People walking past George statue; Question Mark

Frequently Asked Questions

The new GW COVID-19 Campus Assistance Portal, is a one-stop resource to help you navigate any challenges you may encounter with campus and GWorld access, COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 symptom surveys, access badge status, Keeping GW Healthy training, and student, faculty and staff travel information. The portal offers issue-based instructions, troubleshooting tips and guidance to assist you in resolving questions or concerns independently wherever possible.

Updated 4/28/2021

Vaccine

GW will require students, faculty, and staff who are in person this fall to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 at least two weeks prior to being on campus. While we still need to social distance and wear masks, vaccination is the best and fastest way to move us closer to our pre-pandemic campus experience, herd immunity, and the end of the pandemic. The current FDA-authorized vaccines are available online.

GW will accept any vaccine authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). The current FDA-authorized vaccines are available online. Authorized-WHO vaccines are listed here (under “Finalized”). As of May 3, the WHO and/or FDA have authorized Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India vaccines.  The final dose must be completed two weeks prior to being on campus.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be required for students, faculty, and staff who are in person this fall. We will grant limited exemptions to the vaccine requirement, such as for medical or religious reasons.

Students enrolled in fully online instructional programs and faculty and staff approved to work 100 percent remotely will not be required to have received the vaccine.

Students seeking exemption from any of the immunization requirements for medical or religious reasons must submit:

  • A letter from a medical clinician or religious clergy stating the reason for a need for exemption.
  • Upload your documents to the medical portal.

For questions, please email [email protected].

We will provide more guidance on the exemption process for faculty and staff members in the coming weeks.

The COVID-19 vaccine will be included as part of GW’s immunization requirements that are due each fall.

We will exercise discretion in enforcing the mandate for those who have extenuating circumstances that are beyond their control and that will cause delays in vaccination.

Members of the on-campus cohort this spring and summer will be required to provide proof of vaccination by the same time as others returning to campus in the fall.

In the fall, we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible. We expect that courses will be in person, with flexible remote options to meet the varying needs of our community. Faculty and staff should work with their department heads and supervisors to make arrangements for telework in cases where necessary and appropriate.

On-campus essential staff are required to report to campus and be vaccinated.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that COVID-19 vaccination not only protects the community but also is safe and effective for an immunized individual.

Routine COVID-19 testing will not replace the requirement for vaccination.

We are following the evolving science on the use of surveillance testing in vaccinated populations as we determine the appropriate use of COVID-19 testing on campus in the fall.

To date, the university has not been provided a supply of COVID-19 vaccines to distribute directly to our students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to work with the local D.C.-area jurisdictions to get approval to distribute the vaccine directly to the members of our community as soon as possible. In the meantime, everyone should attempt to get the vaccine in the jurisdiction where they live and work as soon as possible.

With the hopeful public health developments, we are continuing our work planning for summer and the fall.  

This summer, we have added more capacity to our residence halls and will offer courses in a hybrid mode, virtually, or in person. We also are already expanding on-campus research, law library access, and other in-person activities. We are evaluating opportunities for further expansion of such activities as well as university-sponsored travel, and we will provide more updates as policies are revised to meet evolving health and safety considerations.

In the fall, we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible. We expect that courses will be in person, with flexible remote options to meet the varying needs of our community. We also will welcome more students into our residence halls, and we are planning a robust series of enriching events, programming, and other opportunities for all students to enjoy the GW campus experience.

Yes. Once you are compliant with the requirement to be vaccinated with a U.S. FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine, you will be required to have a monthly COVID-19 test.  If you are given a temporary exemption, you will be required to test weekly until you become compliant. After that, members of the campus community will test every four weeks.

Yes, all students age 16 and above are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if they plan to attend classes in person this fall. (This is a requirement for faculty and staff as well.)

Students under the age of 26 must submit records of all required childhood immunizations in addition to  the COVID-19 vaccine.

For questions, please email [email protected].

No, GW’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement only applies to students, faculty and staff who plan to be on campus in-person this fall.

