COVID-19: Returning to Campus & Moving Out

Retrieval of Belongings from On-Campus Housing

On March 30, 2020, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered that all District of Columbia residents should stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Residents are ordered to avoid all non-essential travel in their communities. On the same day, similar orders were issued by the governors of Maryland and Virginia.

The George Washington University takes very seriously this guidance from our regional government officals, and wants to reinforce the message to our students, faculty, and staff.

Our efforts to pack and store belongings left in the residence halls align with the DC Mayor's Order and recommendations from health professionals to close all non-essential businesses and prohibit gatherings of ten or more people to limit the size of gatherings on campus to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Do not attempt to return to campus at this time.


With local and state governments continuing to implement movement restrictions and stay home instructions to limit the spread of COVID-19, we do not believe it will be safe for students and their families to return to campus in the coming weeks to move out on their own accord. With your safety as our top priority, we will begin a phased building by building process of packing and storing belongings in each residential room with the assistance of a professional moving company trained in the most up to date safety and security measures including a video chat and photographic documentation of belongings.

We know that this move out process is unfamiliar and may be inconvenient to you. Please know that we are doing everything we can to protect your health and safety and store your belongings securely. While we know the situation is not ideal, the steps we are taking are in direct response to the social distancing and stay at home guidelines in the District of Columbia and elsewhere across the nation as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An added urgency is the need to provide temporary housing to medical professionals from GW Hospital and GW Medical Faculty Associates who are unable to travel home to be with their families while they provide medical care during this growing pandemic.

When your stage of the packing and storing process is set to begin, you will receive an email with instructions specific to your room and building.

CLRE will continue to provide updates, please be patient and continue to check your GW email account. 


See Also

Students Who Left Campus: Details & Instructions About The Pack & Store Process

Phase 1 Halls Phase 2 Halls Phase 3 Halls
  • District House
  • International House
  • Munson
  • Thurston
  • Aston
  • FSK
  • Fulbright
  • Greek Townhouse Row
  • Guthridge
  • Lafayette
  • Mitchell
  • Mount Vernon Campus
  • Small Townhouses
  • 1959 E Street
  • 2109 F Street
  • Amsterdam
  • Dakota
  • JBKO
  • Madision
  • Potomac House
  • Shenkman
  • South
  • Strong

*This schedule is subject to change.


  • When we reach your hall for packing & storing, the moving company will connect with you via email with the date for your room to be packed and information on how to set up the video chat.
  • If your scheduled date and time work for you and you have no changes to the mobile phone that you want them to contact you, no additional action is needed until packing day.  If you have a schedule conflict with the predetermined date and time because of a class or you will be observing a religious holiday, please reply back ASAP to that email.
  • It is important that you do your best to be available at your appointed time. Please do not reach out to moving companies customer service support center. This is considered a private, contracted move and the way to receive assistance is from the on-site team managing this move. 
  • On your agreed upon packing day, you will be contacted by a representative from the moving team at your scheduled window of time via phone to coordinate the start of your video chat. Remember, the primary objective of this video chat is to ensure that items are packed and identified appropriately.
  • Occasionally, there are delays. Please be patient as they may call you slightly outside of their time window. If you did not receive a phone call at all on the day of your pre-determined packing, please email [email protected]. Our team will collect your information and coordinate with the company on the status of your room.
  • During the room packing process, the moving company will speak to roommates individually.
  • We encourage roommates to communicate ahead of time to determine which individual will pack any shared items among their belongings.
  • We ask you to please be timely in your responses with the moving company.
  • Please understand that if a resident is unresponsive to the outreach from the moving company or GW, including confirming by email and being able to chat by video or phone, the contents of a room will be packed with or without your consent.

Update Your Contact Information in Campus Living E-Services

There may be some essential items that you need for your health and academic success. We have identified two categories of items that will be processed and shipped separately to you during the packing process:

  1. Prescription medicine, eyeglasses/contacts, retainers, etc; identification documents such as a passport and financial items such as cash, credit cards and checkbooks.
  2. Textbooks and academic materials that you need in order to successfully complete the rest of the academic year.

There will be no other exceptions. We are trying to do the best we can under extraordinary circumstances to get our students the items that are absolutely necessary.
The medical, identification and financial materials you identify during the live video chat will be packed and shipped to you at no cost to you by GW Mail & Package Services.

