What is Georgetown’s health and safety plan for the Spring 2021 semester?
Please visit our Health and Safety Information page to learn more about Georgetown’s health and safety guidelines, COVID-19 testing requirements and related information.
What is the Georgetown University Community Compact, and who needs to sign it?
The Georgetown University Community Compact (“Community Compact”) is our joint commitment to care for the wellbeing of our community. Faculty, staff, and students who will be on any university-owned, managed, or controlled properties (“campus”), and students living in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods (the “Neighborhoods”), have the responsibility to conduct themselves in ways that limit the spread of COVID-19 and promote the health and safety of all community members. The Community Compact contains the COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures that these community members agree to follow.
Faculty, staff, and students who will be on campus, and students living in the Neighborhoods, are required to sign the Community Compact.
What happens if I do not follow the COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures?
Georgetown University is relying on the actions of each of us as a community member to do our part in this time of national and local crisis. The Georgetown community has always been committed to the wellbeing of others. Each member of our community should reinforce the healthy behaviors of one another.
Individuals who fail to follow the COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures could endanger others and may be required to immediately leave campus. In addition, serious or persistent noncompliance may result in ongoing suspension of access to campus and University facilities, and corrective or disciplinary actions and sanctions under the procedures set forth in campus student codes of conduct or professionalism, the Faculty Responsibilities Code, and Human Resources policies, as applicable.
Is the Georgetown University Community Compact a liability waiver?
The Georgetown University Community Compact is intended to make members of the Georgetown community returning to campus aware of the risks associated with COVID-19 and of the expectations of Georgetown regarding adherence to the University’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures. It is not a liability waiver.Back to Top
Testing and Symptom Monitoring through One Medical
Who is required to be tested for COVID-19?
Students, faculty, and staff who will be on any university-owned, managed, or controlled properties, and students living in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods, are required to be tested for COVID-19.
Will Georgetown provide COVID-19 tests?
Georgetown has partnered with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide COVID-19 PCR testing, including at-home and on-campus, and a One Medical mobile application for daily self-attestations of symptoms, at no charge to our University community members who are approved to access campus or who reside in the Neighborhoods.
How does the COVID-19 testing work?
One Medical is conducting on-campus COVID-19 testing and, in some cases, mailing at-home test kits to students, faculty, and staff approved to be on campus. Georgetown will email instructions to approved students, faculty, and staff regarding the testing requirements.
Free COVID-19 testing is available at sites operated by One Medical on Georgetown’s Main and Law campuses. Once you have been instructed to get tested and have registered as a One Medical member, you can book a testing appointment through the One Medical app. To do so, select “Book Visit”, enter in “test” as the reason for your visit, select “Georgetown COVID Testing” for your appointment type, and select an on-campus testing location.
After getting tested, you will receive your test results via a secure message, which you can view in your One Medical account via the One Medical app. By filling out the consent form, your results will also be shared with Georgetown. Please note that the current testing result turnaround time ranges from two to three days.
If you are instructed to use an at-home test kit, please follow the instructions provided. One Medical will mail a test kit to the address you provided when you registered for One Medical and send you the details you need to complete your test.
Please note that any COVID-19 test administered at an off-campus One Medical facility or any other testing facilities is not covered by Georgetown’s agreement with One Medical and payment for such testing is the responsibility of the tested individual. You also are responsible for reporting those testing results to Georgetown by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If I have a COVID-19 test through my insurance (or healthcare) provider, does that count?
Yes, you may also choose to schedule a test with a third-party healthcare provider, if the testing is consistent with the testing schedule and occurs within the time-frame specified in the Health and Safety Measures under “Viral Testing.” Payment for third-party testing is your responsibility.
It is your responsibility to report your test results to Georgetown in a timely manner. You may submit your test results into the One Medical app, so that One Medical and the University will have a record. To do so, visit “Messages” in the One Medical app, click to draft a new message, and select “Admin Team” as the recipient. Send them a message with an image of your test results. Alternatively, you, or your provider, may send your test results directly to Georgetown’s chief public health officer at email@example.com. If you report third-party testing using this method, you should also attest in the One Medical app that you have completed testing.
Will students, faculty, and staff be charged for COVID-19 testing?
