Daily health and symptom checks, mandatory seasonal flu vaccinations, and a prohibition on smoking or vaping on university property are among a new set of health precautions Johns Hopkins is implementing to keep the university community safe as it continues to navigate the operational challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
New details on these and an array of other topics related to JHU's phased resumption of limited on-campus activities are included in the university's revised Return to Campus Guidance, released today. The broad-ranging document, an update to the original guidance shared in June, also includes new or expanded information on the authorized use of campus facilities, accessing elevators and public restrooms, transportation, accommodations or adjustments for those who feel they cannot come to work safely, and support services for mental well-being and caregiving needs.
The guidance complements existing protocols already in place for the gradual resumption of in-person research and instructional activities.
"These wide-ranging instructions and best practices are vital for creating an environment where our faculty, students, and staff can continue that work that cannot be done elsewhere while keeping each other safe from the coronavirus," Stephen Gange, professor and executive vice provost; Jon Links, professor, vice provost, and chief risk and compliance officer; and Jane Schlegel, vice president and chief administrative officer, wrote in a message to the university community today. "We need everyone to be vigilant about following them when they are at Johns Hopkins."
The university remains in Phase 1 of its reopening plan at this time, meaning limited, low-density activities are permitted on campuses when authorized and when certain criteria are met. Johns Hopkins announced earlier this month that all undergraduate instruction would be conducted virtually, and most graduate instruction will be virtual as well.
The majority of faculty and staff will continue to work remotely until further notice. If the university determines at any point that public health conditions warrant either the resumption or scaling back of activities, revised guidance will be distributed.
"We are deeply grateful for the commitment of everyone in our community to continue to protect the health of others and do as much work as possible remotely," Gange, Links, and Schlegel wrote.
Several members of the university's planning team will discuss the Return to Campus Guidance and answer questions during a virtual town hall on Tuesday, Aug. 25 at 1 p.m. (JHED authentication required). Feedback on the university's planning efforts can be shared at any time via the online feedback form on the Coronavirus Information website.
Beginning next week, anyone planning to access campus facilities will be required to complete a daily health check via a mobile application called Prodensity, an effort to prevent the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in university spaces. Prodensity is available via the Apple and Android stores; more information about downloading and using the app can be found on the Coronavirus Information website. Users will be asked to answer a few questions designed to determine whether they have COVID-19 symptoms or potential exposure.
Depending on their responses, users will either be issued a virtual campus pass granting access to their authorized Hopkins facilities for 12 hours, or they will be instructed to self-isolate and contact the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Call Center at 833-546-7546 for further evaluation. No one will be allowed to report to campus without a pass, and anyone found on campus without a valid pass may be subject to disciplinary action.
University staff trained as safety ambassadors will check passes and remind people on campus to wear a face covering correctly and at all times, wash their hands, keep a six-foot distance from others, and stay at home if they have symptoms. Face coverings must be worn by everyone on university campuses, in buildings, and in and around leased spaces. To ensure everyone is able to comply with this guidance, smoking and vaping are prohibited on all JHU campuses and properties.
The university's mandatory flu vaccine policy for 2020-21 applies to anyone who will perform on-campus duties, including JHU affiliates as well as contract workers and vendors. Individuals must receive this year's flu vaccine by the first Tuesday in December. Free flu shots for Hopkins affiliates will be available via Occupational Health Services and at specified Walgreen's locations; more information on times and locations will be shared at a later date.
Limited medical or religious exceptions to the flu vaccine requirement may be granted; see the policy for more information.
Concerns about safety, compliance, or other issues on campus can be shared by calling the JHU hotline at 844-SPEAK2US (844-773-2528).
"Thank you for everything you are doing to make our mission possible under difficult circumstances," Gange, Links, and Schlegel wrote. "We will continue to assess the situation, evaluate our approaches and keep you informed."
Posted in University News
Tagged coronavirus, covid-19