News & Politics

Elite DC-Area Private School Suspends In-Person Classes After Covid Outbreak

At least 30 students have tested positive at Georgetown Prep.

September 17, 2018 - North Bethesda Maryland, Maryland, United States - A view of the entrance to the Georgetown Preparatory School in North Bethesda Maryland (Credit Image: © Christopher Levy/ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Georgetown Prep, the elite all-boys private Catholic school in North Bethesda, is temporarily switching to virtual classes and pausing indoor sports and activities after a Covid outbreak affecting 30 students, the Washington Post first reported. So far, no staff or faculty have tested positive.

Spokesperson Connie Shaffer Mitchell tells Washingtonian there have been some isolated cases here and there but this is the school’s first real outbreak. Georgetown Prep operated with hybrid virtual/in-person classes last year, but has brought everyone back to campus this school year. Mitchell says some students self-reported positive test results last week and more cases were discovered during twice-a-week mandatory testing for the entire school population.

Georgetown Prep—whose famous alumni include Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch—has required both masks and vaccinations for all students, faculty, and staff since the school year began, but it does allow medical and religious exemptions for vaccines.

“It’s really mostly for medical reasons. The Catholic Church, they don’t have a religious exemption for that,” Mitchell says.  She declined to say exactly how many kids in the 498-person student body are unvaccinated, but said, “it’s very, very few.”

Classes are expected to resume in January after the school’s winter break, which begins Dec. 20.

“The fact that we’re virtual for the week is something that we feel we’re not missing a beat on,” Mitchell says. “Our faculty is very adapt at doing to that, so we can feel good about just getting these five days in before break.”

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.