Georgetown will provide free COVID-19 tests, administered by One Medical, to students, faculty, and staff who are required to be tested in order to return to campus or live in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods. Georgetown will not cover testing conducted at other facilities, such as your primary care provider. Family of live-in Georgetown faculty and staff members who reside with them on campus or who live in Georgetown-owned properties are eligible to register with One Medical to receive free testing, but the University cannot offer testing to family members of non-residential faculty and staff.
What is One Medical?
Georgetown has partnered with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide COVID-19 testing, including at-home and on-campus, and a One Medical mobile application for daily self-attestations of symptoms, at no charge to our University community members.
Who needs to use the One Medical app?
Students, faculty and staff who will be on any university-owned, managed, or controlled properties, and students living in the Georgetown, Burleith and Foxhall neighborhoods must follow Georgetown’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures, including testing and completing the daily COVID-19 symptom check-in survey in the One Medical app. Georgetown will email instructions about signing up for the mobile app to students, faculty, and staff who are required to use it.
Why am I being asked for a registration code or to pay a registration fee during One Medical registration?
The University is working with One Medical, a leading primary care provider network, to provide COVID-19 testing at no charge to eligible community members.
Each Georgetown community member who is eligible for COVID-19 testing through One Medical is pre-approved for their One Medical membership. At the time of registration, One Medical matches your NetID email address to a list of pre-approved community members provided by Georgetown.
If you are prompted to apply a code or pay a registration fee, this is a sign that One Medical has not been able to match you to the list of pre-approved community members for one of the following reasons:
- You are not using your NetID email address. FirstName.LastName@georgetown.edu and personal email addresses are NOT provided to One Medical.
- You are not using the sponsored membership link. You must use a sponsored membership link so One Medical knows to look for your NetID email address and route you to the Georgetown registration process.
- Your email address will be added to One Medical’s pre-approved list in the next one to two days. Georgetown provides a new list of approved names to One Medical every evening. When you receive approval from Georgetown either from your manager or as an eligible student who indicates they will come to campus in the Spring 2021 Affirmation, your name will be added to the list provided to One Medical that day. If your approval takes place after that day’s data transfer, it will be added to the next day’s list and appear the following day.
- You are not eligible to register for One Medical membership. Only approved faculty and staff, on-campus residents, students living in the Neighborhoods of Georgetown, Burlieth and Foxhall and some undergraduate, graduate and professional students are eligible for free One Medical memberships. If you are still unable to register for One Medical for free after trying these trouble-shooting steps above, then check again with your manager or program director/advising dean to confirm your on-campus and/or One Medical membership eligibility, even if you have received an email from the University concerning your One Medical eligibility.
If you confirm you are eligible for a free One Medical membership but you continue to run into registration issues, please contact One Medical at 1-888-ONEMED1 (1-888-663-6331) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the daily COVID-19 symptom check-in survey? Why am I required to report daily on my health?
Georgetown is committed to protecting the health and safety of the University community. Students, faculty and staff approved to be on campus and students living in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods, will need to complete the One Medical COVID-19 Daily Symptom Check-in survey. Information from this survey will be used to assist the University with providing health and other services for anyone who may or does have COVID-19, as well as helping to prevent exposure to those community members who do not have the virus.
Information from the COVID-19 daily symptom check-in survey will result in a daily risk status badge from GU360, which you will be required to present at building entry checkpoints throughout campus. You need to receive a new risk status every day in order to maintain your green GU360 Building Access Badge. Please take the actions outlined in the GU360 Building Access Badge Guide to make sure you have a green GU360 Building Access Badge.
How do I register for a One Medical account?
You have two options for registering with One Medical, as part of Georgetown’s public health measures:
- You may also register using the One Medical App. After downloading the app, you open the app and click “Not a member? Join today.” Next, you click “Eligible for an employee benefit? Apply code” at the bottom. You will then enter your NetID Georgetown email address and follow the prompts to complete the registration process.
How do I get the One Medical app?
You can download the free One Medical app by going to either the Apple App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android).
How can I control what functions (e.g. camera, audio, location, etc.) are enabled through the One Medical App?
For a description of functions that can enhance your privacy, please see the section titled “Privacy-enhancing controls (One Medical App),” below.
Will One Medical share my COVID-19 test results with Georgetown?
