Student sketching outside wearing a mask
COVID-19 University Testing Dashboard 

Catholic University is administering COVID-19 tests to students and employees during the Spring 2021 semester. View the University testing dashboard showing the total number of student and employee tests reported and positive cases identified.  

Frequently Asked Questions

CatholicU to Host 132nd Annual Commencement Ceremony In Person at FedExField

April 9, 2021

After months of research and preparation, Catholic University announces that its 132nd Annual Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, May 15, at 10 a.m., at FedExField in nearby Landover, Md. 

Since the 1960s, Commencement has traditionally taken place on the University Mall, first with the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library as a backdrop, then beginning in 1973, facing the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. A nontraditional off-campus ceremony became necessary to secure a venue large enough to safely accommodate our graduates and their loved ones while also allowing for sufficient COVID-related protocols such as social distancing. 

Read the full announcement

Catholic Athletics to Move Forward With No Spectators

April 7, 2021

With no change in the policy regarding attendance at College and University sporting events in the District of Columbia on Monday, Catholic University Athletics will continue its no spectator policy until further notice.

On Monday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser did not provide an update on Higher education in the District as planned in the previous announcement on March 15.

As a result, only the Washington Nationals and D.C. United have been approved to have fans at upcoming games. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, submitted a waiver for fans to attend games at 10 percent capacity, but the Mayor did announce on Monday that it is still pending with no definitive timeline for a decision to be made.

Currently, Catholic University, Gallaudet University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, Howard University and Trinity Washington University are not allowed to submit a waiver to have fans at home games at this time. If the opportunity to file a waiver to host fans presents itself, Catholic University will consider doing so following consultation with a number of campus offices.

Catholic University home games will continue to be streamed on the Landmark Digital Network.

In regards to away games, no spectators will be allowed at any game for Elizabethtown, Goucher, Susquehanna and Scranton. The current spectator policies for Drew, Juniata and Moravian are below.

Read the full announcement at Catholic Athletics

Landmark Conference Updates Spectator Policy

March 24, 2021

On Wednesday, the Landmark Conference Presidents Council announced to maintain the current no spectator policy in place for all conference contests through Sunday, April 4.

Beginning Monday, April 5, individual member institutions will have the autonomy to adjust and set their spectator policy for all home games, regular and postseason. Those policies will be communicated directly by each member institution and the conference will maintain a landing page on its website of these policies for ease of access to fans.

However, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on March 15 (page 23) that only local professional sports teams are currently eligible to apply for a waiver that grants them the ability to host fans in limited capacity.

"All of our professional sports teams can submit a waiver application for fans now," Bowser said. "Opportunity to have fans in attendance will be re-examined as the public health metrics associated with COVID-19 evolve in the District."

Only the Washington Nationals and D.C. United have been approved to have fans at upcoming games. Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Capitals, Wizards and Mystics, has submitted an official request, but is still waiting on a decision.

Read the full announcement at Catholic Athletics

Updated Travel Reminders from the University

March 19, 2021

As the Easter season approaches, we know that some are considering visiting family or hosting family gatherings. Given the current state of the virus around the country, the University is asking faculty, staff, and students who work and study on campus to not travel unless it is essential (see below) and, should you travel, to carefully follow the processes for returning to campus.

The University wants to remind the community that although the CDC released updated public health recommendations for those who have been fully vaccinated, it has NOT updated its travel guidance and still suggests that people only travel for essential reasons. 

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser continues to direct D.C. residents who are returning to the District after traveling to any place other than Maryland, Virginia, or a low-risk state or country to either:

  • Limit daily activities for 10 days upon their return and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days upon their return or
  • Limit daily activities until they get tested for COVID-19 (within 3-5 days after their return) and receive a negative result.

(Students who are currently residing in D.C. are considered D.C. residents in relation to the mayor’s travel advisory.)

The University requires students, faculty, and staff who are studying and working in-person on campus comply with the same guidance.

Students who travel out of the District, Maryland, and Virginia must notify their professors and the Dean of Students in advance in order to take classes remotely when they return to campus either for 10 days or until they are able to be tested (3-5 days after they return) and receive a negative test result.

