April 13, 2022
Dear Howard University Community,
As we shared in our COVID-19 update last week, we have continued to observe a significant increase in COVID-19 positivity in the District of Columbia as well as on campus. Over the past week, the positivity rate at the University increased from 2 percent to approximately 5 percent. Again, this increase is partly due to the impact of the BA.2 omicron subvariant. BA.2 is now the dominant strain in the United States, including in D.C. and on our campus. While recent studies show that BA.2 does not cause more severe illness than the initial omicron variant, data also show that BA.2 is even more transmissible. As we noted previously, given the increased number of cases, we also have a concurrent increase in the number of residential students assigned to quarantine. The current quarantine process and protocols will remain in effect.
Consistent with our COVID-19 mitigation planning, we are implementing the following measures effective Thursday, April 14, 2022:
- Undergraduate didactic courses conducted during the final days of classes (April 14–22, 2022) will be held online, as will any final examinations for undergraduate students.
- Laboratory courses will complete the final week of labs as scheduled, with strict adherence to required masking and other mitigation measures.
- Graduate and professional students (dentistry, divinity, education, graduate school, law, medicine, nursing and allied health, pharmacy, social work) as well as students in fine arts performance courses will maintain their previously announced in-person schedule. Please contact your dean if you have any additional questions.
- Residence halls will remain open through the final examination period to maintain student access. Students are allowed to check out of the residence halls early, if they have classes online, and have cleared that they do not have face-to-face finals with their professors.
- All residential students are required to move out of the residence halls by the previously published date of May 8, 2022.
- We encourage any social gatherings to be conducted outdoors as the weather continues to improve.
- We are partnering with student leaders to assure that any indoor social events maintain required use of masks throughout the duration of the event, include proof of COVID-19 vaccination and current Bison SAFE app indicator prior to entry. Capacity at indoor social events will be limited to further promote safety.
We will continue to implement the following measures that have helped to protect our community:
- Masks are required in all indoor settings, as well as outdoors in group settings, through the end of the Spring 2022 semester.
- We also encourage everyone in the Howard University community to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster as soon as you are eligible to receive one. Vaccines may be received on Tuesday and Thursday at Howard University Hospital, first floor COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic between, 9 a.m. and noon.
- Weekly COVID-19 testing will continue through the end of the Spring 2022 semester.
- Please continue to use the daily screening Bison SAFE app and remain vigilant with all COVID-19 public health measures.
As we prepare for the end of the semester and the Commencement celebration, as well as oath and award ceremonies in the schools and colleges, we want to make sure that we are all working collaboratively to take effective steps to assure that we can provide a Commencement celebration with friends and families that our graduates would fondly remember. A separate communication including details of Commencement as well as oath and award ceremonies is forthcoming.
Your health and safety remain our priority, and we will continue to do all we can to provide a safe environment for everyone. Thank you.
Excellence in Truth and Service,
Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Provost & Chief Academic Officer
Hugh Mighty, MD, MBA
Dean, College of Medicine & VP for Clinical Affairs