COVID Information for Neighbors

Virtual instruction is continuing for the spring and summer 2021 semester and the university remains confident that we will be in person to the fullest extent possible this fall. GW announced on April 19th, the University will require students, faculty, and staff who are in person this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to being on campus. Learn more about our enhanced health and safety efforts as well as our response to COVID-19. For information and resources on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website

Vaccine FAQ

GW will require students, faculty, and staff who are in person this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to being on campus. While we still need to social distance and wear masks, vaccination is the best and fastest way to move us closer to our pre-pandemic campus experience, herd immunity, and the end of the pandemic.

Any vaccine authorized (or approved) for use in the U.S. will be accepted, and students, faculty, and staff must be fully vaccinated. At present, fully vaccinated means receiving either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or the two-dose series of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The final dose must be completed two weeks prior to being on campus. 

The COVID-19 vaccine will be required for students, faculty, and staff who are in person this fall. We will grant limited exemptions to the vaccine requirement, such as for medical or religious reasons.

Members of the on-campus cohort this spring and summer will be required to provide proof of vaccination by the same time as others returning to campus in the fall.

Routine COVID-19 testing will not replace the requirement for vaccination.  

We are following the evolving science on the use of surveillance testing in vaccinated populations as we determine the appropriate use of COVID-19 testing on campus in the fall.

With the hopeful public health developments, we are continuing our work planning for summer and the fall.  


This summer, we have added more capacity to our residence halls and will offer courses in a hybrid mode, virtually, or in person. We also are already expanding on-campus research, law library access, and other in-person activities. We are evaluating opportunities for further expansion of such activities as well as university-sponsored travel, and we will provide more updates as policies are revised to meet evolving health and safety considerations.


In the fall, we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible. We expect that courses will be in person, with flexible remote options to meet the varying needs of our community. We also will welcome more students into our residence halls, and we are planning a robust series of enriching events, programming, and other opportunities for all students to enjoy the GW campus experience.

Neighbors FAQ

The Zoning Commission has passed a text amendment giving relief to D.C. colleges and universities. Nonetheless, the decision to move most classes online renders the request for relief moot for the fall.

GW will welcome back approximately 1,500 residential students in the spring semester. As a result of the expertise and testing capacity GW has developed and our community’s adherence to health and safety measures, we believe it is safe  to offer these additional students space on campus.

The university projects that students will be housed in 1959 E Street, FSK, District House, Lafayette, Potomac, South Hall, Lafayette, and Shenkman Hall. 

Residents who have been living on campus since the fall 2020 semester will moved in on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 8:30 a.m.

Residents who are approved for spring 2021 housing were divided up into groups for move in during the weekends of Jan. 23-24 or Jan. 30-31.

Due to the reduced number of students projected to live on campus during the spring 2021 semester, GW does not anticipate using its Mount Vernon Campus residence facilities. As the circumstances change, the university may reconsider Mount Vernon’s operating status. We will notify the public of any change.

The university does not have any plans to change the current on-campus residency requirements. GW is providing very limited housing on campus, and thus first-, and second-, and third-year students who are not able to secure on-campus housing in the fall will be credited with a semester of on-campus residency.

The university is actively discouraging students from moving into nearby off-campus housing. Access to campus will be limited during the fall semester, with public health measures in place. Students not permitted to reside on campus will attend courses online and access most services virtually.

As a result of GW’s decision to move all classes online for the fall semester, the university anticipates a significantly reduced number of students living on-campus. This change has eliminated the need to secure an off-campus facility for isolation purposes.

The public can access testing via the GW MFA which has testing capacity for tests ordered by our clinicians. The MFA also has cooperated with D.C. Health to set up and operate COVID-19 drive-in and walk-in test sites throughout the district.

The university has developed and updates regularly an online dashboard to share with the larger GW community the number of confirmed cases and transmission rate, while preserving the privacy of individual members of the campus community.

On-campus students who test positive are required to remain in isolation within their on-campus room. All students in residence this fall have single bedrooms.

Off-campus students, as well as faculty and staff are expected to stay in their residences, as moving may contribute to additional spread. Regardless of where you live, these guidelines reflect the best advice of the CDC and GW’s public health experts and should be followed. Moreover, health departments for the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia expect residents to comply with isolation requirements. According to the CDC the isolation period is a minimum of ten days, and longer than that if symptoms are persistent.