“Limiting daily activities” does not apply to essential work, obtaining medical care, food, or pharmaceuticals.

Following travel, a person should check their temperature twice daily for 14 days (for any reading higher than 100.4) and self monitor for symptoms: sore throat, congestion, cough, headache, and loss of taste or smell. If they do exhibit any symptoms, even mild ones, the person should cease any activity involving close contact with others and contact a medical professional.

Additional Travel Information Considerations when Planning Travel: 
District Guidelines recommend the following:

  • Consider whether the risks of travel for yourself and others outweigh the benefit of that travel. 
  • If COVID-19 is spreading where you are going, you can get infected while traveling and spread it to members of your household when you return. 
  • If COVID-19 is still spreading in your community, you can potentially spread the virus to others while traveling, even if you don’t have symptoms. 
  • Older adults or people with underlying health conditions are at an increased risk for complications from COVID-19 and should be cautious. 
  • Visit the CDC's COVID data tracker ( to see county specific COVID trends for the area you plan to visit.
  • Your activities during travel will greatly affect your risk. In general, outside activities are much safer than indoor activities. Activities with household members are much safer than activities with persons from many households. 
  • You may also wish to consider the hospital capacity of your destination. In some places, hospital capacity is strained due to COVID-19 cases.

Guidance for those who have been vaccinated
Those who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (received their last dose more than two weeks but not more than 90 days prior) or who have recovered from COVID-19 recently (tested positive no more than 90 days ago) do not need to limit activities after they return from travel as long as they do NOT develop ANY symptoms consistent with COVID-19. 

Essential Travel
The following are included in the District’s definition of “Essential Travel”: 

  • Travel to and from work 
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
  • Travel to attend a family funeral
  • Travel for a family emergency
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order 
  • Travel within the National Capital Region 

Examples of non-essential travel include vacations, school trips, youth sports tournaments, or work conferences.

For full guidance on traveling to the District, review their Health Guidance for Travel

Fall 2021: A Return to Full In-Person Instruction

March 10, 2021

Dear Members of the University Community,
One year ago the Catholic University community began to respond to the threat of COVID-19 with a few goals in mind. First, we sought to keep our community safe. Moving our entire educational enterprise online and closing down our campus were necessary components of our action plan.
Our second goal was to get back together as soon as was safely possible. We began to do this in a stepwise fashion, first by inviting freshmen to campus in the fall, and the entire student body this spring. Even though many classes remained online, we were able to provide hybrid remote and in-person instruction thanks to the installation of new technology in our classrooms, the reconfiguration of our classrooms to allow for social distancing, the addition of sneeze guards, and new sanitizing protocols that provide a high level of protection against the virus. Our daily health checker and our on-campus testing program have helped us monitor the presence of COVID on campus and keep it in check. 
I am happy to announce that Catholic University is ready to take the next step – a return to full in-person instruction beginning Fall 2021.

Read the full letter from President John Garvey

Commencement Update

March 4, 2021

Dear Members of the University Community,

I sense the growing anticipation, and possible anxiety, many of you feel about the University's planning for Commencement 2021 and a still-hoped-for celebration of some kind for the Class of 2020. We are considering a variety of plans. These different strategies are made necessary by the still-evolving course of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well the restrictions on gathering size that are still in place.            

The increasing distribution of vaccines nationwide has understandably raised hopes for accelerating a "return to normal." But while a dramatic downturn in reported cases and hospitalizations is welcome news, these trends have just begun, and public health officials remain concerned about possible future spikes caused by emerging variants or careless behavior. They are proceeding deliberately, even optimistically, but have yet to ease many of the restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the contagion. This includes limits on mass gatherings.

The Commencement planning team is exploring all options for the use of available spaces to conduct graduation events scaled to whatever turn out to be the prevailing conditions. We also continue to model how Commencement events could be organized by School and conducted for students only or with limited guests, again as future guidance from public health officials and the District makes possible.
So there are a lot of potential plans, but as yet no clear answers. We'll look to provide a further update later in March. We know your families will want to make travel plans as soon as possible. At the same time, we want to hold out hope for a Commencement as similar as possible to our traditional format.  Expect a final decision on the extent and manner of Commencement 2021 to come no later than mid-April.

