Information for Graduate Students + Postdocs

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

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. We anticipate a broad resumption of in-person classes for our undergraduate, professional, and graduate students this fall.

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 will require all students coming or returning to our campuses in the United States this fall, and who do not require religious or health exemptions, to be vaccinated. More information on vaccine requirements and availability

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.  

Asymptomatic Testing for Graduate Students

As of Oct. 4, the following testing rules apply: 

  • Once-weekly COVID testing will be required for all vaccinated graduate students (with the exception of School of Medicine affiliates, who will follow Johns Hopkins Medicine’s once-weekly testing policy) who are in-person on a Johns Hopkins campus in Baltimore or Washington, D.C.
  • Twice-weekly testing will be required for all unvaccinated graduate students (with the exception of School of Medicine affiliates, who will follow Johns Hopkins Medicine’s once-weekly testing policy)
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 Johns Hopkins University faculty, staff, and students need to know before coming to campus or to a JHU work location for Fall 2021?

As of Aug. 27, 2021, the following rules are in effect:

Masking

Indoors, face coverings are universally mandated across JHU campuses, except in the following situations:

  • In single-occupancy offices with the door closed
  • In residence hall dorm rooms/suites/apartments, only with roommates

The Baltimore City mask mandate provides an exception when eating. Anywhere on campus, momentary unmasking for drinks/snacks remains permitted. We are permitting meals outdoors without distancing/masking restrictions and in indoor spaces where a 6-foot distance from other people can be consistently maintained. Eating in cubicles and shared offices with 6-foot distancing is, therefore, permitted, but masks are required when not eating. Facilities staff are working on establishing areas across campus for de-densified dining.

The following are not acceptable as face coverings:

  • Any face covering with an exhalation valve
  • Neck “gaiter” coverings
  • Bandanas
  • Face shields

See more information on face coverings

Asymptomatic Testing

The following groups must receive a COVID-19 test at one of our on-campus locations:

  • All unvaccinated students, staff, and faculty who have an approved exception – 2x/week
  • All vaccinated undergraduate students – 1x/week

All JHU students, staff, and faculty may also utilize JHU testing sites for voluntary asymptomatic COVID testing.  Symptomatic testing will be arranged via the JHCCC.  For more information on how to obtain a test click here.

Dining

Anywhere on campus, momentary unmasking for drinks/snacks remains permitted. We are permitting meals outdoors without distancing/masking restrictions and in indoor spaces where a 6-foot distance from other people can be consistently maintained. Eating in cubicles and shared offices with 6-foot distancing is, therefore, permitted, but masks are required when not eating. Facilities staff are working on establishing areas across campus for de-densified dining.

Other requirements

Mandatory influenza vaccinations guidelines will be released later this fall.

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: Sep 3, 2021 1:32pm

Can events be held?

Events of fewer than 50 people are permitted, both indoors and outside. Larger events (50 or more people), either indoors and outside, must be approved by both divisional leadership (such as the divisional business officer or director of operations or events) and by submitting a request to covid-events@jhu.edu. Student groups planning events should work with their Student Affairs advisors.

All registered student organizations on the Homewood campus planning events should submit their event request through Hopkins Groups  or reach out to the Leadership, Engagement & Experiential Development Office for questions or additional guidance.

As of Oct. 26, food and drink are permitted at outdoor events. This means events at which food and drink is the primary purpose—such as picnics and cocktail receptions—are allowed outside, subject to size restrictions.

University-sponsored indoor events on campus may provide only prepackaged, grab-and-go meals to be taken away to eat outdoors or in physically distanced areas indoors. Sit-down meals, buffets, and platters at these events are suspended. These guidelines also apply to off-campus events anywhere in Maryland and D.C.; local and venue rules apply in other areas.

It is important to note the “go” in grab-and-go; attendees must disperse from the event when given the grab-and-go food, and not immediately open and eat in a dense setting where individuals cannot easily maintain a 6-foot distance. Drinks that can be consumed with momentary unmasking are still allowed during events.

Because some prepackaged foods do not lend themselves to grab-and-go with true dispersal, such as ice cream, these types of highly perishable foods are no longer permitted to be used for grab-and-go.

