March 26, 2020
Dear Faculty and Staff:
We are incredibly grateful for your outstanding effort, flexibility, and professionalism as we have all worked to ensure the safety of our students, employees, and community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. You have all risen admirably to the significant challenges of restructuring our academic, research, and work environments as quickly as possible. Our heartfelt thanks and support go to our on-site essential employees and clinical-facing workers who continue to be on the front lines of helping others in this difficult time.
We have several updates and reminders for you related to your well-being and health, campus operations, and changes to work activities. As always, information is updated regularly on the Hub COVID-19 information page.
Our Commitment to Our Workforce
Johns Hopkins is deeply committed to our workforce and focused on maintaining employment, salary, and benefits to the greatest extent possible during this time of financial uncertainty. This includes maximizing telework opportunities, providing special emergency COVID-19 leave, creating flexible and staggered schedules, and providing alternative job opportunities and transition assistance (such as extended salary support) for any displaced contract workers.
It also means redeploying some of our employees to help meet critical needs across our Johns Hopkins institutions and standing up internal HR supports to help train and transition our people to new tasks. There are a number of Johns Hopkins units that are in need of additional staff and are hiring. More information about those opportunities will be available on the HR website starting early next week.
Supporting Our Employees’ Well-being
There is no question that these are difficult times for everyone as we face both the seriousness of the pandemic and its effect on our daily lives. It is important that we all follow best practices for our own health, and support others in any way we can.
The advice our experts have been sharing from the start is still vital: Wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your arm, and take seriously the requirements that we maintain distance from people outside our families. Some additional information about physical distancing is on the Hub.
The mySupport program has tips for coping with coronavirus fears and information on 24/7 access to confidential counseling and referral services.
If You Become Ill
If you start having symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, and/or muscle aches, it is vital that you stay home. If you are told by Occupational Health, your health care provider, or another public health official that you need to stay away from others—either because you are ill or because you may have been exposed to someone who has the novel coronavirus—it is similarly required that you stay home.
If you have severe respiratory symptoms, call 911. If you start having symptoms or you are worried that you were exposed, call our Employee COVID-19 Call Center at 443-287-8500, seven days a week, between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. If you need clearance to return to work after being tested or recovering from illness, please continue to call Occupational Health at 410-955-6211.
The Employee COVID-19 Call Center is staffed by Johns Hopkins nurses and physicians and specially trained nursing and medical students. When you call, a representative will instruct you about next steps depending on your circumstances. They will arrange for testing if needed and assist in transmitting information to Occupational Health.
You are always free to call your personal primary care provider, and should continue to do so for family members who have symptoms, but JHU employees should call the ECCC so that we can give you the best direction for your circumstances and arrange for testing if needed.
You should have received an update Monday explaining that we have already implemented plans for maintaining crucial university operations under current and potential future government restrictions. Among the changes, access to buildings across our campuses—except our medical facilities—is restricted. Essential transportation services continue with adjusted schedules. Essential supply chain services will continue, including mail and package delivery and critical supplies, and security levels will be maintained across our campuses.
Essential On-site Work
The vast majority of Johns Hopkins University’s nearly 21,000 employees have shifted to telework or to a paid, on-call status, but some are still needed to perform essential on-site work in areas related to patient care and the maintenance of critical facilities and infrastructure. Some workers who would not be considered essential during other emergency situations (such as a weather emergency) are needed on-site now because of the duration of this challenge.
The safety of these on-site workers is our foremost concern, and we have made substantial operational changes to help protect them from the spread of COVID-19. Facility maintenance and custodial services have been realigned to operate with the minimum number of staff at any given time, and procedures have been altered to limit meetings or gatherings and to allow for necessary preventive measures such as physical distancing.
These and other notices about employee policies and procedures, including resources to support you as you work remotely, are on the HR website.
Vice President for Human Resources
Vice Provost and Chief Risk Officer
Professor, Public Health, Medicine, Education, Engineering, and Business