COVID-19 Updates

Johns Hopkins SAIS is actively monitoring the global COVID-19 outbreak, focusing on the health and well-being of the university community. CLICK HERE for additional information, including spring semester reopening plans.

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Spring 2021 Reopening Resources

Washington DC Campus Updates

Dear Faculty and Staff,
Please see attached an information flyer about JHU’s current vaccine policy for your awareness. We hope it will clear up any confusion about the policy and where you should go to receive your COVID-19 vaccinations. Should the policy change, we will send an updated version.
Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Enjoy the rest of your week!
Office of the Chief of Staff

Dear SAIS Students,
We are looking forward to welcoming you for the Spring 2021 semester. As stated in a recent announcement from Dean Cohen, SAIS has decided to resume in-person classes for the spring 2021 semester. Due to ongoing security restrictions in the DC area, our in-person reopening has been delayed one week and is now scheduled for Monday, February 1st. This change does not impact the start of classes, which will start on Monday, January 25th.Whether you have decided to remain fully virtual, online, or hybrid, we look forward to continuing to support you in any way we can. If you will be coming to campus, I assure you we have worked hard to create an environment where you can feel safe and prepared to have a successful semester.

This email contains valuable information to help prepare you for class in a few weeks. Please take the time to read it completely and familiarize yourself with the protocols/guidance that have been put in place to help ensure the health and safety of the entire SAIS community. In addition, the university has published an extensive Return to Campus Guide to help students across all divisions stay safe and healthy. Please take some time to familiarize yourself with it as well.

SAIS buildings will be open for in-person class instruction only. Building facilities will not be available for study space or group gatherings/ activities. Group gatherings of any size will be prohibited on campus and discouraged for students off campus. All student support services including the Library, Student Accounts, Student Life, Student Services, Global Careers, and Registrar will remain virtual. Building staff will be limited to security and essential operations. Students in need of support, should contact each respective office by email/phone.

Daily Health Checks
SAIS will require comprehensive COVID safety measures on campus, including face coverings, physical distancing, enhanced cleaning protocols, and self-monitoring for symptoms.​ Faculty, students and staff will be required to check their symptoms using the ProDensity app every day before coming to campus.​ The security officers in each building will check the "campus pass" generated by the ProDensity App for every affiliate entering a DC campus building.​ Students must have a green pass in order to gain access to the building.


  • Flu shot acknowledged by JHU
  • Health check complete (ProDensity app)
  • Asymptomatic testing complete the week prior (negative result)


  • Faculty/staff - asymptomatic testing not complete
  • Reminder banner on campus pass until next test taken and negative


  • Individual tested positive for COVID
  • Missed asymptomatic testing (will remain red until next test taken and negative)
  • No flu shot acknowledgement
  • Health questionnaire answers require a call to the call center
  • Any symptomatic affiliate or close contact referred for testing or isolation/quarantine enters a medical management process (JHCCC)

COVID Testing
Asymptomatic Testing
Asymptomatic testing is required weekly for all SAIS students attending classes in person in Washington DC. Free testing has been available since Tuesday January 12th, and is located at the Nitze Building, 1740 Massachusetts Ave NW.  Your test results will be sent to you electronically via MyChart. You must test the week of January 25th to ensure a green campus pass to enter the buildings the week of February 1st.

Scheduling COVID Testing Appointments
Appointments are required, in order to adhere to university social distancing protocols. We have set up the Johns Hopkins Medicine Epic medical record system to support test scheduling, processing and results reporting. Epic’s patient portal for these functions is called MyChart, and it is fully functional on desktop, laptop and mobile devices.  You must have an active MyChart account to schedule COVID-19 asymptomatic tests and to retrieve your test results.
You should have received an email last week with instructions on how to establish an account in MyChart. In order to schedule an appointment, simply log into your MyChart account and click on the appointment scheduling action item. Please refer to the MyChart Tip Sheet for step-by-step instructions.
Testing can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when paired with everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make campus safer by reducing the spread of the virus.

If you have any questions or concerns about your MyChart account, or did not receive an email with instructions, please contact the Epic helpdesk at 888-676-3433 or Debbie Aguilar at
Symptomatic testing
Any student who feels ill or is concerned about exposure should call the Johns Hopkins Covid-19 Call Center (JHCCC) at 833-546-7546, seven days a week, between 7am and 7pm EST.

For students who meet the criteria, the JHCCC will arrange an appointment for an immediate Covid-19 test at the Johns Hopkins Sibley Memorial Hospital. Students will be given instructions regarding quarantine before a test can be secured.  Students who may need assistance obtaining transportation to Sibley Hospital for testing should contact the Office of Student Life at for further instructions. Students who test positive will be contacted by a case manager to provide guidance regarding self-isolation, monitoring of symptoms, and general health advice. Contact tracing will also be initiated at this time.

