Peabody’s plans for a careful resumption of some in-person activities as scheduled for the spring semester are confirmed. This decision, made in close consultation with Johns Hopkins’ leadership and public health experts, is driven by a thorough assessment of the COVID pandemic and shaped by our extensive preparations to keep the Peabody community and our Baltimore neighbors safe.
Together with the University, we are closely monitoring the pandemic’s continuing impact, locally and nationally, mindful of the possibility of a post-holiday spike in infections and the emergence of new strains of the virus. Nonetheless, there are reasons for cautious optimism. The 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 conservatory community with proper procedures, precautions, and a mutual commitment to each other’s health and safety.
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, we believe we can prudently and safely move to a more fulsome on-campus experience at this time.
As we announced in the fall, we are planning a hybrid semester that offers as much in-person instruction as is feasible, while continuing the remote experience across various areas of instruction, and for those unable to return to campus. All Peabody Conservatory students in all programs, both undergraduate and graduate, are invited to return to campus under this hybrid plan for the spring semester. Students who either choose to remain at home or for whom traveling to Peabody is not possible can continue to pursue a completely remote program.
Peabody classes and lessons will begin as scheduled, remotely, on January 25, with move-in and orientation for undergraduates living on campus beginning on January 21. In-person activities will begin on January 25 for Dance students and on February 1 for all others, and will focus on performance-related activities including applied lessons, chamber music and other ensembles, and technique courses, with strict adherence to distancing and room density protocols. Some lab-based courses in Music Engineering and Technology will also have an in-person component.
Most academic courses will remain in a remote format 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
In order to safely welcome students back to campus life and enhance everyone’s ability to observe social distancing guidelines, all student residential rooms will be 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.
Spring 2021 billing has been delayed; spring semester charges will be viewable online on January 14 with payment due by February 12.
When you return to campus, you will find in place a robust program 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 will include the collection and testing of saliva samples on our Mt. Vernon campus.
Students must receive at least two COVID tests that are 48 hours apart prior to the start of classes, and all students will be required to participate in mandatory testing twice per week. Off-campus students may begin their testing starting on January 11. Residential students will be tested upon arrival during the designated move-in period of January 21 and 22 before they can move into their assigned room, and will need to get their second test 48 hours after their arrival test.
Testing will also be 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 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. 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 introduced this fall 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. Peabody’s leadership is deeply committed to the principles and requirements of this compact, and I urge you to pledge your support as well.
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.
There can be a delay between receiving your flu shot and having the system confirm it, so it is very important to get this task done well before the semester starts and to keep receipt of the vaccine. Additionally, getting vaccinated sooner rather than later offers protection for you given that flu season has already started. Even if you get your shot at Walgreens, we advise that you get a receipt so that you can upload it yourself here. This can expedite the verification that you received the required flu vaccine in ProDensity.
For students unable to access flu shots in their current locations, particularly international students, there will be flu shot clinics in January.
If you require a medical or religious exemption for the flu vaccine, refer to this FAQ page for details.
Information on the plan and associated costs can be found on the JHU student benefits website. Please reach out to the registrar’s office with any questions about the Student Health Plan and any relevant waivers.
To find a site to get tested, visit this state-by-state index of community-based testing sites (which includes retail pharmacies) created by the Department of Health and Human Services.
If you need financial assistance with the cost of the test, you may submit an appeal to the Peabody Office of Financial Aid by contacting email@example.com. You will need to attach a receipt or price quote for the test. All requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and prioritized based on level of financial need. If approved, funds will be applied to your student account.
If you test positive, you should not travel until you have isolated for at least 10 days and are symptom free. If you test positive before arriving on campus, please reach out to the Student Health and Wellness Center (SHWC) to let them know. This information will allow SHWC staff to better manage your eventual arrival to campus.
Residential students will be tested upon arrival before they can move into their assigned room. Students must quarantine in their rooms until they receive a negative test result which is usually within 24 hours. During this quarantine period, students should only leave their room to pick up meals at the designated area. If a student receives a positive test, they will be notified by SHWC and instructed on next steps.
Residential students will need to get their second weekly test 48 hours after their arrival test. Students should receive two COVID tests prior to the start of classes. You will receive a follow-up communication in January on how to sign-up for your regular twice-a-week mandatory testing.
Additionally, students who are living in residence halls will receive a separate communication from Residential Life about move-in. Watch your inbox for this important message.
Starting on January 11, 2021, students living off campus may start their twice-a-week, mandatory testing immediately upon their return to Baltimore. Students must receive at least two COVID tests that are 48 hours apart prior to the start of classes. Please plan your travel accordingly so you can receive your first test no later than January 21. You will receive a follow-up communication in January on how to sign up for your regular twice-a-week mandatory testing. Peabody’s testing location will be Maestro’s and hours of operation will be Monday through Friday, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm.
If you arrive in Baltimore earlier than January 11, asymptomatic COVID testing will not yet be available. Asymptomatic testing is an important tool to help us detect COVID cases early and limit the virus’ spread, but it is not a substitute for the primary prevention measures we have observed since the beginning of the pandemic. We urge you to continue to practice mask wearing, physical distancing, symptom monitoring and hand washing after our mandatory testing program takes effect.
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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