As I write this from my desk on the Homewood campus, overlooking the Decker Quad, I can’t help but marvel at how things have changed since last semester. It’s a bright, warm early fall afternoon, and I can see a group of curious prospective students and their parents being led on a campus tour. Over there is a student skateboarding down a sidewalk to class. Across the quad is a professor teaching a small class of attentive undergraduates outside. I see two staff members sitting on a bench, laughing in between sips of coffee. This is typical campus life. What’s not so typical, however, is that we haven’t had this since March 2020, and oh, how we’ve missed it.
This Fall on Campus
Is life on the Homewood campus back to “normal” since we’ve been able to gather in person again? No, and to tell you the truth, I don’t know of many aspects of life anywhere that will return completely to the way they were before. But I am proud of the cautionary measures and protocols the university has put into place. Working together, we are keeping each other safe from the pandemic and gathering together in new (and masked!) ways.
It’s that sense of collaboration and partnership that is so distinctly Hopkins. Of course we remained productive during the remote days of COVID-19. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of so many in our community. But exchanging ideas in person again—something I think so many of us took for granted—represents the fertile ground where discovery grows.
Not a single scientist or scholar at the Krieger School works in a vacuum. We are a community of learners and teachers. As such, we depend on one another to question our ideas, lead us down new paths of discovery, raise big questions, and support us in our collective goals of seeking truth and creating new knowledge.
I believe the time we had to spend away from one another only strengthened our resolve to do whatever necessary—in this case, get vaccinated and follow safety protocols—to return to in-person lively conversations and debates.”— Christopher S. Celenza
Leading the Way
During those dark months of COVID-19, people around the world looked to Johns Hopkins for accurate information and data in their quest to keep themselves and their families safe. Here at the Krieger School, while we may not be on the front lines of the pandemic, we are in the basic science laboratories conducting research that could potentially lead to a cure; we are in humanities classrooms and labs, examining writing and art that has been created in the midst of COVID-19; and we are in communities studying how political leaders managed or mismanaged the ravages of the pandemic.
Whether in the natural sciences, social sciences, or humanities, this is the knowledge we share with our colleagues and students. In turn, they will take that information, refine it, and expand on it. They will teach it to others, even as new generations of scholars come through Hopkins on their way to making a difference in the world. That is the kind of community we have here.
We must continue to take certain precautions and implement restrictions because, as we know, COVID-19 is unpredictable. But we—as a community, as part of the Hopkins family—have brought one another to this point: to the view that I watch unfold on the Decker Quad.