/learning environment.

Testing techniques, uses, and limitations are discussed further in the Draft Recommendations for COVID-19 Screening, Testing, and Tracing, along with the university’s approach to phased implementation of testing and contact tracing activities.

Last updated: June 30, 2020 9:48am

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

University workgroups are studying technology options to support health and safety while considering a wide range of associated efficacy, privacy, and implementation issues. No decisions have been made, and any plans to adopt new technologies will be shared with the community and open to feedback.

Last updated: June 26, 2020 3:01pm

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

When will fall semester classes begin?

Graduate and professional courses of study follow a variety of schedules, and plans for those upcoming academic activities will be communicated by individual schools and departments.

Undergraduate classes will begin Aug. 31, as previously planned. Many classes will use remote or online formats, some classes will be held in person, and some will combine those approaches. Friday, Nov. 20, will be the last day for in-person undergraduate classes and, following Thanksgiving break, all undergraduate instruction will be online or remote through the reading period (Dec. 5-8) and finals (Dec. 9-17). More information can be found on the Undergraduate Academic Experience page.

Graduate courses or cross-listed grad/undergrad courses may continue to meet in-person at the discretion of the instructor. Undergraduates will not be required to attend these courses in-person but will be able to continue in online/remote modality.

Last updated: July 21, 2020 4:50pm

Will classes be in-person or conducted remotely in the fall?

We are cautiously optimistic that our extensive planning process will enable us to resume a meaningful portion of our on-campus undergraduate, graduate, and professional educational activities if public health conditions continue to improve. However, all schools will continue to see significant use of remote/online teaching and learning because physical distancing on-campus will drastically reduce the number of available seats in classrooms, some affiliates may not return to campus or will be prevented from attending in-person classes, and we must be prepared to regress to more restrictive public health phases anytime during the academic year, and on short notice.

Common teaching strategies that instructors may employ will vary from course to course but are likely to include:

  • Pre-recording instructional content for asynchronous delivery
  • Teaching remote students synchronously
  • Teaching class in-person with a mix of students attending either remotely or in-person
  • Teaching class remotely with students attending either remotely or in person (possibly with a remote instructor with on-campus assistance)

Last updated: June 23, 2020 9:49am

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 are being 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.

Last updated: June 30, 2020 9:50am

How are faculty members going to teach while wearing face coverings, especially in unusual circumstances, such as instrumental lessons?

We recognize that lecturing with a face covering is not an ideal experience for either the instructor or class. However, it is important to do because of the opportunity for droplets to spread infection even in a pre-symptomatic phase.

Instructors may be granted exceptions for activities that preclude wearing of face coverings and/or distancing, such as instrumental performance, provided that there is a written plan in place that has been approved by the school leadership and HSE. The planning team continues to investigate alternatives and supplements to face coverings for certain situations, but at this time there are no studies that have evaluated potential benefits of face shields on source control (i.e., containing a sneeze or cough).

Last updated: June 25, 2020 10:58am

How are you going to enforce physical distancing during in-person classes?

We are engaged in a detailed and careful assessment of facilities across all our campuses and will establish appropriate limitations on classroom capacity and use of other shared spaces based on a standard of approximately 38 square feet per student (a 7.5 foot diameter around each person).

As on-campus activity resumes, schools will be responsible for informing faculty, TAs, students, and others about expectations and procedures to maintain low density (e.g. by using dedicated signage about physical distancing requirements as provided by their facilities staff). To accommodate classroom capacity, schools may need to consider expanding the class schedule to offer classes during extended hours, evenings, and/or on weekends or breaking larger classes into smaller sections.

Additional information about physical distancing and other health and safety measures—such as face coverings, screening for symptoms and cleaning protocols—is in our Return to Campus Guidance.

Last updated: June 26, 2020 3:00pm

What happens to in-person classes if COVID-19 cases increase after the semester begins?

It is possible that an increased outbreak of COVID-19 would require the university to suspend in-person classes during the semester. Instructors and program directors are being asked to make contingency plans for that scenario that would allow learning to continue without being in the classroom or, potentially, on campus.

Last updated: June 22, 2020 4:47pm

Isn’t there more to a robust academic experience than just classes?

