Planning for fall and beyond

June 16, 2020

Dear Johns Hopkins Students and Families:

We continue to plan for the next academic year, one that will be different from any of the previous 144 at Johns Hopkins. We are committed to doing our best to resume a spectrum of education, research, and student-life activities this fall to the greatest extent possible—with scrupulous regard to sound public health and medical advice—and to ensuring that you have a rewarding on-campus undergraduate program.

A complete draft plan will be posted for feedback at the end of June, and the final plan will be shared in mid-July. 

In all these efforts, the health and well-being of our returning and incoming students, their families, and our faculty and staff remain paramount. All who are part of the Hopkins family will bear a shared responsibility to keep each other safe and healthy, particularly those most at-risk. It will require a degree of vigilance and self-discipline that will challenge each of us and inevitably result in a community experience very different from our pre-COVID life. But for all the ways in which our campus experience will have changed, we will be resolute in ensuring that the heart of the campus experience—the opportunity for deep and serious intellectual exploration—is protected.

As of now, we can share the following:

  • We are planning to offer as many opportunities as we can, subject to physical distancing and other public health requirements, for in-person instruction, co-curricular experiences, and residential living. To achieve this safely, we are engaged in a detailed and careful assessment of facilities across all our campuses, indoors and out, classroom by classroom, lab by lab, dorm by dorm, and quad by quad, to determine the safe capacity.
  • In the 2020-21 academic year, no student will be required to be physically present on campus in order to pursue a Johns Hopkins education. We will be flexible and supportive in ensuring that every student has opportunities to continue their academic progress and pursue their educational goals.
  • We are exploring multiple scenarios for in-person, online/remote, and hybrid instructional modalities. For instance, larger lecture courses could be offered entirely online while lab, design, and seminar courses may include an in-person option. Some courses may provide partial in-person and partial online instruction (e.g., every student attends one or two of three class sessions in person and the others remotely). Extra teaching assistants may be provided for courses whose instructors are remote.
  • All or most courses will be available in online or virtual modalities. These virtual experiences will reflect a significant investment in training and technology to ensure a high-quality academic experience.
  • Academic schedules and campus operations will be adjusted to optimize safe academic offerings.
  • We are analyzing ways to adapt student residential life and activities to the reality of COVID. For example, on-campus residences might be single occupancy only, with some but limited sharing of restroom facilities, and we are exploring options for supplementing on-campus housing with nontraditional offerings including hotels.
  • Finally, in our planning activities, we are maintaining a keen focus on equity and fairness and paying careful attention to the ways that our decisions will affect different people and populations.

Consultations with our undergraduates are ongoing and have been invaluable to this process through weekly virtual town halls, participation in university planning workgroups, online feedback, direct outreach via Zoom and phone, and the work of the universitywide Student Advisory Committee. Johns Hopkins students have brought their immense creativity and deep compassion for each other, their professors, and our staff to this process. We are truly grateful for your partnership in this work.

We know there is a wide range of expectations, hopes, and fears about the future.

We have heard from some of you who are excited to return to campus, while others have shared your trepidation about living and learning in the company of those outside your family or self-selected “quaranteams.” And the evolving landscape of the science of COVID and its long-term arc make deciding where to live, choosing a dining plan, or picking courses far from simple. For all these reasons, we are being deliberate about every facet of our preparations for this fall. Again, you will hear more from our workgroups over the course of this month, and final plans will be posted in mid-July.

We look forward with great anticipation to learning with you in the fall.

Warmest regards,

Ronald J. Daniels

Sunil Kumar
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs