Information for Graduate Students + Postdocs

Runhan Tao, Biomedical Engineering graduate student and Mechanical Engineering Teaching Assistant

We are excited for the approach of the fall 2022 semester and anticipate a return to the most normal operations we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

COVID remains a serious challenge locally, nationally, and globally, but based on our experience in managing the pandemic within our community—and your diligence in following best practices to prevent the virus’s spread—we believe we can safely enact further loosening of our public health restrictions.

Among the policies:

Testing

  • Routine asymptomatic testing is no longer required for anyone, including those with exceptions to the university’s vaccine mandate. We may reinstate testing requirements for particular groups if necessary to address outbreaks during the semester.
  • Voluntary PCR-based saliva testing will continue through the fall semester, and free rapid test kits will continue to be available to all affiliates.

Masking

  • Masking is no longer required in any campus spaces, including for individuals with exceptions to the vaccine mandate. Masking is highly effective at preventing the spread of COVID, and we may reinstate the mandate for certain groups or in certain circumstances if necessary.
  • Individuals may choose to continue masking themselves based on their individual circumstances, and we will continue to provide free, high-quality masks for all affiliates.

Vaccination

  • A full course of COVID baseline vaccinations and at least one booster shot is required of all JHU employees and students. Documentation must be provided through our Vaccine Management System. Our policy for granting medical and religious exceptions remains unchanged.
  • Novavax has been added as an option for baseline vaccination, but we still require an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) booster shot as soon as individuals are eligible, regardless of their initial vaccine. 
  • Individuals arriving from overseas who received a vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization but not the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose).

Isolation and Leave

  • If you have any COVID or flu-like symptoms, including fever, muscle or body aches, coughing, congestion or a runny nose, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, or fatigue, do not come to campus for class or work. Students who feel ill or are concerned about exposure to the coronavirus should call 410-516-5709 seven days a week between 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., or email SHWCintake@jhu.edu.
  • Anyone testing positive should isolate for at least five days and until they are free of symptoms.

Events, Gatherings, and Dining

  • No restrictions are in place with regard to events and gatherings or serving food and beverages.

As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, these policies reflect close consultation with Johns Hopkins experts in public health and infectious disease, as well as compliance with state and local regulations. We will continue to closely monitor public health conditions, and if we need to reinstate control measures to protect the health and safety of our community and our neighbors, we will do so. However, based on the near-universal vaccination of our community as well as the proven effectiveness of measures such as the use of high-quality masks, we have every expectation that we will be able to complete the fall semester in person as planned.

Additionally:

  • School of Medicine faculty, staff, students, and postdoctoral fellows will continue to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine policies.
  • The Applied Physics Laboratory has its own policies for individuals on its property, but for APL staff members who work, teach, or attend classes at other JHU or JHM campuses, the mandates for each campus apply and can supersede APL guidelines.
Two students walk side by side on campus
Quarantine and isolation procedures

Learn more about the specific protocols and procedures in place for undergraduate and graduate students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do faculty, staff, and students need to know before coming to campus or to a JHU work location?

Masking

Masking is optional in classrooms, lab- and studio-based classes, university administrative spaces, research labs, public spaces, athletic facilities, and non-classroom communal spaces such as residence halls and libraries.

If you choose to wear a mask, the most effective types of face coverings are:

  • N95 masks
  • KN95 masks
  • KF94 masks
  • A combination of a cloth mask with a surgical mask

The university has obtained a large supply of N95 and KN95 masks to distribute; affiliates are entitled to two masks per week while supplies last. Masks can be picked up at asymptomatic testing locations on campus.

Vaccination and Booster Requirements

All eligible individuals affiliates must be vaccinated and boosted. Proof of vaccination/booster must be uploaded to the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Management System. Full vaccination including a booster is highly protective against severe illness and hospitalization. More information on the booster requirement

Asymptomatic Testing

All JHU students, staff, and faculty may also utilize JHU testing sites for voluntary asymptomatic COVID testing. More information on testing locations and schedules

Other requirements

Note: The School of Medicine follows Johns Hopkins Medicine’s rules and policies. Masking rule information and general information on JHM’s vaccination policy are available online.

Last updated: July 18, 2022 4:05pm

Can events be held?

Yes. Capacity limits on indoor events have been lifted and permission are no longer required. Food service is now allowed at indoor events. Physical distancing should still be maintained where feasible.

Last updated: April 18, 2022 9:59am

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

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.

Last updated: June 22, 2021 12:47pm

Vaccinations

Will Johns Hopkins provide vaccinations for JHU affiliates?

All Johns Hopkins affiliates in Maryland and Washington, D.C., can schedule a vaccination appointment through Johns Hopkins Medicine in MyChart. Johns Hopkins University is also hosting a series of clinics where faculty, staff, students, and contractors can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations are free and staff can use COVID-19 vaccine leave for time off while they receive or recover from the vaccination. Visit the COVID Vaccine Information site for updates.

Last updated: June 22, 2021 11:30am

Is there anything I need to do before I can schedule a vaccination at a Johns Hopkins physician office or JHM clinic?

If you don’t already have a MyChart account, you may receive an email asking you to activate your account. MyChart is a secure website and mobile app used by Johns Hopkins Medicine that can be used to schedule COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, if you need them in the future. If you have any questions about MyChart, please send an email to Testinginfo@jhu.edu.

Last updated: June 29, 2021 3:07pm

Vaccination mandate

Why is Johns Hopkins University requiring the COVID vaccine?

