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Guidelines for Instructional Spaces

The Northwestern community is responsible for certain expectations in instructional spaces.

Face Coverings

Regardless of vaccination status, everyone is required to wear masks in shared indoor spaces in alignment with guidance from the public health agencies.

In response to what we are learning about the effectiveness of different types of masks, we now recommend wearing a high-quality mask—at minimum a surgical mask—in shared campus environments. These masks are readily available in the entryways of most buildings on campus and are proven to be more effective than cloth masks. When in-person classes resume, students will be required to wear a surgical or higher quality mask with two or more layers while in class.

Instructors who are fully vaccinated and who are teaching in-person may do so without a mask, provided they maintain appropriate distancing from students and others in the room. Instructors are strongly encouraged to wear masks while lecturing and should remove their masks only with extreme distancing, such as when teaching at the front of a large lecture hall. Instructors who teach without a mask are encouraged to engage in regular COVID testing, preferably the morning of or evening before teaching. Instructors can test in person at the Jacobs Center in Evanston or at 345 E. Superior Street in Chicago, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or use rapid at-home testing kits that can be picked up at either testing location.

Masking remains optional outdoors, though certain outdoor events may elect to require masking based on the number of attendees and location of the event.

Assigned Seating

Faculty are encouraged to use assigned seating or keep a record of student seating to assist with contact tracing if needed. Please post the seating chart on Canvas so that students can access it if requested by the contact tracing team.

Health Monitoring

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of exposure, unvaccinated community members are expected to regularly monitor their personal health status. 

Unvaccinated faculty, students and staff who are physically on campus are expected to use the Symptom Tracker web app for daily health monitoring, in addition to adhering to their testing protocol. Symptom Tracker must be completed each day prior to attending on-campus work, programming or activities, including classes.

All faculty, students and staff can continue using Symptom Tracker to initiate a case with the COVID Response Team if they have symptoms or exposures.

More about health monitoring