Quarantine Costs
Students will be responsible for all costs of quarantine if they are required to do so by the CDC or if instructed to do so by the JHCCC. SAIS will not bear any costs for quarantine of students.​ For assistance in securing hotels offering reduced rates, students should contact the office of Student Life​. In addition, SAIS continues to raise funds towards the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. Students are encouraged to explore such options with the Office of Student Affairs.
Social Compact
The Johns Hopkins Social Compact is our shared commitment to follow appropriate protocols and exercise personal responsibility, and to encourage others to do the same. By committing to the JHU Compact, students acknowledge their responsibility to ensure the continued opening of the school by following public health guidelines and adhering to all institutional policies. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to sign the Compact but are not required to do so.
Compliance and Enforcement
Students are expected to follow all guidelines pertaining to the reopening including:

  • Monitor daily health and report any symptoms to the JHCCC.  
  • Wear a mask in public spaces indoors and outdoors at SAIS, as directed or required.
  • Maintain appropriate physical distance. (6ft)
  • Wash and sanitize hands frequently.  
  • Use the Prodensity app or website daily to perform health check before coming to campus. 
  • Participate in required COVID-19 testing, contact tracing/investigation, self-isolation and self-quarantine measures indicated by local health authorities or the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center (JHCCC).
  • Follow university and local health guidance on the limitations of social gatherings. 
  • Meet the flu shot requirement. 
  • Adhere to all travel conditions and restrictions required by the university as well as state and local authorities. 
  • Express concerns or suggestions via the Speak2Us hotline 1-844-SPEAK2US (1-844-773-2528).  

Violations of University Guidelines will be investigated.​ Allegations of student non-compliance should be referred to SAIS Student Affairs, to determine the appropriate disciplinary action for COVID safety concerns. Non-compliance with COVID campus health and safety guidelines could result in loss of access to SAIS facilities as well as cand/or disciplinary action. Anonymous reports or concerns can be made 24/7 by contacting the Speak2Us Hotline:

Orientation for Students New to SAIS
Orientation will be held on Thursday 1/21 and Friday 1/22. Additional details will be sent in a separate email by the Director of Student Life, Khorey Baker.

Return to Campus Live Webinar: OPEN to ALL SAIS Students
Please join us on Thursday/Friday January 20/21, for virtual sessions to help answer questions you may have pertaining to reopening.  These sessions will cover testing, building policies and general expectations.

Sessions will be held at 2pm EST and will be recorded. You may register online BY CLICKING HERE.

Wellness Kit Distribution
Students will receive a wellness kit during the first weeks of the semester. Each kit will contain two bottles of hand sanitizer, two SAIS masks, and a SAIS bag. Wellness kits will be distributed to students at the SAIS Testing Center, registration desk. Students new to SAIS, can also pick up their Hopkins ID, upon checking in with the Testing Center. 

We hope this email will help you plan a safe and healthy return to the DC campus.  We look forward to welcoming you, and we hope you know that the SAIS community is here to support you. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Stay safe and be well. 

Noemi Crespo Rice
Assistant Dean of Student Affairs

Khorey Baker
Director of Student Life

Debbie Aguilar
Director of Operations and Technology

Dear Students and Faculty –
With respect to the State of Emergency that has been implemented in Washington in advance of Inauguration, access to the DC campus will be restricted effective 5 p.m., Friday, January 15th through 5 p.m., Sunday, January, 24th, as mentioned in today’s memo from the University.
As such, we have decided to delay the SAIS DC campus in-presence reopening by one week – to Monday, February 1st. This revised schedule will allow our operations team and other key personnel ample time to complete the process of readying the campus buildings and facilities for your safe return, and to ensure that our campus security team can assess the safety of the city, post-Inauguration. This will also allow an opportunity for students and faculty to come to campus for asymptomatic testing during the week prior to the start of in-person instruction.
This date change does not impact the start of classes, which will still occur on Monday, January 25th. We will simply begin the semester in a fully virtual format, and then transition to the on-campus, in presence option the following week. The change also does not impact visa status for our international students.
As we have mentioned previously, as we continue to plan for reopening, we will not hesitate to change course when the public health or safety conditions necessitate us doing so. This is certainly one of those times and your understanding and patience is greatly appreciated as we make this decision in what we deem to be the best interest of all involved.
By the end of this week, you can expect to receive a detailed correspondence from the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Faculty Affairs, with additional information on what to expect when you return to campus on Monday, February 1st.

