COVID-19: Mar. 29, 2020: Message to Phase 1 Halls: Details & Instructions About Your Pack & Store Process

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dear GW Residential Students:

You are receiving this communication as a resident in one of the first four buildings the university identified to begin the first phase of our coordinated effort for packing and storing your 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.

This communication outlines how the process will unfold in the coming days and your involvement in the process. We do realize that this is a long message. We urge you to read it carefully as it outlines many of the questions you have shared with us.

Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we move forward.


An Overview of What is to Come:

The first stage of this coordinated move will begin on Monday, March 30, for District House, Munson, International House and Thurston. 

  • The next email you will receive will come directly from one of the GW approved professional moving companies--JK Moving and Storage Squad--that will be in charge of packing and storing belongings from your room. These moving companies are licensed and insured. 
  • The email from the moving company will include a predetermined date and window of time between March 30 to April 5 for your packing. We request you be available to participate in the packing process to identify which items in the room are yours. This will be done by video chat prior to your belongings being packed. 
  • Upon receipt of that email, you will be able to communicate directly with the company about any scheduling concerns. The moving companies will do their best to accommodate scheduling changes because of a conflict with the proposed time window.  
  • After the initial email, the moving company may send you a pre-packing information form to be filled out ahead of the prescribed packing time that will help the company prepare to work with you. 
  • On packing day, you will be contacted by a representative from the moving team at your scheduled window of time via video chat. The moving company will also send you an email with information on setting up the video chat. The primary objective of this video chat is to ensure that items are packed and identified appropriately.
  • 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, including being able to chat by video or phone, the contents of a room will still be packed. 

The Packing Process:

We understand that this is not the process you envisioned when you left campus. Please be assured that these professional movers are trained in current COVID-19 safety measures for the safe handling, packing, and storing of all of your belongings. They will work with you to answer your questions during the packing process. Our priority is keeping both your belongings and the movers safe throughout this process.

Essential Items To Be Packed & Shipped Separately

We realize that there may be some essential items that you may 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, passports 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 know that is difficult and again not what you expected. We are trying to do the best we can under extraordinary circumstances to get our students the items that are absolutely necessary.

The medical and financial materials you identify during the live video chat will be packed and shipped to your current permanent address in the GWeb system at no cost to you by GW Mail & Package Services.

The textbooks and other academic materials will be placed in a separate box, labeled and left in the room. GW Mail & Package Services will then retrieve the boxes and contact you for payment details prior to shipping. During the packing process, if you identify any textbooks that need to be returned to the campus store or library books that need to be returned to a GW library, those will be set aside and returned for you.

Items That Will be Packed & Stored

In addition to your personal items such as clothing, computer equipment, personal care products, bedding and decorative items, the following items will be packed: 

  • Food: unopened cans or boxes of solid foods and boxed or bagged dry goods.
  • Oversized personal property: bikes, futons, chairs, etc.
  • Non-surge protected extension cords (examples)
  • 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
  • Hoverboards: self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters, hands-free Segways.
  • Drones
  • Portable/space heaters

What Is Not Safe to Pack & Store

The following will be properly handled, including where possible, recycled. 

  • Food & Beverage: any opened food items. All liquid items, whether opened or unopened, including drinks and alcohol. 
  • Liquid Based Personal and Cleaning Products:  items include but not limited to laundry detergent (pods okay), dish or hand soap, mouthwash, and bleach, windex, etc. 
  • Flammable Items: candles, incense, and fragrance burners, matches, liquid lighter fluid, lanterns/oil lamps, butane and butane torch lighters.
  • Live Plants: live holiday decorations including trees, garlands, etc.
  • Aerosol Cans/Spray: chemical mace or pepper spray, hairsprays. 
  • Dirty Dishes: including silverware, utensils, drinking glasses, serving bowls, etc. 
  • Hazardous Materials

To Be Honest, I Have Items in My Room That I Should Not Have

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 items that may pose a risk to this process, please complete the Reporting Prohibited Items Form to let our team know about the item and its location. 

  • 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.
  • 3D printers capable of producing any of the prohibited items. (3D printers must be registered and meet 3D printer guidelines posted on the Safety & Security website).
  • Fireworks
  • Illegal drugs and marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and/or drug manufacturing materials.

Collecting information for these limited items will allow us to maintain the safety of personnel and everyone's property. These items will be collected and handed over to GWPD to document and process. 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. 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].

End of Year Close-Out Process

As we continue to focus on limiting any financial hardships through this process, we are waiving most damage billing and move-out charges.    

What Happens After My Items are Stored:

Given the rapidly changing situation as the nation responds to this pandemic, 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.  

  • The university will continue to monitor changing conditions related to how local and regional governments are responding to this pandemic. If social distancing guidelines and stay at home and shelter in place guidelines are eased up at a future date, we would very much like to provide opportunities for those who are able to return and pick up packed belongings prior to the start of the next academic year. We realize that for some of you who travel a great distance, traveling back to campus may not be an option. Your items will remain stored until you return to campus. 
  • We are exploring options to allow the moving companies to offer a ship direct to resident option, if needed or requested at a later date. We anticipate this being a request by May 2020 graduating students, those who may be studying abroad later this calendar year or others who may live far away. While we are exploring these options, your belongings will be safe and secure with a professional moving company. 

This pack and store process is the part of the university's continuing effort to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our campus community. We are prioritizing the health, safety and well-being for all involved and to limit financial hardships.

As this process continues over the next week, we are here to help. Please feel free to email us at [email protected] and we will follow-up within 24-48 hours. 

Seth Weinshel and Stewart Robinette
Campus Living & Residential Education