Officials will continue the University’s indoor mask mandate “until further notice” after Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Tuesday that the District’s mandate will be lifted.
Officials said in an email to the GW community Friday that the University has maintained a “low, but continued steady presence” of positive COVID-19 cases that arise from group settings like parties, and they expect an uptick in cases as travel increases during the upcoming holiday season. Bowser had reinstated the citywide mask mandate in July as the Delta variant increased positive cases, coming about two months after the District rolled back COVID-19 restrictions in May amid a declining caseload.
“Mask-wearing, in combination with the University’s routine COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs, adds an additional level of protection for our campus population,” the email reads. “The scientific data on masks demonstrates that masks are effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19. This multi-layered approach helps ensure that we are able to continue in-person teaching, learning and working this semester.”
University officials lifted the indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in June before reinstating the requirement following Bowser’s masking order in July.
At a press conference Tuesday, Bowser said nearly 89 percent of adult residents in the District have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The District’s updated mandate will also remain effect in settings like residence halls, schools, public transportation and nursing homes.
Bowser said local businesses can still require vaccinations and masks at their discretion.
“Whether you are a retailer, a restaurant or an office employer, you have the ability to set the rules for your establishment,” she said.