Howard University Cancels Commencement After Potential COVID-19 Spread

School president Wayne A.I. Frederick says classes will move to online- only instruction for the remainder of the semester.

Howard University has moved to end its commencement and shifting all remaining instruction to remote and online-only methods in response to potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. A guest at an event hosted by the institution held earlier in the month has tested positive for the virus thus prompting the announcement.

In a press release issued Monday (March 16) by Howard president Wayne A.I. Frederick, it was revealed at the guest who attended the Charity Day Dinner event on March 7 tested positive for coronavirus. It was instructed that all attendees who may have come in contact with the individual get tested, especially if they exhibit symptoms related to the flu.

From the press release:

I am writing to inform you of a need to escalate the university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A guest who attended the Howard University Charter Day Dinner has tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). Out of an abundance of caution, we are asking all March 7 dinner participants to monitor and report to your doctor if you begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The DC Department of Health is investigating the case, locating and counseling relevant contacts in accordance with the latest national guidance and protocols. We are working closely with the department and have been advised that the chances of contracting the virus are low.

The individual has complied with DC Department of Health’s guidance to remain self-isolated. Our direct concern is the recovery and well-being of the affected individual and their loved ones. We will continue to prioritize the most vulnerable among us and do everything we can to safeguard the health and wellness of our university staff, students and surrounding communities.

The release goes on to explain that face-to-face instruction will be halted until the end of the semester, and residence halls on the campus will close at 11:59PM ET on Sunday, March 22. The school also said that any student who traveled abroad for spring break cannot return to the campus.

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