Isolation & Tracing

Regardless of vaccination status, any member of the university community who tests positive for COVID-19 will be placed in isolation.



Isolation means staying completely separate from others. According to the CDC, isolation is a measure taken to separate people who have tested positive for COVID-19 away from others who are not sick. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate regardless of their vaccination status. Isolation must also occur for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Based on GW’s health and safety protocols, the isolation period will last for at least 5 days and may last longer if an individual is first asymptomatic and later develops symptoms or symptoms continue past the initial 5 days. Only a GW medical provider can release a GW community member from isolation and provide the individual with the medical clearance needed to resume in-person campus activities.

  • If you have questions regarding your symptoms or regarding your isolation, please call the Student Health Center (students) or GW Occupational Health (faculty and staff) to discuss your care plan. The provider will give you isolation instructions based on CDC guidelines and review how you will be cleared to return to on-campus classes or work. You should not come to campus during the isolation period. Please review the isolation guidance for students and faculty and staff.
  • The Division for Student Affairs CARE Team will alert students’ professors that they may not be in class for two weeks.
  • Only the Student Health Center (students) or Occupational Health (staff and faculty) may clear you from isolation.

Isolation Clearance Protocol for Students, Faculty, and Staff


After your discussion with either the Student Health Center (students) or GW Occupational Health (faculty and staff), the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will call you to conduct a case investigation and contact tracing if you are identified as a close contact. CCST will follow up with anyone in the community who tests positive for COVID-19. During the call, a CCST staff member will ask about the people and places you were around before your positive test result.

Isolation for Residential Students

For the 2022-2023 academic year, GW will practice isolation in place for COVID-positive individuals within the residence halls. 

While in isolation, students are permitted to go to the front of their residence hall to pick up a contactless food or grocery delivery, or to receive food from family or friends that are assisting.  Delivery services such as Grubhub can also be used to order food for immediate needs.

  • If leaving residential rooms for food or grocery delivery, students are required to use contactless delivery and no interaction with other individuals is permitted. 
  • Students are required to wear an N95 mask, KN95 mask, or double mask when leaving residential rooms for this purpose.
  • Students are not permitted to be in close contact with any other individual while leaving to pick up the food - no riding elevators with other residents, walking in close contact in stairwells or hallways, or waiting in lobbies for the delivery to arrive. Students may not interact with others while leaving your room to pick up this food.
  • Students are still prohibited from leaving your room for all other activities already prohibited during isolation in residence halls.

Isolation for Off-Campus Students

Off-campus students who test positive will work directly with the Studentt Health Center through the duration of their isolation. If a student receives a positive test via their primary care physician or other testing facility, it is the responsibility of the student to contact the Studentt Health Center and report their positive case so that the university can assess exposure to others. Students should upload their external positive test to the medical portal by attaching it to a message and complete the GW COVID-19 exposure form.  The Student Health Center may also consult with the student’s physician or the testing location to obtain additional information.  

Off-campus students who test positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation may be contacted by the Student Support Team to provide advice and suggest resources. The Student Support Team, however, is not able to make food deliveries or visits to off-campus locations.

Off-campus students in isolation are expected to remain in their locations and follow the directives of the Studentt Health Center until being released.

Isolation for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 must self-isolate immediately, regardless of your vaccination and booster status. If you are up-to-date on your vaccines (i.e., fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible), it is important that you follow these instructions because you could still spread the virus to others. If the GW Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) hasn’t already contacted you, a member of the team will be contact you soon to discuss your COVID-19 test result. There are several important steps you must take:

  1. Begin self-isolation at home. 
  2. Notify your supervisor that you are sick and will not be reporting to work. You do not need to tell them your COVID-19 test was positive. Additionally, CCST will contact you to discuss your COVID-19 test result, review the isolation instructions, and facilitate communication with Faculty Affairs/Human Resources. If you have any questions about your leave from work, please contact your Human Resources Business partner. 
  3. Monitor your symptoms and seek medical care immediately for any serious symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or feeling faint. 
  4. Contact GW Occupational Health if you need medical assistance at (202) 677-6230 or [email protected].
  5. Be prepared for the CCST, Occupational Health, and your local health department to follow-up. 
  6. You must wait until GW Occupational Health clears you to return to campus.

Returning from Isolation

Anyone in isolation will need a clearance from the Student Health Center (students) or Occupational Health (staff and faculty) to return to campus.

Clearance protocols will be based on CDC and D.C. Health guidance and coordinated with GW’s clinical entities.

Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff

  • Pandemic Time (faculty and staff)
  • Medications
    Foggy Bottom: CVS at 2000 Pennsylvania Avenue - 202-296-0329 
    Mount Vernon: CVS at 4859 MacArthur Boulevard - 202-965-6548
    • You may request medications from any pharmacy, and some may provide delivery service.
    • For more information, please see CVS same-day delivery.
  • Food
    Whole Foods Foggy Bottom, GrubHub, Uber Eats, and Safeway offer grocery delivery services if you are in quarantine.
  • Student Health Center (students): 202-994-5300, available 24 hours a day, every day
  • GW Occupational Health (faculty and staff):  202-677-6230 or [email protected], available 24 hours a day, every day
  • Campus COVID-19 Support Team: [email protected]; please include your GWID in all messages to CCST
  • Medical Emergencies:
    • On campus, GW Police: 202-994-6111
    • Off campus, DC Police: 911