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Georgetown University reinstating mask mandate starting Thursday

According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, 3.82% of COVID-19 tests at the school were positive between March 27 through April 2.

WASHINGTON — Georgetown University announced it's temporarily reinstating its indoor masks mandate at its main and medical campuses starting Thursday. 

According to the university's COVID-19 dashboard, 3,061 people in the community were tested for the virus between March 27 and April 2. Data shows that 117 people had positive tests, which was 3.82% of those tested. The previous week, from March 20 through March 26, 3.22% of the reported COVID tests at the university were positive. 

In an email to the university community, Dr. Ranit Mishori, the vice president and chief public health officer for Georgetown, wrote that there has been a "significant increase in COVID-19 cases on the Main Campus and Medical Center campuses this week, particularly among undergraduate students." The university has not seen an uptick in cases connected to the Law Center campus. 

"This increase is partly due to the impact of the BA.2 Omicron subvariant. BA.2 is now the dominant strain in the United States, including in DC and on our campuses," Mishori wrote. "While recent studies show that BA.2 does not cause more severe illness than the initial Omicron variant, they also show that BA.2 is even more transmissible."

The reinstatement of the mask mandate comes less than three weeks since the university lifted it. It will remain in place "until further notice," the email says.

Mishori wrote that masks can still come off when people are eating, drinking or in their own personal residence or private office. 

"We strongly recommend wearing a properly fitting, high-quality mask (e.g., N95, KN95), which are available for free on campus," Mishori wrote. 

The university is requiring students to take a PCR test after Easter break, the week of April 18.

"We will continue to monitor campus case numbers and positivity rates, COVID-19 community levels in DC and nationally, and global developments relating to the pandemic, which will inform our decision of when to resume the mask-optional policy," Mishori said.

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