Additionally, events with a primary purpose focused on eating or drinking, such as traditional picnics or cocktail receptions, are not permitted. This includes university-sponsored meals at restaurants and private homes off-site (such as at a faculty member’s or department chair’s home).

University business meals held off-campus in Maryland and Washington, D.C., are suspended until further notice.

Hopkins Medicine guidance

Outdoor gatherings can have no more than 50 attendees at any JHM locations. Individuals or groups who wish to exceed this limit, including for institution-sponsored social events on or off campus, must seek permission for an exception from Dean/CEO Paul Rothman for School of Medicine requests and JHHS President Kevin Sowers for health system requests. Masks may be required for certain outdoor events, based on event details including location. Food can be provided only on a grab-and-go basis at the end of the event.

Last updated: Oct 26, 2021 3:36pm

Are visitors and guests allowed on campus?

Both Visitors and Guests are welcome at JHU and are expected to comply with the university mandate that all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks indoors on university property.

Visitors: Visiting faculty, scholars, and students are defined in JHU Visitor Policy and generally on campus for a month or more with formal appointments. These individuals are subject to the same policies as faculty, staff, and students, respectively. Because these visitors are assigned JHED, they should upload proof of vaccination status like all other faculty, staff, and students. 

Guests: All others are considered “guests,” who are not subject to vaccination mandates.

Commencement information

Students participating in on-campus commencement ceremonies and events must comply with the JHU vaccination mandate and must have received either an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination or an approved medical or religious exception prior to coming on-campus, even if they were fully “online” students during their course of study.

Family members and other non-affiliates attending commencement events fall under the JHU guest policy and are therefore not subject to the vaccination mandate, but they must adhered to all masking regulations at the time of the event. The registrars are working on a policy that separates out provision of diplomas from the graduation ceremony.

Last updated: Oct 13, 2021 4:02pm

Why are vaccinated students required to test?

Our primary focus is on the health and safety of our university community, and asymptomatic testing remains a powerful control measure towards maintaining the goal of zero on-campus transmission. We have been carefully tracking new-onset positive cases in undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff since the beginning of the semester, and have seen that graduate student cases as a proportion of graduate students on-campus are at roughly double the rate of undergraduates. While these positive cases all resulted from off-campus interactions, JHU contact tracing suggests that they were primarily driven by interactions with other graduate students, as opposed to non-affiliates. This is not true for the periodic cases that emerge for faculty and staff.  As a consequence, in an attempt to enhance protections for everyone, we have added vaccinated graduate students to the mandatory testing guidelines.

Additionally, our testing policies are informed by the most successful practices that have emerged from our peer institutions 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. As such, testing is an additional measure of protection for our community. 

Last updated: Oct 11, 2021 4:34pm

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 do I need to do if I am working/studying remotely and do not intend to be on campus?

If you are a fully online student or an employee working on a 100% remote basis, or you do not plan to visit JHU campus or travel on behalf of JHU, go to Prodensity and set your status to “Off-campus” so that you no longer receive reminder emails. Other than resetting your campus status, no other action is required.

If you are not vaccinated, however, you are encouraged to consider vaccination and to upload your status to VMS should your situation change in the future.

Note: If your situation changes in the future and you do come to campusor participate in any off-site business, field studies, or residencies while you are affiliated with JHUyou need to submit vaccination documentation before participating.

Commencement information

Students participating in on-campus commencement ceremonies and events must comply with the JHU vaccination mandate and must have received either an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccination or an approved medical or religious exception prior to coming on-campus, even if they were fully “online” students during their course of study.

Family members and other non-affiliates attending commencement events fall under the JHU guest policy and are therefore not subject to the vaccination mandate, but they must adhered to all masking regulations at the time of the event. The registrars are working on a policy that separates out provision of diplomas from the graduation ceremony.

Last updated: Oct 13, 2021 4:03pm

Which rules apply to School of Medicine staff?

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: Aug 9, 2021 4:38pm

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

Effective Monday, Oct. 18, the travel restrictions previously in place for JHU and JHM personnel are no longer in effect, and COVID-related approval for business travel is no longer required.

