In accordance with CDC guidance, Howard University will require that all members of the University community and our visitors employ the following social distancing guidelines:

In accordance with CDC guidance, Howard University will require that all members of the University community and our visitors employ the following public health guidelines:

  • Maintain a reasonable distance between yourself and another person in all public places and inside all buildings.
  • Wear a mask, or other face covering, at all times when on campus, particularly in group settings.
  • Remain at home, or in a residence hall room, if you have a fever or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • Complete the BisonSafe daily screening for entry to campus.
  • Be vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine by the designated deadline, or obtain an approved exemption for religious or medical reasons.

Personal Safety Practices

Prevention measures are similar to those utilized against the common cold and flu. Those measures include frequent hand washing, avoiding touching one’s face with unwashed hands, and coughing into one’s elbow if needed. The University will conduct more frequent cleaning in common areas and on commonly touched surfaces, including in dining, classroom, office, restroom and residential spaces.

The usage of face masks or face coverings will be required for all students, faculty, staff and visitors while on campus, in the presence of others, and in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, both indoors and outdoors.

Training

  • The University will continue to provide online training for the entire campus community  . Enhanced communication for faculty, students and staff will include physical and digital signage, social media posts, and regular campus notifications.
  • Training for students will include a required student participation in an online educational seminar designed to inform students about the health behaviors expected and required during the fall semester.
  • Training for faculty and staff will continue to be provided and will include educational material regarding the risks associated with COVID-19 and proper methods to mitigate said risks. The materials will also include information on symptom screening and testing, and where to receive treatment as needed.
  • A mandatory virtual orientation that includes, but is not limited to, social distancing, PPE, symptom screening and testing, hygiene and sanitation, and self-quarantining, will be required for faculty, staff and students.

Testing, Screening, and Contact Tracing

  • Regular testing for on-campus students, faculty and staff will continue to play a key role in ensuring a safe environment for members of the Howard University community who live and work on campus.
  • The university has established a CLIA-certified public health laboratory to support a large-scale, in-house testing program. In-house testing allows for the earliest possible identification and containment of all infected persons, including asymptomatic infections. It also enables the university to monitor any changes in COVID-19 transmission over time and across our campus facilities and activities, so that we plan and scale modifications to operations based on specific changes in metrics.
  • All persons authorized to be on campus must participate in asymptomatic surveillance testing. Symptomatic testing is available for those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. All tests for students, faculty and staff conducted by the public health laboratory are free of charge.
  • The University will require regular (daily) symptom screening for all students and staff. This will be conducted through the BisonSafe app.
  • We will continue coordinating contact tracing with the D.C. Department of Health for any suspected cases of COVID-19 among faculty, students and staff on campus. We will rely on the DOH to conduct contact tracing, but will assist by providing as much information as can be reasonably shared. The Howard University liaisons involved will be versed in both student and employee privacy issues, and will adhere to all applicable FERPA, HIPAA, and other relevant privacy and confidentiality regulations.

Asymptomatic Testing

As of July 1, the following testing guidance applies: 

  • Once-weekly COVID testing will be required for all faculty, students and staff who will be on campus for any reason, regardless of vaccine status.
  • If students test positive, the results will be reported to the respective schools’ student affairs representatives in light of the public health risks and the university’s educational interests. Students who test positive must secure clearance for return to class/campus from the Student Health Center prior to return. 
  • If employees test positive, their supervisors will be notified that they are off duty. Employees must secure clearance to return to work from their physician prior to returning to campus. 

Quarantine

  • Undergraduate students who test positive will be quarantined for 7 days after which they will undergo two COVID-19 PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. Both tests will need to be negative to approve a release from quarantine and return to class.  Any unvaccinated graduate students, faculty, and staff who were exposed in the work setting/on-campus will be tested upon entry of quarantine, while remaining consistent with public health guidance. Regardless of whether they test negative, they will be required to complete the full quarantine period, based on the CDC’s latest guidance. Vaccinated employees who are exposed will monitor daily symptoms, and be tested if symptoms develop. A positive test at that point will result in isolation status for a period of 10 days.
  • If the student is symptomatic, the student should report to Student Health for COVID-19 testing.  Symptomatic faculty and staff should stay clear of campus and report to their primary care provider immediately.

