Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Public Health Alert: Increase in COVID-19 Cases and Updated Isolation Protocol

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community,

We’re writing to inform you of an increase of COVID-19 cases among residential undergraduate students on campus this week and to share our updated isolation protocol for residential students who test positive for COVID-19 in the coming days.

In the past 48 hours, more than 80 undergraduate students have tested positive, the majority of whom are residential students. At this time, there is no evidence of  transmission from classroom interactions, and transmission appears to have primarily occurred during social interactions and gatherings.

Given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, we ask that all members of our community carefully consider their personal behaviors at this time and take extra precautions, including wearing a properly-fitting, high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94) while in indoor public places and avoiding large indoor unmasked social gatherings. The decisions each of us make have a direct impact on the health and safety of our entire community, which includes students, faculty and staff who are immunocompromised, have young children at home who cannot yet be vaccinated, or are members of other at-risk populations.

We will continue to closely monitor public health conditions on campus, and we may need to adjust some operations based on the trajectory of cases on campus over the next several days. We will provide updates as needed.

We strongly urge you to get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive. Please stay home – other than to get tested – if you have symptoms, and report your symptoms or exposure to Georgetown’s Care Navigator team by completing the COVID-19 Symptom Check-In survey.

Isolation Protocol for Residential Students

We have a layered public health approach in place, which we’ve adjusted over time as we continue to respond to the significant challenges presented by an unpredictable virus. Prior to the Omicron surge, with a low on-campus positivity rate, each residential undergraduate student who tested positive isolated in a single occupancy room in the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center. In recent weeks, we’ve proactively taken steps to increase the amount of isolation space we have available both on and off campus. With the exception of one floor in use for long-term residential housing, the entire Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center is now being used for isolation space, and we have acquired rooms at another local hotel, bringing our total isolation space to more than 300 beds.

With all single rooms at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center now occupied, we will begin using isolation space at an additional local hotel. Residential students who test positive will receive instructions for isolating at the hotel, and free private transportation to and from the hotel will be provided. In addition, as we shared last month, residential students who test positive may be assigned two to a room in the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center or at the 0ff-campus hotel. If needed, we may also update our isolation protocol to an isolate-in-place mode for residential students in which students who test positive will isolate in their campus residence.

Students who test positive who prefer to isolate at home may travel home by private transportation, wearing a properly-fitting, high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KF94) while in a vehicle with others, but should not travel home by public transportation (e.g., plane, train, ride-share).

As a reminder, we recently updated the University’s isolation guidance to align it with the latest DC Department of Health isolation guidance. Georgetown community members who test positive for COVID-19 may now end isolation after five full days and a negative antigen test result, provided that they are either asymptomatic or are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication and other symptoms are improving. These individuals must wear a properly-fitted, high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KN95, KN94) when around others for a total of 10 days from the date they tested positive or their symptoms started. For more information, please visit the University’s Quarantine and Isolation page.

Contact Tracing 

As we’ve shared previously, at this time, Georgetown’s Care Navigator team is prioritizing contacting residential students, supporting individuals who are in isolation or who are experiencing symptoms, and responding to community members who reach out to us with questions. We may not be able to follow up individually with everyone who tests positive after their initial notification, or to conduct thorough or universal contact tracing.

During this period, we are advising individuals who test positive to directly notify their close contacts and asking anyone who may have been exposed to reach out to our Care Navigator team for guidance.

Quarantine Guidance

Please review the University’s Quarantine and Isolation page for guidance on what to do if you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive (i.e., less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period), which differs based on vaccination status.

​​If you have questions, please contact or visit the University’s COVID-19 Resource Center for more information.

While the Omicron surge continues to present challenges, we’re encouraged by the overall trajectory of the surge, which continues to decline in our region, and we remain grateful for our community’s resilience and care for one another.


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

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