Spring 2020: Virtual Learning Period Campus Living Packing Program FAQs

Thank you for your flexibility and adaptability as the university transitions into a virtual learning period for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. We know that this is not your typical end of year move-out process. It is an unfamiliar and for some of you may be a challenge as you balanced your new life and online classes. We hope you understand that the decisions we make are in the best interest of our community so that we do our part to help keep you and your families safe and healthy.  

To help you become more comfortable and familiar with what will be happening over the next couple of weeks, please check out our frequently asked questions. 

Students Who Departed Campus Prior to/During Spring Break

We understand that this is not the process you envisioned when you left campus. For those who live close, we understand your desire to drive to campus to pack your belongings. Please do not come to campus, we want you to remain safe and healthy. For weeks, public health experts and government agencies have been suggesting recommendations to follow social distancing guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The situation has evolved more rapidly with more local and state governments issuing stay at home orders banning non-essential travel. This includes D.C., Maryland and Virginia. The steps we are taking to pack and store your belongings, to keep both you and your items safe, are in direct response to these guidelines and orders. The best way to provide for the health and safety of all is to limit the number of individuals coming and going from our campus so that we as a community can contribute to slowing the transmission of this virus. Additionally, as we are currently managing the movements of the moving company contracted for this effort, for safety and security reasons, we are not able to coordinate requests for additional people to enter our residence hall buildings at this time. We hope you understand, this means no exceptions.

The week of April 27, we are wrapping up Phase 1 of this project, which was extended as the situation here in D.C. changed rapidly. We had to adjust plans and timelines based on how the region and the nation responded in the early weeks of this virus. Soon after we began our efforts, local government officials requested the university be more flexible with our room availability for our on campus housing should the District of Columbia and/or GW Hospital require more resources in response to this national pandemic.

As of May 1, this is the current timeline for the remaining buildings:

  • Week of May 4 Start: Potomac, Mitchell, Dakota, 2109 F Street and Fulbright.
  • Week of May 11 Start: Madison, Lafayette, Amsterdam and Mount Vernon Campus (Cole, Clark, Hensley, Somers, West).

On May 15, we will provide an estimated timeline for the following remaining buildings based on the progress of the above buildings during the next two weeks.

The order of the buildings will be: Shenkman, Strong, JBKO, Small Townhouses, Greek Row, Aston and JJ.

All remaining buildings should be packed by early June, barring any unforeseen circumstances. Please understand that we may have to make adjustments at any time based on information received as our nation responds to COVID-19.

As we get closer to your building, you will receive at least two more emails regarding the packing process. First, about 2 days in advance of your building’s exact start date, you will receive detailed instructions from GW. Following the GW instructions, you will receive a second email from the moving company who will be working with you. That email will include your estimated pack day and a time window for your video chat with the company so that you can identify your belongings. 

We are following the advice of public health experts who recommended limiting travel to and from our urban campus to try to prevent our campus from becoming a hotspot as the nation responds to this ongoing pandemic. So far, because of our decisions to limit the comings and goings on our campus, we have not become a hotspot. DC, Virginia and Maryland are currently on stay-at-home orders, with Virginia until June 10, Maryland indefinitely and D.C. on a continuing 30-day order renewal. Last week, D.C. officials noted that they are working on a phased reopening that might not begin for at least another two months.

In consideration of these ongoing stay-at-home orders as we head towards the end of the semester and summer, we need to begin preparations for when you return in the fall including maintenance in all of our halls. Additionally, for health and safety reasons, it is necessary to enter rooms to fix, clean and remove any potential health and environmental hazards that could arise if we left these rooms untouched until the fall semester. Based on current regional conditions, we will be able to pack your room before stay at home orders are lifted and as such we are continuing the packing program.  

We understand your desire to come to campus to pack your belongings. However, our residence halls are closed and you will not be able to get in. Please do not come to campus. We want you to remain safe and healthy.  

While Virginia and Maryland, like D.C. are on stay-at-home orders, the two companies we are using have more remote suburban facilities that are more conducive to coordinating on-site pick-ups than on our urban campus environment with city traffic patterns and close proximity to several medical facilities, including a drive-through COVID testing site. 

We realize that there may be some essential items that you may need or want to use this summer.  You have two options:

During the packing of your room, you will have the option to have certain items shipped home right away at your expense. Items that can be shipped include prescription medicine, eyeglasses/contacts, retainers, identification documents such as a passport; financial items such as cash, credit cards and checkbooks; academic materials, textbooks, clothes, shoes, documents and other non-fragile and non-liquid items.  You can pack as many boxes as you would like to ship immediately. Keep in mind whatever you do not ship or are unable to because of shipping guidelines will be kept in storage, at the university’s expense, until the start of the fall semester.

Another option is picking-up directly from the moving company’s more suburban storage facility. The companies we are working with have storage facilities in Maryland and Virginia.  Once your entire building is completely packed and the company is back at their storage facility with all of the boxes and items, they will take a couple of days to sort and organize. Once they are ready, GW will send you an email with additional instructions on how you can pre-schedule a time to pick up your items directly the storage facility.  Please keep in mind that while stay at home orders are in effect for D.C., Maryland and Virginia, the company may have special instructions for you to follow to ensure social distancing.  

During the packing of your room, you will have the option to have certain items shipped home right away at your expense. Items that can be shipped include prescription medicine, eyeglasses/contacts, retainers, identification documents such as a passport; financial items such as cash, credit cards and checkbooks; academic materials, textbooks, clothes, shoes, documents and other non-fragile and non-liquid items.  You can pack as many boxes as you would like to ship immediately. Keep in mind whatever you do not ship or are unable to because of shipping guidelines will be kept in storage, at the university’s expense, until the start of the fall semester.

We realize that there may be some essential items that you may need or want to use this summer.  

During the video call, you will be provided the option to have certain items shipped home right away at your expense. Items that can be shipped include prescription medicine, eyeglasses/contacts, retainers, identification documents such as a passport; financial items such as cash, credit cards and checkbooks; academic materials, textbooks, clothes, shoes, documents and other non-fragile and non-liquid items. 

You can pack as many boxes as you would like to ship immediately. Keep in mind whatever you do not ship or are unable to because of shipping guidelines will be kept in storage, at the university’s expense, until the start of the fall semester. 

The boxes are approximately 24x18x16 and have the capacity to hold up to 45 pounds. Shipping prices will vary based on the size, weight and delivery zone and could range from $25 - 75 per box. Large and extra-large items like a trunk, suitcase, duffle gab, that do not fit into abox may range from $50-100 depending on size, weight and delivery zone.  The company will use the address you list in their survey form that you will receive  a day or two before your appointment. Please note: Fragile and/or liquid items are not able to be shipped because of the risk of damage. Also, international shipping is not available at this time 

You will also have the ability, should you choose, to pick-up all of your belongings from the company’s facility once they return after the completion of your building. More information on that extra service will be provided via email at the completion of your building.

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, pick-up or shipping. Our intent is not to create any more financial hardships, but we do want to be mindful of creating conditions that may bring additional harm to your belongings through either the storage or transit process. Example: Your open container of cookies, rotting bananas and dirty dishes left in the sink may invite ants and rodents into your box and many cleaning products are considered hazardous or have bacteria already growing and cannot be kept in storage or shipped. 


Items that are safe to pack as they will not cause additional damage during the pack, ship and store process: 

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.
    • Opened spices are packable as long as the bottle can be closed; a half open packet of taco seasoning is not packable.  
  • Personal care products: prescription and over the counter non-liquid-based medicine, eyeglasses, retainers, liquid based foundation, make-up and make-up accessories, hard hand soap, hairbrushes, razors (electric and disposable), blow dryers, curling irons.
  • Sealed and wrapped cleaning sponges and gloves.   
  • Oversized personal property: 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 as long as they can fit in a box. 
  • Hoverboards: self-balancing scooters, battery-operated scooters, hands-free Segways.
  • Drones.
  • Portable/space heaters.

Items that cannot be packed, shipped or stored: 

  • Food: any opened food, including, all perishable goods.
  • Food: no glass jars as they may break during packing or transit. 
  • Drinks: any opened containers and all drinks in cans, bottles or glassware 
  • Personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, shaving products, that have been left in the shower and are mildewing.
    • In the early phases of this process, movers have been finding that some personal care products left in bathrooms are starting to mildew. If there are signs of any mildew, the movers/packers will suggest to you that these items be disposed of properly.   
  • Cleaning Products:  items including but not limited to laundry detergent, 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.
  • Used cleaning products: sponges, brushes, plungers, gloves, etc. 
  • Many of these products may have bacteria, mold or mildew growing on it already or has the potential to create more damage when in a closed environment. It is best to dispose of these objects for health and safety reasons.   
  • Dirty Dishes: including silverware, utensils, drinking glasses, serving bowls, etc. 
  • Any other hazardous materials

Categories of Items that can be packed if shipped immediately and/or picked-up prior to fall. 

There are two categories of items where it is the student’s choice on how to handle the items based on whether the items are going to be stored, shipped or picked-up immediately.  Please review the options below. 

**During the packing process it is your responsibility to make the movers aware of your intentions:  

  • Food: boxed, paper wrapped or bagged dry goods, even if sealed. In dark places such as storage facilities or sealed storage boxes, boxed or bagged dry goods, such as pasta boxes, bagged cereal or your Oreo cookies, create an opportunity for rodents or bugs to chew through the packaging, leading to potential damage to other items in your box.
    • If you are shipping any boxes immediately, you may request that these types of items be packed within your boxes shipped to you as part of any items that you choose to ship. 
    • If you will be picking up all of your belongings from the storage facility at the conclusion of the building’s packing, and will not be storing until fall, you may request that these items be boxed for early pick-up.
    • If you will be storing your boxes until the start of the next semester, we will attempt to donate any unopened food of this type. Anything that can’t be donated will be disposed of. As we continue to be mindful of health and safety measures during this pandemic, we may not be able to donate some items. 
  • Personal care products, including opened or unopened items such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions, creams, shaving creams, perfumes and colognes or similar types of products that have the potential to leak during transit.
    • If you are shipping any boxes immediately, you may request that all of these types of personal care products be packed in a separate box away from your clothes and other belongings. Storage Squad will ask you as part of the shipping process to waive their liability for any damage occurred to this box during transit and shipping. 
    • If you will be picking up all of your belongings from the storage facility at the conclusion of the building’s packing, you may request that all of your personal care type products be packed in a separate box as a way to protect from co-mingling with other items during packing.  Note: you can request non-perishable food and personal items be packed together in the same box if you waive the company’s liability for damage to that box. 
    • If you will be storing your items until the start of the next semester, please see the instructions below for identifying a specialty type item. 

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 these items and redistribute in the fall to common laundry rooms in that building:

  • All of the liquid-based cleaning products, whether opened or not opened.
  • All canned and bottles of unopened, un-refrigerated non-alcoholic drinks. Sorry, alcohol will be disposed of per procedure when found.

The live plants that we collect from your building will be distributed to common rooms in that building. When you return to campus, please feel free to return to your building to retrieve your plant. Please note: as the university is on limited operations, we cannot guarantee the continued care and watering of your plant and we are also not able to provide the specific common location in your building for your plants new temporary home.

Again, we hope you understand that our purpose is to keep your items safe and not create the potential for damage through this process.  If you have a concern about a particular item of sentimental value or religious value to you, please email [email protected] with the subject line: Name of Building - Special Item. Please describe your item. We have a process in place whereby a member of the Campus Living and Residential Education team will go into your room before the moving company to retrieve and store on campus that item for you. Please understand we cannot accommodate all requests; the item really needs to be of particular sentimental value or other extenuating reasons.

