GW reinstates indoor mask mandate days after lifting requirement

Media Credit: File Photo by Elissa Detellis | Staff Photographer

The move comes after Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and American universities reimplemented their mask mandates earlier this month.

Officials will reinstate the University’s indoor mask mandate amid a recent uptick in GW’s positivity rate, just more than a week after lifting it in most campus facilities.

The mask mandate will remain in place through Commencement in response to increased positivity rates in the District and on campus, officials said in an email Monday. GW’s seven-day positivity rate has ​​approached 2 percent after remaining close to 1 percent for much of the past two months.

Officials also “strongly encourage” GW community members to use N95 or KN95 masks, which are available for free across campus.

Georgetown and American universities lifted their indoor mask mandates in late March but have since reinstated their mandates. Johns Hopkins University officials also reinstated their university’s mask mandate last week after lifting it in early March.

The policy change comes after spikes in cases during the new BA.2 subvariant outbreak, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said currently makes up 72 percent of all new COVID-19 cases.

As of Monday, the District’s COVID-19 community spread is classified as low, meaning residents can take minimal preventative measures like staying up to date with vaccines and boosters and the D.C. government should provide access to at-home COVID-19 tests.

Students were largely slow to leave their masks behind in the week since the University dropped the mandate last Monday, heeding officials’ recommendations to continue wearing KN95 or N95 masks. Faculty were split on the lifting of the mandate, with some concerned about the public health risks of demasking and others ready to rebuild connections with students who professors have only seen behind a mask.

Zach Blackburn contributed reporting. 

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