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Aug. 6, 2020
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
We write today to share the deeply disappointing news that we will not be able to come back together on our campuses this fall as we had planned. We will instead offer the fall 2020 semester online for all undergraduates and online with minimal exceptions for graduate students.
As you know, our community has been working tirelessly to ready ourselves for a safe return to on-campus activities, shaped by the current science and best practices outlined by our public health experts, including our Health Advisory Group, and local, state, and national guidance. Unfortunately, the pandemic is worsening with cases trending in the wrong direction in our region and in states across the country. At the end of June, the daily rate of new COVID infections in Baltimore was 9 per 100,000; now it is 27 per 100,000, with the infection becoming particularly prevalent among young adults. Of particular concern, more than 30% of our undergraduates come from states designated as COVID hot spots.
We have been operating successfully at a low density in controlled environments such as research labs and clinical settings, subject to strict public health requirements, but classrooms, co-curricular activities, and residential settings, taken together, pose a substantially greater potential for spread of the disease. Therefore, with the health and safety of our students, our faculty, and staff, and our neighbors in the broader Baltimore community foremost in mind, and after extensive consultation with our University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee and Student Advisory Committee about a wide range of alternatives, we reluctantly made the very difficult but necessary decision to change course and move to virtual modalities.
We will, of course, continue to follow the trajectory of the pandemic with the hope that we can convene together in the spring.
Here’s what you can expect with this change of plans:
More detailed information on plans specific to each school will be shared in the coming days by your divisions, and we will continue to update the information on the university’s coronavirus information website.
We remain immensely grateful to our entire community for your persistence, creativity, and determination. We are particularly thankful to all of you who have worked so hard over the past four months to explore every possible permutation for a return to campus life and to prepare us to deliver a compelling and valuable Hopkins experience to all we serve. The thorough planning and innovative ideas mean that we are prepared to provide the Johns Hopkins experience that we all know is possible regardless of the circumstances in which it is delivered and stand ready to reconvene fully in person when public health conditions permit.
As ever, we are fortunate to be part of such an exceptional community and look forward to working alongside you once more this fall.
Ronald J. Daniels
Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations
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