Category: Messages to the Community

Title: IMPORTANT Public Health Alert: Increase in COVID-19 Cases

Date Published: December 15, 2021

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

We are experiencing a notable and concerning increase in COVID-19 cases on our campuses this week, and we are taking several immediate steps to help protect the Georgetown University community. Yesterday marked the largest one-day total for COVID-19 cases within our community, with 34 Georgetown community members testing positive, and the positivity rate on our campuses this week to date, 2.36%, is the highest we have seen. We are in touch with these individuals to provide support and guidance during their isolation and to conduct contact tracing.

While we are encouraged that most of the individuals who tested positive on our campuses are experiencing mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, initial evidence of higher transmissibility of the Omicron variant compels us to take these immediate actions as we learn more. We are working closely with the DC Department of Health on these cases.

Given this recent increase in positive cases, which is consistent with local and national trends, we are taking the following steps, effective immediately, to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Testing: We encourage students, faculty and staff to get tested for COVID-19 for free on campus before any winter break travel, or get tested on their own as soon as they arrive at their destination for winter break, and test if they experience any symptoms during the break. If you receive a positive result from a test taken externally, please email it to covidcarenavigator@georgetown.edu.
  • Dining: Effective immediately, all on-campus dining will transition to a grab-and-go model. Residential students should eat their meals in their private residence. Food and beverage consumption in communal spaces, including libraries and student center study areas, is not allowed at this time. Public Health ambassadors will be monitoring these areas to ensure mask wearing at all times. We strongly encourage community members to eat outside in the tents on campus.
  • Events: All indoor University-sponsored events on campus, including holiday parties, need to be moved outdoors or canceled, and all other events and social gatherings should be held virtually.
  • Libraries and Study Spaces: Students should keep at least six feet apart while studying in University libraries and study spaces. All classrooms that are not in use for a final exam will be open for use as study spaces this week. Masks must be worn at all times while in libraries and study spaces, and eating and drinking is not allowed in these spaces at this time.
  • Fitness Centers: Yates Field House and the Scott K. Ginsburg Sport & Fitness Center will be closed, starting tomorrow, Thursday, December 16, until further notice. Staff will receive more information from their managers about next steps.

We are continuing to monitor public health conditions and will provide updates about this situation as it evolves, including any changes to final exams and other University operations as soon as possible.

I also urge you to take the steps below to protect yourself, your family and friends and our community:

If you have questions or would like to speak with one of our team members, please contact our Care Navigator team at covidcarenavigator@georgetown.edu or visit the University’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more information.

I recognize this news is distressing, especially during the final exam period and ahead of holiday travel and gatherings. I urge all community members to use the Every Hoya Cares website to connect with mental and emotional health and well-being resources, should you need them.

I am confident that we will continue to come together to protect one another and care for each other during this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer