Start of the Semester: Update to the HU Community

Two students in masks on a college campus.

Dear Howard University Community,

Thank you for your patience as we welcomed students back to campus this semester. This year, a larger than anticipated number of new students accepted our offer of admission and completed the Bison check-in process. As a result, it has been necessary to create new course sections and identify additional instructors for courses. Under normal circumstances, this is quite a task. It has been even more challenging as we transition during COVID-19, return faculty and staff to campus, complete building renovations and continue to implement safety measures. We are also facilitating approved faculty teaching accommodation requests.

Many of the new sections are reflected in Bisonweb as online but will be modified to reflect face-to-face instruction where feasible. We will continue to address this to keep our commitment that a majority of courses this Fall will be provided face to face. Over the next week, students may anticipate corrections in the modality of instruction. Our advisors will also continue to work with students on an individual basis to assure an appropriate number of face-to-face courses, as new instructors are onboarded into the classroom.

We are also continuing to implement safety measures as the number of students and faculty returning to campus increases: 

-Beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 26, 2021, we are expanding asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for students to multiple locations on campus beyond the Student Health Center and will be conducting testing in a distributive self-testing model across several sites on campus.

-On Monday, August 30, 2021, asymptomatic COVID-19 testing locations will include dormitory sites, a site on the West Campus, the Blackburn Center, the Undergraduate Library and the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library.

-The non-dormitory sites will also accommodate asymptomatic testing for faculty and staff. Local established sites for the health professional students will be continued in their present locations.

-We are re-assigning classes with a larger number of students to provide greater physical distancing. We are also distributing portable air purifiers to various classrooms. Additional portable air purifiers are also awaiting delivery.

-We are creating a corps of Student Safety Ambassadors in partnership with HUSA to help us continue to implement the public health guidance and assist in monitoring for compliance with these safety measures.

-We have upgraded the BisonSafe app, which will provide additional safety features. In buildings with guard limited access, the “approved to enter” indicator must be displayed for building access. In other buildings, volunteers and Safety Ambassadors will screen for entry. Faculty may also request that students display the indicator for approval to entry in classrooms.

-Our vaccination rates continue to climb. For students, we have received proof of COVID-19 vaccination or approved exemptions from over 63 percent of students. A large number of late submission to Med+Proctor are currently being reviewed, and will positively increase this percentage. 100 percent of students in residential housing have provided proof of vaccination. Students who have not yet provided evidence of vaccination have received direct communications indicating the consequences, including possible de-registration from classes and prohibition from campus if the evidence is not submitted immediately.

-A list of vaccinated students and those with approved exemptions for medical and religious reasons has been provided to the dean of each school/college.

-The number of faculty and staff who have submitted evidence of vaccination in Workday is 859. As Workday is a new enterprise software for the University, we encourage all employees to log in and familiarize yourself with the process for submission. If you have not yet been vaccinated, we encourage all employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible particularly given the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine by the FDA earlier this week.

Thank you again for your ongoing support and patience as we strive to provide the best educational experience to our students. We will provide additional details and updates in the coming days.

Excellence in Truth & Service,

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.                                    
Provost & Chief Academic Officer  

Tashni Ann Dubroy,
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer


Bison S.A.F.E.