Please refer to the following guidance:

  • JHU and JHM personnel who have an approved exception or are not yet fully vaccinated are strongly advised to avoid work-related and personal travel.
  • Asymptomatic saliva testing is available before and after travel. People who have symptoms, however, should not visit a testing site without contacting the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center.
  • Before planning any travel, please refer to the domestic travel guidance and international travel guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, check the COVID-19 situation at your destination before traveling, and follow public health guidance according to the CDC risk level. If you are traveling internationally, also become familiar with specific policies in your destination country and follow requirements for vaccines, testing, and quarantine, which can vary widely.
  • Be careful about your activities and observe good health practices once your reach your destination, not just during travel to get there. When traveling for work, be sure to evaluate the precautions being taken by meeting hosts, and continue to be vigilant and to perform masking and distancing when in public, especially when in larger groups.
  • Upon return, if you or anyone in your party has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or other flulike symptoms, please call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500 for guidance regarding work.

Last updated: Oct 19, 2021 10:30am

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

What are the current shuttle schedules?
  • Capacity restrictions have been lifted on buses and shuttle vans. Buses may return to carrying all seated plus standing passengers.  Shuttle vans may carry up to 14 passengers. Face coverings are required at all times while on board all JHU buses and shuttle vans.
  • The Homewood-Peabody-JHMI route has returned to its normal schedule. See full schedule 
  • Service has been restored to both the Remington and the Homewood-Mt. Washington Express routes; information on routes and schedules are posted on the Transportation Services website

Last updated: Sep 20, 2021 9:25am

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 will be required for all faculty, staff, postdoctoral fellows, and undergraduate and graduate students who will be working or studying at a U.S.-based university campus or worksite, beginning Aug. 1. That includes:

  • Members of non-clinical departments at the School of Medicine; members of clinical departments will be governed by Johns Hopkins Health System vaccination policies.
  • 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. Affiliates who are pregnant or attempting to get pregnant may also request an exception.

“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: July 29, 2021 4:40pm

Who is exempt from the vaccination mandate?

Individuals who are, with permission of their supervisor, working in a fully remote capacity and do not visit any Johns Hopkins worksite or third-party location on behalf of JHU are exempt from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate. They should change their status in Prodensity to indicate that they will not be coming on campus.

Contractors or vendors whose presence at any JHU property is solely limited to the delivery of goods are exempt. 

Students who are enrolled in entirely online programs and do not utilize Johns Hopkins facilities, and non-degree and non-credit students, including those attending the Peabody Preparatory, are exempt. 

Guests (individuals who are on campus and not subject to the JHU Visitor Policy), which includes those on campus for short periods for tours, meetings, and public events are exempt. 

Medical and religious exceptions will be made where appropriate using our standard vaccine exemption processes. The deadline to apply for an exception was Aug. 1. New employees seeking an exception should apply as soon as possible after they begin employment.

Last updated: Aug 28, 2021 7:17am

When did the mandate take effect?

Those covered by the mandate were required to submit proof of vaccination or apply for a medical or religious exception by Aug. 1, 2021.

Exceptions to vaccination for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive are no longer allowed, consistent with recent guidance from the CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

The university will provide free vaccination upon arrival for those traveling to a U.S.-based campus or worksite from abroad. Until individuals are fully vaccinated, they will be required to mask when indoors (even if masks are not broadly required) and be tested twice weekly.

Last updated: Sep 29, 2021 2:30pm

International students

Which vaccines are accepted?

Only FDA-approved/-authorized COVID vaccines will be accepted. These three vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, J&J/Janssen) have all shown effectiveness against known variants. Any individuals who have not received one of these vaccines must be revaccinated with a full course of one of these vaccines upon arrival—that is two doses, properly spaced, of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, and one of J&J/Janssen.

Previously, we allowed any vaccine authorized by the World Health Organization, but given growing data about the potential for lower effectiveness against delta, we are now mandating revaccination for those who have received non-FDA-approved vaccines. The university will assist students if they need help, and vaccination information is on the Johns Hopkins Medicine website.