Eliot A. Cohen

SAIS Community:

As previously outlined in Friday’s reopening message from Dean Cohen, weekly testing will be required for SAIS affiliates planning to be on campus in person for classes beginning 1/25. The university will be providing onsite weekly asymptomatic testing in DC at the Nitze building at SAIS.

We are pleased to let you know the DC campus asymptomatic testing center is now open.  You are now able to make appointments using MyChart referenced in the attached email.  Please ensure you complete the daily health check to generate your campus access pass on ProDensity prior to entering the building.

With the Martin Luther King Holiday and Inauguration next week, reduced testing hours are expected January 18th thru the 22nd.  If you would like a guaranteed test prior to your first class the week of January 25th, please schedule an appointment this week for asymptomatic testing.  The testing center is located on the ground floor of the Nitze building at 1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.  Testing will be conducted this week (January 12-15) from 9:00a.m. to 4:30p.m.  Please ensure you complete the daily health questionnaire on ProDensity prior to entering the building and use eCheck-in as noted below.

Once in MyChart (view tips sheet):

  • Select “Visits”
  • Select “Schedule Appointment”
  • Select “Asymptomatic COVID-19 Saliva Test”
  • Select “Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies at 1740 Massachusetts Avenue NW” PLEASE NOTE THE ADDRESS WILL BE UPDATED TO 1740 LATER THIS WEEK. 740 IS NOT THE CORRECT ADDRESS
  • Select “Appointment day/time”
  • Verify time, date and location and read the full instructions (specifically eating and drinking) prior to finalizing appointment. (The screen will say- Is everything correct?).
  • Select “Verify and Schedule”

You are strongly encouraged to “e check-in” before arrival to the testing site.

  • You can eCheck-in for saliva COVID-19 test in MyChart via phone or computer.
  • Select ECHECK-IN and follow prompts. You will receive an eCheck-In Complete notification.

24 to 48 hours later

  • MyChart will send an email when results are complete and can be seen in MyChart.
  • Select View Results, select Asymptomatic COVID Screen. Results will show on the screen.

Please call 888-676-3433 at any time, 24 hours, seven days a week, if you have difficulty activating your MyChart account.
Please contact Debbie Aguilar, Director of Campus Operations and Technology, at,  with any suggestions, questions or concerns.