John Garvey

Updated Quarantine Guidance

March 2, 2021

Dear University Community,

While tracking the CDC and in consultation with the District of Columbia Department of Health, the University is updating the quarantine period for those who are identified as a close contact of a COVID-positive individual.  

Starting today, close contacts will be allowed to follow a minimum 10 full days of quarantine after receiving a negative PCR test result rather than 14.  Note that the test must be conducted at least 6 days after the last contact with the COVID-positive individual. Close contacts who experience symptoms at any point during the 14 days after contact should self-isolate and consult with their healthcare provider.     

Students should contact the Dean of Students with any questions about quarantine guidelines or restrictions.  The Dean of Students will connect students in quarantine with available testing resources in Student Health Services.  Students living on campus or in the local area should contact Student Health Services directly with any health-related questions or concerns.

Employees should contact the Employee Relations team with any questions about quarantine guidelines, and their healthcare provider with any health-related questions.

An individual is a “close contact” if the individual was within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period.  Additionally, an individual is a close contact regardless of the length of time exposed to a person with COVID-19 if the individual:  

  • Had physical contact (such as hugging or kissing), 
  • Shared eating or drinking utensils, 
  • Were sneezed or coughed on by an infected person, or 
  • Provided care to someone who is sick with COVID-19

Please continue to follow public health guidance, to monitor your health daily, wear facial coverings, avoid large gatherings, follow social distancing guidelines, and practice good hand hygiene.


Judi Biggs Garbuio, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

Matthew McNally
Chief Human Resources Officer

CatholicU Joins Area Universities to Deploy Shield T3 COVID Testing Program

Feb. 24, 2021

New Mobile Laboratory at Gallaudet University Processes Tests Reliably, Quickly

With tremendous support offered by American University and the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, Catholic University will be partnering with local universities and organizations to utilize a new mobile COVID-19 testing lab that is in place at Gallaudet University in Northeast D.C.

The innovative Shield T3 COVID testing system was developed by the University of Illinois and offers expanded asymptomatic testing, which is a critical component of reducing the spread of COVID-19 and safeguarding our communities. Shield T3 offers an accurate, affordable, and convenient saliva-based test.

The lab will begin operations March 1. It has the capacity to process more than 50,000 COVID-19 tests per week. Initially, students at American, Catholic, Marymount, and Gallaudet universities will use 5,000 of those tests per week. Other institutions, including area public schools, have been invited to partner with the lab for their own testing needs to support safe, in-person operations at the participating institutions. 

This collaboration is an innovative approach for universities and community partners to both address their specific needs and serve the broader region. American University and the consortium are working with additional area schools and institutions to join the effort. 

“Catholic University’s partnership with consortium schools to bring Shield T3 to Washington, D.C., is an invaluable opportunity to band together as a community against the spread of COVID,” says University President John Garvey. “By working cooperatively to create access to testing that is quick, accurate, and affordable, we will curtail the spread of the virus among our students and our neighbors. My hope is that many more partners will join us to help keep our community safe and healthy.”

Developed in partnership with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Shield T3 test requires only a deposit of saliva instead of an intrusive nasal swab. Trained medical personnel are not needed to administer the test, saving partners considerable money. The test takes minutes to administer and aims to generate results within eight hours of the test being delivered to the mobile laboratory. 

“An unprecedented pandemic requires an extraordinary response, and Shield T3 is just that,” said Tim Killeen, president of the University of Illinois System. “We are proud to help Washington-area schools and universities deliver Shield T3 technology that saves lives, ensures well-being, and sees to it that we successfully weather this pandemic.”

The lab will be utilized by the Catholic University community for surveillance testing purposes (symptomatic students will still undergo a nasal swab PCR test through Student Health Services). Saliva samples will be collected at Catholic University and transported to the lab at Gallaudet daily. 

The program utilizes a mobile app that delivers instant notification of test results and keeps constituents informed of testing requirements. Shield T3 innovation is currently in use across the University of Illinois System, and at nearly a dozen other universities and companies globally. 

