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COVID-19 Student Testing Dashboard 

View the twice-weekly report showing the number of student tests reported and positive cases identified. 


Frequently Asked Questions

University Reaches Tentative Plan for Spring Semester

Oct. 27,2020

Dear Members of the University Community,

When we established the Roadmap 20/21 taskforce earlier this year, we knew where we wanted to go. Our goal has always been to arrive at a point where we could reopen our campus and operate again at full capacity. How we were going to do that, and how long it was going to take, has taken some figuring out.

While we’re not there yet, we’ve made steady and substantial progress. It was the right decision to invite a smaller group of students to campus this fall. This allowed us to learn how to navigate the complexities of social distancing, testing, quarantines, sanitizing, and contact tracing. Our staff and faculty have responded with agility, creativity, and competence to a million and one issues that have arisen in connection with COVID-19. I’ve been impressed with the progress we’ve made and everything we have learned. 

Last week we met with Mayor Muriel Bowser and members of her staff. One staffer remarked about the innovation our team demonstrated in resolving issues of social distancing in our residence halls. Mayor Bowser said that Catholic University has taken the most “aggressive” approach of any university in the District to offering its students a residential college experience. I think we can take great pride in her recognition of our efforts to bring our students back as much as is safely possible.

Spring: What We Know

We spoke with the Mayor about our plans for next spring. While not everything has been decided yet, we can share a few details.

We moved our start date for the spring semester from January 11 to January 25. All students will be asked to quarantine upon their return to the University, whether they live on or off campus. Some athletes will return early and observe their quarantine in conjunction with their training, and the Law School will start on January 4 with its first two weeks online.  

We will make up for the delayed start by eliminating spring break. This will eliminate the need for another quarantine, because of travel, in the middle of the semester, which would be disruptive to in-person classes and residence life. 

Our Easter break will be shorter than usual but we will still be closed on Good Friday. 

By Thanksgiving we will have more detailed information on next semester’s academic offerings. 


Moving Toward In-Person Classes

I am looking forward to getting back into the classroom. I always teach a Virtues class in the spring, and this year is no exception. It was unfortunate that last year’s class had to be moved online. Zoom conversations are simply not the same, no matter how awesome your webcam is. 

I know many other professors are equally ready to go back to in-person classes. Because of the success we have had with our safety measures and with technology in classrooms already open to freshmen, we have now begun allowing several of our senior classes to meet in person. 

This is a complicated process for a variety of reasons, but it’s good that we are taking these small steps. It will eventually lead us to being the vibrant campus we all want to see.

Continued success hinges on our vigilance in doing what we all know by now: washing our hands, keeping our distance, wearing masks. We must keep up this behavior, take care of each other, and remain especially alert to our neighbors in Brookland and elsewhere.


John Garvey

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.

Last week, the University began “surveillance testing” of student athletes while continuing the testing of symptomatic or recently-exposed students (and their close contacts) at our student testing center. Surveillance testing and the testing of symptomatic students are identical PCR tests. Surveillance testing is the intentional testing of non-symptomatic students, in our case part of our NCAA compliance, while the test center is available for any student who feels symptomatic, or believes they were recently exposed to someone who tested positive.  

Students undergoing surveillance testing normally do not have symptoms, so they are not assumed to be sick; accordingly, they are not asked to isolate while waiting for their test results. Only students who are symptomatic or who were tested because of possible exposure are required to isolate while waiting for results.

It is recommended that students wait to be tested after they’ve been in direct contact with someone who tests positive. Testing too soon after contact can result in a false negative. Catholic University’s testing center is following guidance suggesting that it is optimal to wait 5-7 days after exposure before administering a test to ensure there is enough genetic material from the virus to be detected. 

Some students who have been required to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive or are direct contacts have been very proactive in emailing faculty about their status so that instructors will know they need to participate in class remotely for two weeks.  

We wanted to share some guidelines so that we are all aware of and consistent in our responses in these instances.

  • The Office of the Dean of Students (DOS) is conducting follow up with and providing support to all known COVID-positive student cases. Instructors are asked to always inform when a student discloses testing results to them. If a positive test result has been confirmed through Student Health Services (SHS) or the Department of Athletics, or if the student has been moved into an isolation residence room on campus, DOS is already aware of the case. But it is helpful to let DOS know so that we are all in communication.

  • If a student discloses positive testing results, and should the student be feeling well enough to participate remotely, faculty should work with the student regarding remote participation for the period of isolation.

  • If a student discloses that they are in isolation or quarantine, faculty should work with the student regarding remote participation in the class for the period of isolation or quarantine.

  • Contact tracing is the responsibility of the DC Department of Health, not faculty or University staff. DOS, SHS, and the Environmental Health and Safety department will assist District contact tracers.

