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 fall 2021 health and safety protocols, the isolation period will last for at least 10 days and may last longer if an individual is first asymptomatic and later develops symptoms or symptoms continue past the initial 10 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.

  • The Colonial Health Center (students) or GW Occupational Health (faculty and staff) will contact you 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 Colonial Health Center (students) or Occupational Health (staff and faculty) may clear you from isolation.

Isolation Guidance for Students

Isolation Guidance for Faculty & Staff


After your discussion with either the Colonial 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. 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

All residential students in isolation will be assigned a member of the Division for Student Affairs team to assist with their needs. 

While in isolation, the student’s assigned Division of Student Affairs liaison can assist with delivery of groceries and essential items to the student’s room during their isolation period. While delivery services such as Grubhub are also an option, students in isolation are not allowed to meet the driver/delivery person in the lobby (because the student can only depart their room to attend medical appointments) and the delivery person is not allowed upstairs into the residence hall for door delivery. Any food deliveries must be coordinated through their staff liaison or a friend who can pick-up the delivery and leave it at the door.  

If living on-campus in a single room (ie: no other roommate in your bedroom), and the student has access to a private bathroom the student will remain in their room and use the private bathroom. Examples in which this situation may occur includes a District House affinity unit, or in South Hall where there are multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in suites/units.

If a student in isolation remains in a suite/affinity where other students may be around common areas, university guidance includes:

  • all roommates/suitemates wear masks in the common area and kitchen.  
  • work out a schedule for those in units with kitchens so that the isolated student is able to prepare meals without others in the kitchen.
  • use proper cleaning procedures in the kitchen after each use.
  • clean and disinfect the bathroom before it can be used again as a shared space. This is the responsibility of the student once cleared from isolation. 

If living on-campus with roommates/suitemates with no access to a private bedroom and bathroom, the student will be moved to another room on campus where they will remain until being cleared by the Colonial Health Center. Students in isolation may not leave their residential unit unless there is a building emergency or they are directed to leave by medical personnel to seek testing or medical care. 

If multiple students in the same suite/unit test positive at the same time, they will isolate themselves in their room and not be moved. 

When a student is moved to another room on campus for isolation they may be moved into a room with another student also in isolation.

Isolation for Off-Campus Students

Off-campus students who test positive will work directly with the Colonial 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 Colonial 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 Colonial 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 Colonial Health Center until being released.

Returning from Isolation

Anyone in isolation will need a clearance from the Colonial 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.
  • Colonial 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