We want faculty and academic staff to work together and with their students to ensure the local academic community remains strong. This includes:

  • Establishing opportunities for connections outside of the classroom and considering remote/online and hybrid options for continuing seminars and special events;
  • Applied practice activities that bring students into short-term projects;
  • Individual and group mentoring and professional development sessions; Participation in student-led groups and activities
  • Student research opportunities in collaboration with faculty to the extent possible remotely
  • Connecting with alumni from around the world and with experts in a chosen area of study

Schools should also evaluate all services and supports normally provided to students to ensure they can succeed, including academic advising, tutoring and writing support, career planning and life design, health and wellness counseling, library resources, information technology support, and other student services support.

Additional efforts to support a vibrant student experience outside the classroom are being actively explored by the Student Life Workgroup and will be shared in the coming weeks.

Last updated: June 22, 2020 4:47pm

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

Does the university’s Phase 1 only allow on-site work in lab settings, or can researchers in other disciplines, such as the humanities, return to their offices and access university buildings as well?

The resumption of on-campus research activities in JHU’s Phase 1 has been limited to only those activities that require a person to be on campus/in the lab. Any and all research work that can be accomplished at home via telework should continue to be done at home.

The university’s Research Workgroup continues to examine the issue of allowing additional types of research on-campus as public health conditions improve and health and safety measures are put into place. More information will be coming soon.

Last updated: July 22, 2020 4:48pm

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:

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

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. However, individuals will only be tested if they have symptoms associated with COVID-19 or it is determined by the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center that there was meaningful exposure. This includes individuals whose contact with the possibly infected person was within six feet for 15 minutes or more during the infectious period.

Last updated: July 29, 2020 10:16am

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

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 (, or 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 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 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 digital portal to post a position for an in-home provider on your own.’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

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 preliminary projections (communicated April 21) of the potential financial impacts from COVID-19 without mitigation actions resulted in projected losses of as much as $100 million in the current fiscal year (FY20) and losses of as much as $375 million for FY21 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021).

With the benefit of the mitigation actions taken to date, we are currently projecting net losses for the university of as much as $50 million in FY20 and as much as $150 million in FY21. These updated estimates include the impact of the previously announced one-year suspension of retirement contributions and the hiring and salary freeze, the savings from which go to the divisions and departments, not the university as a whole. The Johns Hopkins Health System has committed to enhanced support for the School of Medicine this year that will further improve our FY20 position.

Note that the University continues to navigate significant uncertainty with regards to its projections for FY21 (e.g., risks with regards to potential spikes in COVID-19 transmissions and illness and fall enrollments, particularly among international students). We will continue to monitor key indicators closely and update projections as we evaluate the potential short and long-term financial impacts of COVID-19 on JHU’s funding sources, including enrollment and net tuition, clinical revenue, sponsored research, and philanthropy.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:52pm

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 annual average of 10%, while its debt has been held essentially level.

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: June 18, 2020 2:53pm

What is the endowment for if not to help the university through difficult times like these?

The endowment is not a rainy day fund. Rather, it is a collection of contributions given for the long-term mission of the university, and the amount that can be withdrawn in a given year is limited by state law to a relatively small percentage of the endowment’s market value. Most contributions to the endowment are further limited to donor-specified purposes – for example, a particular research endeavor, a designated faculty professorship, or student financial aid. The university is legally and ethically bound to preserve and use such contributions solely for those donor-specified purposes and to steward them to support those endeavors in perpetuity. The University cannot use these restricted funds for other purposes, such as general university operations during these difficult times. Only a very small portion of the endowment is unrestricted and, in many cases, represents institutional matching funds for donor-restricted endowment gifts. As noted above, the amount of funds that may be accessed from unrestricted endowment is also limited by state law.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:55pm

The university has said that furloughs and layoffs are likely. When will those decisions be announced?

Furloughs and layoffs are regrettably expected to be necessary within some units of the university as a consequence of the financial losses due to COVID-19. Those decisions will be made at the divisional and departmental level, including within university administration. Timelines will vary, but a small number have already begun and have been communicated to affected employees. Substantial transition assistance is being provided for all affected employees.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:58pm

Did the university consider alternatives to halting 403b contributions to address its projected losses?

Yes, the university looked at all major areas of expense for potential near-term savings, including both personnel and non-personnel costs. For example, we project more than $80 million in preservation of cash in FY21 from freezing or deferring capital investments. However, because we are a people-driven organization, personnel costs account for approximately 60% of the university’s total expenses, and it is unfortunately not possible to achieve needed savings without impacting our workforce in some respect.

