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The rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has called upon Johns Hopkins—and each of you—to take a series of unprecedented steps to safeguard our community and ensure that we can accomplish our mission to care for those we serve, including the most vulnerable among us. Today, we have arrived at another critical juncture in our response, and we have made the difficult but necessary decision to suspend all in-person classes through the end of the spring 2020 semester.

Community transmission of the virus is accelerating nationally and within our region, and we continue to be guided by public health authorities and infectious disease and epidemiological experts at Johns Hopkins who are now urging all of us to observe stricter social distancing protocols for a longer period of time. We make this decision mindful of the toll caused by the uncertainty around this pandemic, including the uncertainty that comes with not knowing whether or when we might reconvene in person as a university community this semester.

With the safety of our community foremost in mind, we are taking the following steps:

  • All in-person classes will continue as remote/virtual instruction for the rest of the semester, with remote/virtual instruction beginning in full no later than March 23 (for undergraduates, following spring break).
  • All in-person, university events are suspended pending further notice, including tours, admissions events, and alumni events.
  •  The Provost’s Office and deans will convene remotely divisional academic bodies to consider and make necessary adjustments to exams, grading, course credit, and degree requirements, among other academic impacts.
  • Online and virtual teaching support is being made available for all faculty, lecturers, and TAs.
  • The May 2020 universitywide Commencement exercises will be held virtually (all in-person Commencement ceremonies are cancelled). We will work with our divisions and students on plans to gather our graduates together for virtual ceremonies this May and in-person celebrations at a later date. More information regarding virtual universitywide Commencement activities will be made available to students and families later this week.
  • University meetings and work activities, even those deemed essential, must be conducted remotely whenever possible and no in-person meetings or activities may be held with more than 10 people (with limited exceptions, such as select types of clinical care).
  • Nonessential university-sponsored international and domestic travel is suspended.
  • We are winding down all but critical research, transitioning to telework for as much of our work force as possible, and providing emergency COVID-19 leave for our employees, as set forth in the email messages over the last several days.

Outlined below, please find details about these actions. Please also check the Hub’s COVID-19 information page for further updates.

We recognize the very real challenges these steps pose for members of our community. In particular, we know that the decision to end in-person activities for the full semester comes as a great disappointment to many, as it does to us. We deeply regret that we will not be able to celebrate in person with our graduating students, their families, and friends at Commencement. Gathering as a community to honor our graduates is a cherished tradition, but in true Hopkins fashion, we will summon our optimism and creativity to mark that important milestone in a way that expresses the great joy and pride we take in the accomplishments of our extraordinary students.

As we face this profound challenge together, we are so proud of our students, faculty, and staff—among them our indefatigable frontline caregivers and researchers—who have demonstrated unflagging devotion to furthering our mission to educate, discover, and serve. You exemplify the best of this institution, and in these most trying times, we are truly grateful for all you have done to help us forge a path forward as a community. Though we will not be together in person for the immediate future, we continue to draw inspiration and strength from this remarkable community no matter where we may find ourselves in the world.

You will continue to hear from us and university leadership over the course of this unfolding situation. Please take care and treat yourselves and one another with compassion and thoughtfulness.