John Hopkins University will join the list of many US higher education institutions that will return in-person activities for all students and staff members starting this fall.
Vice Provost, Chief Risk, and Compliance Officer Jonathan Links shared the news during a town hall hosted by the university last week, Erudera.com reports.
Links also announced that the university is entering Phase 3A, meaning masks, testing, enhanced ventilation, and mandatory vaccinations are required for individuals working or residing on campus.
As Phase 3A foresees, vaccination will be mandatory for all students, but the university also intends to request all Hopkin employees’ to be inoculated against the virus. For students to return to campus, they need to provide uploaded proof of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Link highlighted the importance of immunization for the safety of students and the campus community in general.
“Vaccines are highly effective against severe illness, hospitalization, and death. While it’s not a 100 percent guarantee of safety, and while we will have other control measures in place in the fall, it’s an extremely important way to protect yourself and others,” Vice Provost Links said.
However, hybrid classes will continue to be held, but with a target to soon be held entirely in-person as Executive Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Stephen Gange explained, linking the decision with the low rate of infections reported recently.
“While we have not had in-person instruction like pre-pandemic levels, the University has been open and conducting in-person activities, and we have not seen any transmission of COVID-19 linked to instruction,” he said.
Less than 50 people will be assigned for each class in the fall, while teachers are not required to provide online teaching anymore.
Hannah Puhov, an incoming freshman, objected to the decision noting that online classes should be an option even after the pandemic due to their accessibility.
“It’s not that much extra work to set up a video camera that faces the professor and just upload a video. Even aside from COVID-19, there are students with disabilities who can’t make it to class every day. Now that we know classes can be held online, it should be an option,” Puhov said.
On the other hand, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Alanna Shanahan, also announced that most aspects of housing would return to their pre-pandemic capacity, with only triple rooms being eliminated.
The housing process will begin at the end of May, and the housing assignments are expected to be released in July. Potentially, first-year students will move in on August 21 and 22, while sophomores will proceed on August 26 and 27. Proof of negative COVID-19 test results is obligatory to be provided upon arrival.