Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Important Public Health Guidance for Students

Date Published: August 20, 2021

Dear Students,

We write to share important information about our approach to public health and gathering together in the semester ahead.

Administrators, faculty and students alike have eagerly awaited this moment when we could return to shared campus life in person, together. It is a special and important time every year, and especially this fall. This year in particular we are called to consider the aspects of our community that we have missed after a year spent largely away from our Hilltop campus, and how we can proceed safely into this new year. As a University community committed to the Jesuit value of cura personalis, or “care of the person,” we have a shared responsibility to promote the health and safety of one another.

This is particularly important now, as the pandemic has entered a new phase given the prevalence of the highly transmissible delta variant.

Through our multi-layered public health approach, we are doing our best to keep everyone safe. You, too, have a large role to play in enhancing the safety of your peers and of our community at large by taking the actions below.

Contact Tracing and Care Navigation

  • Georgetown’s Public Health team – the equivalent of our own municipal health department – coordinates contact tracing, care navigation, public health screening and many other services such as quarantine and isolation.
  • For contact tracing to be successful, we need to have a way to reach you should the need arise.
  • Please update your contact information, including a current phone number, as soon as possible by logging into MyAccess (select Personal Information and then View/Update Addresses and Phones). Updating your contact information in MyAccess is mandatory.

What To Do if You Have COVID-19 Symptoms, Test Positive or Have Been Exposed

  • Regardless of your vaccination status, please stay home or in your on-campus residence if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or a positive test result, and report your symptoms via the COVID-19 Check-In survey.
  • If you receive a positive test result from a testing site other than the ones at Georgetown, please immediately report your result to the University’s Care Navigator team at covid19-test-results@georgetown.edu.
  • If you are not vaccinated and have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must stay home and contact the University’s Care Navigator Team who will get in touch with you and help you through any next steps.
  • Public health guidance from the CDC and the DC Department of Health advises that fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine. However, vaccinated individuals should get tested 3-5 days after an exposure, even if they have no symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
  • Please email any COVID-19 questions or concerns to covidcarenavigator@georgetown.edu.

Gathering and Mask Wearing

Please use caution and common sense when gathering socially because the virus and the highly infectious delta variant is highly prevalent in our community and is responsible for a recent surge in cases.

Some examples of using caution are:

  • Follow all DC and University public health guidance, especially wearing masks indoors and at large outdoor gatherings, whether on-campus or off-campus in private residences.
  • For student group leaders: use discretion in planning in-person events. Be intentional and judicious about bringing people together, in person. Organize gatherings outside, when possible, and encourage adherence to public health guidance for those attending your events.
  • For students socializing at night and on weekends: While the pandemic-specific rules limiting gathering size in DC have ended, pre-pandemic policies related to student social gatherings on-campus and noise and disorderly conduct in the neighborhoods remain in place. Don’t host or attend overcrowded gatherings. Give yourself and others space and distance.
  • As a reminder, only Georgetown students are allowed in residential buildings.

Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS)

  • GERMS is a free student-run volunteer emergency medical service that provides rapid response, treatment and transport for the Georgetown campus community and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • GERMS will be in service on Fridays 8 p.m. – Saturdays 8 a.m. and Saturdays 8 p.m. – Sundays 8 a.m., starting on Saturday, August 21. These hours are subject to change throughout the semester, and the most up-to-date information can be found at georgetownems.org or on the GERMs Instagram and Facebook pages.
  • GERMS should be called (202-687-4357 or 202-687-HELP) whenever you are concerned that you or another person is seriously sick or injured.
  • Georgetown University’s Medical Amnesty and Good Samaritan Policy states that when a student seeks emergency medical care for themselves or another student, neither the reporting individual nor the patient will be subject to disciplinary action for possession or consumption of drugs or alcohol.
  • If you require emergency medical attention during a period when GERMS is not in service, please call 911. Please note that since it is not GERMS responding, you may be billed for the services you receive.

For more information, you also can refer to Georgetown’s COVID-19 Resource Center and this list of helpful student resources.

We rely on your caution and good judgment to help protect the health and safety of our community so that we do not face conditions that will require reinstating gathering limits or other restrictions on activities. The return to the campus community life that we cherish will be achieved through a phased approach, and by monitoring the impacts as we go through the Fall semester together.

One of the most meaningful things about Georgetown is the community that we forge together. Students play an important role in creating experiences to gather, celebrate and build friendships. As we begin this new academic year together, please use good judgment, and please take good care of yourselves and each other.

We look forward to seeing you in the days and weeks to come.

Hoya Saxa,

Jeanne Lord, Ed.D.
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs

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