Testing Protocol

Updates: 9/2/21

  • Symptomatic persons should test the same day regardless of vaccination status.
  • For persons who test positive, a single negative test is sufficient after the 7-day quarantine to return to activities.
  • Quarantine is not automatically required after a potential classroom exposure if the potentially exposed individual is vaccinated.
  • Vaccinated, exposed persons must test in 3-5 days.
  • Unvaccinated, exposed persons must quarantine for 3-5 days then obtain a COVID test.

General Information

All students and faculty/staff must be tested for COVID19 at least once per week. If you test positive for COVID19, you must quarantine for 7 days and have a negative test result prior to returning to class or work. If you test positive again after 7 days of quarantine, you will be retested every 2 days until you are negative.

On-Campus Testing Sites for Students

  • Blackburn Center
  • Undergraduate Library
  • Stokes Health Science Library
  • West Campus

Testing hours are Monday through Friday 9AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM.

Testing Site for Faculty and Staff

  • Suite 3600, Faculty Practice Plan, Towers Building

Testing hours are Monday through Friday 9AM-12PM and 1PM-4PM.

What to Do if You Test Positive

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

  1. to the Student Health Center (SHC) by calling (202-806-7540), or via shcscreening@howard.edu. The SHC is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm (M-F).

  2. By filling out the BISON Safe app COVID attestation software and answering “Yes” to the regarding testing positive within the last 10 days.

  3. By notifying the Resident Director of a dormitory if the student lives in campus housing.

When SHC is aware of the positive result, they will contact the student and the isolation protocol will be activated.

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

  1. The Employee COVID testing center at Room 3600, Faculty Practice Plan, Towers Building (202)-865-3765, or email your results to HUEmployeeFPP@howard.edu.
  2. By filling out the BISON Safe app COVID attestation software and answering “Yes” to the 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:

  • the Washington DC Department of Health, the Provost and the Dean of your school will be notified,
  • You will be contacted by the HU Contact Response team via phone or email. Be prepared to answer questions about the classes you attended and your household or dormitory contacts.
  • If you have attended in-person classes, a classroom roster (including professor) will be provided to HU Contact Response 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 testing center is aware:

  • The Washington DC Department of Health, the Provost and the Dean of your school (for faculty) will be notified. For staff, the designated official in Human Resources or the Employee COVID testing center will be notified.
  • You will be contacted by the HU Contact Response 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, a classroom roster (students and faculty) will be provided to HU Contact Response Team, and the classroom exposure protocol will be initiated. Your identity will not be provided.

Classroom Exposure Protocol

If you are exposed to a COVID19 positive person in the classroom, you will receive an email informing you of the exposure, and to follow the outlined protocol:

  • If you are vaccinated, you must be tested for COVID 3-5 days after you’re informed of the exposure. You do not need to quarantine.
  • If you are unvaccinated, quarantine for 3-5 days and then get a COVID test.

Regardless of vaccination status, If you become symptomatic at anytime, get tested immediately. If your results are positive, you will be quarantined for 7 days from the date of your test. Then you will be re-tested and can return to your activities once you are negative.

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.

Quarantine 

Students who test positive will be requested to quarantine 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. 

The process for on campus resident students who test positive is outlined below: 

  •  There are designated quarantine locations throughout the dormitories. Each dorm will have a specified space depending on availability and approximate location. 

  • Students will be advised to enter one of these assigned spaces for the period of quarantine. 

  • Students who are quarantined can order food via an app called Bites. Food orders are from the campus vendor Sodexo. 

  • The student health center is open daily Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 5pm for students who may need medical assistance because of symptoms. 

  • Each dorm also has a RD who is accessible to the student in case of issues. 

  • During Student Health Services hours, the student may call the student health center directly. 

  • Outside of Student Health Center hours, if a student is symptomatic, they may also go to the Emergency Department at Howard University Hospital. 

  • During the period of quarantine, wellness checks are provided by the Residence Director (RD) in the residence hall as well as the student health center. 

  • The student health service has a list of students who have tested positive through the campus testing system and will track those students. 

