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Resources and Guidance for COVID-19 and Common Respiratory Illnesses

Updated March 14, 2024

Georgetown University follows CDC and DC Department of Health guidance and offers resources and support to community members who are sick with or concerned about COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory diseases. The updated CDC Respiratory Virus guidance, which was published on March 1, 2024, applies to the general public (not healthcare settings) and aligns the recommendations for common respiratory illnesses like COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. Respiratory diseases like measles and other outbreak situations require special control measures. 

The Public Health team supports the health and safety of the Georgetown community by interpreting CDC and DC Health recommendations;  giving guidance to specific individuals, as needed; providing information on resources such as testing, vaccination, and masking; leading infection prevention efforts on campus; and assisting with navigation of University policies and resources. These services do not replace specific medical care that individuals may need. 

Please contact the Public Health team at carenavigators@georgetown.edu if you have any questions or need assistance.  



If You’re Sick, Please Stay Home

If you have respiratory and other associated symptoms that are common in COVID-19 or other infectious respiratory illnesses, the CDC recommends that you stay home and away from others, and only return to normal activities after your fever (if you had one) has been gone for at least 24 hours without use of a fever-reducing medication, and other symptoms are improving overall. When you resume normal activities, you should continue to take precautions like mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene for an additional five days to avoid spreading infection to others. If you never had symptoms but you test positive for COVID-19 or another respiratory virus, you may be contagious and should take these same precautions for five days.   



Testing and Treatment  

Testing remains important when you’re sick. A test that tells you which illness you have can inform treatment strategies that may lessen symptoms, shorten the time you’re sick, and prevent serious health consequences. There are different prescription antiviral medications that may be appropriate if you have either influenza or COVID-19, and these need to be started soon after you develop symptoms. 

There are other situations in which you may choose to test–for example if you were exposed to COVID-19, or before you visit a vulnerable family member. COVID-19 antigen testing is free of charge to Georgetown community members. Email carenavigators@georgetown.edu for more guidance and to pick up a test during the week, Monday-Friday, except holidays. 

If you need medical care or advice, or testing for other illnesses, contact the Student Health Center (if a student) or your primary care provider.



Protecting Individuals at Higher Risk

Some individuals are at higher risk for serious complications or death from COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses because they have risk factors such as advanced age or certain medical conditions, including compromised immune systems. Some people, even those who had mild infections, can suffer persistent symptoms (called “long COVID-19”) for weeks or months, and the science regarding the causes or management of the long-term effects of infection continues to evolve.

Every one of us makes choices that contribute to a safe and healthy environment. We can protect vulnerable community members by staying home when sick, taking recommended precautions such as masking in certain situations, and being up-to-date on vaccination.



COVID-19 Vaccination

Georgetown strongly recommends that all community members stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and receive the latest dose as recommended by the CDC. The recommendations for what it means to be “up to date” vary based on age, underlying health conditions, and other factors. COVID-19 vaccines will likely remain fully covered by your insurance and available at your doctor’s office and local pharmacies. Visit Vaccines.gov to find a location near you. The University also hosts annual vaccine clinics in the fall and winter, where all community members can receive the latest COVID-19 dose (in addition to influenza and other vaccinations). Reach out to carenavigators@georgetown.edu if you would like additional information about vaccine clinics on campus.




Wearing a mask can protect yourself and others from respiratory viruses that spread when sick people cough, sneeze, or breathe. If you’re sick, and during the 5-day period post-illness in which precautions are recommended, a mask will reduce the chance you spread the illness to others. It can also protect the wearer from inhaling germs. 

Everyone has the right to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish on our campuses. If someone in our community asks you to mask when you’re together, please give the request full and respectful consideration.

If individuals choose to wear a mask, we recommend wearing the most protective type you can. The University stocks surgical-style masks and KN95 respirators at the entrances to most campus buildings. If you see empty or near-empty mask supplies at building entrances on the Hilltop Campus, please contact Facilities Work Management at 202-687-3432, and the stand will be replenished. At the Capitol Campus, please contact Facilities Management at 202-662-9330 or email lawfacilitiesmgmt@georgetown.edu for assistance.



Academic and HR Policies

Students should follow their instructor’s policy for making up coursework, as needed, which may include attending class remotely or completing work by other means. Students should contact their academic dean for concerns surrounding missed classes or coursework.

Faculty should contact their department chair or program head if they are unable to teach.

Staff/AAP employees should use sick leave following their department’s established call-in procedures or by submitting a request in GMS, based on your department’s established practice.




Georgetown will continue to comply with all applicable privacy, confidentiality and public health laws relating to collection and maintenance of testing and other health-related records. The University recognizes the importance of protecting private health information and will protect faculty, staff, student and visitor privacy by limiting what sensitive information is collected, who has access to it, how it is used and how long it is retained to the extent possible while protecting public health.