Return to campus health info for Hopkins undergrads

December 23, 2020

Dear Students,

Last week, the university released its guidelines for expanded in-person activities once we enter Phase 2 of our COVID pandemic response.

While the final decision regarding whether we will move to Phase 2 at the start of the new semester will occur during the first week of January (further details about the decision-making process are available on the university’s COVID info site), we are continuing our preparations to welcome significantly more students back to campus this spring.

We have missed seeing you in person and are eagerly awaiting those of you who will be returning to campus. However, we want to reiterate that no matter our modality, in-person activities this spring are entirely optional, and if you change your mind at any point about coming to campus, we are here to support you. If you are currently registered to live in housing and change your mind please contact Student Housing at or 410-516-7960.

First and foremost, our mutual responsibility is to keep our Hopkins and Baltimore communities safe and healthy. Below is some information to help you do so.

Things to Do Before You Travel

  • Get your required flu vaccine. You will not be permitted on campus if you have not had your flu vaccine. If you haven’t already done so, get your flu vaccine and submit documentation to the university if you did not use the Walgreens voucher.

There can be a delay between receiving your flu shot and having the system confirm it, so it is very important to get this task done well before the semester starts and to keep receipt of the vaccination. Additionally, getting vaccinated sooner rather than later offers protection for you, given that flu season has already started.

For students unable to access flu shots in their current locations, particularly international students, the university will host flu shot clinics in January.

If you require a medical or religious exemption for the flu vaccine, refer to this FAQ page for details.

  • Confirm your emergency contact information and local address in SIS. Students are required to enter their current local address and an emergency contact that is within a 100-mile radius of campus.
  • Review student Health Plan coverage before Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. If you waived coverage for the fall 2020 semester and your current health plan does not provide coverage in the Baltimore area or you are on a J1 or F1 visa, you will be required to enroll in the Student Health Plan for the spring if you plan to be in Maryland. You must make any updates by Jan. 20, or waivers will automatically roll over to the spring 2021 semester, and university health insurance benefits will not be available. Request enrollment in the Student Health Benefits plan using our contact form by Wednesday, January 20, 2021.

Information on the plan and associated costs can be found on the JHU student benefits website. Please reach out to the registrar’s office with any questions about the Student Health Plan and any relevant waivers.

  • We strongly recommend you obtain a COVID Nucleic Acid Test (NAT/PCR) test at least 72 hours prior to arriving on campus or in Baltimore in accordance with current Maryland state guidance. While this is a recommendation and not currently a state requirement, we are recommending it in the strongest possible terms to help protect the safety of the Hopkins and Baltimore communities.

To find a site to get tested, visit this state-by-state index of community-based testing sites (which includes retail pharmacies) created by the Department of Health and Human Services.

If you are currently receiving financial aid and need help with the cost of the test, please submit a Budget Adjustment Request to Financial Aid and attach a receipt or price quote. All requests will be reviewed for approval and funds will be applied to your student account.

  • Do not travel if you are symptomatic or recently tested positive. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should not travel until you have isolated for at least 10 days and are symptom free. If you test positive before arriving on campus, please reach out to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) to let them know. This information will allow SHWC staff to better manage your eventual arrival to campus.
  • If you have tested positive for COVID within 90 days before returning to campus, are symptom free, and have completed your isolation period, email documentation of your test results to the SHWC at People can continue to test positive for up to 3 months after diagnosis and not be infectious to others. If you do not email this information to SHWC in advance of your arrival on campus, you will need to present it in person at move-in if you’re living on campus. Students living off campus will need to present it at their first testing appointment. Since we are requiring students to be tested upon arrival, you will most likely test positive again and need to show documentation of the date of your positive test result and attest to the fact that you have completed your isolation period to avoid having to isolate again.
  • For any students new to JHU, please make sure you have completed and submitted all your other pre-entrance health form requirementsprior to arrival on campus. Failure to do so can delay your move-in process if we do not have a completed Pre-Entrance Health Form and proof of required vaccines.

Arrival in Baltimore for Students Living on Campus

Residential students will be tested upon arrival before they can move into their assigned rooms. Students must quarantine in their rooms until they receive a negative test result. During this quarantine period, students should only leave their rooms to pick up meals at the designated area. If a student receives a positive test, they will be notified by SHWC and instructed on next steps. Results are usually available within 24 hours.

Residential students will need to get a second test 48 hours after their arrival test. Students must receive two COVID tests prior to the start of classes. You will receive a follow-up communication in January on how to sign-up for your regular twice-a-week mandatory testing.

Additionally, students who are living in residence halls will receive a separate communication from Residential Life about move-in. Watch your inbox for this important message.

Arrival in Baltimore for Students Living Off Campus

Starting on January 14, 2021, students living off campus must start their twice-a-week, mandatory testing immediately upon their return to Baltimore. Students must receive at least two COVID tests that are 48 hours apart prior to the start of classes. Please plan your travel accordingly so you can receive your first test no later than Jan 21. You will receive a follow-up communication in January on how to sign-up for your regular twice-a-week mandatory testing.

If you arrive in Baltimore earlier than January 14, asymptomatic COVID testing will not yet be available. Asymptomatic mandatory testing will be available on Homewood’s campus M-F 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with proposed weekend hours on 1/16-17 and 1/23-24 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (to be confirmed in January).  More details on site locations and how to sign up for testing will be sent in January.

Asymptomatic testing is an important tool to help us detect COVID cases early and limit the virus’ spread, but it is not a substitute for the primary prevention measures we have observed since the beginning of the pandemic. We urge you to continue to practice mask wearing, physical distancing, symptom monitoring and hand washing after our mandatory testing program takes effect.

What Isolation and Quarantine Plans Will Look Like for Residential Students

Residential students who test positive will be moved into isolation housing for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or the date of their positive test if asymptomatic. Once the student is notified of their positive test, the COVID Support Team will also be notified. This staff of Student Affairs professionals are here to support students through their quarantine or isolation time. Students needing to go to quarantine or isolation will be provided transportation to the quarantine or isolation space, have all their meals delivered, receive daily check-ins and frequent communication from Student Health and Student Affairs staff, and academic support as needed. We recognize quarantine or isolation could be stressful, and this staff is here to support students during this time.

Residential students who have had meaningful contact with a COVID-positive person, as determined by the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center (JHCCC), will be moved to quarantine housing or required to quarantine in place if their residential environment is conducive to doing so safely. “Meaningful” is defined as being within six feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. Meaningful contacts will need to quarantine for 14 days following their last exposure with a COVID positive individual even if they tested negative for COVID. Students in quarantine will also receive regular check-ins from Student Health Services and Student Affairs staff.

Off-campus undergraduates who have tested positive and who are in a living situation that is not conducive to being able to isolate will be offered isolation housing, as recommended by the Student Health and Wellness Center, and based on availability. They will not be permitted to resume on-campus activities until they are cleared by the Student Health Center.

We strongly encourage you to communicate regularly with your families/emergency contacts regarding your health especially if you need to isolate or quarantine. Student Health Services and Student Affairs, with your consent, can also communicate with your family/emergency contact if needed.

Again, we have missed you all so much this semester and are excited to see you in the new year. We hope this email and other university communications will help you plan a safe and healthy return to Baltimore. If you have any questions about the university’s return-to-campus plans, please reach out to us at

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season,

Alanna Shanahan
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Kevin G. Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being