Individuals who have uploaded to the Vaccine Management System documentation of vaccination with Oxford/AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm, or Sinovac will be contacted and asked to schedule an appointment to receive one of the FDA-authorized vaccines. You must complete your vaccinations and upload documentation to the Vaccination Management System (VMS) as soon as possible. Your prior submission will be removed so that you can upload new documentation after your final dose. You may not upload documentation until that point. In the meantime, you will be allowed to come on campus, but you will be required to follow the same masking and testing requirements (twice weekly) as those with vaccination exceptions until you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose).

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 12:25pm

Is it safe to be revaccinated if I previously received a non-FDA-approved vaccine?

While there are as yet no controlled studies on revaccination, Johns Hopkins vaccine, medical, and public health experts do not believe there is a risk to “double” or “cross-platform” vaccination, and do see potentially significant benefits for individuals and for public health within our community more broadly. Indeed, double vaccination is not that much different than boosters or vaccination postCOVID, which is done frequently without adverse effects. 

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 8:53am

How long do I have to complete revaccination? Am I allowed to wait some amount of time if I just got vaccinated with an international vaccine?

The university asks that anyone requiring revaccination begin the process as soon as possible in order to be fully vaccinated by October. 

However, the CDC recommends that the minimum interval between the last dose of a non-FDA authorized vaccine or a WHO-listed vaccine and an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine be at least 28 days. Therefore, you may wait up to 28 days after your most recent international vaccination to begin the required revaccination process. At that point, you should receive two properly spaced doses for Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or one dose for J&J/Janssen.  

Until you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose), you are required to test twice weekly and to wear a mask (even if the current JHU-wide mask policy changes and vaccinated affiliates are no longer required to wear a mask). Please upload proof of your FDA-approved vaccination to the Vaccine Management System as soon as you have completed your final dose.  

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 8:55am

If I am in the process of getting vaccinated/revaccinated, do I need to let anyone know?

No, but you need to submit proof of being revaccinated once you are done receiving the FDA-authorized vaccines. Once you complete your vaccinations, please upload to the Vaccine Management System.

Until you are fully vaccinated (two weeks after your final dose), you are required to test twice weekly and to wear a mask (even if the current JHU-wide mask policy changes and vaccinated affiliates are no longer required to wear a mask).

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 9:24am

If I am going to get revaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine, should I bring any paperwork to the pharmacy/clinic?

In general, you should not need to bring any paperwork if you are starting over and getting a complete series of vaccines. While you are permitted to be vaccinated at any U.S. pharmacy or other vaccination location, it may be easiest to get revaccinated through Johns Hopkins University or Johns Hopkins Medicine. More information on how to get revaccinated is available on this website.

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 9:29am

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 revaccinated through Johns Hopkins University or Johns Hopkins Medicine. More information on how to get revaccinated is available on this website.

Note: Second doses can be obtained at JHU-sponsored clinics.

Last updated: Sep 10, 2021 4:13pm

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

No. You are required to receive two properly spaced doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or one dose of J&J/Janssen. 

Last updated: Aug 23, 2021 9:53am

How to submit proof of vaccination or request an exception

How do I report my vaccination status?

The university has created a Vaccine Management System (VMS) for reporting vaccine status, similar to the system used to report flu vaccination. All JHU affiliates must log into VMS to upload their documentation by August 1. Affiliates who were vaccinated at a JHM clinic and who provided consent for JHU to access their vaccine record upon logging into the VMS will not need to do anything further. 

Last updated: July 1, 2021 2:13pm

Do I still need to complete daily health checks once I have uploaded proof of vaccination or received an exception?

Yes. All students, employees, and contractors who are on-campus must complete a daily health check using Prodensity. If you are 100% remote or online, you should change your status to indicate you will not be coming on campus using Prodensity. For more information, read a Prodensity tutorial on how to ensure your status is up-to-date.

Last updated: Aug 26, 2021 8:50am

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

Is the university contemplating an antibody test (or some other proof of immunity) after vaccination?

No.

Last updated: June 22, 2021 12:16pm

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, 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 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.  

Last updated: July 1, 2021 2:18pm