Additional Vaccine Information for Students Arriving from Outside of the United States for Fall 2021

June 16, 2021


This information was updated on July 30, 2021.

Dear Students, 

As a reminder, GW requires all students who will be in-person during the upcoming 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated with a U.S. FDA- or World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine. This includes all individuals who will be in GW-operated or -owned buildings daily or intermittently during the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Fully vaccinated means that you have completed the full dosage of a COVID-19 vaccine and 14 days have passed. If you have already received your vaccine, please upload your documentation to the medical portal as soon as possible before Aug. 1. Instructions for this process are available here.

We realize that some of you are not able to receive the vaccine in your home country. Also, for some, your travel to GW may be impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions.

In recognition of some of these noted barriers, we pledge to work with you to help you complete the necessary vaccine requirements that will help keep you and other members of our community healthy and safe.  

To help you understand what will be expected of you this fall in regards to this requirement, please read below:


Thank you to those of you who have already submitted your documentation demonstrating that you have received a vaccine or are requesting a medical or religious exemption.  Please understand that medical professionals are reviewing submissions manually and it may take up to two weeks for your submission to be verified.   


If you are not able to be fully vaccinated before your arrival to campus because you cannot receive the vaccine in your home country or can only receive one dose of a two-dose vaccine, you should email the Colonial Health Center at [email protected] to request a temporary exemption. Until you are fully vaccinated, you will need to quarantine following travel, take COVID-19 tests weekly and monitor your symptoms daily. You will also be required to wear a mask indoors.


Information on scheduling a test at one of GW's sites is available here.

If you are fully vaccinated you must begin your monthly (every 30 days) testing cycle when you arrive on campus.  You must test again 5 days later due to your international travel.  You do not need to undergo travel quarantine.

If you are unvaccinated, and have an approved exemption, you must start travel quarantine at your D.C.-area residence after arrival.  Take your initial COVID-19 test on campus when you arrive and another test five days later.  If both are negative you will be released from travel quarantine by the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST). Additional information on this process is available here

While you are in quarantine you are expected to remain in your room. You can leave your room to pick up food and get your tests at the on-campus COVID-19 testing center. You will not be allowed to participate in any in-person student programming, activities, or classes until you are released from travel quarantine.  


You have two options to receive your vaccine after you arrive in the United States:

At the GW COVID testing center:  GW has doses of the Pfizer vaccine available at our on-campus COVID testing center. Currently appointments are not necessary, however that may change as it gets closer to the start of the academic year.  You can arrange to receive your first dose of the vaccine at the testing center at the same time you take your COVID test during your travel quarantine period. When you receive your first dose of the vaccine, the testing center will help you schedule your second dose. 

At a local pharmacy: After you finish quarantine, you can schedule a vaccine appointment at many of the local pharmacies around the Foggy Bottom/Mount Vernon area, such as the CVS at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. Click here to view the District of Columbia’s list of vaccination sites.

Please upload your completed vaccine card after receiving your full series of vaccinations. A medical professional will review and verify your vaccine information. Once 14 days have passed since your last dose, the Colonial Health Center will update your records to show that you are in compliance with this university policy.  


If you are vaccinated: All GW community members who are fully vaccinated will be required to participate in monthly (every 30 days) surveillance testing through the GW COVID-19 testing center. Your initial test when you arrive begins your testing cycle.

If you are unvaccinated: Until you are fully vaccinated, or if you receive an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons, you will be required to participate in weekly COVID-19 testing through our on-campus testing center. You are fully vaccinated 14 days after your last dose. Once you are fully vaccinated, you will move to a monthly surveillance testing schedule. 

As a reminder, if you have a temporary exemption on file, have completed travel quarantine, started your vaccine requirement and participate in weekly testing, you will be able to attend in-person programming, activities and classes while you complete the university’s vaccine requirement. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we implement our health and safety plans for the upcoming year. Please understand that we may make adjustments to this information as we continue to plan for our upcoming fall semester. Updates will be communicated closer to the start of the fall semester. Frequently asked questions for international students is available here.

If you have any medical related questions about vaccines, testing, or quarantining, please email [email protected].  If you have questions about your on-campus room, please email [email protected]. If you have questions about your classes, please contact your academic advisor. Please realize that we are experiencing an increased volume of questions and it may take time for us to respond. 

We are excited for the upcoming year. We hope you are as well.  See you soon!

Jennifer Donaghue, Ed.D  
Executive Director of International Education

Dr. Isabel Goldenberg
Medical Director for the Colonial Health Center

Seth Weinshel and Stewart Robinette
Assistant Deans for Campus Living and Residential Education

Koren A. Bedeau, Ph.D 
Senior Associate Provost for Special Projects