Multiple vaccines have been demonstrated to provide high levels of protection against the COVID virus with reports of only minimal and brief side effects following administration. Ensuring that the overwhelming percentage of our community’s population is vaccinated will greatly reduce the risk of the virus’s spread on our campuses and will also protect our neighbors in Baltimore.

Johns Hopkins affiliates who are required to be vaccinated—and who were not vaccinated at a Johns Hopkins Medicine facility—can upload a photo of their COVID-19 vaccination record to the JHU Vaccine Management System. Affiliates may also submit an exception request in the VMS.

More information about submitting proof of vaccination to the VMS is available on the COVID Info website.

We encourage anyone interested in learning more about the science of the vaccine to visit Johns Hopkins Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety website.

Last updated: July 12, 2021 2:52pm

Who is included in the vaccination mandate?

COVID-19 vaccination and booster are required for all JHU faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who work or study at a U.S.-based university campus or worksite. That includes:

  • Members of collective bargaining units.
  • Contractors who provide services to the university community and whose primary work location is on university properties located in Maryland or Washington, D.C., regardless of employer, except contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of goods.
  • Those who are doing business on behalf of the university, including individuals engaged in work-related travel.

Medical and religious exceptions will be made where appropriate.

School of Medicine affiliates will be governed by Johns Hopkins Health System vaccination policies.

“Worksite” includes locations that are not within the Homewood, East Baltimore, or Washington, DC campuses, such as but not limited to Keswick, Mt. Washington, etc.

Visitors who fall under the JHU Visitor Policy (i.e., visiting faculty, students, and scholars) are subject to the vaccination mandate.

Last updated: April 18, 2022 10:05am

International students

Which vaccines are accepted?

JHU accepts both FDA-approved vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen, Novavax) and vaccines administered outside the U.S.; Johns Hopkins Medicine (including the JHU School of Medicine) only accepts FDA-authorized COVID vaccines. In addition, all JHU affiliates must receive an mRNA Covid booster (either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) as soon as they are eligible (the booster is not required for School of Medicine affiliates). All vaccination documentation must be uploaded to the Vaccine Management System (VMS).

Only mRNA boosters (Pfizer/Moderna) will be accepted. If you already received a J&J booster, you may wait six months to get the mRNA booster. If you were vaccinated with a non-FDA-approved vaccine (e.g., Sinopharm, Sinovac, etc.), you are immediately eligible for a booster (you may wait 28 days following your last dose). Only one booster dose (either Pfizer or Moderna) is required for those individuals.

Last updated: Aug 1, 2022 2:45pm

What should I do if I only need a second dose, because I received a first dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine while living abroad?

For those who may have received a first dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine abroad and only need to receive a second dose of an FDA-authorized vaccine, please be sure to bring any paperwork you have that shows the vaccination information and date of vaccination. After you are vaccinated, you must upload proof of both vaccines in one submission. (The Vaccine Management System allows submission of multiple documents, so please submit any proof of vaccine and English translations for documents in languages other than English.) 

While you are permitted to be vaccinated at any U.S. pharmacy or other vaccination location, it may be easiest to get a second dose through Johns Hopkins University or Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Last updated: March 9, 2022 5:05pm

Can I receive only one dose of an FDA vaccine as a booster if I have already been vaccinated with a non-FDA vaccine?

Yes, individuals who work or study outside of the School of Medicine may receive one booster dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna).

If you work or study in the School of Medicine, you must follow Johns Hopkins Health System guidance and are required to be revaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine (Pfizer, Moderna, or J&J).

Last updated: Jan 12, 2022 3:50pm

How to submit proof of vaccination or request an exception

How do I report my vaccination status?

All JHU affiliates must log in to the Vaccine Management System (VMS) to upload their flu, COVID, and COVID booster vaccination documentation.

Last updated: Jan 12, 2022 3:53pm

How will the university verify COVID vaccine records from other countries in other languages?

The university asks that vaccination documentation in other languages be translated (and certified) before they are uploaded to the forthcoming Vaccine Management System. All affiliates will electronically sign their submission to affirm that the information that they provided is accurate.

Last updated: June 22, 2021 12:15pm

How can JHU ask about my vaccine status? Isn’t this a HIPAA violation?

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has confirmed that Federal EEO laws do not prevent an employer from requiring all employees physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated for COVID-19, so long as employers provide reasonable accommodations and other EEO considerations. The EEOC does not consider questions about vaccination status to be medical inquiries. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provides protections for patients’ confidential health information, and it covers what your health care provider can share with others—not employers and what they can ask for.

Last updated: June 23, 2021 5:01pm

What file types are acceptable for uploading proof of vaccination?

You can upload a JPEG, HEIC (iPhone), or PNG photo of your vaccination card or a PDF copy of a vaccination record.

Last updated: July 22, 2021 10:45am

What do I do if I lost my vaccination card?

If you were vaccinated in Maryland; West Virginia; or Washington, D.C., you can register and obtain your COVID-19 vaccination record from Maryland MyIR, a free website service that allows consumers to view and print copies of their official vaccination records directly from ImmuNet, Maryland’s immunization information system. Just register, download or print a copy of your certification of vaccination, and upload it into VMS.

If you were not vaccinated in Maryland, your doctor’s office or the location where you were vaccinated (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, etc.) should also have a record and you should reach out to them to get a copy. You may also be able to locate this on your patient portal or on the pharmacy website under prescription records or immunization record. You can find your state’s immunization records system at this link provided by the CDC.

Last updated: July 18, 2022 1:45pm