COVID safety over the winter break

December 13, 2021

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:  

We hope you have plans for a relaxing and enjoyable winter break. We also hope that in your remaining days on campus and during time away you continue to exercise good public health practices. We have seen some uptick in cases among members of the Johns Hopkins community since Thanksgiving, including our first detected instance of the omicron variant, and we urge you to continue masking and exercising caution about social gatherings.

Before many of us are away from campus, we have a few reminders and some helpful information for you.

JHU Testing Over Winter Break and Upon Returning

If you will not be on campus for the entire break (Dec. 22 through Jan. 23), you do not need to test.

For those who are required to test regularly: If you are away from campus for an entire week (Monday morning to Sunday night) you do not need to test that week. However, if you are on campus at all—even if only once and very briefly—you will need to get tested as follows:

  • If you have an exception to the vaccine mandate and normally test two times per week, you will still be required to test. If you plan to be on campus only one day during a given week over the break, you will only be required to test only once.
  • If you normally test one time per week, you will still be required to test one time.

When you return to campus, please resume testing at one of the on-campus testing sites. Your Prodensity Campus Pass will remain RED until you are compliant with testing and have a negative result. Review the diagnostic testing page of the JHU Coronavirus Information website for information on how to make a testing appointment in MyChart.

Changes to the schedule for university testing sites (including both symptomatic and asymptomatic sites) are on the testing locations + schedules page of the Coronavirus Information website. If you develop any symptoms, please call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500.

Regular testing requirements (once or twice per week) for students and those with exceptions will resume on Tuesday, Jan. 4. School of Medicine affiliates will continue to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine’s policies.

Vaccine Boosters

Vaccination remains the best way to minimize the risk of illness and help protect your health and the health of those who are more vulnerable or not yet eligible for vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 booster to everyone age 16 and older. We strongly recommend boosters for all eligible affiliates; appointments can be made at JHM, retail pharmacies, mobile vaccination clinics (walk-up) and local and state vaccination sites.

If you haven’t already done so, the winter break is a great time to get your booster so that you can return for the spring semester with an added layer of protection against COVID.

While boosters are not currently required by Johns Hopkins, they may be in the future, so we encourage you to register your booster within the Vaccine Management System when you get it.

Information for Students Who Are Traveling

Students who will not be on campus for the winter break should register their travel in Prodensity.The university does not need to “approve” travel, but the travel registration will ensure that you are not marked as noncompliant for mandatory testing while you are away from campus. Employees do not need to register their travel.

We recommend (but do not require) that students get tested for COVID-19 prior to starting their trip back to Baltimore. This is especially important if you have any symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19. If you have a positive COVID test while you are away, please call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500 for instructions about when you are allowed to return to campus and how we can assist you.

International Travelers

If you plan to travel internationally, new federal requirements recently enacted require you to get a COVID-19 viral test (regardless of vaccination status or citizenship) no more than one day before you travel by air into the United States. You must show your negative result to the airline before you board your flight. If you recently recovered from COVID-19, you may instead travel with documentation of your recovery (i.e., your positive COVID-19 viral test result on a sample taken no more than 90 days before the flight’s departure from a foreign country and a letter from a licensed healthcare provider or a public health official stating that you were cleared to travel).

For students who are traveling internationally, we remind you that countries may restrict travel within their borders, lock down movement, add entry restrictions, and/or change quarantine requirements at any time. If this happens and you cannot return to the United States to continue your studies, there is no guarantee that academic programs will have a remote option, and you may need to return to resume your studies next fall.

Staying Safe Over the Break

Remember, outdoors remains a safer environment than indoors. When you must gather indoors, avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas. Monitor yourself for occurrence of symptoms and minimize contact if symptoms develop.

Everyone in communities with substantial or high transmission rates should wear a mask while in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. If you are not fully vaccinated, you should wear a mask anytime you are in a public indoor setting.

The CDC has created guidance for safer ways to celebrate holidays and we encourage you to review it.

If each of us follows a few simple precautions, we can enjoy safer travel and celebrating over winter break and protect the health of our JHU friends, classmates, and colleagues when we return.

Happy holidays and best wishes for the new year,

Kevin Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being
Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Meredith Stewart
Interim Vice President for Human Resources

Stephen Gange
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Jon Links
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer