Testing Requirements and Protocol

Updated July 11, 2022

  • On May 30, 2022, mandatory weekly testing was suspended. We have transitioned 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 is 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. 

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

  • We are continuing quarantining for residents of on-campus housing who test positive. 

  • We are implementing surveillance PCR testing on campus for a rotating selected group of faculty, students and staff on a monthly basis. 

Health and Safety Information

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. As of June 13, 2022, masking on campus is optional.

  2. Up-to-date vaccinations continue to 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 continue quarantining for residents of on-campus housing who test positive. 

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

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 continues 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. 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. 

Testing Schedules and Locations

Everyone must register for their appointment through the Bison S.A.F.E. application at least one hour prior to arrival at the testing center.

Instructions for using the Bison S.A.F.E. application to schedule an appointment:

  • Step 1: Refresh your Bison Safe App
  • Step 2: Click on "COVID University Protocols"
  • Step 3: Click on "COVID Testing"
  • Step 4: Click on "Bison Howard Email" 
  • Step 5: Log in using your Bison email address and schedule your appointment. 

Testing Schedule

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. 

Testing Locations

Testing is available at: 

  • Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library - 9:00 a.m. - Noon and 1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.  

Off-Campus Testing Results

Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 off campus should report the information in one of the following ways:

  • To the Student Health Center (SHC) by phone (202-806-7540) or via email (shcscreening@howard.edu) – the SHC is open from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • By filling out the Bison SAFE app COVID-19 self-assessment and answering “yes” to the question regarding testing positive within the last 10 days; or
  • By notifying the resident hall director (RD) of a dorm if the student lives in campus housing.

When SHC is aware of the positive result, the team will contact the student and activate the isolation protocol.

Any faculty or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 outside of the campus should report the information in one of the following ways:

  • To the employee COVID-19 testing center in room 3600 of the Towers Building (Faculty Practice Plan) by calling (202)-865-3765 or emailing HUEmployeeFPP@howard.edu; or
  • By filling out the Bison SAFE app COVID-19 self-assessment and answering “yes” to the question regarding testing positive within the last 10 days.

Contact Follow-Up Protocol

Students

If you test positive, our contact tracing protocol will be initiated once the Student Health Center is notified or the results are available from the on-campus testing lab. At that time, the following procedure will be followed:

  • The Washington, D.C. department of health, the Office of the Provost and the dean of your school will be notified.
  • The HU COVID Coordination Team will contact you via phone or email. Be prepared to answer questions about the classes you attended and your household or roommate contacts.
  • If you have attended in-person classes, the class details and faculty information will be provided to the HU COVID Coordination Team, and the classroom exposure protocol will be initiated. The classroom exposures will not know your identity.

Faculty and Staff

If you test positive, our contact tracing protocol will be initiated once the employee COVID-19 testing center is aware. At that time, the following procedure will be followed:

  • The Washington, D.C. department of health and the Office of the Provost will be notified. For faculty, the dean of your school will also be notified. For staff, the designated official in human resources or the employee COVID-19 testing center will also be notified.
  • You will be contacted by the HU COVID Coordination Team via phone or email. Be prepared to answer questions about the classes you were present in or taught and your household and office contacts.
  • If exposure was from in-person classes, the class details will be provided to the HU COVID Coordination Team, and the classroom exposure protocol will be initiated. Your identity will not be provided.

Classroom Exposure Protocol

When a class has been exposed to a person who is COVID-19 positive, there will be a general notification for the campus of the details of that class. Students and faculty who have been granted a medical or religious accommodation for not being vaccinated will receive a specific email notification so that they can follow the isolation protocol.

If you are vaccinated, you must keep your weekly testing appointment. You do not need to quarantine. 

If you are unvaccinated, quarantine for 5 days, and then get a PCR COVID-19 test. 

Regardless of vaccination status, if you become symptomatic at any time, get tested immediately. If your results are positive, you will be quarantined for ten days from the date of your test. At the end of ten days you may return to your activities.

After 5 days of quarantine you have the option to obtain a PCR test and if that is negative you may return to your activities.

Office Exposure Protocol

If you are an employee (faculty or staff) and are exposed in an office setting, the above protocol for vaccinated or unvaccinated persons will apply. The supervisor of that office will give notification.

Students Living in Campus Housing

Students who test positive and who live in campus housing will be placed in isolation for ten days. After 5 days of quarantine the student has the option to obtain a PCR test and if that is negative, they may return to regular activities.

During isolation the protocol will be activated and will include meals and symptom checks. The dormitory RD will oversee the protocol during isolation.

Vaccinations

All students, faculty and staff are required to be fully vaccinated, and if eligible, also have a vaccine booster. We will accommodate exceptions for religious, or medical reasons where the proper requests have been made and approved.