If you have a concern about a particular personal care product that is not safe to pack, an item of sentimental value, a very breakable item or item of religious value to you, please email [email protected] with the subject line: “Your Building Name & Room Number” - Special Item Request.

In your email, please describe your item and why you would like us to separate it from your room before the packers come in to pack. We have a process in place whereby a member of the Campus Living and Residential Education team will go into your room before the moving company to retrieve and store on campus that item for you. Please understand we cannot accommodate all requests; the item really needs to be of particular sentimental value or other extenuating reasons.

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 anything from only these four categories 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 items listed in item #1;
  • Fireworks;
  • 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.  If you recall, 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.

Collecting information for these limited items will allow us to maintain the safety of personnel and everyone's property. When we receive disclosures, we will provide that information to the movers so they can manage safety through their expertise.  Students so far have been very forthcoming and often the disclosed items are not prohibited and/or can be packed. 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

 

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

Students Approved to Remain Beyond Spring Break/Departing by April 5

The university has begun pack and store program, at no cost to the student, for students who departed campus prior to spring break ending (March 20) and who were not provided the opportunity to pack up and/or store their own belongings on their own accord.

We are not able to offer this same level of service to students who were approved for extended stay and who remained on campus past March 20. As a student who has remained on campus with your belongings after Spring Break, we have previously announced that when it is time for you to depart campus and movie out of your room, that you do so like you traditionally would if this was the end of the traditional academic semester. We will not be paying to pack and store student belongings who remained on campus after March 21.

As a reminder, we previously provided this information via email that contained the following information: "Moving out on or before April 5: Students should plan on completely moving out of the residence halls, including the removal of all of your property and possessions no later than 5 pm on your scheduled departure day. If you have questions about your move-out process, please raise that on the daily check-in form.”

That email contained a link to Storage Squad so that you could coordinate your move-out if you needed assistance with packing, storing or shipping directly with them. Storage Squad is still available to assist you with your move-out needs. If you have any additional questions, please contact Storage Squad’s customer service phone number for assistance with your storage needs.

We realize that this process is unfamiliar and not ideal. This has been an unprecedented situation to the likes of which many of us have never seen or experienced. This is not the spring semester that we envisioned as I’m sure that it is not the one you envisioned either. Thank you for your understanding. 

Details for Students Approved to Remain On Campus for the Remainder of the Semester

As a student remaining on campus for the remainder of the semester, we realize that you may be seeing movers on your floor or in your building packing up other rooms for students. The university has begun a pack and store program at no cost to the student for students who departed campus prior to spring break ending and who were asked not to come back to campus in order to protect their health and safety. As such, they were not provided the opportunity to pack up and/or store their own belongings on their own accord. 

We are not able to offer this same level of service to you. As a student who has remained on campus during and after Spring Break with your belongings, we have requested that when you depart campus you will be responsible for your own move-out like you traditionally would if this was the end of the traditional academic semester. You will be responsible for any storage/packing/shipping needs you have to move all of your belongings from your on-campus room when you depart campus.

As a reminder, on Monday, March 30, we provided this information via email: "Moving out on or before April 5: Students should plan on completely moving out of the residence halls, including the removal of all of your property and possessions no later than 5 pm on your scheduled departure day. If you have questions about your move-out process, please raise that on the daily check-in form.”

In that email we provided a link to Storage Squad so that you could coordinate your move-out if you needed assistance with packing, storing or shipping directly with them. Storage Squad is still available to assist you with your move-out needs when you depart campus for the end of the semester. 

 

Additional Questions

Our residence halls are closed. While we have a few designated essential personnel remaining on-site, they are not always in the office during the day as they attend to other duties and your calls may not be answered.

The best way to reach us currently is by emailing [email protected]. A team member from Campus Living and Residential Education will respond within 48 hours.