Georgetown University will return to full operating status in August, following over one year of virtual classes and limited on-campus living amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning Aug. 2, main campus and medical center buildings will open at full capacity to community members, and social distancing requirements will be lifted, according to a July 19 email from Provost Robert Groves. Community members will also be permitted to host events and meetings using campus facilities.
Until further notice, all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, must wear face masks inside university buildings, except when eating or drinking or when inside private offices and residences, according to the email. The university will continue to evaluate public health conditions and reassess mask requirements.
Furthermore, students and faculty are required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and submit documentation of their full vaccination; students must upload documentation by Aug. 1 and faculty must do so by Aug. 9. However, community members may still seek medical and religious exemptions in accordance with federal law.
All returning community members will be required to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival to campus in August, according to the email. While vaccinated individuals will not have to participate in regular asymptomatic tests, unvaccinated individuals will be required to complete a COVID-19 test twice a week and complete a daily COVID-19 symptom survey to access university buildings.
Currently, fully vaccinated students residing on campus are required to be tested once a week, and unvaccinated students are required to be tested twice a week. During the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters, on-campus students were required to be tested twice weekly and students living in the surrounding neighborhoods were required to be tested only once a week.
Additionally, all courses will be held in person unless approved by the university to be taught virtually, according to the email. While Georgetown held 200 hybrid classes for graduate and undergraduate senior students in spring 2021, all other classes were held virtually during the 2020-21 school year.
The university also announced changes to move-in protocol; rather than moving in alone, students may now bring one individual into residential buildings to assist them, according to the email.
The fall plan also includes plans to reopen campus recreational spaces like Yates Field House, an on-campus gym open to any student, and Kehoe Field, an on-campus recreational field, to fully vaccinated students, faculty and staff Aug. 23. All individuals will be required to wear a mask while exercising indoors and facilities will continue to remain closed to the public at least through December 2021, according to the email.
The university will assess public health conditions throughout the semester and adjust COVID-19 guidelines as needed, according to a university spokesperson.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our community. We are continuing to assess public health conditions, including the presence of variants here on campus, and will update the University’s guidelines – including mask requirements – as appropriate,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to The Hoya.
This article was updated on July 22 to include comment from a university spokesperson.