Message from President LeBlanc Regarding COVID-19

March 09, 2020

To the George Washington University Community:

When I wrote to you last week, I assured you that the university would continuously communicate with you and support you, especially as circumstances surrounding COVID-19 change quickly.

As you may be aware, the university assisted a small number of students in self-quarantining for one night before GW and local public health experts determined that they did not pose a health risk. Those involved showed tremendous care and shared responsibility for one another and for our broader community. On behalf of the entire university, thank you.

This was also a reminder that during difficult and stressful times it is even more important that we follow reputable sources for information and apply sound judgment and discretion to any new information. In particular, spreading misinformation and rumors that COVID-19 is being transmitted within certain communities serves only to harm and divide, and it is unacceptable. We are aware of and are responding to reports of bias related behaviors. We will thoroughly investigate any reports of bias and take appropriate action.

Although there are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at GW, the university’s dedicated task force of public health, medical and safety professionals is tracking all developments and coordinating with local officials. Members of university leadership are discussing contingency plans, including for adjusting our academic operations should it become necessary.

We will continue to update you frequently. I also encourage you to monitor our COVID-19 website and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, particularly if you are planning travel next week. Experts have warned us all to expect an evolving situation for at least several months, and as I mentioned previously, our support, resources and guidance will evolve in step, as well.

Thank you again for your continued patience, understanding and compassion. Please, take good care of yourselves and one another, prioritize your health and wellbeing, and pay special attention to those who need extra help. Remember, our own personal resilience is bolstered by the collective strength of our community.


Thomas LeBlanc