With everyone’s shared commitment and dedication to following best practices in containing the spread of the virus, and the added support of a robust, broad-based, University-wide COVID testing program, Peabody’s plans for a careful resumption of some in-person activities as scheduled for the spring semester are underway.
Most academic courses will remain in a remote format in the Spring 2021 semester in order to limit larger gatherings and minimize density on campus; all students, whether on campus or not, will take these courses remotely. In addition, some members of the faculty will not be able to be on campus due to virus-related restrictions and will continue to teach remotely.
In keeping with recommendations for limiting travel during the pandemic, the academic calendar has been modified to replace the week-long Spring Break with five break days interspersed throughout the second half of the semester. Audition Week will take place as planned (February 14-19); large ensemble and chamber music activities will continue throughout Audition Week and current students who have returned to campus will be expected to remain on campus.
For undergraduates, most classes previously taught in person will return to that modality. Large (50 person-plus) classes will generally be taught in online/remote modality or broken into smaller sections for public health, and in some cases, pedagogical, reasons. Course modalities are being updated for fall registration to begin in mid-April and may be further refined as planning continues over the summer.
In addition to the performance-related activities that Peabody successfully conducted in person during the spring semester, we will be expanding the academic courses and co-curricular opportunities that will be offered in person and expect that all aspects of the student experience will return to in-person modality this fall, including the on-campus residential experience for our students.
Attendance by both students and faculty will be required in programs that are ordinarily conducted in person, except in cases where individuals receive accommodations for the fall semester through the Office of Institutional Equity or Student Disability Services.
Unfortunately, SEVP/DHS has not yet established guidelines for international students for the spring 2021 semester. We are working closely with the Office of International Services and will update international students as soon as possible. If SEVP issues a continuation of their fall 2020 guidance, new international students can enter the U.S. to pursue their program as long as the program is not 100% online and the student is able to take a course load that is not 100% online. New students must take at least one in-person course for spring 2021. Assuming SEVP extends the fall guidance to spring 2021, continuing students would be able to enter or remain in the United States enrolled in a hybrid format or take a fully online course load.
Many countries still have travel restrictions and/or suspended consulate activity, which may limit the ability of international students to travel to the U.S. As with the fall, we will continue to provide the highest quality experience remotely for those unable to be on campus and our faculty and staff are ready to support you in every way possible should you need or elect to pursue your program completely online. International students with questions should contact the JHU Office of International Students at 667-208-7001, or at email@example.com.
We recognize that international students may continue to experience disruptions in their plans to travel to Baltimore; for those students who are not able join us on campus due to restrictions in international travel, Peabody will continue to offer most, if not all, courses required to advance your degrees in a robust online format.
In order to safely welcome students back to campus life and enhance everyone’s ability to observe social distancing guidelines, all student residential rooms are single-occupancy for the spring semester, with limited and controlled sharing of bathroom facilities. Freshmen have received priority for on-campus housing, and sophomores are released from the residency requirement. Sophomores with concerns about securing off-campus housing should be in touch with Student Affairs.
Peabody’s dining plan for the spring is focused on a grab-and-go model for students living in Peabody housing.
In addition, appropriate spaces have been identified and set aside for isolation and quarantine protocols should those become necessary.
We plan to increase the density in our residence halls to near-normal capacity, and we are reinstating the residency requirement for sophomores in addition to maintaining it for first-year students for fall 2021. We also expect to resume in-person dining on campus in a de-densified environment.
There is a robust program in place for COVID testing. Testing will be available to all, and required of many, with the potential to increase or expand required testing based on real-time positivity rates, participation rates, and public health conditions in Maryland and D.C. Testing protocols at Peabody include the collection and testing of saliva samples on our Mt. Vernon campus.
Effective February 8, all students are required to participate in mandatory testing three times per week. Testing is available at any of the nine JHU asymptomatic COVID testing sites – including at Maestro’s Café on Peabody’s campus.
Testing is also required once weekly for faculty and staff who are working on campus, as well as for contract workers, vendors, and necessary visitors. Twice weekly testing is available to on-campus faculty and staff who request it. Optional, free testing will also be available on a weekly basis for all asymptomatic affiliates who are not on campus. Faculty traveling to Maryland from out of state are advised to note the specific testing and/or quarantine protocols for their home state.
As always, those who are experiencing COVID symptoms or who may have been exposed to someone with the COVID virus should call the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center (833-546-7546).