Proof of vaccination can be uploaded to Med+Proctor for students and through the Workday platform for staff and faculty.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to coming to campus, what tests do I need?

You must upload a negative PCR or rapid antigen test to Med+Proctor for confirmation.  

This must be done within 4 days of arriving on campus. 

I recently tested positive. Do I still need a negative test before returning to campus?

If you have tested positive by PCR test between 10 and 30 days prior to your return to campus you still need to test 4 days presenting on campus, please send a copy of your positive test result to the student health center via Med+Proctor. 

I have previously tested positive within 30 days, and my current test to return to campus is positive. Can I come to campus?

You may come to campus and move into a dorm room. 

I have tested positive within 10 days of coming to campus. What should I do?

If you have tested positive within 10 days of your arrival, then you should remain quarantined 10 days from your positive result.  Please send a copy of your positive result to student health via Med+Proctor and email shcscreening@howard.edu. ​​​​

How do I record my results in Med+Proctor?

  1. Log into Med+Proctor (www.Medproctor.com). 
  2. Select the document type link. 
  3. Select COVID-19 Lab. 

What type of testing is done on campus?

The testing sites only provide PCR testing with results available in 48 hours. 

How often are we required to test?

Please test if you are experiencing symptoms.

How do I make an appointment to test?

  1. Refresh your Bison Safe App 
  2. Click on "COVID University Protocols" 
  3. Click on "COVID Testing" 
  4. Click on "Bison Howard Email"  
  5. Log in using your Bison email address and schedule your appointment.  
  6. Schedule your appointment at least one hour prior to presenting to the testing site.  You will also fill out a brief supplemental sheet upon arrival.  

How do I know if I should get a booster vaccine?

If your completed vaccination is with Pfizer or Moderna, and is 6 months or greater, and you are more than 12 years old then you qualify for a booster vaccine. 

You also qualify if you had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and it has been more than 2 months. 

What is the current isolation policy?

If you test positive, you will isolate for a total of 10 days. However, after 5 days you can retest, if your test remains positive you must remain in isolation for the full10 days and then you can return to campus if you are asymptomatic. There is no test required at the 10 day point.

I have received or am going to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and/or booster shot. Will I need to continue wearing a mask, participating in the Howard COVID-19 testing program, and completing the Bison S.A.F.E. COVID-19 daily screening?

The University’s health and safety measures apply to everyone on our campuses. While the vaccines have been shown to be very effective in providing protection from COVID-19 (the disease), and there is growing evidence that they may prevent infection with the virus that causes the disease (SARS-CoV-2) or the transmission of the virus from one person to another, they are not 100 percent protective, and there is an increase in documented cases of breakthrough infections with the current omicron variant in our community. 

For these reasons, it remains critically important for everyone, even those who have received the vaccine, tocontinue to practice all public health measures. These include following the University’s COVID-19 mask guidelines, practicing physical distancing, washing hands regularly, participating in the University’s COVID-19 testing protocol, and following isolation and quarantine recommendations. Our protocols may be updated at any time based on changing public health conditions. 

I have been vaccinated and received my booster shot and recently been exposed to somebody who tested positive. Do I still need to quarantine?

Vaccinated persons exposed to someone positive for COVID-19 and who are not symptomatic must test within seven days. They can follow the campus testing schedule.  Quarantine is not required.

How do I provide documentation of my vaccination?

Students are reminded to upload their vaccination cards and documents through the MedProctor portal. The deadline for students to provide documentation of being fully vaccinated was August 1, 2021. Documentation of boosters should be uploaded by January 31, 2022.

How do I request a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement?

Sign into Med+Proctor to download the university approved forms for religious and medical exemptions. 

Students must obtain official documentation from a licensed health care provider certifying that you should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine because you have a contraindication recognized by the CDC. 

For religious exemptions, if the bona fide religious beliefs of a student are contrary to the immunization requirement for a COVID-19 vaccine you must complete a notarized religious exemption form, which includes a letter from your clergy or religious representative and submit it through Med+Proctor before you register for classes or apply for housing. 

I am a student in an online program that includes no on-campus presence. Do I need to be vaccinated?

Only students in approved online programs with the president’s waiver are exempt from the vaccine mandate. 

I have tested positive and have isolated for 10 days. I am asymptomatic. When will I have to test again?

At this time, you will be tested again in 30 days. The current thought is that individuals can test positive for several weeks. The longest experience for our campus is approximately 30 days. While the CDC originally recommended 90 days of no tests, that recommendation was made before the Omicron variant.

That variant has not been well established for the data to be supportive. Therefore, we will resume weekly testing at 30 days based on our experience and until more data is obtained by the CDC.

View COVID-19 Positivity Rates for Howard University Campus

Data Dashboard