Update on staff return to campus

May 11, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

We write to update you on the planning process for a safe return to on-campus work for most Johns Hopkins University staff members over the summer.

As indicated in President Daniels’ message last month on plans for the fall semester, a working group has been developing guidelines during the last few weeks with input from across the university. Based on those guidelines, each division is now responsible for drafting detailed written plans for the return of staff in its respective units or departments.

All plans will take into account health, safety, and space issues, among other considerations, and will specify a fall work location for each staff person or group: on-site (5 days per week on-site), hybrid (up to 2 days per week off-site), or remote (greater than 2 days per week off-site). In general, roles that involve significant in-person contact with other staff, faculty, or students, or support for in-person activities or facilities, should be designated as fully on-site. A hybrid arrangement may be appropriate for roles in which some off-site work is beneficial to organizational performance and individual productivity, and remote work may be appropriate in limited cases for those roles in which fully off-site work is similarly beneficial.

Draft plans are due by the end of May and will then undergo a holistic review by the deans and university leadership to ensure equity and consistency while still allowing for sufficient flexibility to accommodate the unique needs of our diverse divisions and units.

Our goal is to complete that evaluation during the month of June and to allow for staff who want to return to campus early to do so beginning July 1, with most staff fully transitioned to our fall posture mid-August. During the fall semester, we will evaluate our organizational effectiveness and make adjustments as necessary.

As always, we will not hesitate to adjust our plans if public health conditions require it. However, we are optimistic about our ability to accomplish a widespread safe return to on-site work based on our experiences with in-person operations in research labs, clinical settings, and classrooms, as well as the growing rate of vaccination within our community. As announced in April, we will require all students to be vaccinated as a condition of returning to campus, and we strongly urge—and may soon require—all faculty and staff to be vaccinated as well.

Our return-to-campus planning exercise is predicated on the recognition that our interactions as a community are central to achieving excellence in our pursuit of the university’s mission, and so we have instructed the DBOs, HR leaders, and others who will be guiding this process to use our pre-pandemic working conditions—including cases where work was already being done remotely or in a hybrid modality—as the starting point for their evaluations. They will make adjustments based on health and safety considerations and on lessons learned from the past year about elements of our work that can be accomplished as well or better in a remote or hybrid setting, with final determinations made based on institutional needs.

We are tremendously appreciative of the flexibility and innovation you have displayed amid the sudden shift to primarily remote work during the past year, and as we reconnect this summer, we are eager to see how you will apply that same ingenuity and dedication to the challenges ahead.

Sincerely,

Mary Miller
Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration

Jane Schlegel
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

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