  • As all in-person classes are maintaining physical distance using the revised classroom layouts, acrylic shields, and consistently wearing face coverings, it is not likely that classmates or instructors would be considered to be a direct or close contact of a student who has tested positive.

    Therefore, if a student in an in-person class tests positive, the class should continue to meet unless advised otherwise by the Dean of Students or Office of the Provost.

  • DOS will analyze test result data in a timely manner to see if there are any classes where there are a number of cases and additional measures are necessary. Determinations regarding additional measures will be made in consultation with the Office of the Provost. They will inform instructors if there are any special considerations for the class.

  • It is important to maintain students’ privacy throughout this process. If a student contacts an instructor about test results, it is improper to share that information with the class. The student, however, may share that information and may have done so with friends in the class. Instructors should not discuss students’ positive test results as part of class instruction.

Faculty, staff, and students should continue to reference the following pages for updates and FAQs. These pages are updated regularly.

COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Testing Dashboard
Student FAQ
Faculty FAQ
Employee FAQ

Please continue your impressive compliance with COVID-prevention measures such as hand-washing, maintaining social distance at all times, mask wearing, and using the daily health checker. These are still the best practices. If you have questions that are not addressed in the FAQ above, share them with the COVID-19 Response Taskforce at

Thank you,
Aaron Dominguez, Ph.D.

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

Update on Student Testing and Reporting

Sept. 11, 2020

Dear University Community,

In order to provide timely information, we are adjusting our COVID testing reporting structure.

Initially, we were posting results to our COVID Testing dashboard once a week. In response to feedback from the community, beginning next week we are going to report results twice a week -- on Tuesdays and Fridays -- and provide data on results that have been self-reported by students.

The primary data being communicated by the University COVID Testing dashboard will continue to be the results of tests that are administered by Student Health Services. Student Health Services and the University testing center are available for ALL Catholic University students -- graduate and undergraduate, living on campus or off. Students should call Student Health Services at 202-319-5744 and talk to a healthcare professional who will discuss their symptoms or exposure and determine if the student needs to be scheduled for an appointment and make the necessary arrangements. 

We acknowledge that students are also getting tested at off-campus urgent care and other testing sites. Students who receive a positive COVID test result from an off-campus testing center should inform the Dean of Students so that we can provide support. We encourage students to also contact Student Health Services for additional medical guidance or if their condition is worsening or not improving. Faculty and staff who receive a report from a student that they have tested positive for COVID should also inform the Dean of Students.

As of today, the Dean of Students office is aware of 33 Catholic University students who live off campus who have tested positive for COVID-19. Of those, 10 were tested by Student Health Services and the other 23 have self-reported their positive results to the University since September 5. (Eight of these results have been recorded since the dashboard was updated yesterday.) These students are reporting that they are experiencing mild symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and congestion.

All members of the community should continue to be vigilant in social distancing, wearing face coverings, and in practicing good hand hygiene. Our best protection against the virus is to follow the public health guidance. By adhering to this guidance and making informed choices about our daily activities, we reduce the chance of exposure and help to keep our entire community safe.  


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

Access to Campus Services for Off-Campus Students

Sept. 10, 2020

Dear Students,

Now that the initial quarantine period has expired, off-campus students may access the campus to participate in on-campus jobs, to utilize their meal plan in the Pryzbyla Center, attend Mass, and to attend scheduled appointments at Student Health Services and the Counseling Center. 

Students are also free to walk around campus for exercise and leisure, but should maintain social distance, wear face coverings, and abide by all health and safety precautions. 

Prior to coming to campus, students should complete the online symptom checker; students should not come to campus if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID and should contact Student Health Services.

On and off-campus students living within the local area can utilize the campus COVID testing center. However, to ensure the highest levels of safety for our students using the testing center and the staff who work there, on campus health facilities do not offer walk in hours. Students should call Student Health Services at 202-319-5744 and talk to a healthcare professional who will discuss their symptoms or exposure and determine if the student needs to be scheduled for an appointment and make the necessary arrangements. In most cases, students are seen within 24 hours. 

Students who receive a positive COVID test result from an off-campus testing center should inform the Dean of Students of so that we can provide support and guidance. Students should also contact Student Health Services if their condition is worsening or not improving or for additional medical guidance. 

Additional campus services and facilities (library, labs, study areas, etc.) will gradually become accessible to non-residential students as the semester progresses, though often with conditions such as reserved time slots, advance notice, and limitations on capacity. Updates will be communicated via emails and on our COVID FAQ page.

Please reach out to me at with questions.

God Bless,
Dean Sawyer
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students

Update and Important Reminders

Sept. 4, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Earlier this week, the Dean of Students met with the hosts of the reported off-campus social gathering that occurred on August 27. The students agreed to share the following advice with the campus community, in hopes that their experience can help others make better choices in the future. 

