Public Health Guidance for Spring 2023
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,
As we prepare for the spring semester, I am writing to share important reminders about Georgetown’s public health guidance. You can find all current COVID-19 public health policies and guidelines on the COVID-19 Resource Center site (new window).
This season, the U.S. is experiencing some of the highest levels of respiratory infections in more than a decade — including influenza (flu), RSV and COVID-19. We are seeing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases locally, nationally and internationally, and are expecting a rise in cases on campus as the semester begins.
As many return to campus, we ask that you take extra care to follow public health guidelines and best practices to help keep our community safe and healthy at this time.
We strongly recommend taking a COVID-19 test before or upon your return to the university from the winter break.
If you are experiencing symptoms, please get tested. You must report any positive COVID-19 results from an antigen test or from a PCR test taken off campus using the COVID-19 Test Result Submission Form (new window).
As announced in November (new window), One Medical testing has concluded. Free, on-demand COVID-19 saliva-based PCR testing is now available via Shield T3 vending machines on our campuses. Please visit the COVID-19 testing protocol site (new window) for instructions on how to quickly register and take a COVID-19 test on campus.
Students, faculty and staff are not required to test regularly unless they develop symptoms or are exposed or potentially exposed to someone with COVID-19.
We will continue to use wastewater surveillance testing (new window) to help assess public health conditions on campus.
Protect Yourself and Others During the Winter Season
We strongly recommend that you get a flu vaccine (new window) and take measures to protect yourself and others, especially those who may be at higher risk for complications. You can do that by wearing a mask in indoor settings, washing your hands and avoiding gatherings if you have symptoms of illness.
In the fall, based on COVID-19 contact tracing outreach, the Public Health team noticed that some students, faculty and staff were attending class or going to work despite reporting feeling ill or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, the flu or the common cold. Please do not put others at risk when you are experiencing symptoms of illness.
When experiencing any symptoms, students, faculty and staff should:
- stay home or in their on-campus residence;
- Students should follow their instructor’s policy for making up coursework, as needed, which may include attending class remotely or completing work by other means.
- Faculty should follow their instructional continuity plan, as needed.
- Staff/AAP employees may use COVID-19 Paid Time Off (PTO) or sick leave (new window) following their department’s established call-in procedures or by submitting a request in GMS (new window), based on your department’s established practice.
- complete the COVID-19 Symptom Check-In survey (new window) through the GU360 mobile app or website;
- call the Student Health Center (new window) (if a student) or their health care provider, if needed;
- take a COVID-19 test (new window); and
- not return to class or work until cleared by their health care provider or after a consultation with the Care Navigation team.
Students, faculty and staff should also complete the COVID-19 Symptom Check-In survey (new window) upon exposure to a known COVID-19 case.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement
Georgetown requires students, faculty, staff and visitors to have received a primary series (e.g., two doses of an mRNA vaccine) and, when eligible, an additional dose (first booster) of a COVID-19 vaccine (new window), or to have an approved medical or religious exemption.
While not required at this time, we strongly recommend getting the “bivalent” booster when eligible and staying up to date with your COVID-19 vaccinations following CDC guidance (new window).
Please note that staff and AAP employees continue to be eligible for COVID-19 Paid Time Off (new window) (PTO) for the vaccination and recovery of the employee and/or their minor children. These employees may continue to use their COVID-19 PTO for other COVID-19-related purposes (e.g., COVID-19 illness, testing, or care for a family member with COVID-19 or additional vaccination-related needs). Staff and AAP employees who exhaust both their COVID-19 Vaccination PTO and COVID-19 PTO leave balance can immediately access the COVID-19 PTO Donation Bank for vaccination-related purposes.
Masks are optional on campus, with limited exceptions, such as when riding GUTS. Masks are recommended in indoor settings in the context of high community transmission. You can review the current masking guidelines and recommendations on the Public Health & Operations page (new window).
When wearing a mask, we recommend wearing a properly-fitted, high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94).
Everyone has the right to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish on our campuses, and anyone may request – but not require – that those around them or interacting with them wear a mask.
Free high-quality masks will continue to be available at the entrances to most campus buildings.
Isolation and Precautions
The university’s guidelines for individuals who test positive or who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 (new window) remain in place. Individuals who test positive will receive guidance from Georgetown’s Care Navigation team. Residential students may need to isolate in their room if they test positive.
Visitors to University-owned, operated or leased buildings need to comply with the University’s visitor vaccination requirement and process (new window).
With limited exceptions, visitors are not permitted in Main Campus residential buildings or Main Campus, Law Center and Medical Center libraries and recreational facilities at this time.
Please review the University’s public health guidance for events (new window) and share information about your event (new window) with the Public Health team so we can provide additional tailored guidance.
With the high levels of respiratory infections this season, it is important that we continue to take steps to protect ourselves and one another. We are monitoring public health conditions on campus and in the local region, as well as any new guidance from the CDC and the DC Department of Health, and will provide updates when needed.
Thank you for your continued care for our community, and I hope you have a healthy and happy start to the new year.
Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer