Two universities in the D.C. region said on Wednesday that they will be bringing back a temporary mask mandate following an increase in coronavirus cases among students.
Georgetown University in D.C. and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore will add additional COVID-19 mitigation measures to help combat the case increase as well.
The indoor mask requirement will go into effect Thursday on the Main and Medical Center campuses, with exceptions for eating and drinking or when students or staff are in their “personal residence or private office.”
Ranit Mishori, Georgetown’s Chief Public Health Officer, said the measures are in response to a “significant” increase in COVID-19 cases, mainly among undergraduate students. The masking requirement will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
“Thankfully, with the vast majority of our community up to date on vaccination, we are not seeing cases involving severe illness,” Mishori said.
Georgetown will also require all undergraduate students to take a PCR test before returning to campus from Easter break on April 18. Students who have tested positive within the past 90 days are exempt from the testing requirement.
COVID-positive and negative students might be housed together in the same room or apartment because of limited available space. Georgetown said it will have “secured additional isolation space at a nearby hotel,” because the campus hotel is almost full.
You can read the Georgetown University isolation guidelines online.
Johns Hopkins University
Masks at Johns Hopkins University will now be required in residence and dining halls, with an exception for eating and drinking. This is in addition to masking requirements in all classrooms.
Johns Hopkins will also test all undergraduate students twice-weekly through April 22. The policy will then be reevaluated to determine whether the increased testing remains necessary.
Vice Provost for Student Health and Well-Being Kevin Shollenberger said Hopkins is reacting to a steep increase in COVID-19 cases since Spring Break, “we have received reports of COVID cases among undergraduates who have recently traveled or who were exposed to someone who has recently traveled.”
Almost 100 undergraduate students have tested positive for the virus since April 1, according to the university. Most students who tested positive are asymptomatic, while the rest are experiencing mild symptoms.
Students living on-campus who are asked to isolate will need to remain in their rooms or will be moved to off-campus housing. Meals will be delivered to their door.
A member of the university’s COVID Support Team will reach out to students who test positive to answer any questions or concerns.
Self-testing kits will be available to all students at the Wolman Housing Office or AMR II Residential Life Office. They can be picked up between 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Masks will be available to all students at asymptomatic testing sites as well.
You can read Johns Hopkins’ isolation guidelines online on the university’s website.