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A Virtual Welcome to a Virtual Fourth Term


Dear Students,

Welcome to the fourth term!

This term will be unlike any other we have experienced. Yet we are confident that with the School’s instructional expertise and infrastructure, and the enthusiasm and flexibility of students, staff, and faculty, it will be a success. Our priority is that you complete your degree programs in a rewarding and productive fashion. For those of you on schedule to graduate this spring, we will work hard to ensure you have the requisite skills and strategies for working on the frontlines of public health. Your expertise will most certainly be in demand as the world works through not only the current pandemic but also the unforeseen challenges that will follow.

Although this term will be atypical and not what any of us expected, we are confident you will still receive the high-quality education you expect from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. There are several factors that will ensure this: Your courses will be taught by the same faculty as you would work with on site; CoursePlus provides an easy-to-use platform for instructional materials; and faculty are committed to making their courses as interactive and engaging as possible. Most importantly, we have experience doing this! The School already offers 300 courses fully online, and our online courses are consistently rated just as positively by students as are our onsite offerings.

I also want to let you know that we have created a new course: 550.844.01 Current Issues in Public Health: COVID-19 Pandemic Response. This two-credit course will provide access to many of our faculty who are on the frontlines of our response to COVID-19. You can add this course during the add-drop period that opens up Monday morning.

You will continue to have access to all of the offices and support systems that you are accustomed to. We are also currently building out more infrastructure and resources to help ensure high-quality learning experiences outside the classroom. We are encouraging departments to move activities such as seminars to Zoom and will be listing those in our School calendar. Now is a great time to take advantage of the opportunity to join a seminar on a topic you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to take! Many departments and programs are also organizing casual opportunities to stay connected, such as email “community check-ins” and virtual “office hours” with department leadership.

Just as we are preparing for remote teaching, we ask that you take the time to prepare yourself for your own successful learning. For instance, it will be important to create a productive home learning environment; therefore please review the key tips and techniques recommended by our Center for Teaching and Learning accessible via this link. Additionally, be sure to take care of your emotional health by thinking creatively about how you can connect with other members of the School community for emotional as well as intellectual support. Use this term as a chance to get to know each other in new ways. Consider taking a virtual tour of a colleague’s work-from-home setting, or enjoying a virtual meet-up with each other’s pets—it’s time to be socially creative! Clearly, we will miss our in-school experiences, but we can still virtually reinforce and build our community, which is needed now more than ever. And if you are experiencing any difficulties that interfere with your ability to continue your studies due to the current situation, please reach out to your academic coordinator or program director.

While there may be bumps along the way, we are committed to making this a rewarding and productive term for everyone. When faced with new realities, we know you will rise to the challenge—both here at the Bloomberg School and in the professional work you plan to pursue. The world needs you more than ever, and we will ensure you are set up for success.

We look forward to staying in close touch about how the term is going. And you can always reach out directly to the Deans’ Office at We will be monitoring this inbox closely and promise to get back to you as quickly as possible.

My best to you all,

Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, ScM ’75

Ellen MacKenzie Signature

Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
Bloomberg School of Public Health
The Johns Hopkins University