The textbooks and other academic materials will be placed in a separate labeled box for GW Mail & Package Services to send to you; this cost will be deducted from your student account.  If you identify any rental textbooks during the packing process that need to be returned to the campus store or library books that need to be returned to a GW library, those will be put aside.

Shortly after your room is packed, you will receive an email from GW Mail & Package Services to confirm your shipping address and any rental textbooks or library books to be returned.

These categories are meant to be a guide, not an exhaustive list. As we move through this process, our goal and purpose is to protect your items and care for them in the most safe and secure way possible for packing, storage, and even shipping. We are not trying to create any more financial hardships, but we do want to be mindful of creating conditions that may bring harm to your belongings. 

  • In addition to your personal items such as clothing, computer & gaming equipment, bedding and decorative items, the following items will be packed and stored 
  • Food: sealed cans or boxes of solid foods and boxed or bagged dry goods.
  • Opened spices are packable.
  • Personal care products include: liquid-based foundation, lotion, make-up, skincare products, shaving supplies, perfume/cologne, hairspray, hard hand soap.
  • Cleaning products: sponges, brushes, gloves.
  • Oversized personal property: bikes, futons, chairs, etc.
  • Lights: all desk and floor lamps, including Halogen lamps. For safety, the bulbs may be separated from the light.
  • Cooking appliances: including hot plates, crock pots, waffle irons, toasters, toaster ovens, George Foreman grills, sandwich makers and popcorn poppers.
  • Artificial plants and decorative items, including candles.
  • Hoverboards: self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters, hands-free Segways.
  • Drones.
  • Portable/space heaters.

These categories are meant to be a guide, not an exhaustive list.  All liquids have the potential to cause damage to your belongings and others. Spills can also degrade cardboard moving boxes and cause them to break.

  • Food: any opened food, including, all perishable goods
  • Drinks: any opened containers and all refrigerated drinks
  • Personal care products: mouthwash only. 
  • Cleaning Products:  items including but not limited to laundry detergent (pods okay), liquid soaps and toilet cleaners, bleach, windex, etc.
  • Flammable Items: incense and fragrance burners, matches, liquid lighter fluid, lanterns/oil lamps, butane, and butane torch lighters.
  • Live holiday decorations including trees, garlands, popcorn strings, etc.
  • Aerosol Cans/Spray: chemical mace or pepper spray,
  • Dirty Dishes: including silverware, utensils, drinking glasses, serving bowls, etc.
  • Any other hazardous materials

Plan for Cleaning Products, Liquids and Plants

We understand that these items are items, that especially in these times, should not be wasted. For the remainder of this packing process, we are going to collect the following items and redistribute in the fall to common laundry rooms in that building:

  • All of the liquid-based cleaning products, whether opened or not.
  • All canned and bottles of unopened, un-refrigerated non-alcoholic drinks. Alcohol will be disposed of.
  • Sealed, unopened bottles of mouthwash.

We are prioritizing the safety and security of all involved, including how we pack your belongings and the protection of those individuals who will be packing your items. If you have any of the following from only these four categories that may pose a risk to this process, please complete the Reporting Prohibited Items Form at the link below to let our team know about the item and its location.

  1. Weapons, including pocket knives, knives in a sheath, spears, swords, souvenir weapons, firearms, ammunition, and BB, air, pellet or paintball guns, tasers, stun guns, expandable batons or impact weapons;
  2. 3D printers capable of producing any of the items listed in item #1;
  3. Fireworks;
  4. Illegal drugs and marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and/or drug manufacturing materials.

We are asking our students to voluntarily let us know about only these four categories.  There is a larger prohibited items list that includes drones, hoverboards, flammable candles, alcohol, mace, etc. We are NOT asking for any reporting of these other items.  Some of these items like drones will be packed, the flammable items and alcohol will be disposed of properly, as per our regular process when a prohibited item is found.

When we receive disclosures, we will provide that information to the movers so they can manage safety through their expertise.  If the movers determine the item is not safe to pack, those items will be turned over to GWPD.

