The University will surveil and rapidly identify any re- emergence of an outbreak, work in coordination with the District of Columbia Department of Health as required and respond accordingly. In the event of a resurgence of the virus beyond containment (outbreak) or by direction of the DC Department of Health, faculty, students, and staff remaining on campus, faculty will implement new course continuity plans for the Spring 2021 that includes a plan to move fully online in the event of a resurgence. Remote and online instruction for all courses will be re-implemented, research laboratories will close, and staff will be re-transitioned to entire remote work operations. Students will be directed to return home and any scheduled on-campus events will be canceled or moved to a virtual format. As implemented during Spring, Summer and Fall 2020, only essential personnel would remain on campus.
Projected Population on Campus
Out of a faculty population of 1,100, we anticipate that 350 will be on campus for face to face courses. There are approximately 1,700 staff at Howard University (not including Howard University Hospital). We anticipate that the majority of staff will continue to work remotely, and we will adhere to the 25% building capacity limit for Phase II. Therefore, we anticipate that there will be no more than 425 staff on campus on any given day. These are estimates at the moment, as we are currently surveying faculty, students and staff.
Based on the feedback received via stakeholder working groups and campus surveys, the University will provide flexibility in course offerings, especially given the complexity of the University’s academic portfolio.
The guidance regarding classroom management and scheduling is primarily specific to our undergraduate programs. Due to accreditation and other program specific requirements, graduate and professional programs may have differences in their academic calendars, clinical requirements and expectations, and course options.
We are planning for a hybrid academic model where some students and faculty will be in the classroom and others will be online. All undergraduate courses for the Spring 2021 semester will be conducted fully online, and non-residential.
Many of our graduate and professional programs and courses will also be provided online, either primarily, or fully. While many of our health professional didactic courses will be online, the clinical training components will be conducted face-to-face, secondary to accreditation and licensure requirements. Students in those programs will be provided additional details by the deans of the health professional schools regarding the program requirements, safety protocols and other advisement. A decision regarding the format of instruction for Summer 2021 will be made at a later point in the Spring 2021 semester.
- The decision regarding which students and faculty meet face to face will be made based on health risk to faculty, staff and students regarding underlying medical conditions or concerns over transmission, academic discipline and course content, as well as degree attainment and accreditation requirements.
- Based on current CDC guidelines, the majority of courses will be taken online in a synchronous or asynchronous (e.g. recorded) method, with allowance for in-person instruction, in particular for labs, clinicals, performances and internships. This format may be modified, should guidelines be changed, or if the local conditions change.
- If a student prefers not to return to campus in spring, for whatever reason, they have the option to continue academic progress towards a degree online, to the extent that desired courses are available online.
- Clinics will be prioritized for assignment of classrooms for any face to face instruction.
- If the course objectives for a course(s) can be met online, then the course should be offered online.
- The capacity of all classrooms will be restricted to 20% - 30% of the stated original capacity to allow for social distancing, prioritizing larger lecture halls and auditoriums for use with the largest classes that require face to face (F2F) instruction. Capacities for some smaller classroom spaces may be further reduced to implement social distancing.
- Courses with enrollment of more than 30 students, or courses with large lectures built into them, will be scheduled to be online or a hybrid for the fall.
- To facilitate maximum usage of the limited number of classrooms that can accommodate social distancing, the normal range of class times will be extended beyond 5 pm Monday through Friday and may include weekends. This extended schedule provides more classroom usage and reduces the on-campus traffic during typically peak times.
- To accommodate social distancing, some lecture classes will likely institute a rotated attendance policy to enable social distancing or leverage technology to decouple learning from any particular space. Smaller classes will be offered in larger rooms, and we continually assess classroom spaces to be used for instruction.
- All classrooms will be re-arranged to minimize possible exposure to each other as part of social distancing efforts. All Howard University faculty, students, and staff will be required to wear facial coverings while in classrooms and public spaces.
- In-person office hours are eliminated. All faculty are required to post and maintain virtual office hours for students. The University may consider stating a minimum number of virtual office hours per week for faculty.
- A comprehensive faculty training and professional development program has been implemented and will be augmented so that online instruction is offered at a level of high quality and in alignment with pedagogical best practices.
- University libraries and iLabs will re-open when the University resumes on-campus classes, with limited capacity determined by social distancing and maximum occupancy requirements. Limited essential staff will return as appropriate.
- CETLA classes and virtual office hours will be available during the week, and weekends to support faculty during the semester in developing and troubleshooting issues in their courses.
- In some professional programs, accreditation and licensure considerations may constrain our ability to fully continue instruction in an uninterrupted manner, especially where clinical instruction is a requirement. Howard University will make every effort to inform students of any regulatory restrictions that will impact degree completion.
- Particularly in health professional programs, accrediting bodies and licensing boards have mandated a minimum requirement regarding completion of experiential and clinical courses. Interruption of clinical courses may require additional modifications regarding extended academic calendars and other necessary adjustments to fulfill mandatory clinical requirements. Health professional students and other students with experiential requirements should seek additional guidance from the Deans. We will continue to follow DC guidance regarding phases of re-opening.