Over the past several weeks, we have seen a dramatic global increase in the number of positive tests for COVID-19. A similar rise is also being observed in the Washington, DC region. Many of these cases have been attributed to the newly emergent omicron variant.
Within our campus community, earlier this week, we also observed a significant increase in the number of positive cases, as well as an increase in the number of students and staff exhibiting mild to moderate symptoms, even though they were fully vaccinated. An analysis conducted through the Department of Health has confirmed that several of the positive cases identified earlier this week were infected with the omicron variant. While we continue to learn more about this new strain, it is increasingly clear that it appears more easily transmissible than previous variants. Of note, among vaccinated individuals, the severity of infection has been mild to moderate.
In response to this new variant and rise in cases, all faculty, staff and students will be 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. Approved medical and religious exemptions will continue to be granted. Booster vaccines are available on campus on the first floor of the Howard University Hospital; Freedmen’s Hall; on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9am to 3 pm. No appointment is necessary. Students should continue to upload vaccine documentation in MedProctor. Employees should upload vaccine documentation in Workday.
We are also requiring that everyone returning from winter break to the campus for the Spring, 2022 semester will be required to provide proof of a negative PCR test within 4 days prior to arrival.
We will continue our weekly testing policy along with requirements for mask usage indoors, and in groups outdoors.
As we enter into the holiday break, we will also be implementing the additional measures below;
- The University announced its closure over the winter break period. It remains open to essential personnel, and to those who were granted special access. If you were not granted access to campus, please do not visit the campus unless there is an emergency.
- All campus facilities will be closed to the public. Visitors to campus will be limited to those supporting essential functioning,
- No fans will be able to attend sporting events hosted on campus during the holiday break,
- No gatherings will be approved on campus,
- No campus tours will be conducted through the winter break
We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday and look forward to a successful Spring Semester.
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