GW community members will be required to wear masks in campus buildings effective Saturday, officials announced in an email Friday.
The announcement comes a day after Mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated the District’s citywide indoor mask requirement, compliant with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated mask-wearing guidelines recommending indoor mask-wearing regardless of vaccination status in areas of “substantial” risk – which includes the District. The change in policy also comes on the heels of a surge in COVID-19 cases and concerns over the spread of the Delta variant, which the CDC found can cause a more severe infection and is as contagious as chickenpox.
“We will continue to update the GW community about activities on campus, such as athletics, events and classroom activities, which may be affected by the new mayor’s order,” officials said in the email.
Administrators initially lifted the University’s indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in mid-June.
“This guidance is consistent with the District’s decision to again require that people wear masks in indoor public settings beginning July 31,” the announcement states. “D.C. takes this action based not only on guidance from the CDC but also as a precaution as COVID rates have increased locally.”
The on-campus student population lasted more than two months without any new cases since late May, but officials have recorded nine positive tests since July 8, according to GW’s COVID-19 testing dashboard.
“We understand that this is a time of confusion and uncertainty, and we ask for your patience as we evaluate the latest data about COVID-19 transmission in our community, as well as local and national public health guidance,” the email states.