• Published Date:

Dear Howard University Community, 

As we continue to prepare for the Fall semester and receive guidance from our University public health experts and district health officials, the University is in a better position for managing COVID-19 as compared with the initial stages of the pandemic.  
 
We now have over two years’ experience managing the pandemic and have continued to implement best practices to protect the health of the community. At this point, we essentially have a fully vaccinated campus community, resulting in a much lower risk for severe illness compared to the general population. We have also been highly successful in limiting transmission on campus, with no documented cases of transmission within our classrooms. 

We will continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 status (confirmed hospitalizations, changes in severity, positive test rates, development of variants of the virus, etc.) in the Washington, D.C. area and on campus. In keeping with the shift of the CDC away from using only positivity rates, we are also tracking severe illness and hospitalizations. To date, we have not observed any significant hospitalizations or severe COVID-19 cases among faculty, staff or students. Based on our current knowledge of the virus and its variants, in addition to guidance from public health officials, we will continue to implement the following protocols: 

  1. Wearing a mask will be optional inside University-owned or operated buildings, including libraries, offices, dining facilities, residential buildings and fitness centers. Faculty may continue to require masks for individual classes, and masks will continue to be required in health care facilities, patient care clinical and training settings, clinics and HUH. Wearing a N95 or KN95 mask indoors in all situations is strongly encouraged.  

  1. Everyone has the right to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish on our campuses (inside or outside).  

  1. Up-to-date vaccinations will be required for all students and staff. This includes full COVID-19 vaccination, and at least one booster, if indicated.  

  1. While medical and religious exemptions will continue to be honored, all students living in residential housing MUST provide evidence of vaccination prior to move-in, by the established deadline. 

  1. Students may only be allowed to register for classes if they provide proof of vaccination and boosters or if they receive an exemption for medical or religious reasons.  

  1. All members of the HU community must complete the daily Bison SAFE screening attestation. 

  1. Testing will be available for individuals who are symptomatic as well as those who request testing. 

  • Symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea. 

  • Testing will be provided Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and from 1-4 p.m. at the Stokes Health Sciences library. 

  1. The Student Health Center will continue to provide care for symptomatic students. 

  1. Quarantine rooms will be provided for dormitory residents who test positive for COVID-19. 

We will continue to monitor public health conditions on our campuses and in the District of Columbia as well as nationally. Depending on community transmission levels, severity of infection, hospitalization rates or other risks (e.g., a new variant) in the future, we may reinstate the indoor mask requirement and/or incorporate other restrictions as needed. These may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Contact tracing expansion; 

  • Resumption of broader surveillance testing; 

  • Change in course delivery format; and 

  • Cancellation or changing the format of certain events. 

The most important message that we can communicate is that vaccinations are the most effective measure in preventing serious COVID-19 cases and decreasing the risk of hospitalization. Up-to-date vaccination status will continue to be mandatory, and each member of the community is required to provide their vaccination status indicated by initial vaccination documentation or evidence of vaccination plus a booster as warranted. 

Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation as we continue to work together to keep our community safe, and we will continue to keep the community informed of important health information. 

Excellence in Truth and Service, 

 

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.

Provost & Chief Academic Officer

 

Hugh Mighty, MD, MBA 

Dean, College of Medicine, VP for Clinical Affairs