Addressing Illness While Living On Campus

Campus Living & Residential Education (CLRE) encourages all students and their families to plan ahead for circumstances in which illness is experienced in our residence halls. 

While we don’t want anyone to get sick, the likelihood of it happening is still high, whether it is a cold, flu, COVID-19, or something else. We encourage you to have conversations now with your roommate(s) and family members about what to do if and when you or a roommate becomes ill.  Discussions should include an understanding that the sick person does their best to keep their distance from others and whether one of the roommates should plan to stay with friends, relatives, or at a nearby hotel. Once you get to campus, your Community Coordinator (the CLRE staff member living in your hall) or another CLRE staff member can help you and your roommates have these conversations. And, if you’re worried about a roommate or friend who isn’t seeking medical attention, please submit a CARE Referral so we can reach out directly to offer support.

GW has modernized our response for the 2023-2024 academic year in line with public health guidance and will practice isolation in place. This means we will not move a residential student to a separate isolation space if they become sick with a communicable disease, including not moving students who test positive for COVID-19. We will also not move the well roommate(s) of sick students to another location. Additionally, CDC guidance no longer considers college residence halls as high-risk areas because the traditional age group of undergraduate students is unlikely to get severe COVID-19 when vaccinated. 

Tips & Resources

Guidance on COVID-19 in the residence halls

All University guidance about the coronavirus can be found on GW's coronavirus site.

For specific isolation and other procedures on GW's coronavirus site, please read the section titled isolation for residential students.

Guidance in the event you become ill in the residence halls

Items to Have in Your Room:

  • Thermometer
  • Tissues 
  • Extra masks
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Prescription medications 
  • Tylenol, Advil, and/or other types of over-the-counter medication to help reduce a fever. 
  • Self/at-home antigen tests. These are good to have on hand when a PCR test is unavailable such as at night or on a weekend, and for testing your status after you test positive. 
  • Access to your health insurance and prescription plan
  • Water and non-perishable food/snacks  


Stay Healthy:

  • Get enough rest and eat healthily. 
  • Wear masks - Although masks are optional on our campuses, their use is encouraged. N95 masks remain the most effective way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19, and they continue to be available for free to community members at GW’s test sites.
  • Wash hands with warm soap and water often.
  • Sleep as far as possible away from each other.  Be sure beds in each room are spaced apart as best as possible. 
  • Keep your distance from friends who might be sick, and don’t visit or host them in residence hall rooms when sick.
  • Limit your in-person interactions with others when you are–or suspect that you might be–sick.
  • Make a plan with another GW friend who is not your roommate who would be ready and willing to drop off items and/or food at your door and offer to do the same for others.


Campus Resources:

  • The Student Health Center is located on the Ground Floor of the University Student Center. 
    • Call (202) 994-5300 anytime (24 hours a day/seven days a week). Your call will be answered by a clinician and evaluated for next steps or returned as soon as possible.
  • GW offers a comprehensive Student Health Insurance Plan through Aetna Student Health.
  • Routine COVID-19 testing is available for all GW students, faculty, and staff at several campus locations.  
  • GW’s COVID-19 Public Health Protocols and policy updates are communicated via email and posted to GW’s Onward website.
  • In an emergency on campus, call GW Emergency Services at (202) 994-6111 to be connected to GW Police Department (GWPD) and GW EMeRG. GW EMeRG is a student-run ambulance service that offers emergency medical services on the Foggy Bottom campus.  In an emergency off-campus, call 911.
  • In a non-emergency, anyone (parent/guardian, classmate, staff, faculty) can submit a CARE referral if you think a student may need additional support.  


Additional Resources: 

  • Nearby CVS stores in Foggy Bottom at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, 2125 E St. NW, and 2550 Virginia Ave. NW sell self-home COVID-19 test kits, as well as other over-the-counter medications. Mount Vernon Campus residents should visit the CVS at 4859 Macarthur Blvd. NW.  
  • Capsule offers same-day delivery of prescriptions. They are located at 1705 Desales St. NW, Phone: (202) 804-0399
  • Discounted Lodging/Hotels near Foggy Bottom & Mount Vernon Campuses in case you choose on your own to move to another location.