Students who contract COVID-19 to ‘isolate in place,’ officials say

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Residence halls are no longer considered high-risk areas because college-aged people are unlikely to contract a severe case of COVID-19 when vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

GW will institute an “isolation in place” protocol for residential students who test positive for COVID-19 during the 2022-23 academic year officials announced in an email to residential students Tuesday.

Stewart Robinette, the assistant dean of students for residential education, and Rebekka Christie, the director of medical services at the Student Health Center, said the University will not move residential students who test positive for COVID-19 or whose roommates test positive for COVID-19 to a separate isolation space this upcoming academic year. The new protocol comes after officials required students who tested positive for COVID-19 to isolate for a minimum of 5 days in either their dorm or a nearby hotel during the last academic year.

“While we don’t want anyone to get sick, the likelihood of it happening is still high, whether it is a cold, flu, COVID or something else,” they said. “We encourage you to have conversations now with your roommate/s and family members about what to do if and when you or a roommate becomes ill.”

They said the University adjusted its protocols for the upcoming academic year in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which states that residence halls are no longer considered high-risk areas because college-aged people are unlikely to contract a severe case of COVID-19 when vaccinated.

The University reserved beds in Yours Truly, a hotel located north of Washington Circle, last spring to house students infected with COVID-19 due to a surge in cases driven by the omicron variant. Officials also shortened the isolation period for students who test positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five, per CDC guidelines in the spring and officials ended the asymptomatic COVID-19 testing requirement for community members last month.

United States residents are also amid a new wave of COVID-19 infections due to the omicron subvariant BA.5, which experts said is the most transmissible version of the virus that can reinfect people who tested positive just a few weeks prior, according to the New York Times.

“If you are a residential student who has a GW approved COVID-19 vaccine exemption for medical or religious reasons, or if you are immunocompromised, and you have medical questions about interacting with someone who may be sick, please reach out to GW’s Student Health Center or your primary care physician,” they said in the email.

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