Dear Students,
I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that the New Year finds you well. As we enter 2021, I remain hopeful that the arrival of the vaccines will bring a return to some semblance of normalcy over the coming calendar year.
You likely received the message below earlier today announcing plans to return to on-campus instruction as scheduled for the spring semester. I am pleased to let you know that the SAIS DC campus will also resume limited on-campus instruction, with classes beginning on schedule on Monday, January 25th.
As we continue to closely monitor the realities of the pandemic’s continuing impact, rising case counts, and the emergence of new strains of the coronavirus, the decision to reopen for this upcoming term is not one we have entered into lightly. In considering all the options for reopening, I have consulted my leadership team, as well as our SGA, faculty and the SAIS Board of Advisors for their input. The health, safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff remains our highest priority. At the same time, it is also important for us to consider the aspirations and needs of all of you, our students, who want us to resume some form of on-campus instruction on our DC campus. Having an on-campus learning experience is something we know everyone has longed for and we are committed to doing our best to make that happen, in the safest possible way.
Starting the spring semester in-person also ensures that incoming international students who arrive in the U.S. by the time the semester starts will not need to leave the country even if the public health situation changes and we shift to fully remote operations later. Existing SEVP guidance ensures that students are not required to forsake their status if such a transition occurs during the semester. Given the exceptional circumstances, students who are abroad can still enter the country up to 30 days after the start of the semester, as noted in their SEVP documents. That said, should circumstances require us to shift to remote operations, international students who are not in the country by the time such a move takes place will not be allowed to enter the U.S. We urge all international students to consult with OIS ( with any questions regarding arrival plans and immigration requirements.
Let me share a bit more about what you can expect when you come to the DC campus. First, we want to assure you that our teams have been working diligently since we closed in March to implement safety enhancements within the buildings, in anticipation of an eventual return. Inevitably, the campus environment will be profoundly different from what you may remember when we left last spring.
Any student enrolled in our full-time degree programs may opt for one course taught on-campus from a limited menu of courses provided by Academic Affairs. Our course offerings this spring will include a mix of onsite/hybrid, virtual and online options. That said, students who are either unable or choose not to return to campus, will be fully able to continue their studies remotely. The number of onsite courses will be limited and will also offer a simultaneous virtual alternative. Faculty will have options for teaching modalities including permission to request accommodations and adjustments.
Campus and classroom environments have been adjusted to adhere to social distancing protocols and ensure appropriate distancing between students and instructorsIn addition to limiting the number of students allowed in classrooms, further steps such as staggered dismissals, alternative course times, and rotating classes where students will attend classes weekly will also be put into place to ensure a safe physical environment. Everyone will be required to wear a mask at all times while in all DC campus buildings, classrooms, or on campus grounds.
In addition to classrooms, the research facilities and libraries have also been de-densified, and the seating within campus dining and other common areas will be closed. There will be enhanced cleaning, particularly in high touch areas, and increased air filtration across all facilities. Following public health guidelines, group gatherings of any size will be prohibited on campus and discouraged for students living off campus. Wherever possible, normal administrative activities (e.g., career counseling, office hours) will remain virtual.
As mentioned in President Daniels’ memo, there will be mandatory, weekly Covid-19 testing for students, faculty and staff on the DC campus. To schedule weekly asymptomatic testing and to receive your results, everyone will need to create a MyChart account. You should have received instructions regarding this in your email earlier this week. If you did not receive instructions, please contact the Epic Helpdesk at 888-676-3433. The MyChart account will be used to make an appointment for your weekly testing, and receive test results.  Students will be responsible for meeting any needs related to potential quarantine or isolation that may emerge as a result of COVID-19 exposure or infection, including related expenses or housing arrangements.
Another important step in protecting your health, and that of our community, is to obtain your flu vaccination.  As a reminder, students planning to participate in on-campus activities are required to receive flu vaccinations in advance of arriving on campus. Proof of flu vaccination or an approved exemption will be required for students planning to be on our campuses. Failure to comply with the campus vaccination policies will result in the denial of access to SAIS buildings.
Johns Hopkins University and Health System have implemented the Covid Health Check, which will be required each day to access Johns Hopkins campuses. You will have to download the ProDensity App on an iOS or Android device. We suggest that you begin using it daily to familiarize yourself with it, as you will be required to display a green badge from the app each time you access campus buildings. This app is currently available on the JHU portal. Anyone coming to campus will also be required to use the ProDensity App to monitor daily symptoms and to obtain test results before being cleared to be on campus.
Resuming an on-campus presence is a shared responsibility. Each of us will have to be vigilant and committed to maintaining the standards we all need to uphold in order to remain safe and ensure a positive on-campus experience for everyone. Over the next few weeks, you will receive additional details from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs regarding class schedules and on-campus expectations, including our shared commitment to the Johns Hopkins Social CompactWe have confidence in our SAIS community to follow appropriate protocols and exercise personal responsibility, and to encourage others to do so as well.
Please understand that any reopening decision is provisional. Depending on the course of the virus or other public safety concerns, the University or government authorities may decide to close buildings or institutions, and we will certainly abide by that guidance. We will carefully monitor the campus environment, including infections, if any, and will not hesitate to make decisions that are necessary for the health and security of the community.
Additional details regarding the university’s commitments to COVID-19 safety can also be found in the JHU Return to Campus guideIn coming weeks, we will be communicating with you more about all of these matters, preferring to share more information rather than too little, and to do so repeatedly.
Lastly, we understand that this remains a sensitive time as you manage academic and personal responsibilities in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. Please be reminded of the myriad of COVID-19 support resources available to you during this time. You can find them here, by contacting the Johns Hopkins Student Assistance Program (JHSAP), or the Office of Student Life at SAISStudentAffairs@jhu.eduDo continue to take care of yourselves during this time, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me or a member of the Student Affairs team if we can help in any way.
We will continue to keep you informed regarding spring reopening plans. As always, we welcome your input. Please contact me or Debbie Aguilar, Director of Campus Operations and Technology, at,  with any suggestions, questions or concerns.
I look forward to seeing you soon.

Eliot A. Cohen

Dear Johns Hopkins Community,  
As promised this fall, we write today to confirm our plans for a careful expansion of in-person activities for the spring semester, with a few modest adjustments, based on our thorough assessment of the COVID pandemic and our extensive preparations to keep the Johns Hopkins community and our Baltimore neighbors safe.  
With our shared commitment and dedication to following best practices in containing the spread of the virus, as well as the added support of a broad-based COVID testing program, we believe we can prudently and safely move to a more extensive on-campus experience for the spring semester.  
We are closely monitoring the pandemic’s continuing impact, locally and nationally, and we are mindful of the possibility of a post-holiday spike in infections and the emergence of new variants of the virus. Yet we also see reasons for cautious optimism.  
A significant post-Thanksgiving surge did not materialize in our area to the extent feared. Further, our experience this fall, as well as those of peer institutions that conducted on-campus activities, clearly indicates that COVID infection can be managed in a university community with proper procedures, precautions, and a mutual commitment to each other’s health and safety.  
We have experienced little or no transmission on campus to date, even in the context of resumption of lab-based research, and peers have demonstrated similar effectiveness in preventing spread in classrooms. Additionally, we know that thousands of our students were in Baltimore during the fall semester and will be here in the spring regardless of our operating posture and have thus far avoided any significant outbreaks due to their diligence in following COVID safety practices in their daily lives.  

