Omicron variant fuels rising COVID-19 cases, tighter restrictions across GW, D.C.

D.C. and GW officials are tighteneng COVID-19 restrictions to slow the spread of the Omicron variant, which continues to accelerate across the city and inflate positive caseloads heading into the new year.

The number of daily positive COVID-19 tests at GW and across D.C. currently stand at record highs, with 121 positive results at GW Monday and 1,155 in D.C. Tuesday, according to the most recently available data from the University and city. GW and the District have responsed with new measures that will start limiting public activity in the city, including an online return to the spring semester and a new citywide mandate that will require residents to show vaccination proof to enter restaurants, bars, gyms and entertainment venues.

After COVID-19 cases started to surge on campus earlier this month, GW canceled in-person gatherings for the rest of the fall semester Friday and moved the remainder of final exams online.

Georgetown University officials announced last week that university-sponsored events must take place virtually or outdoors after the school reported its highest single-day total of COVID-19 cases to date, The Hoya reported. The University of Maryland also announced that it would cancel winter commencement ceremonies in the face of rising COVID-19 cases.

The University announced Wednesday that the spring semester would start with at least one week of remote classes, and students must receive their booster shot by Jan. 10 instead of the previous deadline set for Feb. 1.

Other higher education institutions, including Gallaudet and Harvard universities, announced that they will hold classes temporarily online at the beginning of the spring semester

On the citywide level, several restaurants have temporarily closed as employees have tested positive, at least 25 D.C. public schools have moved to virtual operations and Mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated the District’s mask mandate, which she lifted last month for most indoor settings in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

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