We will continue to follow the best advice of public health experts with respect to our health and safety protocols, with specific details to come as we get closer to the fall semester. At this time, we are planning for:
As you know, multiple vaccines (from Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson) have been demonstrated to provide high levels of protection against the COVID virus with reports of only minimal and brief side effects following administration. Thankfully, vaccine supply shortages have eased. The United States is now vaccinating more than 4 million people a day, and more than 100 million Americans have already received at least one vaccine dose. And this week, Governor Hogan announced that all adults in Maryland will be eligible to receive the vaccine starting April 12. If the pace of current vaccination continues, we expect that every member of our community will be able to be vaccinated over the next few months.
Given the importance of mass vaccination in protecting our community, we will require all students coming or returning to our campuses this fall, and who do not require religious or health exemptions, to be vaccinated. We strongly urge, and may soon require, all faculty and staff to be vaccinated as well.
We will seek to facilitate opportunities for students who are unable to get vaccinated in their home jurisdictions to be vaccinated when they arrive on campus, and we are working to make on-campus vaccination available for all members of our community. Ensuring that the overwhelming percentage of our community’s population is vaccinated will greatly reduce the risk of the virus’s spread on our campuses and will also protect our neighbors in Baltimore.
We encourage all campus members interested in learning more about the science of the vaccine to visit Johns Hopkins Medicine’s COVID-19 Vaccine Safety website.
We are in the process of establishing a system for JHU affiliates to register their vaccination status, so you should retain documentation when you are vaccinated. Registration will be required for students, and we will urge faculty and staff to voluntarily report their status to help us determine the appropriate level of public health protections over the summer and fall. More information on the registration process will be available in the coming weeks.
We will continue to require strict adherence to proven public safety protocols including masking, physical distancing, and handwashing. For instrument-specific guidance around studio lessons and ensemble classes, please read the Conservatory’s detailed return-to-campus guidance for applied instruction at peabody.jhu.edu/campusguidance and watch the video below. These protocols have been developed with input from the university’s leading health experts to ensure the safety of our community.
Daily health monitoring using ProDensity will continue to be required for those on campus. Please note that influenza vaccination is also required for all affiliates who will be on campus. The JHU Return to Campus Guidance contains more detail about testing, quarantine and isolation, and other university-wide public health measures.
To reduce the risk of the virus’ spread, some alterations have been made to the campus, including signage reinforcing the need to remain physically distant from each other, enhanced ventilation in our buildings, and specially-outfitted low-latency rooms for vocalists. With the guidance of JHU public health professionals, we are ensuring that common areas and teaching spaces are cleaned and disinfected appropriately with time between scheduled activities for rooms to rest. The practice room reservation system will continue to be in place for individual practice and for small, masked chamber groups.
Undergirding all of 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.
It is not yet clear what role, if any, the university will play in vaccinating faculty, students, and staff, but we will continue to communicate with you as plans develop. We are hopeful about the potential for the vaccine to bring the COVID pandemic under control, but our plans for this semester do not rely on it.
Residential students who test positive will be moved into university isolation housing near the Homewood campus for at least 10 days from the onset of their symptoms or the date of their positive test if asymptomatic. Once the student is notified about their positive test, the COVID Support Team is also notified. This staff of student affairs professionals are here to support students through their quarantine or isolation time. Students needing to go to quarantine or isolation will be provided transportation to the quarantine or isolation space, have all their meals delivered, receive daily check-ins with Student Health and Student Affairs staff, and academic support if needed. We recognize this time could be stressful; this staff is here to support students during this time.
Residential students who have had meaningful contact with a COVID-positive person, as determined by the Johns Hopkins COVID Call Center (JHCCC), will be moved to a quarantine space on the Peabody campus. In the event our needs for quarantine exceed the availability of quarantine spaces on the Peabody campus, students who need to quarantine may be moved to a university location or another location off campus. At present, meaningful contact means being within six feet of a positive individual for more than 15 minutes within a 24-hour period. Meaningful contacts will need to quarantine for 14 days following their last exposure with a COVID positive individual even if they tested negative for COVID. Students in quarantine will also receive regular check-ins from Student Health Services and Student Affairs staff.
Off-campus students who have tested positive will be offered isolation housing on a case-by-case basis, as recommended by the Student Health and Wellness Center, and based on availability. They will not be permitted to resume on-campus activities until they are cleared by the Student Health Center.
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