The University banned all on-campus gatherings of more than 100 people until at least April 5 and urged staff and faculty to delay or cancel non-essential domestic travel, according to an email sent to the GW community Wednesday.
Officials advised the capacity of meetings to be limited to one-third of the room occupancy, the email states. The move comes after Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency and public health emergency, and officials announced classes will move online for at least two weeks in the wake of a COVID-19 outbreak.
“George Washington University leaders are encouraging social distancing as information about the spread of COVID-19 evolves,” the email states. “CDC public health officials recommend social distancing, which includes keeping six feet between you and another person, not attending large gatherings and not sharing food or drink to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.”
Organizers of any meeting or gathering should avoid serving food where multiple hands touch the food, like bowls of chips, and attendees should not shake hands, the email states. Officials said they will release information about future athletic events and competitions soon in coordination with the Atlantic 10 and the National College Athletic Association, according to the email.
Bowser said in her state of emergency announcement Wednesday that event organizers should postpone or cancel any mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people until March 31.
The University suspended all GW-affiliated, non-essential international travel for faculty, students and staff until July 1, and officials are encouraging the GW community to delay or cancel “non-essential” GW-affiliated domestic travel, the email states.
“We know that risk tolerance varies by individual,” the email states. “Members of the GW community are encouraged to use good judgement when making travel decisions and to stay informed as information about the virus changes at the local level. GW is monitoring domestic travel restrictions and recommendations as information evolves, and updates will be provided to the GW community as they are available.”
This article appeared in the March 12, 2020 issue of the Hatchet.