Johns Hopkins University today shared plans for the fall 2020 semester for undergraduate students, announcing that the university will resume in-person activities for students with health and safety protocols in place while also preserving flexibility for those who cannot—or do not wish to—return to campus in the fall.
Dear Members of the Johns Hopkins Community:
We are pleased to share today our plans for the undergraduate experience at JHU this fall. After extensive consultation with our faculty public health and medical experts, and input from faculty, students, and staff, we have determined that we will be able to resume in-person activities for our undergraduates but that we will also provide maximum flexibility for those who cannot or do not wish to return to campus this fall.
Throughout our planning, we have been guided by absolute commitments to excellence in the undergraduate educational experience, equity and inclusivity, and the health and safety of all members of our community. Fulfilling those commitments amid the continuing COVID pandemic means that many aspects of life on campus this fall will be different. The full details of our draft plan are available on our new JHU Coronavirus Information website and a summary of the key components is below.
Academic Schedule and Classes
- As long as the public health situation is favorable, undergraduate classes, both in-person and remote, will begin August 31, as previously scheduled. The last day of in-person undergraduate classes for the semester will be Friday, Nov. 20. After the Thanksgiving break, all academic activity will be in an online/remote modality, through final exams.
- Some courses will be offered exclusively in person, but most will be offered in online/remote and hybrid (combination of in-person and online) formats.
- Classroom capacity will be limited to provide physical distancing. To maximize the use of classrooms, courses may be offered in an expanded schedule that may include evenings and weekends. Course offerings and modality changes will be viewable in SIS Self-Service after July 10.
- Generally, large classes will be held virtually while smaller and medium-size classes will be held either in person or online/remote.
Housing and Dining
- First-year students coming to Baltimore will be required to live on campus. They will have private bedrooms with limited sharing of bathrooms.
- Because of the need to de-densify our dorms, we will not have space on campus for all second-year students. We will provide housing in nearby hotels and apartments, with support from RAs and transportation to and from campus. Second-year students also are allowed for this academic year to live on their own, in private off-campus housing near campus. Our Off-Campus Housing Office can help identify the options for those who are interested.
- Third- and fourth-year students will continue to secure their own housing off campus with assistance from our Off-Campus Housing Office.
- Our dining locations will focus on grab-and-go options and no group seating.
Health and Safety
- Students returning to campus may be required to undergo virus testing.
- Face coverings will be required both indoors and outdoors while on campus.
- Students and employees will be asked to monitor themselves for symptoms daily.
- Testing will be available for all affiliates with COVID-19 symptoms who meet the testing criteria set by the CDC and Johns Hopkins' Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, and we may also do proactive testing at points throughout the semester.
- We have plans in place for residential students who test positive to isolate themselves and for any other residential students who were in significant contact with them to quarantine for 14 days. Those not in university housing will also be required to follow isolation and quarantine procedures.
Financial Aid and Employment
- The summer savings expectation has been waived and replaced with a grant.
- Renewal of financial aid packages will be emailed to all students the week of July 6 and the billing date will be moved from July to August.
- Student employment and paid internships will continue to be available for students this fall, including remote options for students physically in the United States.
- Students whose financial situations have changed as a result of the COVID pandemic, or who need additional support to complete their coursework remotely, should contact the financial aid office.
We understand that some students are at higher risk of negative outcomes from COVID, or must stay in close contact with those who are. We ask that they consider not returning to campus this fall, and we will offer full support to ensure that anyone who cannot or does not wish to return in person this semester can continue to progress in their education.
We implore those who do return to understand the collective responsibility we all have to ensure the safety of every member of our community. We have adopted an extensive set of control measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus on campus, including mandatory face covering at all times, physical distancing, new cleaning protocols, and enhanced building ventilation, but they will be effective only if we are all committed to following them. Watch for information this fall from the JH Needs U campaign about how we can all keep each other safe.
What happens next
- First- and second-year students will be hearing shortly from Student Affairs about housing options. They and their families will have from July 10 to 22 to decide on the best option for this semester.
- Course options, including identification of which courses will be offered in which modality (online, in person, or mixed) will be available for review after July 10.
- Financial aid, advising, new student mentoring, and many other supports and services are available now and throughout the summer.
- Town halls for undergraduates will be held on Thursday, July 2 from 9 to 10 a.m. Eastern Time and Tuesday, July 7 from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Time so that you can ask questions and give feedback. Links will be on the virtual town halls page of the JHU Coronavirus Information website.
- Our plans for the fall are not yet final, and we welcome additional input. We expect to finalize our approach in mid-July, with the understanding that we will not hesitate to change course at any time before or during the semester if the public health situation demands it, even if that means a return to entirely remote learning.
As we navigate a time unlike any that most of us have lived through, filled with uncertainty and anxiety, we will—with your support—continue to do what we do best: Be deliberate in our approach, consult widely, and be open to new ideas and approaches while letting rigorous and scientific data lead us to the best possible solutions for this moment and for our future.
We urge you and your families to review the JHU Coronavirus Information website and the information offered about the academic experience and undergraduate life. And we thank you for your patience, your persistence, and your willingness to invest yourselves fully in creating a different and unparalleled Hopkins experience for fall 2020.
Ronald J. Daniels
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Vice Provost for Student Affairs