Howard University made the tough but responsible call to cancel its graduation ceremony and all related events this year to help curtail the spread of coronavirus. The decision was finalized after a guest of the university tested positive for the virus in recent days.
According to the school’s president, Wayne A. I. Frederick, a guest who attended the Howard University Charter Day Dinner tested positive for COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. Due to the positive test, Frederick suggested all dinner participants “monitor and report to your doctor if you begin exhibiting flu-like symptoms” and he said the D.C. Department of Health is investigating the situation.
Frederick also announced, via a letter to the Howard community, that graduation has officially been cancelled:
“Commencement and All-Class Reunions are canceled. On Sunday, the CDC issued recommendations that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States. Although the CDC states that this does not apply to the day to day operations of institutions of higher education, we do not consider commencement a day-to-day operation. Given that Howard’s Commencement activities garner crowds of thousands, and the numerous elders and children regularly in attendance, we will cancel the event to avoid the potential for additional virus spread which would be problematic.”
Howard is the latest of many institutions to cancel large events, but among the first universities to announce its commencement ceremony will be canceled.
For the latest on the coronavirus, contact your local health department and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.