Novel Coronavirus guidance

Jan. 24, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

Earlier today you received an email from the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) regarding the evolving situation around the emergence of a new coronavirus centered in Wuhan, China (2019-nCoV). We are writing to highlight information especially pertinent to our students and those of you who interact with students. There have been no cases of 2019-nCoV at Johns Hopkins University. More cases worldwide are likely to be identified in the coming days, and that may include more cases in the United States,

At this point, according to information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, risk of exposure to 2019-nCoV is very low. We have plans in place to promote your health and well-being and to reduce individual risk of exposure to 2019-nCoV to the extent possible.

If you have been in China in the last 14 days and have symptoms of illness, such as a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, our health care services will assist you. You should limit contact with others until we can determine the best way to evaluate and treat you safely. Do not go in person to the Student Health and Wellness Center or University Health Services for assessment. Instead, call our providers for an initial phone screening.

Students primarily affiliated with the following schools should contact the Homewood Health Center at 410-516-5709:

  • Carey Business School
  • Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (including Advanced Academic Programs)
  • Peabody Institute
  • School of Advanced International Studies
  • School of Education
  • Whiting School of Engineering (including Engineering for Professionals)

Students affiliated with the schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health should contact University Health Services at 410-955-3250. After hours, you may enter a callback number at 410-283-3855.

Employees (faculty and staff) should contact Occupational Health Services:

  • Between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., call 410-955-6211.
  • Between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7:30 a.m., call Centrex on the East Baltimore campus at 410-955-5000 and ask for the Occupational Health nurse on call.

Callers to the Homewood center may have to leave a voicemail with a name and callback information, and individuals reaching UHS may have to call back if their call is not answered promptly.

The university is taking steps to proactively contact and screen individuals who have been to Wuhan recently. Again, there have been no cases of 2019-nCoV at Johns Hopkins University. In order to manage the volume of calls, we encourage you to seek screening at this time only if you have symptoms and have been to China in the past 14 days. If an individual does show symptoms of the coronavirus, the university will follow a protocol to assist them and notify any other students who are known to have had contact with them.

If you have general questions about this issue that are not related to your personal symptoms, you can email

University classes and activities will continue to take place as scheduled. Because this is already the season for flu and other viruses, we ask all students, faculty, and staff who have illness accompanied by fever—regardless of their travels—to refrain from going to classes, labs, dining halls, offices, and other places where they could spread illness among others. To limit contagion, it is recommended that a person should have a normal temperature for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) before resuming a regular schedule.

The university is asking faculty to be flexible in allowing students to make these decisions without necessarily visiting a medical practitioner for documentation of their illness. Staff should follow the normal procedures for sick time away from work; please notify your supervisor and follow the university’s sick leave policy.

Other advice to avoid the spread of viruses includes:

  • Get a seasonal flu vaccination, even if you are not required to do so.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water (washing for a full minute) or alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand washing is crucial, particularly before eating or any activity that involves touching your face.
  • Cough into your sleeve (the crook of your elbow) or a tissue, not into your hands.
  • Stay home if you have a fever until you are fever-free for 24 hours without any medication.

Thank you for your attention to these important health issues. We will continue to keep you updated as needed.


Kevin Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being

Heidi Conway
Vice President for Human Resources