Quarantine & Isolation

The university requires isolation for any GW on-campus community member who tests positive for COVID-19. It will require quarantine for unvaccinated individuals who meet the current medical definition of COVID-19 exposure or who have traveled outside D.C., Maryland or Virginia. According to the CDC, quarantine is used as a measure to slow the spread of the disease.


Quarantine means limiting your activities, staying home, monitoring your health and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times even at home. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face mask. 

Students, staff and faculty in quarantine should notify your professors or supervisors that you will not report to class or work. You do not need to tell them about your quarantine status. 

While you are in quarantine, if you are authorized to be on campus, a hold will be placed on your GWorld card restricting your access to spaces; regardless of the hold, you will maintain access to your residence hall, campus testing sites, and university parking garages. You should monitor your health and consult with a health care provider if any symptoms develop. Please review the quarantine guidance for students (PDF) and for employees (PDF) for more information.

If you are in quarantine and experience symptoms of COVID-19, reach out to the Colonial Health Center (students) at 202-994-5300 or GW Occupational Health (faculty and staff). They will evaluate your symptoms.

Types of Quarantine

There are two types of quarantine for unvaccinated GW community members who may have been exposed to COVID-19:

  • Exposure Quarantine
    Anyone who is a close contact of a person infected with COVID-19 must be quarantined per the guidance of DC Health. If you are an unvaccinated GW community member identified as a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) will notify you, provide exposure quarantine guidance, and provide the date of your exposure (day 1).


    You should schedule a COVID-19 test 5 days (day 5) from your exposure date or immediately if you develop symptoms.

    CCST will release you from quarantine after 10 days (on day 11). Only CCST can release you from quarantine.

For example, if you are identified as a close contact on Monday, May 17, 2021, your timeline would look like this:

Exposure Quarantine Sample Timeline  
Date of exposure to confirmed COVID-19 case (day 1) Monday, May 17
Take a COVID-19 test on day 5 Friday, May 21 *
CCST will release you from quarantine on day 11 Thursday, May 27

* Please note: The GW testing sites are closed on the weekends and university holidays. If your day 5 falls on a weekend or university holiday, schedule your test on the next day the lab is open.

After your release from quarantine, you should continue to monitor your symptoms for up to 14 days from your exposure date.


  • Travel Quarantine (for unvaccinated GW community members authorized to be on campus)
    According to D.C. policy, if you travel outside the District of Columbia, Maryland or Virginia, are unvaccinated, and are authorized to be on campus, you must quarantine on your return. Indicate the travel on your daily survey. This will place your account into travel quarantine.

    There are two ways to leave travel quarantine if you have no symptoms:

    • Test twice and email the Campus COVID Support Team (CCST)
      Receive two negative test results from a campus testing site. Schedule the first test for your first day back from travel; the second test should be five days after that. Email your GWID to the Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST) at [email protected]. CCST will release you from travel quarantine once both test results are confirmed. Only CCST may end your travel quarantine. Messages are monitored Monday-Friday.
    • Wait
      CCST will release you from travel quarantine after 14 days.

If your first test is on... Your second test should be on or after...
Monday Friday
Tuesday Monday (no tests on weekends)
Wednesday Monday (no tests on weekends)
Thursday Monday
Friday Tuesday


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. Generally, isolation lasts for 10 days but it depends on when symptoms started. Please review the isolation guidance for students (PDF) and for employees (PDF) for more information.

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


Returning from Isolation or Quarantine

Anyone in quarantine or isolation will need a clearance from the university’s medical experts to return to campus. Clearance protocols will be based on CDC and D.C. Health guidance and coordinated with GW’s clinical entities.

Support and Resources for Students

If you become aware that you have been or may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should monitor yourself for symptoms and contact the Colonial Health Center (CHC) immediately. 

For the spring semester, all classes are virtual, and students will be able to participate in classes online during the quarantine or isolation period. The university will monitor the health status of students in isolation and quarantine. 

Isolation on Campus

All students living on campus have their own bedroom. If a student in the residence halls tests positive for COVID-19, the resident will be required to remain in their room until cleared to leave isolation by the Colonial Health Center and Campus COVID-19 Support Team (CCST). Students in isolation may not leave their residential unit unless directed by medical personnel to seek testing or care. 

During isolation, students will have a dedicated CARE & Student Support Team staff member to assist with needs including delivery of cleaning supplies, groceries and essential items to the student's room. Students will receive medical guidance and consultation with a Colonial Health Center medical provider throughout their isolation period. 


Quarantine on Campus

If an unvaccinated student resides in a suite with a positive COVID-19 case, the student will be required to quarantine in their unit until cleared to end quarantine by the CCST. 

Suitemates of a resident in isolation who are required to quarantine will have a dedicated Care & Student Support Team staff member to assist with student needs including delivery of cleaning supplies, groceries and essential items to the student's room during their quarantine period.  If students in quarantine on campus have concerns, they should reach out to their dedicated case manager on the Care & Student Support Team.

If an exposed contact resides in a District House affinity room and shares a bathroom with a suitemate, the suitemate will be required to utilize an alternate bathroom within the suite until their suitemate is cleared to discontinue isolation.

Support and Resources for Faculty and Staff

If you become aware that you have been or may have been exposed to COVID-19, you should monitor yourself for symptoms and seek testing immediately. If you have a positive test, Occupational Health, as well as the CCST, will follow up within 24 hours.

During this time, you should work virtually and limit your contact with others as much as possible to avoid potentially infecting them. Faculty and staff will be required to quarantine or isolate at their place of residence.

The GW Occupational Health program, provided by the GW Medical Faculty Associates, will serve as a resource for faculty and staff and clear them for return to campus.

The university’s time-off policy has been augmented specifically for the COVID-19 situation. A new paid time off option, pandemic time, is available to support faculty and staff who are isolating, in quarantine or caring for a loved one. 

Additional Resources for Students, 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 CARE Team (students): 202-994-6555 or [email protected]
  • 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]
  • Medical Emergencies:
    • On campus, GW Police: 202-994-6111
    • Off campus, DC Police: 911