Coronavirus forces Howard to cancel Homecoming weekend

The annual gathering which brings alumni to the campus and includes events, concerts and parties, will not take place this year

The crowd at the Pepsi x ESSENCE “She Got Now” at Howard University Homecoming on October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Pepsi)

If you were looking forward to attending Howard University’s Homecoming in Washington D.C this fall, you’re out of luck!

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Thursday, Anna-Lysa Gayle from D.C’s ABC News 7 broke the news that one of the most anticipated events of the fall season would not be happening amidst safety concerns about throwing large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

“BREAKING: @HowardU Homecoming is NOT happening this year, due to safety concerns amid the pandemic,” Gayle tweeted that afternoon. “Just had a conversation with @HUPrez17 about plans for the fall, which will air soon on @whuttv.”

Her followers quickly made their feelings known, writing messages like, “Thanks for officially breaking hearts everywhere.”

This isn’t the first time the administration at the HBCU has erred on the side of caution in the face of a virus that’s disproportionately affected Black communities.

Back in March, only days after the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus would be categorized as a global pandemic, the university canceled its graduation ceremony and all related events after a guest who attended the Howard University Charter Day Dinner tested positive for COVID-19.

Howard University campus (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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Howard president Wayne A. I. Frederick sent a letter to the Howard community, announcing the decision stating, “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.”

In light of Thursday’s revelation, a similar official correspondence is most likely being drafted for their legendary homecoming festivities as well.

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