8 HBCUs That Are Strengthening COVID-19 Protocols This Semester
HBCUs across the country are building up their COVID-19 defense to keep returning students safe in the midst of Omicron.
January 10, 2022 at 7:04 pm
COVID-19 is spreading rapidly across the country, affecting those young and old. The New York Times reported that as of Jan. 6., “the country is averaging more than 500,000 new cases a day, far more than at any previous point in the pandemic.” When it comes to thinking about returning to college, it can be nerve-wracking to think about how to keep yourself safe. From dorms to simply grabbing food at the cafeteria, COVID-19 is lurking everywhere, and the Omicron variant has made it worse. However, these HBCUs and more across the country are enacting strict COVID-19 protocols to keep their students and staff out of harm’s way.
The Washington D.C.-based HBCU delayed the start of its semester to Jan. 18. Along with delaying the beginning of the semester, the university has also put an emphasis on everyone on-campus being vaccinated. All faculty, staff, and students must have their booster shot documents turned in by Jan. 31. The school has created the Bison SAFE app for students to keep track of any critical updates and take a required daily health assessment before entering any building on campus.
First day of spring semester ✅ pic.twitter.com/WfvIzkTlzG
— Howard University (@HowardU) January 18, 2022
As numbers rise in Georgia, Spelman in Atlanta has updated their safety measures to keep its students safe. While the semester starts on Jan. 12, the classes will be held virtually until in-person courses begin on Jan. 31. The school is delaying the move-in of new students until Jan. 24-28, where students will have to schedule a specific time slot of arrival. Booster shots are now required for everyone on-campus, as well as a negative PCR test upon arrival. The school has also canceled all on-campus events with visitors through January.
All faculty, staff and students must order, take and return an at-home COVID saliva PCR test prior to arriving on campus for the spring semester. Test kits are free of charge. For more information about kits and to register to receive yours, visit https://t.co/k2v41c7eDR
— Spelman College (@SpelmanCollege) January 10, 2022
Like their sister college Spelman, Morehouse is also locking it down for COVID-19. Classes will be taught virtually through Jan. 28 and then in-person courses will begin on Jan. 31. All in-person operations for non-essential staff are delayed, and pre-arrival testing is required. Residential students will return to campus on a staggered schedule starting Jan. 26. Complete vaccination plus the booster shot is now required, and there will be no on-campus events in January.
Morehouse College will be open for remote instruction only from now through Friday, January 28, 2022 due to the increased transmission of the COVID-19 Omicron variant across the nation and in the Atlanta area. For more info visit https://t.co/pTFBblh4IB. pic.twitter.com/GW4vi72BFd
— Morehouse College (@Morehouse) December 30, 2021
Texas Southern University
The HBCU based in Houston has adjusted its protocols to fight back against Omicron. Classes will begin online on Jan. 18 and return in person on Jan. 24. All students living on campus will need a negative PCR test 72 hours before move-in starts on Jan. 14, Employees will have the most remote duties to reduce the number of people on campus. Their COVID-19 center is still working hard to track contact tracing and provide tests while students wear masks and social distance.
Are you ready, Tigers?! The spring semester kicks off on Tuesday, January 18! Remember, the first week of classes will be ALL virtual. In-person classes will begin Jan. 24. pic.twitter.com/PfpjHtMsKA
— Texas Southern University (@TexasSouthern) January 16, 2022
Prairie View A&M University
The Prairie View HBCU will still be starting on time on Jan. 18. However, the school has made adjustments for everyone to arrive back safely. A negative COVID-19 test 48 hours before arrival is required. There is no “relaxed attendance policy” for students, meaning that students must have an excused absence if not in class. All meals are grab-and-go for the first two weeks, and all in-person meetings for the first two weeks are canceled as well.
Woohoo! School/In-person classes is back in session, Panthers!!! Are y’all ready to tackle the new semester?
— Prairie View A&M (@PVAMU) January 18, 2022
Florida A&M University
The university started in-person classes on Jan. 5. They provide a free testing and vaccination site for everyone to stay healthy. They also are giving return kits to ensure that everyone arrives back on-campus healthy. Face masks and social distancing are still required on-campus. Nevertheless, the university has kept its classes and events open while keeping COVID-19 safety in mind.
????A Message from President Larry Robinson about returning to campus in the Spring. ???? pic.twitter.com/DCmGayWT4s
— Florida A&M University (@FAMU_1887) January 1, 2022
Morgan State University
The Baltimore HBCU requires COVID-19 vaccinations for everyone on campus before returning for the first day of classes on Jan. 24. Booster shots are “strongly encouraged,” and masks are still required no matter where on campus. The university asks people on campus to participate in daily COVID-19 screening questions. They are also demanding that “unvaccinated students and employees who are accessing campus must participate in COVID-19 testing two times per week.”
In preparation for the Spring 2022 Semester, @MorganPres announces the following plans for the Morgan Community and campus ➡️ https://t.co/XAo9RxnfVv#MorganStrong
— Morgan State University (@MorganStateU) January 6, 2022
All classes scheduled initially online or in-person for the New Orleans HBCU will remain in place when classes begin on Jan. 25. All students must complete a COVID-19 test 48-72 hours before arriving back on campus. All students are also now required to receive the booster shot. Masks and social distancing are required across the campus. It is also encouraged that all events be held outside, and food/beverages cannot be served at any indoor event.
Spring semester is just around the corner! Please read the following thread for a few reminders to help us start off the semester #StrongerTUgether ⬇️
— Tulane University (@Tulane) January 14, 2022
The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has made returning to college even more difficult. The numbers continue to rise due to misinformation and not following health procedures. However, these HBCUs are doing what it takes to keep our Black students safe and healthy to continue to work towards their education.