We understand that some of you may be concerned about acknowledging such items. We value your help in maintaining a safe and secure environment so advance disclosure of such items will be an important mitigating factor, in the event that the movers do turn it over to GWPD. Failure to provide this information in advance may be considered an aggravating factor in the university's response and could also result in additional policy violations. Specific questions about response to prohibited and dangerous items may be directed to Student Rights and Responsibilities by contacting [email protected].

Reporting Prohibited Items Form

Given the rapidly changing situation, it is not safe for you to return to campus at this time. As much as we would like to follow our regular end of year move-out process, it is not possible while still practicing social distancing guidelines. 

  • Returning in the Fall Semester:
    • Your belongings will be secured in a climate-controlled off-site facility where they will remain, at no cost to you, until the start of the fall semester when they will be returned to campus and placed in your room assignment for next year.
  • Graduating, going on study abroad in the fall, moving off-campus:
    • Once we are through with the pack and store phase of this process for our campus our intent is that you will have more options.
    • Once the moving company is back at their storage facility and re-organized, you may have options including pick up from the storage company or you may ship direct to any location at your expense.
    • Based on the stay at home orders and conditions at the time, the storage company may have extra instructions or you may have to wait a little longer.

Students Still On Campus: April 5 Move-Out or Consolidation

This information is intended for students who were approved for housing during the initial virtual learning period after March 20 but not approved to stay beyond April 5. 

Foggy Bottom Students

  • Students have had time to plan their departure and should completely move out of the residence halls, including the removal of all of your property and possessions.
  • Move-Out to be completed no later than 5 pm on your scheduled departure day (Check your March 26 email message).
  • If you have questions about your move-out process, please raise that on the daily check-in form.
  • Because you are on campus, and have time to prepare, you can book your own storage with Storage Squad, link below.

Mount Vernon Students

  • Students have had time to plan their departure and should completely move out of the residence halls, including the removal of all of your property and possessions.
  • Move-Out to be completed no later than 5 pm on your scheduled departure day (Check your March 26 email message).
  • Because you are still on campus, we are making plans for you to return to MVC and gain temporary access to your room to pack and move out.
  • If you have questions about your move-out process, please raise that on the daily check-in form.
  • Because you are on campus, and have time to prepare, you can book your own storage with Storage Squad, link below.

Storage Squad at GW

This information is intended for students who were approved for housing during the initial virtual learning period after March 20 and only approved for a short-term extension beyond April 5. 

Foggy Bottom Students

  • Students should plan on completely moving out of the residence halls, including the removal of all of your property and possessions
  • Move-Out to be completed no later than 5 pm on your scheduled departure day (Check your March 26 email message).
  • You will likely stay in your current assignment for your short-term extension unless you live in International House, Munson or Thurston. 
  • If you have questions about your move-out process, please raise that on the daily check-in form.
  • You can book with Storage Squad, link below.

Mount Vernon Students

  • At this time there are no MVC students approved for a short-term extension. 

Storage Squad at GW

This information is intended for students who were approved for housing during the initial virtual learning period after March 20 and received another approval to stay until the end of virtual learning in May.

After consulting with local officials, we are making changes to consilidation housing assignments so that we may be more flexible with our room availability in the coming weeks should the District of Columbia and/or GW Hospital request more assistance from the university as our city responds to this national pandemic.

As such, residents of Mount Vernon Campus, Munson and International House will be consolidated into International House instead of District House.  Other consolidation assignments will be released on a rolling basis. 

Foggy Bottom Students

  • All students approved to stay until May, other than The Aston, will be required to consolidate into a limited number of specific halls in an effort to better care for those who will remain on campus and conserve services. 
  • Students will be provided blue carts to individually facilitate your move.
  • To accommodate appropriate social distancing, moves will be scheduled at staggered times. You will receive additional information from Campus Living & Residential Living. 
  • Students should be prepared to move on or about April 5. 

Mount Vernon Students

  • All students approved to stay until May, other than The Aston, will be required to consolidate into International House in an effort to better care for those who will remain on campus and conserve services. 
  • We are arranging for any belongings left in your MVC rooms to be brought to Foggy Bottom
  • Students will be provided blue carts to individually facilitate your move to District House. 
  • To accommodate appropriate social distancing, moves will be scheduled at staggered times. You will receive additional information from Campus Living & Residential Living.
  • Students should be prepared to move on or about April 5.