Dear Members of the Georgetown Community,
As we begin the new academic year, I want to thank all of you for working together to provide a safe and healthy environment for our campus community. We have taken many important steps: we have required vaccinations, we are wearing masks indoors and we have improved our ventilation systems across our campuses among other mitigation efforts. More than 95% of our community on our campuses has been fully vaccinated, with additional people continuing to be vaccinated.
As the Delta variant surge continues, and the trajectory of the virus evolves, I will be sending regular public health updates to preview or announce any additional new steps we are taking to protect our community. Our mandatory arrival testing for new and returning members of our community has identified community members who have tested positive and required isolation. Thankfully, we have had low positivity rates so far. We anticipate our caseload will continue to increase in the coming weeks, as members of our community interact with one another and spend time together. To address that, we will begin deploying the following enhancements to our public health protocols in the coming weeks.
New Asymptomatic Testing
Beginning in early September, we will start testing a randomly selected pool of our fully vaccinated student, faculty and staff community each week. Every Monday, fully vaccinated community members will be randomly selected for asymptomatic testing and receive an email asking them to complete a COVID-19 test at one of our on-campus testing sites as soon as possible, but no later than Thursday of that week. Any non-fully-vaccinated member of our community is required to test twice per week.
When you are selected for this random testing, please be sure to comply as this is an important part of our public health effort to monitor disease activity on our campuses. Instructions on how to schedule a test can be found on our COVID-19 Testing Protocol page. In addition to random asymptomatic testing, we will continue to test asymptomatic individuals who have been in close contact with, or potentially exposed to, somebody who has tested positive for COVID-19. As a reminder, randomized asymptomatic testing supplements free COVID-19 testing on demand, symptomatic testing and the testing requirements for unvaccinated individuals. You can learn more on our COVID-19 Testing Protocol page.
While we’re encouraged that more than 95% of our on-campus community is fully vaccinated, we are committed to ensuring that individuals coming to class or work each day are not presenting any symptoms of COVID-19. Starting immediately, all community members coming to campus are required to fill out the COVID-19 Daily Check-in survey through the GU360 mobile app or GU360 website to attest that they are symptom free at the beginning of each day they are on campus. As a reminder: if you have any symptoms, please stay home and get tested.
When planning an event or meeting on campus, we strongly encourage members of our community to adhere to the following best practices to ensure safety:
- Hold your event outdoors rather than indoors, when possible;
- Take steps to limit event size, and use livestreams and Zoom conferencing when possible;
- Encourage participants to wear their masks at all times by limiting food and drink at your event and, if food must be offered, consider boxed meals outdoors;
- Limit your event to Georgetown community members only by requiring all participants to show a GOCard to access the event, when possible;
- Obtain a list of attendees in the event that contact tracing becomes necessary; and
- Please share information about your event with the Public Health team so we can provide additional tailored guidance.
Our campuses are also working on a process for enhanced screening for visitors to campus that we will share in the weeks ahead.
The past year taught us that things can change very quickly — sometimes within the scope of a month or even a week. We are taking steps to adapt to the dynamic changes in our campus communities and the city at large. We really appreciate your flexibility as we embark on another academic year with all the excitement, promise — and uncertainty — it entails.
We will continue to monitor the public health situation closely and adjust our protocols as conditions continue to evolve to ensure the safety of Every Hoya, Everywhere.
Ranit Mishori, M.D., MHS, FAAFP
Professor of Family Medicine, Vice President and Chief Public Health Officer