Officials will uphold indoor mask mandate, bucking other District universities

Media Credit: File Photo by Elissa Detellis | Staff Photographer

Officials said they would continue to monitor on-campus transmission rates while considering the University's masking policy.

GW is keeping its mask mandate in place as the academic year kicks off, despite other higher education institutions in D.C. dropping their on-campus masking requirements.

University spokesperson Tim Pierce said that the University-wide indoor mask mandate would stay in place “at this time,” which places GW as the only major university in D.C. requiring masks in all indoor settings. Pierce said that officials would continue to monitor on-campus transmission rates while considering the University’s masking policy.

“Wearing masks indoors helps to limit exposures and can help reduce infection rates,” Pierce said in an email.

Pierce declined to comment on if officials expect to see a rise in COVID cases as the academic year begins.

Georgetown University requires masks in settings like classrooms, the university health care facilities and university-sponsored transportation but does not require masks in spaces like dining facilities, residential halls, libraries, gyms and other university-owned or operated buildings.

American University also requires masks in classroom and medical settings but does not require masks in any other settings, whereas Howard University officials dropped their mask mandate for the fall semester on June 13, but Howard officials still recommend masking on campus.

The University closed the doors on its primary COVID testing center and ended its asymptomatic COVID testing requirement in June and opted to open smaller, spread-out optional testing sites across campus.

Officials also instituted an “isolation in place” protocol for students who test positive for COVID in August and will no longer move COVID-positive students to separate isolation rooms. Officials said they aligned their COVID protocols with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which no longer classifies residence halls as high-risk areas for COVID.

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