Campus Health Update: Indoor Mask Mandate, Test Center Hours, Positive Exposures

November 19, 2021

Indoor Mask Mandate

GW’s indoor mask mandate remains in effect for all university-owned or -operated facilities until further notice.

As you may have seen, the District of Columbia’s indoor mask mandate will be lifted on Monday, Nov. 22. It is important to note that the District’s guidance still requires masks to be worn indoors in facilities where a large number of people congregate, such as residence halls. Additionally, the District's guidance allows for private entities, like the university, to require masks. 

At GW, we have a low, but continued steady presence of COVID-19 on our campuses. Through contact tracing, we have seen positive cases in our campus members who have removed their masks in group settings (parties, informal social gatherings, group studying). Yet, we have not seen significant person-to-person transmission in fully-masked group environments, such as large classrooms with no social distancing.

In addition, we anticipate an increase in positive cases due to increased travel and gatherings over the holidays. Mask-wearing, in combination with the university’s routine COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs, adds an additional level of protection for our campus population. The scientific data on masks demonstrates that masks are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. This multi-layered approach helps ensure that we are able to continue in-person teaching, learning and working this semester.

We will continue to review our public health guidelines, including our indoor mask mandate, based on the latest data about COVID-19 transmission in our community, as well as local and national public health guidance. We will update you on any changes to our guidance. 

Modified Testing Center Hours for Thanksgiving Week

The GW COVID-19 testing centers will operate under modified hours during Thanksgiving week, November 22-28. 

Please note that if you require a COVID-19 test prior to travel, you should schedule your test 48-72 hours in advance of your trip. All results for tests performed by noon on Wednesday, Nov. 24, will be available Wednesday evening.

If your next test due date falls over the Thanksgiving break period, you may make an appointment to test early to maintain your compliance. If you fall out of compliance during this period, we recommend that you schedule your test for the first day you return to campus.

Foggy Bottom

  • Monday, Nov. 22, and Tuesday, Nov. 23: 6 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 24: 6 a.m. - Noon
  • Thursday, Nov. 25 - Sunday, Nov. 28: Closed

Virginia Science and Technology Campus

  • Tuesday, Nov. 23: Extended hours from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov. 25: Closed 


The Foggy Bottom asymptomatic and symptomatic testing centers will reopen on Monday, Nov. 29. The VSTC testing center will open on Tuesday, Nov. 30.



Steps to Take After a Positive Exposure

We have received questions from our community members about what to do if you have been exposed to a positive COVID-19 case. The answer is: it depends! 

If you are fully vaccinated, you do not need to quarantine and should continue attending class or work. Additionally, you should take the following steps in accordance with CDC recommendations:

  1. Schedule a test for at least 4 days after (on day 5) your exposure date through the medical portal or immediately if you develop COVID-19 like symptoms.
  2. Please wear a mask in all public indoor settings and as required by the university. 
  3. You are NOT required to quarantine during this period. You may still attend class or work.
  4. If you develop COVID-19 like-symptoms, please contact the Colonial Health Center (students) by calling 202-994-5300, or Occupational Health (faculty/staff) by calling 202-677-6230. 

If you have an exemption to the vaccine requirement or are not yet fully vaccinated (at least 2 weeks have passed since your final required dose), you must quarantine and follow the steps below: 

  1. Begin to quarantine immediately.
  2. Schedule a COVID-19 test immediately and a second test at least 4 days (Day 5) from your exposure date.
  3. Notify your professors/supervisors that you have been directed to quarantine by the university or a local health department and will not report to in-person class or work. 
  4. Monitor symptoms and seek medical care for serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort or feeling faint.
  5. If your test results are negative, the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will release you from quarantine after 10 days (on Day 11).
  6. We recommend that you quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days as the safest course of action.
  7. For more detailed instructions, please check here: Exposed Students, Exposed Faculty/Staff, Symptomatic Students, Symptomatic Faculty/Staff


Additional Resources