GW has considered the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) currently in effect for the COVID-19 vaccines and has concluded that such authorizations do not prevent the university from requiring vaccinations as a condition for being on campus beginning in the fall semester. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised that COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe and effective for the immunized individual, and help to protect the general community from the worst effects of COVID-19. The EUA speeds up the production and distribution of a vaccine but requires the same clinical studies and standards for safety and effectiveness as those for FDA to grant a full approval. 

International Students

To date, the university has not been provided a supply of COVID-19 vaccines to distribute directly to our students, faculty, and staff. We have requested such a supply and if we receive it, we will let you know.

At this time, we recommend that international students receive a U.S. FDA- or WHO- authorized vaccine. When in the U.S., you should use your D.C.-area on-campus or off-campus address. Information on how to receive the vaccine in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia is available here. The vaccine is available to individuals based on residency and not on citizenship status, and is provided at no charge.

At present, the vaccine is available in the District at 11 high-capacity, walk-up sites. No appointments are needed. More information on days, hours and locations is available at vaccinefinder.org

GW will accept any vaccine authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the World Health Organization (WHO). The current FDA-authorized vaccines are available online. Authorized-WHO vaccines are listed here (under “Finalized”). As of May 3, the WHO and/or FDA have authorized Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute of India vaccines.  

If you are unable to receive any of these COVID-19 vaccines prior to arriving in the U.S., please email the Colonial Health Center at [email protected] to receive a temporary exemption. 

Once you arrive in the U.S., you will need to take steps to receive a U.S. FDA-authorized vaccine to be fully compliant with GW’s vaccination requirements. We recommend that you register to receive the vaccine as soon as you have your D.C.-area address.

Until you receive an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine, you will be required to quarantine following travel and take part in daily symptom monitoring and weekly PCR COVID-19 testing through the GW Public Health Laboratory. This test is provided at no charge to members of our campus population. 

If you reside in a country administering COVID-19 vaccines, for the sake of your own health and safety, we recommend you get any vaccine available in your home country, making sure that the last dose is at least two weeks prior to your arrival in the U.S. 

Once you receive the full dosage, upload your documentation to the medical portal

Once you arrive in the U.S., you will be individually evaluated by the Colonial Health Center, which may include antibody testing to assess your immune status. Further care and individual recommendations will be based upon this evaluation. 

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not currently authorized by the U.S. FDA or WHO, upload your documentation to the medical portal.

Once you arrive in the U.S., you will be individually evaluated by the Colonial Health Center, which may include antibody testing to assess your immune status. Further care and individual recommendations will be based upon this evaluation. 

The vaccine is available based on residency and not on citizenship status. Public health and medical experts are encouraging individuals to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine available to them as soon as possible. Please do not wait until you return to your home country. No matter where you are currently living in the U.S., we suggest that you follow the guidance in your local jurisdiction to register and receive the vaccine.  Information on how to receive the vaccine in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia is available here.

When you arrive at the vaccine clinic, you will need to show your ID and may also need to show proof of residency like a lease or utility bill with your local address. If you are currently a student residing in one of GW’s residence halls you will need to show your GWorld card at the D.C. vaccine clinic.

The on-campus residence hall housing application process for fall 2021 is underway for currently enrolled undergraduate students (ie: rising sophomores, juniors and seniors). Campus Living and Residential Education (CLRE) has been communicating with all currently enrolled undergraduate students who are eligible and/or required to live in on-campus housing. 

If you are currently enrolled and plan on returning in the fall and have not received information from CLRE about housing and believe you should have, please email [email protected] to request assistance. 

If you plan to, or may want to, live on campus in the fall, and did not complete your application by the original April 30 deadline because you were unsure of your plans for fall, we encourage rising sophomores, juniors and seniors to reach out to the CLRE office at [email protected] so that we can work with you through the process. Applying for housing now will increase your chance of receiving your preferred room and building preference. You will not be billed for room and board until later in the summer, which will give you time to decide if you want to be in person for next academic year and make adjustments to best fit your needs. 

