Effective Feb. 7, the University lifted certain restrictions related to guest policies for residence halls and club and athletic events, citing low COVID-19 case counts on campus.
According to an email sent by University officials last Friday, residential students are now allowed to invite Hopkins affiliates as guests overnight and to visit other residence halls. This change follows other relaxed COVID-19 guidelines; Last week, the University reopened indoor dining at half capacity.
In the email, University officials expanded on their decision to only allow Hopkins affiliates as guests.
“We will continue to restrict non-JHU affiliates at this time because we can’t be certain of their vaccination status or testing activities,“ they wrote.
Vice President for Communications Andy Green explained the reasoning for loosening guest restrictions in an email to The News-Letter.
“Hosting a guest in a dorm room does present some degree of additional risk, given that residential students are permitted to be unmasked in their rooms, but at this time, we believe it is sufficiently mitigated by the reduced prevalence of COVID-19 among our students and the universal vaccination and boosting requirements,” he wrote.
Sophomore Class President Kobi Khong wrote that he thinks this will positively contribute to students’ mental health in an email to The News-Letter.
“I'm glad the guest policy is back, of course, on the grounds that it aligns with COVID-19 guidelines. I know how much meeting other people and spending time with friends are an important part of the college experience and a boon to students' mental health,” he wrote. “If we're able to be with the people that we care about, I think that will do a lot in boosting morale on campus.”
The ban on registered parties at off-campus sites will also be lifted, provided that the total number of attendees does not exceed 25 and remains within 50% of building capacity.
Green emphasized that masking will be required at off-campus events and attendee compliance will be enforced by Hopkins affiliates. He directed affiliates to use an online form or to call (844) 773-2528 to report noncompliance.
Freshman Sydnee Chang reflected on the changes in an email the The News-Letter.
"I’m glad that we were able to keep COVID-19 cases low and get some restrictions lifted,” she wrote. “Allowing us to visit other living areas is a good step in the right direction but we’re still a long way from normalcy. I hope we can continue this trend as the semester continues."
Additionally, the University’s email stated that spectators, including both affiliates and non-affiliates, can attend sports games at 50% capacity. To-go food and drinks will be allowed during events; if events have at least 50 attendees, they will need to be reviewed and receive approval from divisional leadership or Leadership, Engagement and Experiential Development.
An additional email from the University’s Office of Communications on Friday noted that free, rapid at-home tests will now be available for faculty, staff and postdoctoral trainees. More information can be found on the University’s COVID-19 website.
Margery Chen contributed reporting to this article.