Howard University on Wednesday announced that undergraduate students would finish up their spring semester online, due to an increase in the Covid-19 positivity rate on campus and in Washington, D.C. After classes end on April 22, exams will also be held online.
In an email to students, Anthony K. Wutoh, Howard’s provost and chief academic officer, and Hugh Mighty, dean of the College of Medicine and vice president for clinical affairs, wrote that the positivity rate at the university had jumped from 2 percent to about 5 percent over the past week. An increased number of residential students have also needed to quarantine, they said.
The historically Black university is the first known institution to switch online due to the BA.2 variant, which now makes up a majority of Covid cases in the U.S. Dozens of other colleges, including several of Howard’s peers in Washington, D.C., have reinstated their indoor mask mandates due to recent case numbers.
A key motivator for moving classes online now, the Howard administrators wrote, was to make sure the university would be able to hold its planned in-person graduation ceremony next month.
Graduate and professional students and those with fine-arts classes at Howard will continue to attend class in person.
According to the email from administrators, students can leave their dorms early if their classes are online and they don’t have any in-person finals. The institution is also encouraging students to hold social events outside.