Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 13, 2020


Feeling supported in uncertain times

There’s no denying that this has been an incredibly strange summer. For me it began with frantic plane rides, a hotel quarantine and a country-wide lockdown. Everything I thought I valued and considered important was put into question. As the world battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this summer has turned into an extended period of self-reflection. I understand how incredibly privileged I am to have typed that last sentence. Essential workers and healthcare workers are working tirelessly day in and day out to keep us safe and minimize the damage of this horrible virus. Yet I have the ability to wear a mask and spend time with my family and close friends. 

Five weeks of radio silence during a pandemic is unacceptable

“Maybe what we have to be doing is communicating more effectively why we haven’t made a decision, what the factors are that are going to go into that decision,” University President Ronald J. Daniels said in an interview with The News-Letter at the end of April. “Maybe that’s a way to deal with this new normal of pretty profound uncertainty across a number of our operations.” 


An unusually deserted John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The journey home: the plight of the international student

Every country is battling the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in a different way, each at varying stages of protecting its citizens and eliminating the virus. With international students accounting for approximately 19 percent of the University’s student body, The News-Letter reached out to a few of them to hear about their journeys home during the pandemic and the current state of COVID-19 in their countries. From scrambling to book flights home, to weighing their options for the fall semester, international students have had to make many hard decisions in the past few months. 

Baltimore restaurants can resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity.

Mayor Young eases indoor dining restrictions in Baltimore

Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced that restaurants can resume indoor dining at 25 percent capacity beginning on Friday, August 7. This follows Young’s previous orders from July 24 to suspend all indoor dining services after a recent spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Maryland. 

The University announced that all classes would be held remotely for the fall semester due to a spike in coronavirus cases nationwide.

Hopkins announces online-only fall plans and tuition reduction

University President Ronald J. Daniels announced in an email to the Hopkins community that all undergraduate classes will be offered online for the entire fall semester. Ongoing on-campus research will resume in accordance to Phase 1 guidelines. Additionally, the University will also reduce tuition by ten percent, and most incoming freshman will not be able to live on campus.

Reopening the Rec Center will disproportionately affect the University's Black staff and students.

Gyms have no business opening during a pandemic, even at Hopkins

With a hybrid fall semester closing in, Hopkins has taken important precautions to ensure the health and safety of its staff and students such as mandatory masking on campus and the suspension of all in-person events. The University’s commitment to “equity and fairness,” however, appears hollow when we examine the plans to reopen the Recreation Center.  

Announcing an online-only fall this close to the first day of classes will endanger students, not protect them. 

The case for a safe return to campus

There is no denying that the situation across the country has changed dramatically since the end of June when Hopkins announced its initial plan for returning to campus this fall. With the exception of the Northeast, coronavirus (COVID-19) numbers have been trending in the wrong direction.  

Hasan reflects on the depressing monotony of the current state of affairs.

Waiting for my movie moment

I really think I have lost the ability to write. I write a few lines, then I erase them. I repeat the process until the page is finally blank and I have no more starters, no more words. I really think somehow I have lost the ability to create.

Like several other institutions, the EPS department has decided not to require the GRE. 

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences votes against GRE

Number two pencils. Calculator. Water bottle. Watch. This is the supply mantra running through the minds of thousands of students as they prepare to take standardized exams that can determine their next step in life. The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is one of many standardized exams used to consider applicants for graduate schools. Despite the decades-old reign of the GRE, its use in evaluating graduate school applicants has undergone scrutiny by many institutions, including the University’s own Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS) department until it decided to waived its GRE requirement on June 15th.

Decreased air quality in predominately Black and Latinx communities increases susceptibility to COVID-19.

We must prioritize environmental racism

When discussing racism, it is important to note how people of color have continuously been put in situations that compromise their health and wellness. Environmental racism is the discrimination or lack of concern toward people of color, particularly those in the Black, Latinx and Native American communities. Environmental justice is the movement that works toward diminishing those differences. 

Due to the health and safety risks of returning to campus, Hopkins should revise its hybrid plan in favor of online-only.

Hopkins needs to go completely virtual this fall

I want to begin by saying that there is nothing I want more than for Hopkins to open up this fall so that I can experience the senior year that I have been looking forward to for the last three years. Regardless of this, based on the current circumstances, if Hopkins continues with their current plan of opening for a hybrid semester, I am afraid that a major coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on campus is inevitable. 

The MLB season is already occurring without fans. Now, due to an outbreak in the Miami Marlins clubhouse, the season itself is in danger. 

Baseball’s plan to restart was doomed to fail

Major League Baseball (MLB) encountered its first major snag in its ambitious plan to restart the 2020 season, just three games in. Prior to their series finale against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday, July 26, the Miami Marlins had three players test positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19). In the face of this outbreak within the clubhouse, the Marlins had the opportunity to take a step back and decide to not play that Sunday against Philadelphia.

Most incoming international students will not be able to enter the United States this fall.

Incoming international students must remain abroad despite visa rule reversal

“Today, we feel forgotten. Everyone believes we still won. The class of 2024 didn’t win. After calls and emails, we’re met with another unyielding reality: we can’t come to campus.” These are the words of an open letter circulating among international students of the class of 2024 asking for Hopkins to advocate for them.

The International Studies Leadership Council hosted Thiru Vignarajah for a discussion on how to counter racial injustice in Baltimore City.

Former mayoral candidate discusses ending the racial divide in Baltimore

The International Studies Leadership Council (ISLC) hosted the second event in its Summer Series on Race, “Racial Divides in Baltimore,” on July 16. Thiru Vignarajah, the former deputy attorney general of Maryland and candidate in Baltimore’s recent mayoral election, spoke at the event. Vignarajah, a Baltimore native, discussed policing, education, public transportation reform and marijuana legalization as ways to mitigate the impact of systemic racism in Baltimore City.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo beams as he holds his 2018-19 MVP award.

Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves more than just MVP

Last October, what seems like eons ago, I made some predictions a week into the National Basketball Association (NBA) season on who would win each regular season award: Most Valuable Player (MVP), Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY), Most Improved Player (MIP) and so on. 

Homewood Field is the home to a number of fall sports programs, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and field hockey. 

Centennial Conference suspends fall sports until September

The Centennial Conference announced the indefinite suspension of all its fall sports on July 7. 17 out of the 24 Hopkins Division-III athletic teams compete in the Centennial Conference and will not be allowed to play conference games. The Conference noted that this decision would be reevaluated by the end of September. 

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