Masks in classes at Georgetown University, COVID-19 testing required

For students returning to campus at Georgetown University in D.C., the school is providing public health guidance for COVID-19 and monkeypox ahead of the start of classes Wednesday.

In a message to Georgetown faculty, staff, students and the community, Dr. Ranit Mishori, the university’s Chief Public Health Officer, said masks are required in indoor instructional settings, such as classrooms and teaching laboratories, on the main and medical center campuses.

While masks are required in organized classes, they are optional in informal gatherings, such as libraries and study spaces.

Faculty members who have been vaccinated and boosted can remove their masks when lecturing or speaking in indoor settings, but must be at least 6 feet away from others.

Mask wearing is optional in most other university-owned or operated buildings, including dormitories, dining facilities, fitness centers and offices, with limited exceptions:

  1. Masks are required on university-sponsored public transportation, including GUTS buses and vans.
  2. Masks are required in university health care facilities.
  3. People in quarantine or isolation must wear masks for 10 days from the date of exposure or infections, consistent with D.C. health department guidance and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All students will need to take a COVID-19 test either within 48 hours before or within 24 hours after arriving on campus.

For residential students, a PCR test is required. For nonresidential students, while a PCR test is preferred, an antigen test will be accepted, and results should be reported via the GU360 app or website.

Faculty and staff are not required to take an arrival test, “but testing is strongly recommended, especially after travel.”

According to the university’s quarantine and isolation guidelines: “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.”

The message to the Georgetown community says the U.S. declared monkeypox a public health emergency, on Aug. 4.

The virus primarily spreads between people through close contact (e.g., direct physical contact with the infectious rash, including during intimate contact). The risk of contracting this infection is low for those who have been in casual, rather than close, contact with an infected individual (e.g., being in the same room). Georgetown’s monkeypox website includes more information and will continue to be updated.

The university says it is monitoring public health conditions on campus and in the local region, as well as any new guidance from the CDC and city health department, and will provide updates when needed.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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