Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 9, 2022

Hopkins relaxes some COVID-19 safety protocols but maintains mask mandate

By MOLLY GAHAGEN and MIN-SEO KIM | February 26, 2022

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Dining halls will return to normal capacity beginning March 19. 

In an email sent to the Hopkins community on Feb. 25, the University announced the loosening of enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols citing the local and national decrease in cases and hospitalizations as well as high vaccination and booster rates on campus.

Effective immediately, students are no longer required to fill out the Prodensity health check every 12 hours to access campus, although University officials recommended that students keep the app for alerts. Students will also only be required to get a COVID-19 test once per week as opposed to twice. According to the administrators, this policy is expected to remain for the rest of the semester.

In an email to The News-Letter, junior Raymond Perez shared that he believes these measures are appropriate given the dynamic nature of the pandemic.

“​​I think the University's new COVID-19 policies are a step that is commendable given the trajectory of the pandemic,” he wrote. “Of course, I also think there is a general understanding that, yes, this may not be permanent. We simply do not know whether this recession in COVID-19 cases is the new ‘new normal,’ so we can't expect Hopkins to know either.”

As of March 19, food service will be allowed to resume at indoor events, the number of attendees at off-campus business lunches will no longer be limited and indoor dining on campus will be allowed to occur without capacity restrictions. In the email, administrators noted that physical distancing is still recommended whenever possible.

Visitors to all campus-operated buildings in the U.S. who are over the age of 5 will also be required to follow the University’s vaccination requirement.

Even though Baltimore City will lift its indoor mask mandate on March 1, University officials emphasized that Hopkins is keeping its current enhanced mask mandate in place.

“We have consulted with our experts in public health and infectious disease, and mindful of the particular circumstances of our campus community, we have chosen not to lift our own mask mandate or change the type of mask that is required at that time,“ they wrote. 

Freshman Zuriel Joven expressed his concerns about dining halls transitioning to full capacity in an interview with The News-Letter.  

“Honestly, I don’t expect to see much of a change, considering the way that the Fresh Food Café still gets populated,” he said. “If the current state of people congregating in tables isn’t full capacity, I am a little scared to see what full capacity is.”

The University officials highlighted that they will continue monitoring COVID-19 case levels on campus and in Baltimore when assessing the University’s masking policy. 

“We are heartened by the reduction in both case rates and severe complications requiring hospitalization locally and nationally, and we are hopeful that we will soon be able to relax our mask requirements in a phased manner,“ they wrote. 

Michelle Limpe contributed reporting to this article. 

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