University Holiday on Election Day

October 21, 2020

To the George Washington University Community:

The teaching, learning, and research that we do together at GW are powerful forces for social good—they are deeply rooted in public service, in civic engagement, and in efforts to uphold the democratic ideals on which our country was founded.  As individuals, the most important way we strengthen these ideals and contribute to American democracy is through our fundamental right to vote.

This year, given the impact the pandemic has on the current election cycle, we will designate Election Day, on Tuesday, November 3, a university holiday.  

Synchronous course meetings will be canceled, and we encourage faculty to work with their classes to provide asynchronous instruction, assign comparable learning opportunities, or make special arrangements for time-limited in-person instruction.  We recognize that this decision may cause instructional disruption in certain programs, and we are grateful to our faculty for their flexibility in making appropriate accommodations.  All School of Medicine and Health Sciences students who are participating in clinical rotations will be expected to report to their clinical sites as scheduled.  All School of Nursing students participating in clinical and lab rotations also will be expected to report to their sites as scheduled.

Additionally, offices will be closed as a paid day off.  Designated on-site staff will report to work to support health and safety on our campuses.  However, designated on-site staff may work with their supervisors to schedule up to two hours of paid time away from work to vote.  The Medical Faculty Associates will remain open and clinical operations will proceed as scheduled. 

We have heard from many of our students, faculty, and staff the significance of making Election Day a university holiday this year, and we hope this decision will encourage you to use your time to volunteer at the polls, campaign on behalf of a candidate, or support the democratic process in another way.

Our community of scholars is one of the most politically active and civically engaged in the country, committed to driving positive change in the world.  Wherever you are this Election Day, we are confident you will continue to debate respectfully, demonstrate peacefully, and make your voices heard.

Stay safe, stay well, Raise High—and vote!


Thomas J. LeBlanc

M. Brian Blake
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs