GW Issues Guidance on Social Distancing, Events

March 11, 2020

George Washington University leaders are encouraging social distancing as information about the spread of COVID-19 evolves.

CDC public health officials recommend social distancing, which includes keeping six feet between you and another person, not attending large gatherings, and not sharing food or drink to stop or slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease.

Limited Public Gatherings
To implement social distancing, gatherings and meetings of more than 100 people should no longer be held on campus, effective immediately. We expect these restrictions to continue through at least April 5. We encourage using remote technology to collaborate via teleconferencing instead of meeting in person to help avoid the spread of coronavirus. Departments should cancel their space reservations for events that will no longer be taking place. Our campuses will remain open and operations will continue with appropriate measures to protect the health of the community.

The guidance on social distancing and events does not refer to classes scheduled for the rest of the week. All curricular activities (regardless of size) will still take place Thursday, March 12 and Friday, March 13.

Please also consider the size of your meeting space. Limit the amount of people in a meeting space to one-third the occupancy of the space. For example, if the meeting room’s capacity is 60 people, there should not be more than 20 people in attendance. This will allow people to keep a safer distance from each other to prevent possible exposure. Avoid serving foods where multiple hands will touch the food, such as bowls of chips. For any gathering, remind attendees to lower risk and prevent the spread of viruses by not shaking hands and practicing social distancing.

Information about athletic events and competition will be forthcoming based on coordination with the A-10 and the NCAA.

Student Organizations, Activities and Events
Reminder, as the university stated yesterday, beginning Monday, March 23, and through the duration of instructional continuity, all in-person, student organization activities and events are suspended. Student organization advisors and Student Life staff will work with student organizations that need support canceling or rescheduling events.

Domestic Travel
To date, the university has not placed restrictions on GW-affiliated domestic travel, however, based on conditions at this time, we urge faculty and staff to delay or cancel non-essential GW-affiliated domestic travel. However, individuals taking trips are advised to stay in touch with their counterparts at the locations they are visiting to obtain their latest operating status. Many organizations and institutions are implementing social distancing strategies similar to ours, and are canceling large gatherings.

We know that risk tolerance varies by individual. Members of the GW community are encouraged to use good judgement when making travel decisions and to stay informed as information about the virus changes at the local level. GW is monitoring domestic travel restrictions and recommendations as information evolves, and updates will be provided to the GW community as they are available.

We realize this evolving situation raises many questions and we are working to answer all of them. Please visit go.gwu.edu/covid19 to check updates and FAQs.

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For Your Information
This section will share additional information that you need to know and questions you may have.

Do students need to move their belongings out of residence halls and completely vacate by March 20?
Students are not required to move all of their belongings out of the residence halls as they prepare to leave for spring break, so bring any essential items you may need for the next three weeks. The university intends to resume operations as normal following April 5, however, it is possible that students will continue to have restricted access to the residence halls after that time.

Will I be compensated for my housing during the time that I am not staying in my residence hall during the instructional continuity period?
Residential students will receive a credit to their student account at the nightly rate of their unit type for the period in which the university is operating under the instructional continuity period.

How many confirmed cases of COVID-19 are at George Washington University Hospital?
The George Washington University and George Washington University Hospital, while affiliated, are separate organizations. The university cannot share information that pertains to hospital operations and patients.

How do I telecommute?
The GW community has the capability to securely and effectively work remotely while away from campus. Please visit the telecommuting page to review your teleworking options. Many of the day-to-day tasks completed while in the office or classroom can also be accomplished remotely without the need of additional software. A few applications, however, may require specialized hardware, software or access permissions. If you are uncertain, consult with your supervisor or contact GW IT at 202-994-GWIT (4948) or [email protected].