The central elements of our plan are summarized below, and the full details can be found in our updated Return to Campus guide.  
In brief, courses will begin as scheduled on Jan. 25. All classes for Homewood undergraduates will remain online until Feb. 1, at which time any in-person classes at Homewood will shift to that modality. In addition, undergraduate students will be permitted to participate in in-person research starting Feb. 8.  
Testing will begin on the Homewood campus and elsewhere on Jan. 11, and move-in and orientation for undergraduates living in Homewood residence halls will begin on Jan. 16 as planned. We expect Homewood undergraduates who will be participating in on-campus activities to arrive in Baltimore by Jan. 22. This plan, along with the one-week delay in the in-person component of Homewood undergraduate classes, will allow at least two weeks between the holidays and arrival on campus and will ensure that all undergraduates meet the requirement of at least two negative tests, appropriately spaced apart, before taking part in on-campus instruction or other activities.  
Plans for in-person instruction at the Peabody Institute and in our graduate and professional programs vary, but all will conform to university health and safety standards, including for minimum mandatory testing, as well as relevant divisional policies and plans. Each division will communicate separately about when any in-person instruction will begin. 
This plan reflects a modest but important increase in the on-campus experience for our students. Based on faculty interest and pedagogical need, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and Whiting School of Engineering will be offering 18% of their undergraduate courses in person this spring, allowing 45% of their undergraduate students to take at least one class in person. In addition, we will open up 50% of our on-campus residential capacity to first- and second-year students, accommodating 26% of our Homewood undergraduate students. Approximately 62% plan to live in the surrounding area, and 12% have told us they do not plan to come to Baltimore. As a reminder, all undergraduate students in Baltimore will be subject to mandatory testing at least twice weekly, and all activities will be conducted at a reduced density and in compliance with state and local requirements and public health guidelines.  
Undergirding all these efforts will be our sustained commitment to keeping one another and the broader Baltimore community safe and healthy.  
To that end, a dedicated group of students, faculty, and staff has worked to develop the Johns Hopkins Social Compact, a document outlining our mutual responsibility to each other to follow all best practices for preventing the spread of COVID. We are deeply committed to the principles and requirements of this compact, and urge you to pledge your support as well.  
Return to Campus Plans—Spring 2021 

Academic and Co-curricular Programming  
Course offerings for undergraduates will include a mix of in-person and online/remote classes. Most of our graduate divisions are also planning to resume some portion of their own on-campus activities, or have done so already, and they will continue to provide information directly to their students about academic and research opportunities.  
On-campus instruction will be conducted in classrooms prepared for distancing, ensuring at least 6 feet among students and instructors. With these protections and our expanded testing program in place, our aim is to align fully with our peers that opened successfully this fall and did not experience cases of COVID transmission related to classroom instruction.  
As a reminder, our in-person experiences this spring will be optional for faculty and students in most divisions, and a system of accommodations and adjustments remains available for staff for whom a requirement to be on campus presents extra risks. To the greatest extent possible, courses that are provided in person will also be available virtually, and students will be able to maintain their academic progress regardless of whether they are taking courses on campus or online. We are also working to ensure that opportunities exist to participate remotely in co-curricular experiences. Some additional staff will be required to work on campus in support of instructional, research, and residential activities, but many will continue to work remotely until further notice. 
COVID Testing and Other Health and Safety Protocols 
When you return to campus, you will find a robust program for COVID testing—including mandatory twice-a-week tests for undergraduates and once-a-week testing for many other students, faculty, and staff members—along with extensive contact tracing operations to help us identify and isolate those who contract the virus, and thus reduce its spread. As previously noted, we have the capacity to strategically increase testing frequency if conditions require it.  
We are closely monitoring the occurrence and spread of important new COVID variants, especially the more contagious ones recently detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom, and we will conduct our own genetic sequencing in samples from positive cases. We are prepared to adjust our control measures and operating posture if these variants significantly influence public health conditions and transmission within the Johns Hopkins community. 
To reduce the risk of the virus’ spread, we have made alterations to the campus, ranging from enhanced ventilation in all our classrooms to new spaces and outdoor seating for physically distant activities. Our residence halls will be de-densified, the seating areas of our campus dining facilities will be closed, and our labs will continue to operate at the reduced levels of occupancy that have helped keep our researchers safe since the summer.  
All those coming to campus will be required to use the Prodensity app for test results and to monitor their symptoms, wear face coverings at all times, and avoid large gatherings. 
Commitment to Baltimore 
Central to our decision making is our commitment to the safety and well-being of our city. We believe strongly that our community and Baltimore neighbors are better served by our maintaining close contact with students who are in the area and providing them with regular asymptomatic testing. This expanded testing program is additional and will not impact the testing capacity available in the Baltimore community or our hospitals’ and other care facilities’ ability to serve those in need during the pandemic.   
Of note, although we do not anticipate that most of our students, faculty, or staff will receive the COVID vaccine in time to affect our spring plans, it is being rapidly deployed to our front-line health care workers, which is a great source of comfort. It is not yet clear what role, if any, the university will play in vaccinating our non-clinical faculty, students, and staff, but we will continue to communicate with you as plans develop. 
The Path Ahead  
We know that so many of you are eager for the opportunity to be together in person, particularly our first-year undergraduates who have not yet had the experience of being on campus with their classmates. We also recognize the continued apprehension that attends daily living during this time.   
As we have from the outset, we will always put public health first, and continue to consider the complex set of factors and data available to us in frequent consultation with our faculty, student and staff advisory committees and national and local public health experts. If we have to change our plans, we will. Yet if we all devote ourselves to careful adherence to best practices and the well-being of our colleagues, friends and neighbors, we can complete the spring semester safely together.  
We know there will be difficult days ahead as we continue to struggle to contain this pandemic. Thank you for all you are doing to care for yourselves and one another, and for all you serve.  
We wish you a safe and healthy new year and look forward to seeing you soon, 
Ronald J. Daniels 
Sunil Kumar 
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs 
Mary Miller 
Interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration 

