Important COVID-19 Message from President LeBlanc

GW will extend the virtual learning period through the end of the spring semester, cancel all on-campus events.

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Important Information Graphic

To the George Washington University Community:

Thank you for your flexibility and resilience as we have worked together these past few weeks to maintain our academic and campus operations to the fullest extent possible in the face of this challenging and evolving situation.

I had hoped I would not need to update you this soon, and certainly not with this information. However, as I am sure you have seen, the number of COVID-19 cases nationally and in the D.C. region is rising. Our public health experts have advised us that they expect this trend to continue, and limiting our contact with others is now more critical than ever to fight the spread of the virus.

Based on this guidance, to continue to protect your health and safety we have made the difficult decision to extend the virtual learning period through the end of the spring semester. Additionally, all on-campus events are canceled through the end of the semester.

I want to share some of the most important information on what this means for you now, understanding that this may not answer all of the questions you have.  Please know that additional information will be shared as soon as possible.

For students
All students who have not already returned home should be making arrangements to do so.  We are determining a plan for students with belongings in residence halls to retrieve them sometime after April 5.  More details will be shared as soon as possible.  Do not return to campus now.

Any undergraduate or graduate student whose coursework requires clinical training or on-campus laboratory research should speak to their departments and/or school graduate office about whether those activities can be conducted via virtual learning. Deans will reach out to faculty to determine appropriate arrangements. 

The Office for Study Abroad is in contact with all students who need travel assistance from their program location or academic support upon their return home. Contact [email protected] for help anytime.

Health resources, including counseling for all students no matter your location, are available virtually and in person through the Colonial Health Center. Please take care of yourselves during this stressful time.

For faculty and staff
Current telework requirements for our employees and guidance for designated on-site employees remain in place until at least April 5. We will provide additional updates as soon as possible.

Faculty and staff are expected to refrain from any non-essential, GW-affiliated travel, both international and domestic.

GW Libraries and Academic Innovation’s Instructional Technology Lab will continue to offer webinars on developing and leading online courses through the semester. Other tools as well as information to request IT support are available on the COVID-19 website.

I understand that, for many, one immediate concern will be whether we will hold Commencement in May.

Due to recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discouraging events with more than 50 people, you should expect, unfortunately, that our university-wide and school Commencement ceremonies will not be held in person. We are working diligently to determine how we can, appropriately and safely, celebrate our graduates within the constraints of the current circumstances. We welcome any suggestions you have to help mark this milestone for our graduates at: [email protected].

Additional information
You may still have questions. We are working quickly to send you more information and to update the COVID-19 website as soon as possible.

Finally, please know that I share in your disappointment with these latest developments. These are difficult decisions, to make and to hear. We very much want to return the university to normal, but we cannot do so until it is safe. I hope that you are reassured that our path forward is following the direction of our expert team of health professionals and the best available information.

I truly appreciate each of you for your understanding and—despite our distance—for your continued close care and support for one another. Our resources are always here for you. Although we are now spread across many cities, states and countries, we are still united as a university community.

Stay well. We will be in touch with more information soon.


Thomas LeBlanc


COVID-19 Information

GW is monitoring this rapidly-evolving situation. Visit Campus Advisories for all of our updates.