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.
  • Only the Student Health Center (students) or Occupational Health (staff and faculty) may clear you from isolation.

Isolation Clearance Protocol for Students, Faculty, Staff and Postdocs


After receiving your positive result, the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will send you isolation instructions and an electronic survey to fill out. This survey will determine your close contacts and any classes attended during your infectious period.

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 All Students (On- & Off-Campus), Faculty, Staff and Postdocs

If you test positive for COVID-19, CCST will send you an email with next steps and isolation instructions. Please follow these step-by-step instructions to keep yourself and others safe.

  1. If you are at work or in a classroom, leave immediately and begin self-isolation at home. 
  2. A medical provider will provide you with your final isolation clearance date. Typically, self-isolation lasts for a minimum of 5 days, perhaps longer if you have symptoms or a positive result on your antigen test.  Please contact the SHC (students) or Occupational Health (staff/faculty/postdocs) if you have any questions or concerns about your isolation.
  3. If you need medical assistance call SHC (students) at 202-994-5300 or Occupational Health (202-677-6230). GW COVID-19 services are provided for free.
  4. Monitor symptoms and complete the daily isolation survey that is sent via text/email; this will allow the providers to track your progress and release you from isolation when appropriate.
  5. If you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are improving, you may test out of isolation as early as day 5 with a negative antigen test. See here for more details.
  6. Notify your professors and/or supervisors that you will not be reporting to in-person class/work. You do NOT have to tell them about your test results as it is your personal health information.
  7. You should NOT be tested for COVID-19 for the next 45 days due to the possibility of it coming back positive even if you aren't able to spread the virus. 
  8. We encourage you to notify any close contacts affiliated with GW of your positive results to keep those around you safe. 
  9. If you are in need of mental health or counseling services, please call 202-994-5300 (Students) or 202-677-6230 (Faculty/Staff/Postdocs). 

For any medical questions or assistance, contact the Student Health Center (Students) at 202-994-5300 or Occupational Health (Faculty/Staff/Postdocs) at 202-677-6230; help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Returning from Isolation

Anyone in isolation will need a clearance from the Student Health Center (students) or Occupational Health (Faculty/Staff/Postdocs) 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, Staff and Postdocs

  • 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
    VSTC: CVS at 44835 Russell Branch Parkway - 571-223-0006
    • 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, staff, postdocs):  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, local police: 911