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff, 
Today, we share with you our promised plans for an expanded on-campus experience in the spring semester and the policies and procedures we believe are necessary to ensure a safe and healthy return to in-person classes and other activities. We are mindful of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in our Baltimore community and nationally at present. As we indicated previously, we will make a final determination about an expanded return to our campuses in the first week of January, but in preparation, we have worked to ready ourselves for this next phase of reopening with cautious optimism. 

Our planning efforts are founded on the understanding that every member of our community shares a mutual responsibility to keep each other and our neighbors safe. The guide—which is presented in draft as it is not yet effective—includes information about refinements to the university’s policies, such as expanded COVID testing and a new social compact. Developed by a cross-divisional committee of faculty, staff, and students, the compact embodies the principles we hope every member of the Hopkins community will affirm and dedicate themselves to following. 
Moving to an expanded operating posture at the appropriate time is a challenge that will require the help of every member of our community, but our experience so far gives us confidence that it is one we can meet. Our success in resuming research and clinical operations shows that with careful preparation and diligent adherence to our guidelines, we can safely conduct in-person activities in furtherance of our mission even amid the pandemic.  
We will put your health and that of our Baltimore neighbors first, and if we must change our plans to maintain our community’s safety, we will not hesitate to do so. But as we continue to monitor the public health trends, we share these guidelines, in their draft form, with the hope that you will review them and offer your feedback before they are finalized in January. Highlights of the guidelines are below, and the full document can be found on
We wish to thank the many faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to the development of these guidelines, including our colleagues and students who continue to serve on the University Pandemic Academic Advisory Committee, the Student Advisory Committee, and the Health Advisory Group
Above all, stay safe this holiday season. 

Stephen Gange  
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Jane Schlegel
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer  
Health and safety with expanded COVID testing 

The Phase 2 health and safety guidelines maintain most elements of our Phase 1 policies, including mandatory mask-wearing on campus (both indoors and outside), limits on gatherings, and required daily health checks through Prodensity for those who will be on campus. Broad-scale COVID testing is a new element of the guidelines, which include: 

  • Mandatory twice-weekly testing for undergraduates who are in Baltimore, regardless of whether they will be on campus. 
  • Mandatory once-weekly testing for faculty, staff, graduate students, trainees, and postdocs (1) participating in or directly supporting in-person, on-campus classes (with exceptions for clinically based instruction) or (2) regularly exposed to undergraduates. Schools, centers, and divisions may require more frequent testing for their populations. Testing frequency may be increased to two times per week, based on public health conditions. 
  • Nine testing locations will be established across all Baltimore and Washington campuses. Details, including hours of operation, will be posted on
  • Affiliates will use the MyChart app or website to schedule testing appointments and receive results. 

