Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Mask-Optional Policy Will Begin Monday (3/21)

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

With the University’s COVID-19 positivity rate and case load remaining low this week, and the District of Columbia’s community level also designated as “low,” Georgetown’s mask-optional policy will begin on Monday, March 21, 2022, on the Main and Medical Center campuses.

As we shared in our March 11 message, effective March 21, wearing a mask will be optional in University-owned or operated buildings, including classrooms, research laboratories, libraries, offices, dining facilities, residential buildings and fitness centers, with limited exceptions, including:

  • Individuals must wear a mask in University health care facilities (e.g., Student Health Center, CAPS, One Medical testing sites), as required by Mayor Bowser’s February 14 order.
  • Individuals must wear a mask while on university-sponsored public transportation (e.g., GUTS buses, shuttles, vans), as required by federal law.
  • Individuals in, or recently released from, quarantine or isolation must wear a mask for the full 10 days from the date of exposure or infection, consistent with DC Health guidance and CDC guidance.
  • Individuals with exemptions or accommodation plans that include enhanced public health measures should continue to abide by those measures, as currently in place.

Everyone has the right to wear a mask whenever and wherever they wish on our campuses, and anyone may request – but not require – that those around them or interacting with them wear a mask.

As we navigate this transition to a mask-optional policy together, we are guided by our Jesuit values and community norms of care, civility, and mutual respect. If somebody requests that you wear a mask around them, please respect their privacy by not asking why, and consider honoring their request for the short time you may be around them. No one should be coerced or pressured into wearing a mask or taking one off. There will be no disciplinary, corrective, or other action taken against anyone who declines a request to either wear a mask or take one off, unless it’s in a space where masking is required.

To help foster a respectful and inclusive environment as we adjust to this policy in classrooms and offices, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) has developed this teaching and learning guide, and the Department of Human Resources has developed this workplace guide.

Faculty and staff who believe that this change in policy may impact their health due to a specific condition may seek an appropriate accommodation from IDEAA, and students may seek an appropriate accommodation from the Academic Resource Center.

Georgetown’s mask-optional policy is contingent on public health conditions. The University’s COVID-19 Testing Protocol – including required arrival testing, randomized asymptomatic testing and symptomatic testing, as well as optional on-demand testing – remains in effect, which enables us to closely monitor conditions on campus. We will continue to evaluate campus positivity rates, COVID-19 community levels in DC and nationally, and global developments relating to the pandemic.

Depending on risk levels in the future, we may reinstate the indoor mask requirement or other restrictions for short periods, as needed.

Thank you for your patience, understanding and care for one another as we go through this transition and move forward this semester.


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