Coronavirus FAQ - Faculty and Staff

On this page, you will find Question and Answer sections regarding University operations, health and wellness, parking/transportation, visitation, and communication.

Coronavirus News and Updates Student FAQ Bison in the Know

Q&A: Operations and Human Resources

Is Howard University closed?

Beginning Monday, March 23, Howard University will transition to online courses for the remainder of the semester. Employees will participate in an Emergency COVID-19 telework policy.

 

Employees: If students are no longer on campus following Spring Break, shouldn’t employees work from home?

Where possible and approved by leadership staff can and will telework. Please check in with your manager.

Employees: Classes are moving to virtual instruction. What about the safety of the rest of the community?

Your safety and well-being is of the utmost importance to us. That is one of the reasons we are transitioning to telework procedures and limited access to campus. This assists with social distancing and gatherings of more than 10 staff in any location at any time.

Employees: I am a supervisor. Can I ask an employee to go home if he or she comes to work visibly sick?

Yes, please do. In addition, if you feel ill or if anyone on the staff feels ill, please have them stay home and call a medical professional.

Employees: Can employees work remotely to avoid potential spread?

Yes, with the support of their manager. We have published requirements for staff to telework. Please check in with your manager regarding teleworking.

Employees: My supervisor has determined that I cannot do my University job remotely. What should I do?

Check in with your Dean and/or Cabinet leader to ascertain the possibilities.

Employees: How do I know if I am an essential employee?

Your manager/supervisor will determine whether or not your position is essential.  Please check with your supervisor.

Employees: Will hourly/nonexempt employees be permitted to work remotely?

If you are a nonexempt employee who is permitted by your supervisor to telework, special care must be taken to ensure that you are accurately tracking your hours worked, so that you are paid for all hours worked. You must also continue to comply with the University’s policies including meal break policies, and you must continue to seek advance authorization before working overtime.

Employees: Will hourly employees be paid, even if we cannot do our jobs remotely?

Yes, you will be paid. Please read the most recent HU Communication regarding telework, pay, etc.

Employees: Do I have to use my sick leave if I cannot travel to work due to quarantine requirements?

It depends on the circumstances. If you are ill, yes. If not. then you may need to use your Paid Time Off.

Employees: Am I eligible for workers’ compensation if I believe I’ve contracted COVID-19 while at work or during a work-related activity?

Yes, and we are in constant contact with our Workers Compensation vendor.

Employees: Are we expected to travel to work each day during the period where courses are shifted to online?

No, not at this time.

Q&A: Health & Wellness

What will happen if someone gets the Coronavirus while on campus?

Howard University  and Howard University Hospital are prepared to advise and treat anyone who is affected by the coronavirus (COVID 19).  Our infectious diseases experts work closely with the DC health department and are following the guidelines and recommendations of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for assessment, isolation and testing and treatment.  Howard University Hospital is a designated coronavirus treatment facility.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of the virus appear to be consistent with those of respiratory illness: fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I feel sick?

All who are ill – no matter the cause – are encouraged to stay home and communicate by phone or email to provide notice (professors, advisors, student health, etc.) that you are sick. 

All registered and insured Howard students have access to our 24-hour telemedicine service www.telehelp4students.com for medical or mental health advice. You may connect via phone, app, or online to speak with a physician or mental health counselor. You can also access the United Healthcare Student Resources (UHCSR) Where for Care website www.uhcsr.com/where4care to receive options on locations that treat specific conditions in this area. If you are not improving or develop difficulty breathing, please call ahead to your provider of choice, including the Student Health Center at 202-806-7540, so that the office can prepare to evaluate you. Your healthcare professional will work with the local public health department and the CDC to determine if you need to be tested.

How does the COVID-19 virus spread?

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Source: CDC

How can I help protect myself?

Visit the COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment page to learn about how to protect yourself from respiratory illnesses, like COVID-19. 

Does CDC recommend the use of facemasks to prevent COVID-19?

Howard University recommends following CDC guidelines. In light of recent studies, the CDC “recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.” For more information, read the CDC’s Recommendation Regarding the Use of Cloth Face Coverings

People who have COVID-19 and show symptoms should wear face masks to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is crucial for health workers and other people who are taking care of someone infected with COVID-19 in close settings (at home or in a health care facility). 

Am I at risk for COVID-19 from a package I received?

There is still a lot that is unknown about the newly emerged COVID-19 and how it spreads. However, we can use what we know about previous iterations of coronaviruses to guide our assumptions. According to the CDC, there is evidence to suggest that coronavirus may “remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials.” Therefore, it is recommended that you clean and disinfect visibly dirty surfaces. It is recommended that you follow the CDC’s guidance on cleaning and disinfecting your home.  

I am at risk for coronavirus. What should I do?

If you believe you have come in contact with someone who has been infected, you should self-isolate (14 days), and notify your medical doctor via phone AND the campus health administrators (Student health, residence life). 
If you have symptoms of the flu (aches, fever, coughing, etc.) you should self-isolate and notify the student health center where you will receive further instructions. 

What is social distancing and why is it recommended?

The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet) from others when possible." 
Social distancing is not the same as self-quarantine or isolation, two other practices being utilized to minimize the coronavirus spread. The key difference is that a quarantine or isolation restricts the movement of people within a certain area or zone to limit transferring and spreading an infection. Social distancing places no such locational constraints, rather it is a behavioral practice to lower the risk in most circumstances.

What is Howard doing to sterilize the campus before students return?