In consultation with the divisions, the university considered a range of personnel-related options including salary and hiring freezes, salary cuts, large-scale furloughs and layoffs, suspension of retirement contributions, and reductions in other benefits (e.g., health care, tuition support).

In deciding to move forward with the one-year salary and hiring freeze, suspension of retirement contribution, and leadership salary cuts, the university sought to prioritize those options that maintained employment and sustained current take-home pay and benefits for the greatest number of employees. Many of our university and academic medicine peer institutions have made similar decisions, including Duke and Northwestern among others. In addition, the university was mindful of its role as an anchor institution in Baltimore and region and sought to minimize the effects on local economy, of which our workforce is such an important part.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:59pm

Who decided on the freeze on salaries and hiring and halt 403b contributions, and who was consulted?

University leaders consulted extensively with the deans and their divisional business officers, a subgroup of the Faculty Budget Advisory Committee and a subgroup of the Board of Trustees about the options for initial mitigation actions, and then made the decisions with the approval of the full Board of Trustees.

In the second phase of our mitigation efforts, the university administration and deans are setting goals for strengthening the finances of each school and division over the next five years. Per the JHU’s traditional approach to financial management, it will be up to each school and division to determine how best to meet these objectives while assuring that resources are allocated in alignment with core institutional values as well as achieving excellence in its missions.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:58pm

How reliant is JHU on revenue from clinical services?

Clinical revenue comprises approximately 12% of total JHU revenues. Initial projections estimated a FY21 reduction in clinical revenue of as much as $200 million, or 24%, due to the suspension of most non-emergency, non-COVID procedures and in-person visits. Pursuant to the terms of a recent order from Gov. Larry Hogan, Johns Hopkins Medicine has taken steps to resume certain suspended clinical activities, and it will continue to do so as safety allows. As a result, projected losses in clinical revenue for FY21 have been revised to approximately $149 million.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 3:00pm

How has the suspension of most in-person research affected JHU finances?

Our initial projections estimated revenue shortfalls of as much as $30 million, or approximately 1% of the total, due to suspension of research activity. Those estimates reflect our calculation of the potential difference between reduced reimbursements and continued costs, based on actual results so far and modeling of the gradual transition to full resumption of in-person activities.

Pursuant to an accommodation by the federal government and the temporary pay policy adopted by Johns Hopkins, research personnel who were unable to do any work because of the COVID 19 restrictions and whose salary is supported by federal grants have been able to continue to charge salaries to grants through June 15. Researchers who can remotely perform grant activities such as data analysis, literature reviews, and grant or paper writing can continue to charge salaries to grants after that date. However, projections reflect that we anticipate that non-personnel research expenses, such as lab supplies and service center charges, will decrease during the period when on-campus research activities are significantly reduced. As a result, the indirect cost recoveries associated with these expenses will be reduced, even though research facilities and administrative costs are largely fixed and continue to be incurred.

The university has undertaken extensive planning efforts to allow a safe resumption of research activities, and pursuant to recent actions by the state and Baltimore City governments, we have set a target date of June 15 to begin a gradual, phased resumption of our non-COVID research activities.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 3:01pm

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 a financial 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: June 18, 2020 3:01pm

Does the estimate of reduced tuition revenue take into account potential travel restrictions international students may face?

Yes. Potentially restricted travel for international students is one of several factors the university considered in estimating potential revenue shortfalls from tuition. International students make up about 11% of Johns Hopkins’ undergraduate population and 23% of graduate students.

The perspectives international students bring are a crucial element of the Johns Hopkins educational experience, particularly in programs with a global focus, such as those at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Advanced International Studies. Each of our academic divisions is also working creatively to allow international students to be able to continue their education in the fall term, including virtual options.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 3:11pm

Why is Johns Hopkins raising tuition amid a pandemic?

Tuition and fee increases for the next academic year were set before the COVID pandemic at a level consistent with our goals to support the university’s pursuit of excellence in its educational mission while remaining competitive with our peers. Our tuition increase of 3% for undergraduates in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering, for example, is lower than nearly all of our peer institutions that have published their 2020-2021 tuition rates.

We understand that the COVID pandemic is creating unexpected financial burdens for many families. The university is prepared to help meet these burdens with commitments to significantly increase financial aid. We encourage any students whose circumstances have changed to contact the financial aid office. Answers to financial aid questions related to COVID-19 can be found on the Financial Aid website.

Last updated: June 18, 2020 2:50pm

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


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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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Keep six feet between you and others

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If you have symptoms

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