When you register as a One Medical member, you will need to submit a consent form authorizing One Medical to release COVID-19 test results and the daily risk assessment resulting from your COVID-19 daily symptom check-in survey responses reported through the One Medical mobile application to Georgetown. Please indicate that “Georgetown University” is the party to receive the information covered under the authorization.
What does One Medical do with my COVID-19 test results and daily COVID-19 symptom check-in responses?
Once you submit the consent form, the risk level associated with your COVID-19 daily symptom check-in survey response, whether you are considered symptomatic, your COVID-19 test results, and testing administration information (e.g., dates of check-in or testing) will only be shared between One Medical and Georgetown, as authorized by you. Your information may also be shared by One Medical or Georgetown with testing laboratories, as necessary to perform COVID-19 testing, and with health authorities, as required by law.
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, student, and staff 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.
Can I use One Medical on my computer/laptop instead of my mobile phone?
How will Georgetown know if I complete the daily COVID-19 symptom check-in survey?
Once you submit the required consent form, Georgetown will have access to the risk status resulting from your daily COVID-19 symptom check-in submission.
Who can I contact with questions/assistance about One Medical?
If you have any questions or concerns about the testing process or the One Medical app, please contact One Medical at 1-888-ONEMED1 (1-888-663-6331) or email@example.com.Back to Top
How often do I need to get tested for COVID-19?
Please visit our COVID-19 Testing Protocol page to learn more about Georgetown’s COVID-19 testing requirements.
How can I get tested on campus?
Tests are available on the Main Campus with additional limited testing on the Law Center campus.
- Main Campus: Healey Family Student Center
- Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
- Main Campus: Leavey Conference Center
- Monday-Friday: 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Saturday: 8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
- Law Center: The Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center (as of Wednesday, January 13)
- Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
You should self-schedule your appointments at a Georgetown testing site through the One Medical app or website. New slots are added daily, so please continue to check the app for appointment availability. You will get your test results via a secure message in your One Medical account.
If I regularly come to campus two days in row, do I need to be tested once or twice each week?
Anyone approved to be on campus for two consecutive days (e.g., Monday and Tuesday) only needs one test each week. Those who are on campus for two or more non-consecutive days (e.g., Monday, Wednesday and Friday) need two tests each week.
If I need to get two tests each week, how long should I wait in between them?
Ideally, tests should be taken two to four days apart. (For example, if you are on campus Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you should take your tests on Monday and Friday. If you are on campus only Monday and Wednesday, you should get tested on both Monday and Wednesday). Please note there is no testing offered on Saturdays or Sundays.
If I regularly come to campus once every other week, how often should I get tested?
Those who come to campus regularly every other week should get tested only during weeks when they are on campus. In other words, you should not come to campus solely for the purpose of getting tested when you have no other reason to be on campus that week.
If I am an on-campus student, can I schedule my twice-weekly tests through the rest of the semester?
I receive at-home test kits weekly. How do I update my subscription or request kits no longer be shipped if I’m instead testing on campus?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to update your delivery address or request that kits no longer be shipped to your address.
If I am not approved to be on campus but need to come pick something up from my office, should I get tested?
Visitors to campus are NOT required to be tested and should follow the Georgetown University Visitor Agreement. This includes faculty and staff who are working remotely and need to request access to their office and other visitors who are invited to campus.Back to Top
I have received or am going to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Will I need to continue wearing a mask and participate in the Georgetown COVID-19 testing program?
Yes to both. Studies show very high initial efficacy for the vaccines in preventing COVID-19. However, we are still learning about the extent of protection provided in real-life situations. We do not yet know how long protection against this disease will last, and it is also not clear whether the vaccines will keep you from transmitting infection to others, including your loved ones. For these reasons, it remains critically important for everyone, even those who have received the vaccine, to continue to practice ALL public health measures. These include wearing a mask, keeping a distance of at least six feet from others, washing hands regularly, avoiding social gatherings, participating in the testing protocols, and following isolation and quarantine recommendations.
Further, at this time, the District of Columbia has not updated its standing orders requiring masks to exempt those who may have received the vaccine and, accordingly, we will continue to enforce this requirement.
I’ve been vaccinated. Does that mean I can come back to campus?
At this time, there is no change to how we are managing campus access for students, faculty or staff. According to the CDC, it is not clear whether the vaccines will keep you from transmitting infection to others. For this reason and others, if you have been vaccinated, it is important for you to continue to abide by all of Georgetown’s public health guidance, including wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing and continuing to be tested if you are currently part of Georgetown’s testing protocols.
