Thanksgiving break

November 15, 2021

Dear Johns Hopkins Community:

We hope you have plans for a relaxing and fun Thanksgiving break coming up next week. Before many of us are away from campus, we have a few reminders and some helpful information for you.

The Flu Shot – Get It and Submit It!

If you have not yet received your flu shot, please do so as soon as possible. All JHU faculty, staff (including postdoctoral fellows and bargaining unit members), and students who are or who plan to be on our U.S. campuses this winter are required to upload proof of flu vaccination to the VMS before the end of the day Friday, Dec. 3. Per our email on Nov. 9, this deadline was extended for most JHU affiliates. School of Medicine affiliates will continue to follow Johns Hopkins Medicine’s deadline and requirements.

Unless you were vaccinated at an on-campus flu clinic and had your ID card swiped, you must upload proof to the VMS or obtain an approved exception. If you want to check your status, you can go to If you have not yet received your flu shot, please do so as soon as possible. As a reminder, the flu shot is free anywhere for employees and students who have a JHU health plan. You also can use the JHU voucher (available at for a free shot at Walgreens. Many pharmacies are requiring appointments and not taking walk-ins this year, so we encourage people to book appointments now if needed. This webpage has information on upcoming Johns Hopkins flu clinics.

Mandatory Covid Testing During Thanksgiving Week 

For those who are required to test regularly: If you are away from campus for the entire week of Thanksgiving (from midnight on Sunday, Nov. 21, to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 28), you do not need to test that week. 

However, if you are on campus at all—even if only once and very briefly—you will need to get tested.

  • If you have an exception and normally test two times per week, you will be required to test only once during the week of Thanksgiving.
  • If you normally test one time per week, you will still be required to test one time. 

The following changes to hours for university testing sites are planned for Thanksgiving week:

MondayTuesday (11/22– 23): Normal hours except at SAIS, which will close at 6 p.m.

Wednesday (11/24): All testing sites close at noon

ThursdaySaturday (11/2527): Testing sites are closed

Sunday (11/28): Normal hours for Charles Commons; Rec Center site will be closed

Regular testing requirements (once or twice per week) for students and those with exceptions will resume on Monday, Nov. 29. 

If you are not required to get regular testing but want to get tested after the break, you can—as always—make an appointment in the MyChart system. Testing details are on the JHU Coronavirus Information website.

If you have any symptoms, please call the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500. Symptomatic testing will be available throughout the week of Thanksgiving except for closures on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 25 and 26. 

Staying Safe Over the Break

Vaccination remains the best way to minimize the risk of illness. This will help protect your health and the health of those who are more vulnerable or not yet eligible for vaccination. Given evolving data about waning immunity, consider getting a booster if you are eligible.

Remember, outdoors remains a safer environment than indoors. When you must gather indoors, avoid crowded or poorly ventilated areas. Monitor yourself for occurrence of symptoms and minimize contact if symptoms develop.

Everyone in communities with substantial or high transmission rates should wear a mask while in public indoor settings, regardless of vaccination status. If you are not fully vaccinated, you should wear a mask any time you are in a public indoor setting.

For students who are traveling internationally, we remind you that countries may restrict travel within their borders, lock down movement, add entry restrictions, and/or change quarantine requirements at any time. If this happens and you cannot return to the U.S. to continue your studies, there is no guarantee that academic programs will have a remote option, and you may need to return to resume your studies in the spring or even next fall. 

The CDC has more information on how to celebrate the holiday safely, and we encourage you to review its guidance. If we each follow a few simple precautions, we can enjoy safer travel over Thanksgiving and protect the health of our JHU friends, classmates, and colleagues when we return.

Kevin Shollenberger
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being
Interim Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Meredith Stewart
Interim Vice President for Human Resources     

Stephen Gange
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs  
Jon Links
Professor, Vice Provost, and Chief Risk Officer