Safety Precautions for the Inauguration Day Period

January 13, 2021

As shared with you in a message from university leadershipInauguration Day on Wednesday, January 20, has been designated a university holiday. All offices will be closed and, as previously planned, classes will not be held. Essential operations will continue, including security support for our on-campus residents.

The Foggy Bottom Campus will be limited to residential students and designated on-site staff only during the Inauguration period from Saturday, Jan. 16, through Wednesday, Jan. 20. As a reminder, Monday, Jan. 18, is a university holiday in recognition of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day. There are no classes and offices will be closed.

During the period surrounding Inauguration Day, we anticipate an increased number of people gathering in and around Washington, D.C., and numerous street closures and access control points. We ask for all members of our community to be prepared. If you are not required to be in the District, avoid the downtown area and do not come to the Foggy Bottom campus.

If you absolutely need to be on and near the Foggy Bottom Campus during this time, please take the following safety precautions:

  • Be aware of the behavior of those around you and report suspicious or threatening behavior immediately to GWPD at (202) 994-6111.
  • Make sure doors close and lock behind you as you arrive and depart.
  • Do not allow strangers into GW buildings.
  • Carry identification and your GWorld card at all times when on campus.
  • Avoid crowds and do not engage with individuals seeking a confrontation.
  • If there is a disturbance, seek shelter indoors until normal conditions return. Observe directions from law enforcement personnel.
  • GW Police will be on campus and available for assistance.

Expectations around the District:

  • Plan for the possibility of increased pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  • Expect a large law enforcement and military presence in D.C. to include possible security checkpoints and I.D. checks.
  • Prepare for unannounced access restrictions and street closures.
  • Anticipate that last minute curfews or orders to stay indoors may be announced. 

Please note the following operations changes:

  • Campus libraries (Gelman, Himmelfarb, and the Law School) will maintain virtual operations but no in-person services from Jan. 16-20.
  • The Lerner Health and Wellness Fitness Center will be closed from Jan. 18-20.
  • The GW COVID-19 testing site at the Marvin Center will be closed from Jan. 18-20.
  • The GW MFA COVID-19 testing site at Shenkman Hall will be closed from Jan. 18-20.
  • The GW MFA COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Lerner Health and Wellness will be closed on Jan. 18.
  • COVID-19 testing at VSTC will be closed Monday but will be open Jan. 19, 20 and 21. 
  • The GW Medical Faculty Associates will be closed on Jan 18 and 20, as previously planned. The Foggy Bottom clinics will be closed on Jan. 19, with the exception of highly urgent appointments in reproductive endocrinology or radiation oncology. MFA locations outside of the District will remain open and operational on Jan. 19.

All designated on-site employees should check with their supervisors for any special reporting instructions. Students with clinical responsibilities should check with their clinical supervisor for further instruction. If any student with clinical responsibilities feels that the conditions are unsafe and are not able to make it in, please let your resident, attending physician, or clinical instructor know.

GW will be activating its Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and monitoring activity in the District to send email and text alerts to the entire GW community when necessary. The latest safety and security information will be posted on GW’s Campus Advisories. Students and employees will see an increased security presence on campus. There will also be campus parking restrictions and street closures that can be found online.

Additional safety and security resources can be found at or download the GW Guardian app for resources at your fingertips. Additional emergency management information from the District of Columbia is also available online.

All GW community members (students, faculty and staff) are automatically signed up to receive GW emergency email alerts. You can manage your GW Alert account to also receive GW text alerts to your mobile device. In addition to adding your own mobile number, you can add multiple email addresses and phone numbers so that friends or relatives may also receive GW emergency alerts. Visit the GW Alert FAQs for instructions on how to add additional people to your account.

We appreciate your partnership as we navigate the upcoming days. To that end, we encourage you to always remain vigilant. Additional emergency management information from the District of Columbia is also available online.

In case of an emergency on campus, call GWPD at 202-994-6111. If you are off campus, call Metropolitan Police using 911.