The University sent a broadcast email to students on Nov. 21 announcing the closure of asymptomatic testing sites for COVID-19 on all campuses on Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. The University will continue to provide symptomatic testing for students.
In the email broadcast, the administrators cited current COVID-19 trends and community immunity as the reason for the changes in testing availability.
“Based on current trends, we expect that COVID will continue to be a part of our lives,” they wrote. “However, our defenses against the coronavirus have gotten stronger, thanks to a growing majority of the U.S. population now having some immunity to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, whether from vaccination, past infection, or both, and we continue to see a low prevalence of COVID cases among our faculty, staff, and students.”
They added that regardless of test results, COVID-19 symptoms should continue to be taken seriously and those who are sick should stay home. They stressed that faculty should continue to provide appropriate accommodations for ill students.
Masks and home test kits will be made available to students at least through spring break.
In an email to The News-Letter, Vice President for Media Relations and News J.B. Bird stressed that the University believes the supply of home test kits will be sufficient at meeting the demand.
“We will monitor demand for at-home testing kits to meet the appropriate public health needs,” he wrote. “As rapid tests are widely available from suppliers, we don’t anticipate any problems meeting demand.”
In an interview with The News-Letter, freshman Lulu Nonemaker stated that she found asymptomatic testing useful for providing assurance before visiting family, but she believes that home test kits will be enough to replace asymptomatic testing.
“If they’re still giving out rapid tests for free, then it’s not that big of an issue for me,” she said.
The email broadcast emphasized that although asymptomatic testing will be closing, affiliates should still submit positive test results to the University.
Bird added that trusting affiliates to submit their positive test results relies on the goodwill of Hopkins community members. He compared the University's approach to COVID-19 surveillance with those of other universities.
“Hopkins’ actions are in concert with the approaches taken by many of our peers,” he wrote. “In fact, public reporting on this issue by The Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times and other media outlets began to document a significant decline in COVID-19 surveillance and asymptomatic testing at universities starting in the Spring of 2022.”
Junior Saad Ansari noted that it appeared as though students were taking asymptomatic tests less frequently this semester in an interview with The News-Letter.
“I don’t really think [the University’s update] makes a huge difference,” he said. “I feel like [the University] probably put a lot of thought into it, so I trust them in that sense.”