Officials continued to roll back COVID-19 restrictions on guests in residence halls Tuesday, allowing summer residents to host off-campus students in their rooms if they have access to campus facilities.
In an email sent to summer residents Tuesday, Assistant Deans of Students Stewart Robinette and Seth Weinshel said off-campus students who are members of the on-campus cohort – those with campus access who undergo coronavirus testing, symptom monitoring and vaccine requirements – can enter residence halls as guests. The guest policy update marks another step forward in the University’s “phased reopening” as the District emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic with low cases and growing vaccinations.
Residential guests, even those living in the same campus residence hall, used to be restricted from entering other rooms on campus during the previous academic year. Officials started loosening the no-guest policy when they allowed students to host one guest from the same building during the fall and spring semesters, walking back the restriction even further in May after permitting all summer residents to visit other residence halls without capacity limits.
“In our continued actions to support both the safety and the wellbeing of our on-campus students, and after a review of current trends on campus by public health experts, we are updating the summer 2021 residential guest policy,” the email reads.
Officials said individuals who are not GW community members or members of the on-campus cohort are still prohibited from residence halls and rooms, outside of approved moving periods. The email states guests who are members of the on-campus cohort may have received access to GW’s buildings because of summer classes or due to some other approved need.
Student Association Vice President Kate Carpenter said multiple students reached out to her asking for the guest policy to include off-campus students, and she met with Weinshel last month to voice these concerns. She said many-off campus students who are members of the on-campus cohort and could access University buildings already uploaded their proof of COVID-19 vaccination and undergo GW’s COVID-19 testing protocol, but they had lacked access to residence halls until now.
Carpenter said Weinshel met with other officials and health experts after her meeting to finalize the new policy, which was announced two weeks later. She said she and Weinshel hope the policy will help make on-campus living the “best experience for everyone” with more students interacting within residence halls.
“It shows that the housing administration really does care about the student experience and really does want to listen to the Student Association,” Carpenter said. “It shows that I’ve been able to build a great relationship with them so far, and I’m so excited to work with them throughout the rest of the year.”