How is Georgetown preparing for the vaccine?
We continue to coordinate closely with DC Health and our partners at MedStar Health, including MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, on vaccine planning. We have also established a COVID-19 vaccine working group that includes faculty members and representatives from across the University to consider the many issues related to the vaccine, including issues of equity and impact on our community.
When will the vaccine(s) become available for the Georgetown community?
Georgetown University does not have its own supply or allotment of vaccines, which will be administered through providers authorized by the DC Department of Health. The vaccines are being distributed based on prioritization guidelines from CDC and the DC Department of Health. More information about vaccine prioritization can be found on the CDC website. More information about the DC government’s plan can be found on the DC COVID-19 website:
We are working in cooperation with the DC Department of Health and with our partners at MedStar Health to ensure access for those currently eligible, and, as more vaccines become available at a later date, we will advise about plans to make vaccines available for additional priority populations and the wider community.
I already had COVID-19. Will I be eligible to receive the vaccine when it becomes available?
Yes. While those who have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 probably have some immunity, it is unclear how long it may last. According to the CDC, “current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. Therefore, people with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period if desired.”
Will the vaccine rollout change anything about the Spring 2021 semester?
No protocols or procedures will change for the time being. Everyone in the Georgetown community must continue to practice all public health measures, including wearing a mask, maintaining physical distancing, washing hands, avoiding social gatherings, and following all testing and quarantine/isolation protocols.
I’ve had COVID-19. Do I need to wear a mask?
Yes, you should continue to wear a mask. According to the CDC, we still do not know whether having had an infection can protect you from reinfection, or provide immunity. Wearing a mask will help protect you and others from transmitting or acquiring an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
Further, at this time, the District of Columbia has not updated its standing orders requiring face masks to exempt those who may have had COVID-19 and, accordingly, we will continue to enforce this requirement.
Will the vaccines be required for people who have or desire campus access (staff, residential students, faculty, students participating in in-person activities and instruction)?
Not at this time. We will provide additional information on this topic as it becomes available.Back to Top
Data and Privacy
What does One Medical do with my personal data?
What information about me does One Medical share with Georgetown?
When signing up for the app, individuals must sign the consent form, which authorizes One Medical to release COVID-19 test results and daily risk assessment information reported through the mobile application to Georgetown. (Please indicate that “Georgetown University” is the party to receive the information covered under the consent.) Consistent with your authorization, iInformation shared by One Medical with Georgetown will include:
- your name
- your date of birth
- your risk level (“badge”) status (e.g. Green – Low with recent test; Blue – low without recent test; or Red – high)
- whether your symptoms indicate that you are “symptomatic”
- date of daily risk assessment
- testing administration information and date of testing, and
- testing results.
What COVID-19 testing information is Georgetown required to report?
Under federal, state, and local law, Georgetown University is required to report your test results along with certain demographic information about you (age, race, ethnicity, sex) as Georgetown performs COVID-19 testing through its own laboratory. This information is reported by Georgetown to the appropriate local health authorities, such as DC Health, the Virginia Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Health, which are then responsible for reporting this information, in a way that doesn’t identify you individually, to the federal government. As federal and local health authorities maintain and use this information about you, they are required to maintain your privacy, except as permitted by law. Individual-level data is necessary for outbreak detection, rapid implementation of emergency measures, and identification of trends that require a strategic public health response.
What information would be reported to law enforcement officials or public health authorities by One Medical to “Protect public health and safety” or “Prevent or control disease, injury, or disability”? What would be reported in the event that an individual tested positive for COVID-19?
Where One Medical has a legal obligation to report positive disease status to agencies or public officials, it would by reporting as required to comply with the law. If individuals test positive for COVID-19, One Medical reports to public health agencies and officials, as required.
Does One Medical share my health information as it participates in health information exchanges?
One Medical would share your health information with HIEs only if you affirmatively opt in to such sharing.
For what purposes does One Medical share de-identified information? What steps are taken by One Medical to prevent re-identification of de-identified information?
One Medical may share de-identified information with partners or service providers for service provision, data analysis and reporting in connection with its business operations, for quality and value assessments, for service improvement, etc. It may share aggregated information, a type of de-identified information, externally for reporting purposes.