The on-campus housing application process will begin for new and incoming first-year undergraduate students mid-May. Students will receive information the week of May 10. 

If you are traveling to Washington, D.C. from a foreign country, you will need a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of travel to enter the United States. You will need to quarantine at your D.C.-area residence after arrival. You will be required to have a COVID-19 test on campus when you arrive, and take another test five days later.  If both are negative you will be released from quarantine. Additional information on this process is available here.

Summer 2021 Updates

Based on a number of considerations, GW will continue mainly virtual instruction in the summer. There are exceptions for courses that require in-person instruction or research, as well as hybrid or hyflex courses beyond what we have offered this academic year, observing appropriate social distancing. Read Provost Blake’s full update to the community.

The university’s decision for the summer term was based on a number of very important considerations, including:

  • Our foremost priority of health and safety.
  • Recognition that the vaccination roll-out likely will continue through the summer for many in our community.
  • Building on the success of our efforts to contain the spread of the virus on campus, which allows us to use the summer to begin initiating phased reopening of on-campus activity in preparation for the fall, when we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible.

University leadership consulted with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Student Association leadership, academic leadership, and the Board of Trustees before making the decision about the summer.

As with the fall and spring semesters, we will continue to offer a high-quality virtual GW experience, both through our courses and research opportunities and through student services, resources, events, and other engagement opportunities. The university also will permit summer programming for GW students within limitations, based on academic program needs and public health parameters. Programming and orientation for new students will be a top priority.

Study abroad programs and other non-essential student travel will remain suspended for summer 2021. As the year progresses, we will continue to monitor vaccination trends in the United States as well as internationally, to ensure students will be welcome to travel to international destinations. The vaccine provides hope that we will be able to offer these opportunities again in the fall.

Residential housing for summer 2021 will have limited capacity for a maximum of 2000 students. Details about housing will be provided soon.

Spring 2021 Updates

Based on a number of considerations, GW is continuing virtual instruction this spring. All undergraduate courses and most graduate programs will be conducted online, with limited exceptions for courses that require in-person instruction or research.

The university’s decision for spring semester was based on a number of very important considerations, including:

  • Our foremost priority of health and safety.
  • Recognition of the current spread of the virus and the continued uncertainty about the course of the pandemic over the next several months, both locally and nationally.
  • Our commitment to a positive student residential experience and recognition of the pandemic’s effect on the residential experience, including local limitations on gatherings and other necessary public health measures.
  • Feedback from our community, including continued concern for health and safety, a desire for flexibility, and a need for definitive information that allows ample time for planning.

In consultation with our public health, safety, and student affairs teams, we offered optional spring housing, with the understanding that all residential students will still attend their courses virtually and there will be no changes to current on-campus access limitations. The following process and guidelines will apply for spring housing:

  • We continue to provide housing through the spring semester for all students currently living on campus due to extenuating circumstances. These students do not need to reapply for spring housing.
  • Other undergraduate students were able to apply to live on campus.
  • We offered about 1,100 additional spaces.
  • We continue to maintain space for additional students with extenuating circumstances.
  • All students will live in spaces with separate bedrooms and share a bathroom with no more than one other student.
  • No students will be required to return to campus.

No, the discount is an acknowledgement that off-campus students will not be participating in a typical on-campus residential experience. As part of our health and safety measures and upon the advice of our public health and safety experts, access to our libraries, the Lerner Health and Wellness Center and the Marvin Center are available only to residential students and to medical and nursing students who have special departmental permission to be on campus for class. 

While students living both on- and off-campus have access to virtual learning and our virtual events programming, students who live on campus have the ability to interact with one another and with the Campus Living and Residential Education team. Residential students also have the ability to interact in small guided groups of 10 people or less with the faculty who live on campus, providing students with opportunities to engage with faculty outside of the classroom. With on-campus access and services being different, a tuition discount will be applied for those living off-campus. 

Yes, GW continued to provide a 10 percent tuition reduction to Foggy Bottom and Mount Vernon undergraduate students who do not live on campus. Additionally, graduate tuition remained frozen.