“We have worked hard to make testing widely available to the universities we serve, as testing is a critical component in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” said Andrew Flagel, Ph.D., president and CEO of the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area. ”We are pleased to partner with Shield T3 to bring this new testing option to D.C.”   

Organizations interested in using Shield T3’s testing system can visit or email Shield T3 at 

Presidents' Council Approves Fall/Spring Sport Competition

Feb. 12, 2021

The Landmark Conference Presidents' Council has approved a plan to conduct collegiate competition in fall and spring sports during the 2021 spring semester. As consistent with all decisions at the conference level, the safety and well-being of student-athletes remains the primary goal of the Landmark Conference.

Decisions related to all athletics schedules will be subject to the realities of the pandemic as the coming seasons approach. Ultimately, it will be the decision of each Landmark institution as to whether they can participate in intercollegiate athletics this spring and in which sports they will permit competition.

The council approved fall team sports to participate in an expanded non-traditional season of up to four contests against fellow Landmark institutions that will begin for some institutions as early as Saturday, March 6.

The council also approved spring sports to move forward with their seasons as planned. Landmark Conference spring sports are slated to begin competition at the end of March. Full schedules for fall and spring sports will be shared as soon as they are finalized by the conference office and conference Athletic Directors.

Additionally, the Landmark Conference will expand its postseason qualification to allow for all institutions to qualify for the conference postseason tournament in spring sports.

Finally, the council maintained that spectators will not be permitted at Landmark Conference contests. It is the hope that this policy can be revisited for outdoor sports later this semester if conditions improve and subject to state and local health authorities permitting outdoor gatherings.

The Landmark Conference continues to support the NCAA Guidelines for the Resocialization of Sport along with internal policies and procedures regarding a return to play.

Schedules and championship information will be posted in the coming weeks.

Athletics Announces 2020-21 Home Attendance Policy

Feb. 5, 2021

Dear Cardinal Fans,

As we prepare to play in our first game since March 12, 2020 and host our first home event in 337 days, the safety of our student-athletes and staff remains our primary concern.

Washington, D.C. remains in Phase Two of reopening which indicates a moderate community spread. Large gatherings remain discouraged. Circumstances have warranted a tightening, not a loosening, of several requirements. According to Mayor Muriel Bowser's Order 2020-126:

"The larger the gathering, the more the exposure. Such exposure is likely even when a range of additional preventative actions are taken, such as adherence to social distancing rules, mask wearing, and staying at home if a person is asymptomatic, after recent travel, or after recent exposure to someone with COVID-19."

After continued consultation with health officials, the Landmark Conference, and campus administration, we have made the decision to allow our teams to return to competition and practice under very strict protocols and testing guidelines.

However, we will not be allowing spectators for any of our home events until further notice to maintain the health and safety of those participating. This includes students, faculty, staff, and anyone from off campus. Only essential personnel, who are working the event, will be allowed to attend.

Read the Full Announcement

Vaccine Information

Jan. 14, 2021

The University is not a location authorized for distribution of the vaccine. Members should consult the sites below for guidance. Please note that eligibility for the vaccine is generally determined based on residence, though for some individuals, such as first responders and other emergency personnel, it can also be based on where you work. Right now, the District does not have a specific eligibility category for people who work in higher education, but all members of the community should be alert to the categories that they might be a part of (such as age) that would make them eligible. 

  • Washington, D.C.: D.C. Health has announced that District of Columbia residents who are age 65 and older will be able to schedule a vaccine appointment starting the week of Jan. 11. Register for email updates from D.C. Health here.
  • Maryland: Maryland has not announced their plan for registration for individuals other than healthcare workers. Governor Hogan recently announced that vaccination for patients in some high-risk groups will not begin in Maryland until later in January. Residents who are signed up for the state’s emergency text alerts will get a text message each time the state starts vaccinating a new group. To sign up, text "MdReady" to 898211.
  • Virginia: Virginia has not announced their plan for registration for individuals other than healthcare workers. You can locate the state's vaccine plan here.

Board of Trustees Resolution of Commendation

Dec. 16, 2020

In a resolution of commendation, the Board of Trustees of The Catholic University of America has expressed its gratitude to the students, faculty, and staff of Catholic University for the response to the coronavirus crisis.

