Category: Messages to Faculty, Messages to Staff, Messages to Students, Messages to the Community, News

Title: Norovirus on Hilltop Campus: Guidance on Treatment and Prevention

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

Since March 27, more than a dozen individuals on the Hilltop campus have reported symptoms including stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea. They are being treated, and none have required hospitalization at this time. Two test results for norovirus have now been confirmed positive.

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. Someone can get norovirus via direct contact with someone who has it, such as by sharing food or drinks, or touching contaminated surfaces.

The most common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain. Symptoms usually last 1-3 days. Unfortunately, there is no specific medication to treat norovirus. If you have diarrhea or are vomiting, it is important to get rest and drink plenty of liquids, which will help prevent dehydration. Sports drinks, other drinks without caffeine or alcohol, and over-the-counter oral rehydration fluids can help with mild dehydration.

If your symptoms are severe, please seek medical treatment:

  • If you need emergency care and are on campus, please call the Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service (GERMS) at 202-687-4357. If you are off campus, please call 911.
  • Students can contact the Student Health Center at 202-687-2200 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. For emergencies after hours, students can reach an on-call Student Health Center clinician via instructions at the same number.
  • Faculty and staff should contact their health care provider or seek immediate treatment.

If you are feeling unwell, please stay home and do not attend class or come to work:

  • University policy does not require sick notes for missing class. To reduce the risk of transmission, faculty are advised to waive any individual requirement for a student to provide a note from a doctor for an absence to be excused.
  • Students should follow their instructor’s policy for making up coursework, and instructors are advised to follow instructional continuity plans. Students should contact their academic dean for concerns surrounding missed classes or coursework.
  • Faculty should contact their department chair or program head if they are unable to teach.
  • Staff/AAP employees should use sick leave following their department’s established call-in procedures or by submitting a request in GMS, based on your department’s established practice.

Individuals with symptoms are encouraged to report to the Public Health team via email at or via the health form in GU360 to help us evaluate the situation, provide support, including the delivery of water or sports drinks to residential students, and implement prevention and cleaning measures.

Please limit your contact with other people as much as possible while you have symptoms and for the first few days after you feel better because this is the period during which you are most contagious.

To help prevent transmission, we strongly recommend that everyone practice good hand hygiene, washing with soap and water frequently. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not work well against norovirus.

Georgetown’s Facilities team has deep cleaned and sanitized common and shared campus spaces including residential facilities, and is deep cleaning the rooms of individuals in our residence halls who have reported symptoms. We have also increased the frequency of cleaning by temporarily deploying additional custodians to campus. This includes highly trafficked areas such as residence halls, Yates Field House, Leo J. O’Donovan Dining Hall, McDonough Arena, the Leavey Center, and Lauinger and Dahlgren libraries. GUTS shuttle buses will also be sanitized.

We are coordinating with the DC Department of Health. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.

Thank you for helping to protect the health and safety of the Georgetown community.


Kathryn Castle, Ph.D.

Assistant Vice President for Student Health

Michala Koch

Acting Chief Public Health Officer