Close Contacts

  • Close contacts of a person testing positive (exposure within 3 to 6 feet for at least 15 minutes, both individuals unmasked) will be notified of the contact and tested within 24 hours. Subsequently they will be tested at 4 to 5 days with a PCR test.
  • In specific cases where a roommate tests positive, the contact will be tested within 24 hours and will be tested at 4 days and at 7 days, similarly to their roommate. The contact will not be required to isolate unless they test positive or become symptomatic.

Questions and Answers

To the greatest extent possible, should meetings be conducted online and/or via telephone?

Because the University has implemented a vaccine requirement for faculty, staff and students who will be on campus, it is recommended that small group meetings (five or fewer) should be conducted face-to-face. Larger group meetings (greater than six individuals) are recommended for face-to-face or virtual modalities, depending upon the size of the group, and meeting space where the gathering will take place. While there are no physical distancing requirement, it is recommended that there be at least a three-foot distance between participants, whenever possible, and all University PPE safety guidelines should be followed.  

The University has worked to facilitate the meeting preferences of the organization. Meetings can be conducted via Microsoft Teams or zoom, especially where large group meetings that cannot be accommodated in a large conference room are concerned. Microsoft Teams has a “telephone” feature to facilitate traditional phone calls. Further, using the Microsoft Teams and Zoom functionalities are more secure for the organization. 

What is the appropriate social/physical distancing requirement between students in classrooms where in-person instruction will occur and in other in-person academic meetings and settings?

Consistent with the District of Columbia guidance for school settings, the University does not have a social distancing requirement, but has implemented a social distancing recommendation, to give our stakeholders the flexibility they need when establishing classroom orientation. 

Because the University has implemented a vaccine requirement for faculty, staff and students who will be on campus, while there are no physical distancing requirements, it is recommended that there be at least a three-foot distance between students, whenever possible. Divisions have worked to facilitate three-foot social distancing in classrooms and other spaces.  

Evidence suggests that surgical and cloth masks are insufficient in preventing transmission of the delta variant. Will N95/KN95 masks be required on campus? Will these masks be made available to faculty, students, and staff?

Usage of masks is required indoors on campus, in classroom settings, shared office spaces, and other areas where groups may congregate. Mask usage is also required outdoors in group settings. We have purchased a variety of masks, as they have been available on the market, including N95/KN95. We have generally reserved those N95/KN95 for health professional students, faculty and staff who would be in clinical settings, and have greater need for that type of mask. We will also make K95/KN95 available to other faculty and staff upon request, based upon their availability. Further, surgical and cloth masks have been shown to be effective in reducing risk of COVID-19, we will continue to provide a range of masks to faculty, staff and students. The most effective means to prevent COVID-19 infection and serious disease is through vaccination. Because the University has implemented a vaccine requirement for faculty, staff and students who will be on campus, we expect a safer environment on campus. 

 

If a student tests positive for COVID-19, what processes does the University follow to quarantine the student and prevent transmission to others? How will a positive test result impact in-person classes that had been attended by the sick student?

If students test positive, the results will be reported to the respective schools’ student affairs representatives in light of the public health risks and the safety of the University community. Students who test positive must obtain clearance for return to class/campus from the Student Health Center prior to return. They will also have a visual indicator in the BisonSafe app that they are not cleared to be on campus. 

Undergraduates who are in quarantine will be tested upon entry of quarantine and retested seven days after the date of exposure (or consistent with public health guidance at the time). Graduate students, faculty, and staff who were exposed in the work setting/on-campus will be tested upon entry of quarantine, while remaining consistent with public health guidance. Regardless of whether they test negative, they will be required to complete the required quarantine period, based on the CDC’s latest guidance. 

Potentially impacted classrooms will undergo an extensive cleaning protocol, including utilizing electrostatic misting units  -  Clorox 360 - to combat  COVID-19.