Anyone in the community with a positive test will need to cooperate with GW CCST to provide information necessary for care and the care of members of the GW community, including efforts to identify and test other members of the GW community who may have been exposed. Students will need to follow post-testing protocols as directed by GW CCST.

GW will be required to file a case report form for anyone we identify with a positive test with D.C. Health (Foggy Bottom) or the Virginia Department of Health (VSTC). These state health departments will carry out contact tracing activities that will include interviewing you and any of your close contacts. It is very important that all members of our community cooperate with public health agencies in these efforts.

Anyone with a positive test will be out of the routine testing for 90 days.

On-campus resident students will be placed into isolation for at least 10 days in their room in the residence hall. The Colonial Health Center as well as the GW Campus COVID Support Team (CCST) will coordinate to provide the support needed after a positive test result. The Colonial Health Center will follow up with anyone who tests positive within 24 hours. CCST will facilitate communication with specific GW officials who will assist in coordinating clinical care, isolation, access to food and supplies and return to school. These officials will include members of the Division for Student Affairs CARE Team. GW CARE will alert the students’ professors that they may not be in class for two weeks. After completing the isolation period and before a student can resume any activities on campus, they will need to be cleared by Colonial Health.

Off-campus students will be asked to remain in isolation for at least 10 days in their off-campus residence. The Colonial Health Center as well as the GW Campus COVID Support Team (CCST) will coordinate to provide the support that may be needed after a positive test result. The Colonial Health Center will follow up with anyone who tests positive within 24 hours to provide medical guidance. CCST can facilitate communication with specific GW officials to assist in coordinating clinical care and provide isolation and return to school guidance. These officials will include members of the Division for Student Affairs CARE Team. GW CARE can assist in notifying students’ professors or advisors that they may not be in class for two weeks.

Studies have shown that some individuals continue to test positive beyond 10 days after an initial positive test even if the individual is not experiencing any symptoms. If an individual continues to demonstrate symptoms after 10 days, they will continue to be in the care of a medical expert to determine additional treatment. Otherwise, it is believed they are not infective even if they still test positive.

Off-campus students, as residents of the District of Columbia, are expected to comply with isolation requirements according to D.C. Department of Health and stay in their own residences, not move to a new one, as moving may contribute to additional spread.

According to D.C. policy, people returning from travel to the District after specific high-risk states must be in quarantine for 14 days. Those individuals must also limit daily activities until they get tested for COVID-19 (within 5 days after their return) and receive a negative result. Moreover, anyone who is a “close contact” of a person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus must be quarantined for 14 days per the guidance of DC Health.

If the university receives reports of policy violations, including COVID-19 directives, we will evaluate those on a case-by-case basis. We will and have held students accountable for their actions that could cause harm to others and/or violates policy. Please keep in mind, however, that we will not discipline a student who gets sick (including with or without symptoms) and follows the rules.

The university will direct students to comply with public health protocols in place during the fall in order to adjust response and expectations based on current and evolving public health circumstances. These directives will include adhering to District requirements regarding quarantining, limiting the size of gatherings, wearing masks and social distancing. The Code of Student Conduct provides that the university may enforce its directives off campus.

GW is outreaching to all student organizations and emphasizing that they will be held accountable for failure to comply with university directives and public health guidelines through the Code of Student Conduct.
Outcomes will be specific to each case and may include warnings, censure, probation, public health education, and the possibility of immediate and/or long-term removal from the university.

Additionally, members of the university community will be required to adhere to the COVID-19 Campus Health and Wellbeing Policy. The policy requires the GW community to self-monitor for disease symptoms, practice personal safety and health practices, adhere to all posted signage and campus directives, and provide immunization and vaccine records as directed subject to exceptions related to medical conditions and religious beliefs. Members of the community will also be requested to comply with the infection control and mitigation protocols of the university, including testing, isolating and quarantining, if directed by officials.

In order to protect the health and safety of GW students, faculty and staff, all buildings will be restricted 24/7 and require an authorized GWorld card for entry.

Many campus buildings will be closed. The buildings that are open will be restricted to approved GWorld holders. Neighbors can still walk through campus open spaces and go to restaurants and stores on campus that have public street access.

Our procedures for spring 2021 have not changed. Public access to Mount Vernon Campus facilities will be restricted 24/7 and closed to the general public. This includes the suspension of the W Street Gate neighborhood key fob access.

The Vern Express Shuttle operations will be suspended through spring 2021 and until further notice.