• Decision Making
Phases/Stages Of Reopening & Guidance

GDS identified the following eight guiding principles in order to help guide our decision making and prioritize positive outcomes for our return to campus.

  1. Health & Safety (physical)
  2. Program Quality (virtual and/or in-person) & Coherence
  3. Health & Safety/Wellness (mental/behavioral)
  4. Financial Sustainability (institutional)
  5. Community, Connection, & Culture
  6. Faculty & Staff Sustainability & Effectiveness
  7. Accessibility (equitable access)
  8. Student/Family Convenience

As of December 4, 2020, our matrix has been updated to reflect the changing evidence that there has not been widespread evidence of COVID-19 transmission in schools. The most relevant statistic for GDS to be tracking is the level of infection within our GDS community. As the scientific community learns more about this disease and our human experience with it grows, the guidance we receive from experts changes, as does the way we make decisions regarding school.

The following table is our priority decision making criteria. Coupled with DC Department of Health permission to remain open, these metrics guide our decision making.


Key Question


Metric we're watching

Current Status (see below for update dates)

Main Decision-Making Data Point: COVID-19 at GDS

What is the COVID-19 status in the GDS community?

Number of active, confirmed positive COVID-19 cases among students and staff on campus

(As of 2/5, we will be reporting cases on a Saturday-Friday basis; note that we engage with the DC Department of Health for all contact tracing and anyone who might have been a close contact at school has been notified.)

Connected cases (multiple cases in same cohort or grade)

  • 2/8-2/12: 993 tests, 1 positive
  • 2/16 and 2/17: 511 tests, 0 positives


  • 0 positive cases on campus in last 7 days (Saturday 2/13-Friday 2/19).
  • 0 case transmission on campus.
  • 0 off-campus positive cases in the past 7 days (Saturday 2/13-Friday 2/19; were not on campus during infectious procedures)


Participation in on-campus programs (added 11/14)

How comfortable do families feel with in-person learning?

Percentage of Students Opting Into In-Person Learning 

At least 75% of families opt-in

As of 2/20: 77.5% of students are opting for in-person programming in February (we saw a decrease as people opted to travel around President's Day weekend).

People excluded from on-campus programs (added 11/14)

How much of our community is not able to participate in person?

Percentage of individuals in quarantine for all reasons (travel, possible contact outside, failed MyMedBot screening, quarantined cohorts, etc.)

Multiple cohorts and/or many percents of our community and/or many key staff (updated 11/22)

0  cohort (day or out-of-school**) and 0 staff quarantined as of 2/20/2021 as a result of school exposure from last two weeks.

0.9% of our community is currently not permitted to campus and/or in quarantine for travel, outside contact, failed MyMedBot Screening, etc.


The following table includes additional metrics we’re watching. 


Key Question


Current Status (see below for update dates)

Secondary Decision-Making Data Point: COVID-19 in Regional Schools

Are schools seeing active COVID-19 clusters on campus?

Status of AISGW schools and national trends

AISGW school closure is anecdotal at the moment. Nationally, data continues to point to schools not being major sites of transmission.

Recent articles of interest:   


Community Spread

Is COVID-19 in our community increasing, decreasing, or stable?

Review of JHU’s COVID Tracker for MD, VA, and DC trends over 4 weeks

New cases have been on the decline in DC since January 11 and nationally, as cases fall, there continues to be cautious optimism that we may have reached a peak in the current phase of the virus. 

Recent article of interest: 


Cases in the DC Metro Area

How likely are we to have active cases of COVID-19 on campus?

7-day average of weekly cases per 100K for 11 surrounding jurisdictions as reported by CHOP*

DC remains in phase 2

7-day average 158.3 on 2/14, down from 186.8 on 2/7.


We are also watching the data being collected from Brown's COVID-19 School Response Dashboard.
* Note that CHOP updates its data for the week (Monday-Sunday) on Wednesdays. We have decided to capture the information from Sundays so there is often a week's lag in presentation of data.
** Out-of-school cohorts could include any of the following: Early Grasshopper Program, GDS 360 extended day, athletics, buses, etc.
We are not tracking positive cases for individuals who have not been on campus on this dashboard.

Updated December 14, 2020 to better reflect our changing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operating Status #1 Operating Status #2 Operating Status #3
GDS Virtual Campus only. No on-campus programming. HyFlex Instruction (may vary by division) Full GDS Experience