Summer 2021 Update

March 01, 2021

To the George Washington University Community:

The local and national COVID-19 vaccination rollout has given our community reasons to be more optimistic for the rest of 2021 that we will see declines in coronavirus hospitalizations and deaths. While this is encouraging, our public health and safety experts think it likely that the vaccination roll-out will continue through the summer for many in our community. Although we have determined that the Summer 2021 term will continue with a mainly virtual operating status, the success of our efforts to contain the spread of the virus on campus has enabled us to begin initiating phased reopening of on-campus activity in preparation for the fall, when we will be back in person to the fullest extent possible.

While the majority of undergraduate and graduate programs will remain online, courses that require in-person instruction or research will take place on campus. There also will be more hybrid and hyflex courses beyond what we have offered this academic year, observing appropriate social distancing. A larger on-campus summer cohort will facilitate our planning, training, system, and infrastructure updates in preparation for the fall.

Announcements about summer 2021 are below.

Campus access, safety and care. The Foggy Bottom and Virginia Science and Technology campuses will remain accessible only to members of the on-campus cohort who take part in mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing and daily symptom monitoring. Even as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to become available, public health protocols, including mask-wearingsocial distancing and limiting gatherings, will remain in place to protect the health and safety of our community. We will continue to emphasize the risks of COVID-19 to all in our community, regardless of age, and especially those who do not yet have immunity to the virus. Public gatherings will be held within limits established by university, District of Columbia and Virginia guidelines. Via our Campus COVID Support Team, Colonial Health and Occupational Health clinicians and students support teams, we will continue to provide care to members of our community who are exposed to, or contract, COVID-19.

The university will make a decision in the coming months about access to the Mount Vernon Campus, and we will share information with the community at that time.

Instruction. The summer 2021 schedule of classes has been posted online, and registration for summer sessions will open on Monday, March 15. Information about course delivery methods will be updated on the schedule of classes as it becomes available. Clinical programs will reach out to students directly about any ways in which curricula are being adjusted. Other programs will work to determine how they will manage in-person activities.

Faculty will receive information in the coming weeks regarding course delivery methods and summer campus access. We have the capacity to offer additional in-person hybrid or hyflex courses, provided they follow our social distancing guidelines.

Faculty development. As in summer 2020, webinars and workshops will be available to faculty through the Instructional Core with GW Libraries & Academic Innovation so that they may further develop their skills for teaching in hybrid or hyflex settings during the 2021-22 academic year. Faculty also may have the opportunity to teach synchronous hybrid and hyflex courses, which will yield valuable preparation for offering such courses in the fall.

Research. We will evaluate opportunities to expand on-campus research over the coming months in line with university, local and federal recommendations. The safety of the research community and research subjects will be the primary consideration as any changes are made. The university remains in Research Phase 2: Expanded, Limited Reopening. Any lab and shared area may be utilized up to 50% of its capacity. Principal investigators or project leaders may determine how best to divide responsibilities or rotate team members to ensure a safe density of personnel. Coordination will be essential in areas shared by multiple projects or teams from multiple departments and schools.

Student programming and housing. The university will permit summer programming for GW students within limitations, based on academic program needs and public health parameters. Programming and orientation for new students will be a top priority. Residential housing for Summer 2021 will have limited capacity for a maximum of 2000 students. Details about housing will be provided soon.

Library and museum services.

  • The Gelman Library building will be open daily for the summer sessions, with closures for Memorial Day weekend and July 4 & 5. The Gelman and VSTC Libraries will continue to require seat reservations to enter the buildings. When print resources are needed, delivery is available for students and faculty. GW students, faculty, staff, or others with borrowing privileges may request contactless pick up.
  • Eckles Library will remain closed over the summer.
  • Himmelfarb Library is planning to continue operating under the conditions of its new normal.
  • Jacob Burns Law Library will make a decision about its operating status in the coming months.
  • The George Washington University Museum & The Textile Museum is considering possibilities for limited reopening sometime this summer, pending health and safety conditions and guidance. The museum will make a decision in the coming months.

While our current environment continues to offer challenges, brighter days are ahead. We are committed to continuing to offer a high-quality academic experience and to making all necessary preparations for increased on-campus activity in the fall. Thank you for your continued dedication to maintaining the health and safety of our community.


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

Scott Burnotes
Vice President, Safety & Facilities

Lynn Goldman
Dean, Milken Institute School of Public Health

M.L. “Cissy” Petty
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students