  • If students test positive outside of campus, they will need to notify the student health center during the center hours by calling or via shcscreening@howard.edu. If it is outside of the student health center hours, they will contact the Residence Director (RD) for their dorm. 

  • In addition, if a student wishes to report a positive test from the outside, they may also access the BISON SAFE app and answer “YES” to the question regarding testing positive. This will trigger the app to flag red and notify the student of further instructions. 

 
Students who do not reside on campus, should quarantine in their homes/residence, and notify the student health center. If they are symptomatic, they should contact their primary care provider, or an urgent care center or nearby emergency room if it is after the student health center hours of operation 

Employees (faculty and staff) who test positive will be asked to quarantine away from the campus for 7 days, after which they will be tested and must obtain 2 negative tests to return to duty.  See the faculty/Staff section at the bottom of the page for more information.  

Exposure vs. Close Contact

For the purpose of this protocol, an exposure is the event whereby someone in a space has tested positive, but all others were distant or wearing masks and the contact was transient. 

Close contact refers to being within 6 feet for equal or greater than 15 minutes, even if the persons were masked. 

Close Contacts 

Close contacts of a person testing positive will be notified and tested within 24 hours. Subsequently they will be tested within 7 days. 

Contact Tracing

The university reports and works with DC Health for contact tracing. In the event of a positive case the university will: 

  • Notify the person via email and begin quarantine procedures 

  • Students are isolated for 7 days and will be released after two negative COVID-19 tests 24 hours apart. 

  • HU Designated official is notified. 

  • HU Designated official notifies student and gets information regarding classes and any other close gathering.  

  • HU Designated official notifies city. 

  • DC Health decides where to complete contacting tracing per city guidelines. 

  • Provost office notified of positive student test and HR notified if faculty & staff. 

  • Report to HU designated official and notify DC Health. 

  • Provost or Deans notify individuals in classes or gatherings that there has been a positive case. 

  • Campus testing protocol initiated per guidelines for exposure and close contacts. 

Dormitory-Specific Considerations 

In specific cases where a roommate tests positive, the contact of the roommate will be tested within 24 hours and will be tested at 4 days and at 7 days. The contact will not be required to isolate unless they test positive or become symptomatic and have a positive test. Students residing in the dorms who test positive will be placed on isolation for 7 days and will be retested twice after 7 days. They will be cleared if both tests are negative.

General Guidance 

  1. Masks must be worn indoors in public spaces (shared offices, classrooms, etc.) as well as outdoors in group settings. When outdoors, an individual may be unmasked if traveling alone. Any gathering of two or more individuals will require masks and recommended social distancing (designated by the CDC as 3 feet currently). 

  2. Appropriate physical distancing should be practiced, whenever possible. 

  3. Anyone who is symptomatic should be tested as soon as possible on the same day. 

  4. Students and employees should not report to class/work if they are experiencing symptoms until they have been tested. 

  5. For those who are symptomatic, Rapid Antigen tests will be available in each dormitory as well as at the Student Health Center. If the rapid test is positive, the individual should be placed on isolation and have a reflex PCR test. 

  6. Anyone who is positive should be in isolation for 7 days, and then should have 2 negative PCR tests in order to return to duty/school. 

  7. Testing will be once weekly, using PCR for all students and faculty/staff. 

  8. Because of the close contact and physical activity of Athletes, they will be tested 3 times per week; twice with a rapid antigen test and once with a PCR test. These tests will be conducted prior to the initiation of practice or event. If an individual tests positive on an antigen test, they will be prohibited from entering the activity. A reflex PCR test will be performed, and the protocol for positives will be initiated if that test confirms positivity. All results (positive and negative) will be reported to the Student Health Center. 

  9. Certain activities such as band practice, choir, and cheer squads will also have more frequent testing up to 3 times per week. Rapid antigen testing will be utilized to quickly identify potentially infected students prior to the initiation of the sessions. 

  10. In keeping with campus policy, all visitors to the campus who will be on the campus for greater than 4 hours or meet the criteria for being a a close contact are required to be vaccinated. Individuals must fill out the Bison Safe attestation form prior to entering the campus. 

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