Read the full resolution

Updates on COVID-19 Testing and Notification Processes

Sept. 23, 2020

Dear University Community,

Now that we are several weeks into the semester, we have seen the effectiveness of both the quarantine period and the reduced density on campus. Now, after several hundred student tests, we have had and will continue to have students on campus who test positive for COVID-19. We expected this to happen and many of you have seen or experienced the processes that are in place to both support those who become ill, and to slow the spread of the virus. 

Read the full announcement

On-Campus Testing for Students and Other Health Measures

Aug. 17, 2020

The University has contracted with Ascension Healthcare through Providence Health Services to host a COVID-19 testing site on campus for students. It is available for all students, whether they live on campus or off campus. 

Students who experience a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 should call Student Health Services. A healthcare professional will discuss their symptoms with them, and may schedule them for testing.

Read the full story.

District Clarifies Mask Mandate

July 22, 2020

Mayor Muriel Bowser issued Mayor’s Order 2020-080 to clarify and extend requirements related to wearing masks indoors and outdoors in Washington, DC.

Under the new Mayor’s Order on masks, people must wear a mask when they leave their homes if they are likely to come into contact with another person for more than a fleeting moment. Exceptions are listed in the Mayor’s Order, and common exceptions include: children under the age of three; a person who is in an enclosed office that no one else is allowed to enter; a person who is actively eating or drinking; and a person who is engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise and is maintaining social distance of at least six feet from other people. The full Mayor’s Order on masks can be found at

Catholic University Is Committed to International Students (UPDATED)

July 15, 2020

The  Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is relieved to hear that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has agreed to  rescind the July 6, 2020 policy that threatened international students with deportation if their U.S. institutions turned to online-only instruction. ISSS will continue to communicate with and update our international students as further DHS guidance is available pertaining to the Fall 2020 semester and course registration.

As University President John Garvey and Provost Aaron Dominguez said in a letter last week:

"Every year Catholic University is home to hundreds of international students from all over the world. They are here to learn, to conduct research and to contribute to our global community. We embrace their cultural diversity, and we welcome the unique gifts and perspectives they bring to the academic enterprise. We support policies that welcome international students to our country, and incorporate them into our community. We stand in solidarity with the international students at Catholic University, and across the nation." 

COVID-19 Working Groups

May 28, 2020

Focused working groups have been meeting since the beginning of March to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the University. There is at least one group meeting each day of the week to examine the current situation. 

  • Three times a week, the Roadmap 20/21 Task Force meets virtually. This was the first working group formed in March, and is led by Lawrence Morris, chief of staff in the President’s office. The Provost and vice presidents were invited to select members of their teams to be a part of this group. Up to 20 people participate each day in a meeting that starts with Dr. Loretta Staudt, director of Student Health Services, updating the group on the health crisis. Within the group are multiple representatives of academics, admission and enrollment services, advancement and finance, communications, human resources, student life, facilities and environmental health and safety.
  • As the pandemic has developed, sub committees and task forces have formed to evaluate possible changes to academics (instruction and learning, research, classroom configuration and sanitation, and the Library), student affairs, facilities, and return-to-campus measures. The return to campus group is focusing on topics ranging from the placement of additional hand sanitizer around campus and how to encourage proper social distancing and mask usage to how to resume in-person Mass on campus.

The working groups continue to monitor the latest guidance being presented by the CDC and District of Columbia. Reopening measures will meet (if not exceed) those safety precautions. 

Employees who have specific questions or concerns about the pandemic and its effects on the University should contact their direct supervisor so that concerns can be forwarded to vice presidents and/or their representatives on the working groups. They can also send questions or suggestions to

  • Health and Safety Flyers

    Learn More
  • Travel Restrictions

    Learn More
  • Updates Regarding Catholic University Athletics

    Learn More
  • Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Archive

    Previous updates issued by Catholic University on the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Learn More
  • Campus Reopening

    Catholic University's fall reopening plan includes information about returning to campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. It provides COVID-related updates for students, parents, faculty, and staff.

    Learn More
  • COVID-19 University Testing Dashboard

    Learn More