Return to In-Person Learning on January 31
January 21, 2022
Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
I write to share with you an update regarding our plans to return to in-person learning.
Based on the metrics we have been tracking and the guidance of our Chief Public Health Officer and public health advisory group, we will return to in-person learning, as planned, on Monday, January 31. Faculty and students can expect to resume in-person courses on this date.
We will continue to resume additional in-person activities over the next few weeks, as we monitor the number of positive cases, the positivity rate, and isolation space in our campus community. Our staff colleagues will follow their mode-of-work designations (on campus, hybrid, telework) from this fall, with further guidance coming from their managers. Additional updates will be shared next week on key areas such as events, visitors, and dining.
Over the past few weeks, Washington, D.C. has experienced its fifth surge of the COVID-19 pandemic. This surge of the Omicron variant has become the most significant surge since the beginning of the pandemic, in terms of the number of people infected, how quickly the number of new cases rose, and the number of people hospitalized in our region.
After the emergence of the Omicron variant last fall, we began to track a set of five factors that have shaped our response: transmission, vaccine efficacy, severity of the disease, hospitalization rates, and overall projections.
First, with Omicron’s high rate of transmission and rapid spread, we prepared for—and experienced—a significant number of people infected and moved into isolation.
Second, we saw an increase in the number of breakthrough cases of Omicron among those vaccinated against COVID-19. Our COVID-19 booster requirement is an important public health measure that increases the individual and collective protection among our community.
Third, despite indications that the severity of the disease associated with the Omicron variant is lower compared with previous variants, the overall impact of Omicron can be seen in the high hospitalization rates over the past few weeks.
And finally, we are now seeing the surge of the Omicron variant begin to decline in our region. As I reviewed in my presentation this week, the high positivity rate and high numbers of cases we saw in the first half of January are now starting to decline, and we anticipate this decline will continue as we approach the end of the month.
Over the next few days, we will be sharing additional guidance and information about our return to in-person activities. We will continue to closely monitor key factors related to the pandemic in our region and on our campuses and will provide updates as soon as they become available. I wish to express my appreciation to our entire community for your flexibility as we made these adjustments over the month of January and now, as we prepare to return on January 31. Thank you for your efforts to care for and support one another during this period.
John J. DeGioia