Our facilities partner has robust cleaning processes using hospital-grade disinfectants that are proven effective against viruses. In addition to our existing standard operating procedures to clean and sanitize our facilities, we are taking additional precautions to protect our community, including:

  • De-densify the campus.   
  • Conducting overnight, targeted deep cleaning of all campus facilities.
  • Increasing our cleaning rotations to wipe down equipment and hard surfaces more frequently, particularly in high traffic areas.
  • Checking bathrooms and replenishing hand soap and hand sanitizers more frequently, while supplies are available.

I know students who are traveling internationally for spring break.

Students who travel internationally will be required to self-disclose and self-quarantine, then show proof of medical clearance prior to returning to campus.  

Is Alternative Spring Break canceled?

Alternative Spring Break, whether local or otherwise, is canceled. 

Is it okay to travel within the U.S. (domestic travel)?

We are discouraging non-essential domestic travel. 

I’m currently abroad. Should I leave?

The University is daily monitoring CDC and Department of State guidance regarding students studying abroad. Several Study Abroad partners are providing or developing online courses to transition students whose programs are canceled. We are also requesting that this be made available to students who voluntarily depart from programs. We await a formal response to this request from the various vendors. If students wish to voluntarily depart from a current study abroad program, the University will assist and provide support for these students. Please keep abreast of updates as we are reviewing circumstances daily.

I’m in a study abroad program outside of a Level 3 area, but I want to come home.

The University has either closed study abroad in all Level 3 countries or directed students to return home.  If students wish to voluntarily depart from remaining study abroad sites, the University will assist and provide support for these students.

Are University sponsored and personal International travel restricted at this time?

We have placed restrictions on University-sponsored international and domestic travel for students, faculty and staff. We also discourage personal international travel currently.

Why might people stigmatize, blame or avoid individuals and groups (create stigma) because of COVID-19?

People in the U.S. may be worried or anxious about friends and relatives who are living in or visiting areas where COVID-19 is spreading, which is reasonable. However, it is not reasonable or acceptable to allow that fear and anxiety to lead to social stigma towards Chinese people, other Asian Americans, people who were in quarantine, or anyone else.

Stigma is discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation. Stigma about COVID-19 is associated with a lack of knowledge about how the virus spreads, a need to blame someone, fears about disease and death, and gossip that spreads rumors and myths. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the virus that is causing the problem.

How can people help stop stigma related to COVID-19?

People can fight stigma and help others by providing social support. Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and explaining how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop the stigma. 

What procedure should I follow if I am experiencing harassment or discrimination?

Howard University reiterates its commitment to maintaining an educational, working, and living environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and where every member can thrive. We all must be supportive, respectful, and inclusive of the members of our community who are affected by this global issue. Coronavirus is not specific to any ethnicity or race, and Howard University is committed to ensuring no one in our community is ostracized, bullied, or mistreated due to ignorance around this disease. We're proud to report that the vast majority of our population has met this challenge with patience and understanding. 

If any member of our community believes they have experienced harassment or discrimination, we encourage them to report it to Benn Johnson, director of Student Conduct and Community Standards located at 2205 4th Street NW, Washington, DC 20059. You may also reach us at (202) 806-6131 or email us at lawan.laniersmith@howard.edu. University staff may contact MacKenzie Jordan, senior manager of Training and Development, at MJordan@Howard.edu. We hope that all of our bison understand that we are stronger together and actively support each other during this global health crisis. 

I am experiencing anxiety. Where can I get help?

Students on campus, here are resources that can help: 

  • During Spring Break the HUCS Crisis Line (202-345-6709) will operate on a 24/7 basis 
  • After Spring Break, HUCS plans to open, there may be modifications contingent upon updated information University-wide 
  • The HUCS Crisis Line will continue to operate after Spring Break 

Students off campus should utilize the UnitedHealthcare Student Resources Telemedicine services (https://www.telehelp4students.com/).

Here are some self-help resources: 

If you are in crisis - call 911 immediately for assistance. 

 

Q&A: Parking & Transportation

Will I able to use the shuttle service during spring semester?

Since the University has moved to an online platform, the shuttle service will not run until face to face classes resume. 

Will I be able to continue to park on campus?

Yes, all campus stakeholders that have parking passes will be allowed to park on campus using their respective parking tags. 

Q&A: Visitors

Are visitors allowed on campus?

At this time, all non-essential campus visits are being disallowed until further notice. 

Will my group’s campus tour still take place?

Howard University tours have been canceled for the rest of the semester. We will update you when tours are reinstated. 

Who can I speak to concerning a question I have?

Howard University’s customer service can be reached at (855) 490-2875, Monday through Friday from 8:30AM – 5:00PM. 

Are visitors allowed in the cafeteria?

At this time, no visitors are allowed in the cafeteria. 

Q&A: Miscellaneous

Where do I find more information on all the campus updates the University has provided?

https://home.howard.edu/corona-virus

I have not gotten any University updates via email. How can I join the list serv?

Please check all of your electronic mailboxes. That means junk mail, focused, spam and other mailboxes as well. Also, check messages from the Office of University Communications, etc.

Alumni: What can we do to help our students?

The university is deeply touched by the heartfelt response from our alumni during the COVID-19 crisis. We invite all Howard alumni to contribute to the HUAA Emergency Scholarship Fund. Donations to this fund will provide need-based scholarships to prospective May graduates of ALL 13 schools and colleges. Visit the HUAA Emergency Scholarship Fund donation page now.

Parents: Where can I see regular updates from the campus?

There are many ways for our parents to receive campus updates. They can join the Parent’s Advisory Council on Twitter or via their list serv. 
The Office of Student Affairs sends all campus updates to parents via email. 
Lastly, all campus announcements are housed on a special COVID-19 site located at:
 https://home.howard.edu/corona-virus