One Medical has safeguards around minimum population size for sharing de-identified and aggregated health information to protect against possible re-identification.
One Medical’s de-identification protocols and processes are compliant with the HIPAA requirements for de-identification (e.g., the Safe Harbor Rule or the Expert Determination Rule).
Does One Medical sell my information?
No. One Medical does not sell its patients’ information.
How can I opt out of arbitration as the means for resolving any dispute with One Medical?
You may opt out of the arbitration clause in One Medical’s “Membership Terms of Service” (Section 12. Dispute Resolution) by sending an email, within 30 days of accepting the terms of service, indicating that you wish to opt-out of arbitration to email@example.com. The email must include your name and date of birth. Your opt-out request will be automatically logged by One Medical.
Privacy-Enhancing Controls (One Medical App)
The One Medical App allows you to control whether some functions that affect your privacy are enabled or disabled. It is your choice whether to enable the camera, microphone and location access; they are not required for the daily Check-in, but you may choose to use them for other app functionalities or One Medical services supporting Check-in, such as Video Chat.
One Medical Access to Microphone and Camera
(Note: Your device’s camera and microphone are disabled by default.)
- Tap Settings.
- Locate the One Medical app.
- Check the sliders for Microphone and Camera to ensure that they are disabled.
(Note: Your device’s camera and microphone are disabled by default.)
- Tap Settings on your phone and then select Apps.
- Tap All to display a full list of your apps.
- Scroll down to find the One Medical app and then tap on its listing.
- Tap Permissions.
- Make sure the sliders next to Camera and Microphone are moved so that they are disabled.
Setting One Medical App Access to Your Location
Setting Location Access from the One Medical App (iOS)
- In the One Medical app, tap the Locations icon at the bottom right hand side of your screen. The first time you do this, you will see the following message:
- Tap the desired option.
Setting Location Access from Your Phone (iOS)
- Tap Settings.
- In the ‘Settings’ screen, tap Privacy.
- Tap on Location Services.
- Tap on One Medical.
- Tap on the desired option (Never, Ask Next Time, or While Using the App).
Setting Location Access from the One Medical App (Android)
- In the One Medical app, tap on Locations. The first time you do this, you will see the following message:
- Tap Allow or Deny.
- If you selected Deny, you will see the following message the next time you access Locations:
- Tap OK.
- In the pop-up, tap Allow or Deny. (Note: If you tap Allow, you can always go back and disable location access in Settings.)
Set Location Access from Your Phone (Android)
- Tap Settings.
- Tap Apps.
- Scroll to locate the One Medical app, and then tap on its listing.
- In the next screen, tap on Permissions.
- For Location, tap the slider so that its disabled.
Back to Top
Quarantine and Isolation
Who will be required to self-quarantine or isolate?
Self-quarantine is required for students, faculty and staff on campus, and students living in the Neighborhoods, as directed by Georgetown or by the DC Department of Health or relevant state or local public health authorities, based on close contact with a COVID-19 infected person or person under investigation for possible COVID-19 infection, a physician or care provider’s recommendation, or other health and safety reasons.
Isolation is required for all individuals who have a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result or are otherwise symptomatic, under investigation for COVID-19, or diagnosed with COVID-19 by a health professional even if your test result is negative.
Visit the Quarantine and Isolation page for Georgetown’s policies and procedures for COVID-19 quarantine and isolation.Back to Top
How will the University handle contact tracing?
Georgetown will collaborate with and support the District of Columbia contact tracing program to help identify, track, and manage contacts of COVID-19 patients within the University community. Community members are expected to collaborate with tracers to further public health.Back to Top
What is the mask policy on campus?
Individuals on any University-owned, managed, or controlled properties must wear a mask over their nose and mouth at all times except when they are alone in their room or office, when they are eating with appropriate physical distancing, when they are in their personal residence without guests, or when they are engaging in outdoor exercise, provided that they are exercising in a space in which they can and do maintain 6’ of distance from other people.
Will masks or personal protective equipment be supplied for students and employees?
Georgetown will provide two washable and reusable masks to students, faculty, and staff on campus, and students living in the Georgetown, Burleith, and Foxhall neighborhoods, along with additional personal protective equipment (“PPE”), if appropriate for an individual’s work or learning environment.
Should University community members get a seasonal influenza vaccination?
Georgetown encourages University community members to get the seasonal influenza vaccine.
Will Georgetown students, staff, and faculty have access to a coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available?
Georgetown University’s medical and public health experts continue to track vaccine development and will thoroughly review study results when they are released. If and when the FDA approves or authorizes a safe and effective vaccine, we will follow CDC and DC Department of Health guidance on its distribution to priority groups, and its safe use in our community.
Will my child be required to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available? I am worried about its safety.
Georgetown University will continue to work closely with the DC Department of Health to determine vaccine requirements for our students, based on CDC and ACIP Guidelines. We will continue to monitor safety and effectiveness studies of any future vaccines and will re-assess the requirement if and when the FDA approves a vaccine for wide distribution.
What happens if there is significant community transmission of COVID-19?
Georgetown’s COVID-19 Health and Safety Measures and plans for in-person activities on campus are subject to change based on campus, local, and national public health conditions and new guidance from local and federal authorities. Any updates will be communicated to the University community and will be posted on Georgetown’s COVID-19 Resource Center website.
Georgetown will monitor for cases of COVID-19 among the University community. Increased numbers of cases in the University community could trigger changes in University operations to help address the rise in cases, including increased education and mitigation activities.
How is Georgetown notifying community members of positive COVID-19 cases on or near campus?
Each Monday, the University updates the COVID-19 Dashboard and notifies the community of the prior week’s testing results of positive cases on and near campus through a public health alert. To receive the public health alert, subscribe to Daily COVID-19 Updates.
What is the university doing to improve air systems across campus?
Planning & Facilities Management is working to minimize the spread of viruses through the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, among other measures. Our ongoing HVAC assessment and enhancement program will ensure that all classrooms and study spaces meet CDC COVID-19 guidance and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards for mitigation of virus transmission.
Working with a team of professional engineers and contractors, University personnel are evaluating, upgrading and monitoring the performance of the ventilation systems that provide temperature control and ventilation air that flushes contaminants from the classrooms, study rooms and common spaces within the University buildings. The work of this team ensured the University is:
- Identifying existing equipment condition and working to upgrade equipment operation and air filtration to meet the most current standards for space conditioning and contaminant control with each building;
- Improving air filtration in all occupied buildings;
- Working with the operation teams to improve and sustain the HVAC systems in every building across our Main, Med, and Law campuses;
- Developing a monitoring and maintenance strategy to confirm continuing operation of building systems in compliance with current good engineering practices; and,
- Establishing, based on current operating conditions in each building and each approved space, a maximum safe occupancy for that space that complies with the University program for re-occupying buildings.
Upgrades to the building ventilation systems include MERV-13 air filtration for occupied spaces, installation of ultraviolet decontamination systems and building air flushing strategies to reduce airborne transmission.
How were spaces approved for occupancy?
In consultation with professional engineers, Georgetown reviewed each individual classroom and study room to identify those that meet the guidelines for occupancy. The criteria include sufficient filtration, total ventilation and maximum occupancy guidance to comply with both CDC guidelines for social distancing and per person ventilation rates that mitigate the possibility of airborne transmission. Note that in every case, the recommendations are predicated on occupants maintaining social distancing and wearing masks at all times in the building. The University also considered density, energy use and availability of public health screeners.
Should I be concerned about a higher risk of infection if I cannot open the windows or do not have windows in my classroom?
No, you should not. Using the HVAC systems to provide proper ventilation and filtration is a much more reliable method for minimizing the spread of airborne diseases, while ensuring a comfortable environment for occupants.
Reliance on open windows to provide adequate ventilation within a space is not practical given the Washington, DC climate. Opening windows during non-ideal weather conditions can lead to a loss of temperature and/or humidity control within the space, which can have a negative effect on overall indoor air quality and occupant comfort. Using the HVAC systems to provide proper ventilation and filtration is a much more reliable method for minimizing the spread of airborne diseases, while ensuring a comfortable environment for occupants.
Can COVID-19 be transmitted through the HVAC systems?
Per CDC COVID-19 guidance, the risk of spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 through HVAC systems is thought to be relatively low, however, the exact risk is not well-known at this time. The CDC recommends the use of a layered strategy to reduce exposure, which includes increased filtration, adequate ventilation, social distancing, the use of face coverings and proper hand hygiene.Back to Top