December 18, 2020
Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff,
Today, we share with you our promised plans for an expanded on-campus experience in the spring semester and the policies and procedures we believe are necessary to ensure a safe and healthy return to in-person classes and other activities. We are mindful of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our Baltimore community and nationally at present. As we indicated previously, we will make a final determination about an expanded return to our campuses in the first week of January, but in preparation, we have worked to ready ourselves for this next phase of reopening with cautious optimism.
Our planning efforts are founded on the understanding that every member of our community shares a mutual responsibility to keep each other and our neighbors safe. The guide—which is presented in draft as it is not yet effective—includes information about refinements to the university’s policies, such as expanded COVID testing and a new social compact. Developed by a cross-divisional committee of faculty, staff, and students, the compact embodies the principles we hope every member of the Hopkins community will affirm and dedicate themselves to following.
Moving to an expanded operating posture at the appropriate time is a challenge that will require the help of every member of our community, but our experience so far gives us confidence that it is one we can meet. Our success in resuming research and clinical operations shows that with careful preparation and diligent adherence to our guidelines, we can safely conduct in-person activities in furtherance of our mission even amid the pandemic.
We will put your health and that of our Baltimore neighbors first, and if we must change our plans to maintain our community’s safety, we will not hesitate to do so. But as we continue to monitor the public health trends, we share these guidelines, in their draft form, with the hope that you will review them and offer your feedback before they are finalized in January. Highlights of the guidelines are below, and the full document can be found on covidinfo.jhu.edu.
We wish to thank the many faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to the development of these guidelines, including our colleagues and students who continue to serve on the University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee, the Student Advisory Committee, and the Health Advisory Group.
Above all, stay safe this holiday season.
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Health and safety with expanded COVID testing
The Phase 2 health and safety guidelines maintain most elements of our Phase 1 policies, including mandatory mask-wearing on campus (both indoors and outside), limits on gatherings, and required daily health checks through Prodensity for those who will be on campus. Broad-scale COVID testing is a new element of the guidelines, which include:
- Mandatory twice-weekly testing for undergraduates who are in Baltimore, regardless of whether they will be on campus.
- Mandatory once-weekly testing for faculty, staff, graduate students, trainees, and postdocs (1) participating in or directly supporting in-person, on-campus classes (with exceptions for clinically based instruction) or (2) regularly exposed to undergraduates. Schools, centers, and divisions may require more frequent testing for their populations. Testing frequency may be increased to two times per week, based on public health conditions.
- Nine testing locations will be established across all Baltimore and Washington campuses. Details, including hours of operation, will be posted on covidinfo.jhu.edu.
- Affiliates will use the MyChart app or website to schedule testing appointments and receive results.
Use of campus facilities
A move to Phase 2 allows for more activity on campus, including low-density in-person instruction and a residential program for undergraduates. Presence on campus is not required for students, and all programs will have an online option. Major elements of Phase 2 include:
- Undergraduate residence halls will be open with limited capacity. All students will have their own bedrooms, and sharing of bathroom facilities will be limited. Unless public health conditions change, only residents of the building will be allowed to enter. Students will not be permitted to enter another student’s bedroom.
- Multiple dining facilities will be available to students, faculty, and staff of the Homewood campus, including FFC, Nolan’s, Levering, and Charles Street Market. Additional dining locations will open as the campus recovery plan progresses. All facilities will feature grab-and-go service unless public health guidance allows for limited seating. In addition, food delivery will be provided to students in quarantine and/or isolation housing.
- A temporary structure will be built on the Homewood Freshman Quad to provide space for study and/or student activities.
- In-person instruction will take place in de-densified classrooms with appropriate physical distancing requirements.
- Use of research labs and libraries will continue according to current restrictions.
- The Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center on the Homewood campus and the Cooley Center at East Baltimore will operate with limited capacity and offerings.
- Only faculty and staff who are teaching, performing research, providing clinical services, or are required for campus operations should work on campus until further notice. All other faculty and staff will continue to work from home throughout the spring semester. Campus events will remain limited.
Accommodations and adjustments for vulnerable employees
During Phase 2, more faculty and staff will return to campus to support on-campus teaching and research, but we recognize that some members of our community face a greater risk from COVID than others. We encourage faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and staff members who are asked to return to work on site at this time and who have concerns about their individual circumstances to engage with the Office of Institutional Equity or Central Human Resources about the process for seeking a reasonable accommodation or work adjustments. For further information or assistance with accommodations, please refer to the guide or check here for more details.
Support for JHU affiliates
Working and studying during the pandemic has created a host of new pressures and stresses, and the university has established or strengthened a number of programs to help during this difficult time.
- Information on mental health and well-being supports for students is available here and for employees here.
- The university has significantly expanded its resources to help affiliates find and pay for appropriate dependent care. Details are available here.
For full details of our return-to-campus plans, please see the full guide here.
- January 4: Virtual Homewood intersession begins
- Week of January 4: Announcement of plans for spring semester based on public health assessment
- January 14: Required asymptomatic testing begins for all undergraduates in Baltimore
- January 15: Homewood intersession ends
- January 25: First day of spring semester classes
- Spring break is replaced by five days off during the semester—March 22 and 30, and April 14, 20, and 30
- May 3-4; 5-13: Undergraduate reading and exam period
- May 27: University Commencement