Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 7, 2021

University bans all gatherings until Monday as COVID-19 outbreak worsens

By LEELA GEBO | February 5, 2021

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COURTESY OF CHRIS H. PARK 

The Milton S. Eisenhower Library, which opened for the first time this year on Tuesday, Feb. 2, is now closed through Friday, Feb. 5. 

The University updated its previous announcement about the recent COVID-19 outbreak on campus in an email on Thursday, Feb. 4. According to the email, 58 students have now tested positive for the virus — a drastic increase from the 38 known cases recorded on Wednesday. Last week, only seven students tested positive. 

The University amended its COVID-19 policies in light of the outbreak. All undergraduate students are now required to get tested three times a week, with student athletes and residents of Charles Common getting tested every day. Additionally, all in-person activities and classes are suspended through Friday, Feb. 5. 

In an email to The News-Letter, Karen Lancaster, assistant vice president of external relations for the Office of Communications, confirmed that all students who tested positive have been moved to isolation housing. 

Sophomore Emi Ochoa, who is currently living off-campus, was disappointed upon hearing the outbreak had gotten worse. 

“It’s really disheartening to hear that so many Hopkins students are spreading COVID around, especially because I feel like the school is trying its best to give us in-person things,” she said. 

Junior Amal Hayat, who is also living off-campus, plans on adhering to the University’s restrictions even though she describes them as “strict.” 

“My birthday is today and I was going to celebrate with eight people this weekend, three of which are my roommates,” she said. “With the news today, I made the hard decision to cancel my gathering altogether.” 

The outbreak began at a 40-person party hosted by North Charles Social Club (WAWA), a former Hopkins chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity. Freshmen living in on-campus housing were present at the event. 

Freshman Sayuni Dharmasena, who currently lives in Homewood Apartments, expressed her embarrassment on behalf of her peers upon learning that they were not adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

“It seems like a lot of people don’t understand how serious it is,” she said. “I’m scared, too, because I don’t know how this will pan out: Will we all get sent home? Only time will tell how adequate the University’s response is.”

In addition to increased testing, the University banned all student gatherings through Monday, Feb. 8 at 8 a.m. According to the email sent by University officials, this includes gatherings both on and off-campus. 

Even though Ochoa does not plan on seeing anyone besides her roommates, she stressed that banning all gatherings does not seem feasible for the University to enforce. 

Lancaster warned that the University will not take violations of the gathering ban lightly. 

“Should a student, organization, or team be found responsible for conduct violations the full range of conduct sanctions will be considered, up to and including suspension or expulsion,“ she wrote. 

University officials implored students to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Social Compact. In addition, they asked students to submit anonymous reports if they witness students breaking the COVID-19 guidelines. Students can submit these reports at (844) SPEAK2US, through an online reporting form, by emailing HSEinfo@jhmi.edu, by calling (410) 516-8798 or through the LiveSafe app

Claire Goudreau contributed reporting to this article.

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