Use of campus facilities 
A move to Phase 2 allows for more activity on campus, including low-density in-person instruction and a residential program for undergraduates. Presence on campus is not required for students, and all programs will have an online option. Major elements of Phase 2 include: 

  • Undergraduate residence halls will be open with limited capacity. All students will have their own bedrooms, and sharing of bathroom facilities will be limited. Unless public health conditions change, only residents of the building will be allowed to enter. Students will not be permitted to enter another student’s bedroom. 
  • Multiple dining facilities will be available to students, faculty, and staff of the Homewood campus, including FFC, Nolan’s, Levering, and Charles Street Market. Additional dining locations will open as the campus recovery plan progresses. All facilities will feature grab-and-go service unless public health guidance allows for limited seating. In addition, food delivery will be provided to students in quarantine and/or isolation housing. 
  • A temporary structure will be built on the Homewood Freshman Quad to provide space for study and/or student activities.   
  • In-person instruction will take place in de-densified classrooms with appropriate physical distancing requirements. 
  • Use of research labs and libraries will continue according to current restrictions
  • The Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center on the Homewood campus and the Cooley Center at East Baltimore will operate with limited capacity and offerings. 
  • Only faculty and staff who are teaching, performing research, providing clinical services, or are required for campus operations should work on campus until further notice. All other faculty and staff will continue to work from home throughout the spring semester. Campus events will remain limited. 

Accommodations and adjustments for vulnerable employees 
During Phase 2, more faculty and staff will return to campus to support on-campus teaching and research, but we recognize that some members of our community face a greater risk from COVID than others. We encourage faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and staff members who are asked to return to work on site at this time and who have concerns about their individual circumstances to engage with the Office of Institutional Equity or Central Human Resources about the process for seeking a reasonable accommodation or work adjustments. For further information or assistance with accommodations, please refer to the guide or check here for more details. 
Support for JHU affiliates 
Working and studying during the pandemic has created a host of new pressures and stresses, and the university has established or strengthened a number of programs to help during this difficult time.  

  • Information on mental health and well-being supports for students is available here and for employees here.
  • The university has significantly expanded its resources to help affiliates find and pay for appropriate dependent care. Details are available here

For full details of our return-to-campus plans, please see the full guide here
Key dates 

  • January 4: Virtual Homewood intersession begins 
  • Week of January 4: Announcement of plans for spring semester based on public health assessment 
  • January 14: Required asymptomatic testing begins for all undergraduates in Baltimore 
  • January 15: Homewood intersession ends 
  • January 25: First day of spring semester classes 
  • Spring break is replaced by five days off during the semester—March 22 and 30, and April 14, 20, and 30 
  • May 3-4; 5-13: Undergraduate reading and exam period 
  • May 27: University Commencement


Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff, 
We are watching with concern the continued high level of COVID cases locally and nationally and anticipate further increases related to holiday travel and gatherings. Within our own community, we are seeing a significant rise in cases as well, among students, faculty, and staff. Our case-by-case investigations have shown that most have been the result of non-Hopkins/off-campus transmission, but last week we reported to the state a cluster of six positive cases within a specific nonlaboratory, nonclinical workplace on the Homewood campus, and we will be tightening precautions within that unit to ensure our employees’ safety.

Even amid these troubling developments, we are continuing to prepare for the increase in on-campus activity for the spring semester that we announced in November. We have learned a great deal in the last few months about how to maintain health and safety in a campus environment during the COVID pandemic—indeed, we still have not detected transmission within our research labs, even as we have increased the level of activity within them over the course of the fall—and we remain cautiously optimistic that we can resume more in-person activity in late January. We are not alone; some of our peers have also recently announced plans for increased on-campus activity in the spring, and those that already had significant on-campus activity in the fall are generally remaining in that posture.
Public health is our top priority, and as we have indicated before, we will not hesitate to change plans if necessary to keep our community safe. We remain committed to making a final determination about the spring semester no later than early January, but we also know that if we do not continue our focused planning and preparations for a return to campus, we will foreclose the possibility of reopening.
To that end, we are making final refinements to our detailed return to campus guidance, which we anticipate publishing in mid-December. We are moving forward with efforts to increase our asymptomatic testing capacity, and making alterations to our campuses to safely accommodate more faculty, staff, and students:

  • Testing for asymptomatic faculty, staff, and trainees in Johns Hopkins Medicine will be available beginning the week of Dec. 14. We anticipate that we will begin to offer, at locations on each campus, asymptomatic testing for Johns Hopkins University faculty, staff, and students who will be on campus in early January.
  • A committee of students, faculty, and staff has been working to expand this fall’s student compact to include all campus constituencies in a mutual commitment to taking the necessary steps to keep our community safe. We plan a campaign in support of the compact in January. 
  • Work is underway to expand our campus COVID dashboard to include more metrics, including a breakdown of positive and negative tests by division. 
  • On the Homewood campus, we are erecting a 9,000-square-foot structure on the Freshman Quad to provide appropriately ventilated, de-densified, and climate-controlled space for studying and other activities.

