Health & Safety Archive

The health and safety of our students is something the entire school administration takes very seriously. As we work and teach inside the Flagg Building alongside our students, we are constantly reminded of the challenges of a learning space or workplace that is also a construction zone.

The university's Division of Safety and Security is the only body authorized on campus to conduct air quality testing and take steps to remedy environmental factors such as air pollutants. The Division of Safety and Security has contracted a third party vendor to regularly test air quality inside the Flagg Building. The school has also successfully lobbied the construction management team to take added steps to clean the dust created from their work, and to install portable air scrubbers around the building. However, elevated concerns or specific inquires about the testing results must be directed to the only authorized office on campus: the Division of Health and Safety ([email protected]).

Responding to students who requested to see blue light distress call boxes installed outside the Corcoran, we have arranged for their installation. Procurement is being finalized now, with installation expected soon. In the meantime, concerned students can consider using the GW Guardian app, a mobile safety app for the university.

Day to day facility issues, general concerns, questions, ideas, or any other requests for information about any Corcoran School renovations should be sent to Natasha Bailey, Assistant Director for Operations ([email protected])


What actions will GW continue to take to help ensure a safe environment?

As many of you are aware, staff from GW’s Office of Health and Emergency Management Safety have engaged with the Corcoran community regarding this project and have evaluated and responded to concerns as they have arisen. In response to early complaints about dust caused by the renovations, the university’s contractors installed 12 air scrubbers. In addition, a protocol has been established for daily inspection of the air scrubbers and enhanced frequency of cleaning in the building during construction.

In addition, the university contracted with outside experts to conduct additional monthly air monitoring to ensure there are no harmful materials in the air. This spring, GW hired Triumvirate Environmental to conduct independent air monitoring in the building. The testing is based on national standards for air quality protection as defined by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Testing was conducted on March 23, April 21, and again on May 23 for the specific materials formaldehyde, asbestos, silica, lead, and Total VOC (as n-Hexane). The sampling results for all tests showed there was no health or regulatory cause for concern. All test results were within the acceptable range for federal standards.

Testing will continue on a monthly basis during the duration of construction. If results identify air samples that are not within regulatory standards, additional testing will be conducted and remediation efforts will be implemented to ensure air quality safety standards are being met. 

Although testing has shown the air to be safe, we do appreciate that some members of the community may wish to take extra precautions if they have specific concerns or sensitivities. To assist with this, facemasks that cover the nose and mouth are available for use by students, faculty and staff upon request in the director’s office suite.

For any general observations / questions about environmental health and safety within the Corcoran, please contact [email protected] or 202-994-4347. 


Air Quality Test Reports 

Unidentified Drum Test Report

The drum that was identified by our student was tested and found to be harmless; it was determined to be 99% waste water. Read the drum test report (pdf).