Category: Messages to the Community

Title: Quick Summary of What You Need To Know for the Fall Semester

Dear Georgetown Main Campus and Medical Center Faculty,

Please find informational notes here, and then an endnote from us.

All Faculty Invited: Town Hall Friday, August 20 on Return to Campus

Dr. Ranit Mishori, Georgetown’s chief public health officer, and Provost Groves will hold a town hall on Friday, August 20, from 3:30-4:30 p.m, sponsored jointly by MCEF and Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS), about the University’s public health guidelines and the return to in-person instruction. We will also be joined by Prof. Yulia Chentsova-Dutton and Dr. Andrea Bonior from the Department of Psychology, who will address the social and emotional challenges of our return to an in-person environment. We encourage you to attend the town hall by using this Zoom link and to submit questions for any of the speakers by August 19 at noon EDT through this Google Form.

Rehearse Using New Classroom Technology With CETS/Technology Team Help

Please make an appointment with our classroom technology teams prior to your return to campus. On Main Campus, contact Classroom Educational Technology Services (CETS) for questions or assistance setting up educational technology in your classrooms this fall. If you teach in MSB, please contact the MSB Tech Center ( If you teach in SCS, please contact Faculty at the Medical Center campus please contact TESS ( or call the UIS service desk at 202-687-4949.

All faculty are invited to visit the CNDLS Fall 2021 Teaching and Learning web page for resources to support our return to campus, and the UIS Educational Technologies web pages.

In Your Classes, Use What We Have Learned

Through the extraordinary, innovative efforts of faculty and CNDLS staff we learned a great deal in our online courses, our pilots in the Fall of 2020 and our Hybrid and HyFlex courses offered in Spring 2021.

  • Communicate early and often
  • Consider shorter or smaller assignments
  • Provide frequent, regular assessment feedback
  • Have a clear rubric to which students can refer
  • Plan for flexibility
  • Plan and adjust for everything to take more time and effort, from you and your students
  • Be attentive to individual student needs adjusting to on-campus life

Additional suggestions and approaches can be found on the CNDLS Return to Campus website.

Masks Must Be Worn in Buildings

Masking is proven to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and infection. Thus, individuals, regardless of vaccination status, will be required to wear a mask indoors in University-owned or operated buildings with limited exceptions (e.g., when eating or drinking or when alone in a private office). Given current conditions, we strongly encourage faculty to wear masks while speaking and lecturing. Current University guidelines allow for fully vaccinated faculty to remove the mask when lecturing, if they choose, but such faculty must be at least six feet away from others. Recall that all classrooms have instructor microphones and amplifiers. Students are required to wear masks while in class, unless they have a University-approved disability accommodation, and no eating or drinking in class will be permitted, unless they have a medical accommodation.

For faculty interested in clear masks to use while lecturing, please contact the following office for your campus:

  • Main Campus/Medical Center: please contact the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action (IDEAA) at
  • School of Continuing Studies (SCS): please contact Kelly Troxell (

Our Georgetown University Mask Guidelines strongly recommend wearing a surgical-style mask. Free surgical-style masks are available at entrances to University buildings, on-campus testing sites and at the rear entrance of GUTS buses. If you forget a mask or are wearing a cloth mask, please take a free mask and put it on before entering any University building.

Student in Class Refusing To Wear a Mask

If a student in your class is without a mask (and does not have an accommodation permitting them to be on campus without masking), ask the student to wear a mask. If they refuse, you may end your class for the day by announcing that since a violation of the public health requirement is occurring, that you as an instructor cannot continue. Please report the student to Judy Johnson, director of student conduct, at

Sanitizing and Ventilating Classrooms

The University will continue to supply hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in each classroom and will continue to follow best practices for cleaning on campus, including all classrooms, using cleaning supplies that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Classrooms, including microphones and technical equipment, will be cleaned each day.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have been assessed to ensure that all classrooms meet CDC COVID-19 guidance and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standards for mitigation of virus transmission. Upgrades to building ventilation systems include MERV-13 air filtration for occupied spaces, installation of ultraviolet decontamination systems and building air flushing strategies to reduce airborne transmission.