During the next few weeks, we will be watching a variety of key public health metrics locally and nationally, and we will consult frequently with our Health Advisory Group, a panel of Johns Hopkins University’s foremost experts in the emerging science of COVID. We are also closely monitoring the encouraging news about the development of COVID vaccines, but because they are unlikely to be ready for mass distribution until the second quarter of 2021, they do not factor into our immediate plans for the spring semester.

During the next few weeks, as you make your own plans for the spring, there are a few things we ask you to bear in mind:

  • We are actively exploring alternative scenarios for increased activity in the spring, even if conditions do not allow us to continue with our current plans. Options include a delay in increased in-person activity or additional limitations on in-person coursework and other activities, with public health and academic needs driving our considerations. 
  • Even if we change our spring semester plans, we will still offer expanded asymptomatic testing for JHU affiliates who will be on campus. 
  • Regardless of the level of in-person activity we are able to conduct, alternatives to on-campus presence will remain for faculty and students this spring. 
  • Students who cannot or do not wish to return to campus will be given opportunities to continue making academic progress remotely. 
  • Faculty and staff members who can work remotely will continue to do so until further notice. The university offers accommodations and adjustments as warranted to those for whom in-person work presents extra risks to themselves or others.

Above all, we ask you to take care of your own health and that of your family and friends. The most important thing we can all do to create the conditions for a safe return is to follow the guidance of the JHNeedsU campaign: Wear a face covering, maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently, and monitor yourself for possible COVID symptoms. During the holiday season, it is especially important to avoid large gatherings and unnecessary travel.

As this difficult year comes to a close, we are mindful of the terrible toll COVID has taken on our communities, but we are also proud of the leading role Johns Hopkins University has played in the local, national, and global response to the pandemic. It is in that spirit of innovation and determination, always with data and science as our guides, that we move forward in hopes of coming together again in person as a Johns Hopkins community this spring.

Stay safe and be well,

Stephen Gange
Professor and Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs

Jane Schlegel
Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer

Dear SAIS DC Students,
I hope that you are safe and well as we move towards the end of the fall semester, and that you were able to enjoy Thanksgiving break, even under the circumstances imposed by the pandemic.
I am writing to update you on our spring planning. As mentioned in our previous communications, it is still our hope to be able to offer an in-person experience to as many students as possible, in a reduced capacity, in the spring. While we are continuing to make reopening plans for next semester, we remain mindful of the deteriorating public health conditions.
The pre-registration period designed to provide us with the information needed about the demand for in-person instruction has now concluded. We thank the more than 500 students who have indicated their course enrollment intentions. Based on that, we believe that the 30-plus courses for which we are planning to offer an in-person component will be enough to meet that demand. The registration process will require adjustments, and we cannot guarantee that any one student will be able to get into every course they selected. 
As you know, the in-person experience in the spring will be very different from what we are accustomed to. There will be strict limitations on the number of people who can be in our buildings at any given time, and this means that events and social gatherings will not be possible. All students, faculty, and staff who will be coming into the buildings will need to comply with the university’s density management procedures, as well as with the COVID-19 testing regimen that will be in place.
It is our expectation that the US government’s current Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidelines for spring will be similar to what they have been this fall. We fully understand that this presents specific circumstances for international students and other students whose demonstrated need requires in-person instruction. While we will make every effort to take those circumstances into account as we manage course enrollments, it is important to note that visa issuance and admissions into the U.S. are not controlled by the University. We fully expect to be able to meet SEVP-imposed requirements but want to remind you that we do not control the regulatory environment nor its implementation by immigration officials, so we encourage students to be in close contact with the Office of International Services (OIS) for the latest updates and to address any issues and concerns.
Whether we are able to offer any in-person instruction in the spring at all will depend entirely on the public health situation at that time. We will continue to plan diligently for a partial reopening but will not hesitate to change course as necessary to protect the health, safety and well-being of the SAIS community.
Lastly, in the spirit of full engagement and communication with our community, we will be holding a town hall meeting on December 17th to answer questions about the spring plans. We will also hold a forum for international students that day to address their specific circumstances. Additional details are forthcoming.
Please let us know how we can best assist you. Thank you for your extraordinary resilience and spirit under these most unusual circumstances.

Filipe Campante
Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs

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