Most undergraduate students’ 2020-21 financial aid packages remain the same unless there is a change in their full-time enrollment or residential living status. We remain committed to ensuring that students’ out-of-pocket university costs are equal or less than an on-campus residential experience.

The possibility of being virtual in the spring was already a part of our financial planning. We foresee no new budget reductions associated with this decision.

As with the fall semester, we continue to offer a high-quality virtual GW experience, both through our courses and research opportunities and through student services, resources, events, and other engagement opportunities.

While we continue to plan virtual university-wide Commencement and school celebrations, we are also exploring all options for any in-person component we may safely host. Read the latest update on Commencement.

University leadership consulted with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Student Association leadership, academic leadership, and the Board of Trustees before making the decision about the spring.

We have held several virtual question-and-answer forums for members of the community. We also will update this website regularly with more information.

Study abroad programs and other non-essential student travel remain suspended for the spring semester. The Office for Study Abroad contacted all students who had hoped to study abroad in the spring to provide guidance on changing plans. Additionally, students in programs with an international experience requirement will receive more information from their schools.

We are planning to be in person to the fullest extent possible and will be guided by our foremost priority of health and safety as well as our commitment to a positive experience for our students and feedback from our community.

Campus Access

The value currently set for your On Site (or On Campus indicator) can be reviewed in GWeb. Reference this document for more information.

If you have extenuating circumstances and need temporary, one-day emergency access to campus, you will need to do the following:

1. Foggy Bottom Campus: Visit the GWPD Community Police Center at the corner of 22nd and G streets. The center is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

2. Virginia Science and Technology Campus: Visit an Allied Universal staff member at the front desk of your building, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

3. Complete an on-site symptom screening and fill out a verification form about your emergency request to visit campus.

4. Once complete, the security officer will call a representative to provide you temporary access only to your office and/or the location you will be able to access. Your access will be automatically turned off at that day's close of business.

On-campus housing is being provided to a limited number of students with extenuating personal or academic circumstances, with public health measures. All other students should not come to campus unless they have been granted a limited exception for extenuating circumstances and should plan to access services virtually.

At any time if you fall out of compliance because of your testing frequency or from missing too many daily system monitor checks, and you are notified that your GWorld access has been suspended, you will need to:

  1. Immediately schedule a test for the next time you will be on campus.

  2. When you arrive on campus, obtain a COVID-19 test.

  3. For Foggy Bottom Campus: Visit the GWPD Community Police Center at the corner of 22nd and G streets. The center will be open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 8.
    For Virginia Science & Technology Campus: Visit an Allied Universal staff member at a front desk, Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 8.

  4. Once there, present your green “cleared” badge (as displayed on your medical portal) to the security officer. They will call a representative to activate your GWorld card access but only if the suspension on your account is due to an overdue test.

This fall, we plan to be back in-person, and we expect courses will be in-person with remote options to meet varying needs of our community. On-site status currently reflects your status for the more restrictive spring and summer virtual learning period, and it will be updated by the university as it gets closer to the fall semester. No action on your part is needed at this time. You do not need to request fall access through the COVID-19 Campus Assistance Portal.

Campus Health

All members of the on-campus cohort are tested, excluding students, faculty and staff affiliated with the School of Medicine and Health Sciences and who spend time only within the health care campus (Ross Hall and the Medical Faculty Associates buildings).

We have expanded access to our in-house testing to additional GW students who live in the region but are not part of the on-campus cohort. Students can now obtain tests through our in-house testing operation if they believe they have been exposed to the virus or have symptoms. Find more information here.

To find additional COVID-19 testing sites in your area, visit the Medical Faculty Associates, the District of Columbia Coronavirus website, the Maryland Coronavirus website, or the Virginia Department of Health website.

If you have had a possible exposure and/or have received a positive COVID-19 test result outside of the GW public health laboratory testing, you should fill out a COVID-19 Exposure Report; this report will be forwarded to the Campus COVID Support Team (CCST) for any needed follow-up.

You should contact the Campus COVID Support Team at [email protected]. Please include your GWID in all messages to CCST.

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