Staying Healthy and Safe this Fall

October 05, 2020

Dear GW Community,

In recent days, we have confirmed several new positive COVID-19 cases through our testing initiative. These cases serve as a reminder to all of us to remain vigilant and follow recommended CDC guidelines, including wearing a mask, social distancing and practicing good hygiene.

The university has strong health and safety measures in place for the community, including mandatory COVID-19 testing and daily symptom monitoring for the on-campus cohort and testing for off-campus community members. However, these measures are only part of the larger effort to keep our community safe.

Based on follow up discussions with students and staff who have tested positive, we have determined that the increase in the number of cases among members of our community is attributed to a recent trend of individuals getting together and not following social distancing guidelines. As the pandemic progresses, there is a natural tendency to let our guard down and resume some normal pre-pandemic activities. However, now is not the time to be complacent, especially as colder weather approaches and we spend more time indoors. It is especially important to limit gatherings, wear masks and socially distance, even with friends and close contacts. On- and off-campus social gatherings must be limited to 10 people or less per university and District guidelines. That said, we are learning that even smaller gatherings can be risky, especially if the space is too small to allow for social distancing. 

All of us share a responsibility to keep our community healthy and safe. We encourage you to remain attentive to the recommended CDC guidelines to help in the prevention and spread of COVID-19. Let’s all do our part to help us keep our friends, students, colleagues and neighbors safe this fall and beyond.

For more information on GW’s response to the coronavirus and frequently asked questions, visit


Lynn Goldman
Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health

Scott Burnotes
Vice President for Safety and Facilities

M.L. “Cissy” Petty
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

M. Brian Blake
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dana Bradley
Vice President and Chief People Officer