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:

  • Keep at least six feet between yourself and another person in all public places and inside all buildings.
  • Avoid close contact with others.
  • Face masks or face coverings must be worn by everyone on campus when in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common work spaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, etc.).
  • Remain at home, or in a residence hall room, if you have a fever or other symptoms associated with COVID-19.
  • As part of DC’s Phase 2 guidance, the University will operate at 25% building capacity in office spaces, until local guidance dictates otherwise.

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.

On April 2, 2020, the CDC updated its guidance to recommend the use of cloth face coverings “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies)”. The guidance also clarifies that this recommendation is to use cloth face coverings, not surgical masks or N95 masks, as those are critical supplies that must be reserved for healthcare workers and medical first responders. University stakeholders who are part of a vulnerable population should seek guidance from their health care providers on how to navigate the campus safely as they go about their day to day activities.

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.

Below are very important links to University Health Services handouts that explain social distancing, isolation and quarantine, as well as recognizing COVID-19 symptoms, and what to do if you think you may have contracted COVID-19.

Please be sure to click on each link and familiarize yourself with the contents.

Fact Sheet on Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle and Managing Mental Health What to do While Self Quarantining How to Report COVID-19 Exposure Additional Information on Face Masks CDC Guidance on Traveling Locally and Abroad CDC Public Health Resources


  • The University will provide online training for the entire campus community prior to our return to campus. 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, prior to the start of the semester, designed to inform students about the health behaviors expected and required during the semester.
  • Training for faculty and staff will 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 prior to returning to campus.

Testing, Screening and Contact Tracing

  • Students are required to complete a COVID-19 test within the seven days prior to arriving on campus, then share results with the Student Health Center. Screening for COVID-19 will be conducted for the entire student population at the start of the semester and an ongoing regimen of regular screening of students, faculty and staff throughout the semester will be implemented. All faculty and staff will also be required to participate in a baseline COVID-19 test within seven days of return to campus, or at the designated on-campus laboratory. 
  • The University will require daily symptom screening for all students and staff. This may be conducted through mobile phone app (to be provided) or via questionnaire.
  • We will be 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.
  • Isolation spaces have been identified on our campus, in the event they are needed. Isolated students (those who have tested positive) and quarantined students (those who have been exposed) will be cohorted to not use shared resources.
  • Daily screening will be carried out for students, faculty and staff using a short, self-administered questionnaire (via app). A thermometer will be provided to self- monitor temperature. Students in dormitories will have a similar protocol before leaving the dorms in the morning. Students, staff and faculty who have a remarkable screen result will be asked to temporarily self-isolate, speak to a healthcare professional and follow advice of the health care professional with regards to testing. If testing is recommended, isolation will continue until the test produces a negative result. Students who are symptomatic will be isolated and a COVID-19 test will be performed. Isolation will continue until a negative result is produced and confirmed.
  • Through a relationship with a commercial manufacturer, Howard University will have the ability to process between 500 to 1500 samples per day on site. Sufficient testing supplies for kits and reagents will be provided by the manufacturer. Howard University will utilize as much of its PPE through its current supply chain.  In the event of an impending shortage, Howard University will leverage our relationship with Adventist Health, and also seek assistance from the DC Department of Health.  

Domestic and International Travel

  • There will continue to be restrictions on University- sponsored domestic and international travel. Visitors and guests will generally be restricted from accessing residential buildings and other campus facilities.
  • No on-campus university tours will be conducted. All tours will be conducted virtually.
  • International students, who are abroad, are being encouraged to take classes online from their countries of residence, as the University works to de-densify the campus. Any student or staff returning from domestic travel, particularly “hot spots”, or overseas travel will be required to quarantine for 14 days.