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

Dear Howard University Community, 

 

As we prepare for Summer 2022 courses, we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 status (confirmed hospitalizations, positive test rates, variants of the virus) in the Washington, D.C. area and on campus. While we have seen a steady decline in campus positivity rates, the broad institution of self-testing at home has also impacted the overall utilization of this statistic when assessed alone. In keeping with the shift of the CDC away from using only positivity rates, we also are actively tracking severe illness and hospitalizations. Since the end of the Spring 2022 semester, 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, we will be implementing the following policy: 

 

  1. Masking indoors will continue to be required for all persons on campus. 

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

  3. Testing either with a validated PCR or rapid antigen test will continue for anyone who is exhibiting symptoms. 

  1. We will continue quarantining for residents of on-campus housing who test positive. 

  1. We will implement surveillance PCR testing on campus for a rotating selected group of faculty, students and staff on a monthly basis. 

 

We recognize that many states have modified mask requirements. However, all indications are that there will continue to be variant strains of the coronavirus, and we still believe it prudent to maintain masking indoors to help with mitigating transmission, for the time being. 

 

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! 

 

Our current approach to health and safety measures for the Summer and Fall includes the following: 

  • The University will continue to require the COVID-19 vaccination and boosters for the campus community. This includes incoming students for Summer school. Waivers for medical and religious reasons will be honored in order to access campus facilities and classrooms. 

  • Students may only be allowed to register for classes if they provide proof of vaccination and boosters. 

  • Students will not be able to be housed in on-campus University housing unless they are fully vaccinated. 

  • All members of the HU community must complete the daily BisonSafe screening attestation. 

  • Effective Monday, May 30, 2022, mandatory weekly testing will be suspended. We will transition to a testing protocol for individuals who are experiencing symptoms (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), as well as a once-per-month selected surveillance screening with PCR testing. Additional details regarding the surveillance testing process will be provided shortly. 

  • During the Summer, testing will be conducted in the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library. The testing hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays. 

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

 

In the event we experience a significant resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Washington, D.C. or on our campus, we may choose to implement the following health and safety measures: 

  • Contact tracing expansion; 

  • Required face coverings on campus at all times; 

  • Resumption of broader surveillance testing; and 

  • Cancellation or changing the format of certain events. 

 

Thank you for your ongoing support and cooperation as we 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. 
Provost & Chief Academic Officer 
                      
Hugh E. Mighty, MD, MBA 
Dean, College of Medicine & VP for Clinical Affairs