Dear Howard University Students and Family Members,
We are grateful that many of you could join us at last week’s student and parent town hall, where we discussed how the University is working to ensure the health and safety of our student body during the Spring 2022 semester amidst the latest surge of the omicron variant. The key information is summarized in this communication, though we encourage everyone to watch the town hall recording for more details.
Move-In Logistics and Course Instruction
Residence halls will open for students on January 14. Students are required to receive a negative COVID-19 test no more than four days before their return to campus. The results should be uploaded to Med+Proctor. A copy of the negative test (or photo) should also be available to be provided to University officials.
We are aware that some students have tested positive for COVID-19 over the holiday break. The University policy for return to school is that students who have recently tested positive complete 10 days of isolation prior to reporting to campus. Please upload your recent result to Med+Proctor so that we can have it on file.
In-person classes will resume on January 18, 2022. Some courses will be provided online due to faculty ADA accommodations, building constraints, and other approved causes. In exceptional circumstances, the temporary transition of any course to Zoom or virtual format due to illness will be vetted and approved by the department chair and dean so that we may effectively communicate to parents and students.
Booster Deadlines, Testing Requirements and General Health Recommendations
Students are mandated to be fully vaccinated and to receive their COVID-19 booster shot by January 31, 2022, or as soon as they are otherwise eligible.
We will continue testing all members of the community on a weekly basis. The schedule for testing alphabetically can be seen here. We will document compliance with the testing protocols and will contact individuals who are not in compliance. Repeated non-compliance will result in disciplinary action. Positive COVID-19 test results obtained outside of the Howard University laboratory should be reported through the BisonSafe app.
All students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear masks indoors and in outdoor group settings. As determined by the number of KN-95 masks we have in our supplies, we will prioritize distributing the KN-95 masks to our health professional faculty, students and staff with patient care responsibilities. As we increase our supply, we will distribute them more broadly.
We encourage frequent hand washing and social distancing. We are also encouraging the campus community to obtain their flu shot as we are amidst the flu season. The flu shot is not mandated.
Quarantine Guidelines and What to Do If You Feel Ill
If you feel unwell, do not attend classes in person, and notify your professors if you have tested positive. We have asked our faculty to be flexible with, and supportive of, students who cannot attend class in person due to illness or quarantine. Abuse of this additional consideration will be reported and addressed.
Current CDC guidelines do not require quarantine for potentially exposed individuals, if the individual is fully vaccinated. As a result, we will not automatically move classes online, as a result of a positive COVID test result for a student. The flowchart below outlines the process for isolation, should a member of the community test positive for COVID-19;
While Howard University has plans in place to serve residential students who need to be quarantined, it is possible, given the rate of transmission of the omicron variant, that the number of students who need to quarantine may exceed the 200 isolation beds we have available. In this case, students would need to self-isolate in their rooms. Given this potential circumstance, we critically urge students and parents to have a conversation early about what the student should do in this situation.
Dealing with the unpredictable challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on people worldwide. We must remain vigilant and do our best to continue to be safe so that we maintain our commitment to live, learn and work together in our beloved Howard community. We wish you well for a successful spring semester.
Please reference the BisonSafe app, and the University’s COVID-19 webpage for additional updates and communications. Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation, and your efforts to be active partners in keeping yourself and others safe.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph., Provost & Chief Academic Officer
Hugh E. Mighty MD, MBA, FACOG , Dean, College of Medicine, Vice President of Clinical Affairs
Cynthia Evers, Ed.D., Vice President of Student Affairs