Free COVID-19 Testing for You Upon Demand as Often as You Desire

COVID-19 testing is available at no charge to all faculty members teaching on-campus classes. Make an appointment online or in the One Medical app for testing at the Healey Family Student Center or Leavey Conference Center. More information about testing is on our website.

No Classroom Physical Distancing

We are planning for Fall classes to be in-person, unless the course was approved to be online for pedagogical reasons. Currently, no physical distancing is required for classrooms, laboratories, offices, elevators or other spaces on campus. Many public health measures remain in place, including masking when indoors and frequent hand-washing.

Prepare for Student Absences

Students who miss class because of COVID-19-related isolation or quarantine would be handled in a manner consistent with students missing class for illness or other reasons. Faculty members should be prepared to make course materials available to students missing classes due to COVID-19-related isolation or quarantine, or other symptoms and illnesses, based upon course content and pedagogy. Faculty are encouraged to use lecture capture software if appropriate for their courses. Lectures can be stored on Panopto and linked on your Canvas site. Faculty are not required to provide synchronous remote learning options for students missing class because of illness. Feel free to reinforce to students, they must contact both their (1) academic advisor, program director or course director, and (2) each individual faculty member when placed in isolation or quarantine to determine next steps for each particular course.

For privacy and other reasons, please do not email your class about a student who may be sick – there is a public health process in place for contacting students and notifying those who may have been exposed.

If you reach a point where a number of students are absent from class for reasons of being in isolation or quarantine, consult with your department head or program director and school dean regarding a decision to move the class to online mode temporarily, or to take other measures to ensure continuity of instruction.

Attendance, Seating Charts and Contact Tracing

Take attendance in each class and consider establishing assigned seats with a seating chart as this information must be forwarded to our public health team for contact tracing should anyone in the classroom test positive for COVID-19. Taking this step will ensure most efficient contact tracing.

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

Regardless of your vaccination status, please stay home if you have symptoms of 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. 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. A member of the University’s Care Navigator Team will get in touch with you and help you through any next steps. You can also email other COVID-19 questions or concerns to

Public health guidance from the CDC and the DC Department of Health advises fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine. However, they should try to get tested 3-5 days after an exposure, even if with no symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.

What To Do if You Are Placed in Isolation or Quarantine

If you teach an in-person class and you (or your family) are placed in isolation or quarantine, notify the University’s Care Navigator Team and your department head or program director. Similarly, contact your students to notify them of your plans for academic continuity. In consultation with your department head, program director and dean, you may be advised to move the class online temporarily or to make other arrangements for academic continuity. If you become ill with COVID-19 symptoms, and are unable to teach, contact your department head or program director as you would with other illnesses. These matters will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the department/program and school.

What To Do if There Are Children’s School Closures and Dependent Care Needs for Ill Family Members

In the event that there are school closures and/or COVID-19-related dependent care challenges, you may switch to remote instruction for a short period while arrangements for dependent care are underway. Faculty should work with their department chair, program director and dean if faced with such circumstances.

On a Personal Note

We want to thank you for your persistence and dedication through this extended transition as we return to classrooms on campus. Let’s approach the next weeks and months with compassion and grace. Some of your students may not have attended a class in person in some years. Some undergraduates enjoyed one semester on campus, followed by more than a full year exclusively online. Some faculty may have the need to make alternative arrangements if they have a sick child at home, or may need to rely on colleagues in their department to cover a class, and may need to reach out to a department chair or dean with this information. Please be gentle to one another; all of us are working diligently with a united mission. We can succeed this semester by calling on our community cohesion.

This is a time of great anticipation and excitement, and of tremendous change, allowing us to extend our own resilience and broaden care for others consistent with our Georgetown values.


Robert M. Groves

Edward B. Healton
Executive Vice President for Health Sciences