• Published Date:
  • Categories: Bison S.A.F.E.: University Pandemic Response

We are writing to update you on several critical areas of information regarding COVID-19 safety protocols for our campus.  

Many of these updates are mandated practices for the District of Columbia and Howard University campus access and are part of an overall strategy to ensure the health and safety of all District of Columbia residents and visitors.  The comm contains updates on the following topics: 

  • District of Columbia Vaccine Mandates 
  • Howard University COVID-19 policy 
  • Full Access to Free N95 and Surgical Masks, Face Shields, and Hand Sanitizers for Everyone 
  • Access to Free COVID-19 Vaccination on Campus 
  • COVID-19 Testing on Campus 
  • Completing Health Attestations on the Bison S.A.F.E. Mobile App   
  • Penalties for Falsifying Vaccine Cards and COVID-19 tests 

District of Columbia Vaccine Mandates 

Effective January 15, 2022, the District of Columbia mandates that certain businesses require proof of vaccination for entrance to facilities. The following campus areas fall under the new municipal guidelines: 

Indoor food and drink establishments, such as:  

  • Food halls/courts  
  • Seated dining halls, restaurants, and cafes 

Indoor cultural and entertainment establishments, such as: 

  • Concert, live entertainment venues  
  • Sporting venues  
  • Pool and billiard halls  
  • Bowling alleys 

Indoor exercise and recreational facilities, such as:  

  • Gyms 
  • Fitness Studios  

Indoor event and meeting establishments, such as:  

  • Banquet halls 
  • Conference center meeting facilities  
  • Auditoriums 
  • Shared work facilities when hosting events 

Howard University has a vaccine mandate in place. Please be prepared to show electronic or hard copy proof of vaccination when asked. 

Howard University COVID-19 Policy 

All policies, procedures, and guidance instituted in March 2021 related to social distancing and density reduction remain in effect. The guidance for these protocols can be accessed by clicking the links below. Please familiarize yourself with Howard University’s COVID-19 policies regularly. The pandemic is evolving and as a result, the University’s protocol will be regularly updated. 

Full Access to Free N95 and Surgical Masks, Face Shields, and Hand Sanitizers for Everyone 

The University will continue its distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) to all faculty, staff, and students upon request. Masks are already available at each building and can be requested from PFM by a building manager.  In accordance with guidance from the CDC, N95 masks, surgical masks, face shields, gloves, microbial wipes, and hand sanitizers are available to everyone on campus. Please check the administrative office in any building on campus for access to PPE. 

PPE distribution also occurs at the University Service Center for individuals who wish to pick up PPE on their own. Physical Facilities Management also disinfects spaces and equipment upon request. For equipment and facilities questions, please call (202) 806-1000. For environmental questions, please use this form to reach out to Environmental Health and Safety.    

Access to Free COVID-19 Vaccination on Campus 

On December 18, 2021, the University published new protocols on vaccination status and attestation for the return of employees and students to campus following the winter break. All faculty, staff, and students are required to receive a COVID-19 booster by Monday, January 31, 2022, if you are already eligible for a booster, or within 30 days after becoming eligible. Medical and religious exemptions will continue to be granted if an employee or student meets the eligibility criteria. Booster vaccines are available on campus on the first floor of the Howard University Hospital, Freedmen’s Hall, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No appointment is necessary.  

  • All students who are not employed by the University should follow instructions that are included in the Med Proctor portal to upload their updated vaccination records.  
  • All employees must upload their proof of a booster to Workday. 

COVID-19 Testing on Campus 

Beginning the week of January 18, 2022, the weekly student and employee testing schedule will be coordinated in alphabetical order according to last name. Students and employees should only be tested on the days that correspond with the first letter of their last name to simplify and streamline the testing schedule and to avoid stress of our testing facilities.  

If a student or employee misses their testing day, they should still visit the testing center to be tested on another day during the same week. Everyone must register for their appointment through the Bison S.A.F.E. application at least one hour prior to arrival at the testing center.  Please read this FAQ for assistance with any questions about the process.  


Students, faculty, and staff will test on the following days based on the first letter of their last name:    

  • Monday: A-C   
  • Tuesday: D-H   
  • Wednesday: I-M   
  • Thursday: N-S   
  • Friday: T-Z   


Testing is available Monday-Friday at: 

  • Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library - 9:00 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  
  • Armour J. Blackburn University Center - 9:00 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  

Walgreens and CVS offer rapid antigen tests. For DC residents, rapid tests can be picked up from local libraries. Howard University testing locations offer PCR tests only at this time. 

  • Please practice social distancing at all testing sites. 
  • Please do not fall victim to any unauthorized businesses that are selling fake COVID-19 tests, fake vaccination cards, or fake COVID results. It is best to solicit services from well-established health providers or pharmacies.

PLEASE NOTE: Within Bison S.A.F.E., appointments will be designated as MORNING or AFTERNOON.  All appointments between 9:00 a.m. and Noon are designated as 'morning'. All appointments between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. are 'afternoon.'   You can attend any time between the two scheduling windows.  

Athletes, students on West Campus and in the College of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, CNAHS, College of Dentistry, and FPP will maintain their current testing schedules and locations.  

Completing Health Attestations on the Bison S.A.F.E. Mobile App 

The Bison S.A.F.E app platforms all of the resources for you to provide your COVID symptom attestation, vaccination appointments and confirmations, and health monitoring reporting. The app is powered by Microsoft Return to School (RTS). RTS allows health administrators to monitor COVID-19 data, contact tracing, and case management for quarantine and isolation so that we can provide you with the most accurate information on the University's mitigation efforts.   

Soon, all campus facilities will have a Bison S.A.F.E. ambassador posted at entryways who will ask you to display the QR code generated from your daily attestation. Click here to download the Bison SAFE app for Apple and Android devices. For help with COVID testing and symptom attestation through the app, please click here for brief instructional video content. The ambassadors are student, faculty, and staff volunteers who are working to help our campus get accustomed to completing the Bison S.A.F.E attestation and follow other Howard University protocols. 

Penalties for Falsifying Vaccine Cards and COVID-19 tests 

It is against the law to use or display fake vaccine records or to falsify vaccine records and COVID-19 tests, with each offense carrying the potential for prison time. Employees who make false statements or submit false vaccine cards are subject to criminal penalties under federal law. Students who commit these offenses will be penalized in accordance with the University's Student Code of Conduct, up to, and including expulsion from the university. 

If you need assistance or have comments, questions, or concerns regarding the University’s COVID-19 safety protocols, please reach out to us at HUCares@howard.edu