“For anyone thinking that it is okay to break the school's protocol, it simply is not. You do not want to put our great community in any more jeopardy, and you do not want to deal with the consequences that come with breaking it. Everyone please stay safe, stay healthy, and realize the times we are in are serious and dangerous to us, our loved ones, friends, and people we may not even know.”

“I recognize this decision was irresponsible and inconsiderate of our community, and I urge fellow students to not make the same mistake as me. I cannot reiterate enough how severe this pandemic is and how important it is to work as a community to avoid spreading it amongst the university and the D.C area.”

“The severity of the situation we are all in is much more serious than we truly think it is. Having any kind of event that does not promote social distancing, wearing a mask, and practicing safe COVID protocols is not worth having.”

While the students expressed remorse for their actions, their violation of health and safety guidelines resulted in significant penalties. 

We are all living through this pandemic together. It is a serious and on-going public health emergency, which is why we continue to reinforce guidance on wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, practicing good hand hygiene, and limiting both the size and frequency of social gatherings. Yesterday one of our off-campus students tested positive. In the best of circumstances more are sure to follow. This is a stark reminder that we must do all we can to reduce our own vulnerabilities and those of our fellow students, and neighbors in the communities where we live.

For the health and safety of our entire community, I urge all students to continue to follow this guidance.  In addition to the real health risks of not doing so, swift administrative action, including suspension, will be taken to address violations.

Our quarantine period for on-campus students ends on September 7; I encourage you to take advantage of all the positive aspects of life in Washington, D.C.  As you do, just remember to be safe, make good choices, and follow the guidance provided by the University and the District of Columbia.  

As always, I encourage students or parents to share any questions or concerns with our office. You can reach us at 

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

Off-Campus Enforcement of Health and Safety Guidelines

Aug. 28, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Last night the University received a report about a gathering in Brookland, where Catholic University students were not wearing face coverings or social distancing. 

Officers from the University’s Department of Public Safety went to the location and, upon arrival, estimated that there were as many as 50 students in attendance.

Consistent with our Code of Student Conduct and our COVID-19 expectations regarding social gatherings, face coverings, and social distancing, the Dean of Students has placed six students on interim suspension. The University investigation into this incident continues and may result in additional action being taken against other involved students.   

We will continue to take appropriate action to address incidents that put the public health at risk.  

Our ultimate goal is to collectively stop the spread of the virus. The more we do now to keep the Catholic University community and our neighbors safe, the better our chances of fully opening in the spring. It’s up to all of us to do our part.  

As we head into the first weekend of the academic term, I would like to remind everyone of the importance of following the public health guidance provided by the University and the District of Columbia.  

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

Working Together to Stay Safe, Healthy, and Open

Aug. 24, 2020

University President John Garvey addressed the pandemic in his August newsletter.

Read More 

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.

Catholic University Announces Tuition Adjustments for Fall 2020 Semester

August 3, 2020

Dear Members of the University Community,

We have heard from many students and parents since we made our announcement that we would be required to limit in-person classes and on-campus residency for the fall semester. I understand this disappointment, which was necessitated by the increased number of COVID-19 cases throughout much of the nation, and new quarantine restrictions implemented here in the District of Columbia.

While I would have preferred to provide more detail in last Friday’s announcement, I felt it was essential to share the most important information as quickly as possible, even as we were calculating the significant financial implications for both families and students as well as the University.

Read the full letter about tuition adjustments for the fall here

Catholic University to Welcome Freshmen to Campus for Fall 2020: Classes for Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors Will Be Fully Online

July 31, 2020

Visit the President’s website to read the full text of his announcement.

University Continues to Prepare Facilities for Students’ Return to Campus

July 27, 2020

How have you spent your summer?

Facilities staff have spent the last months streamlining cleaning processes to ensure they can clean classrooms between classes come the start of the fall semester while also maintaining cleanliness in residence halls once students move back to campus. 

University custodial staff will be supported by contracted cleaners working the overnight shift. The contracted cleaners will perform the traditional vacuuming, dusting, and floor cleaning of classrooms, offices, restrooms, and lounge areas in addition to disinfection overnight. During the day, custodial staff will be performing the traditional cleaning tasks as well as increased touchpoint cleaning in common areas in all working and living spaces on campus. Additionally, classrooms will be sanitized between classes.  

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." 

McMahon Classroom Upgrade for Hybrid Learning

June 16, 2020

McMahon Hall 112 (the Fulton Sheen Classroom) has received updated technology this summer and is being rearranged by facilities staff to demonstrate how learning will be supported in the fall while focusing on the health and safety of faculty and students in the ongoing COVID pandemic.

Read the full story.

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

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  • Travel Restrictions

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  • Updates Regarding Catholic University Athletics

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  • Responding to the Novel Coronavirus Archive

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

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  • 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.

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  • COVID-19 Student Testing Dashboard

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