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Policy Highlights

Read key points from the Return to Campus policy. For details, please refer to the full policy

Policy Audiences

  • Staff and faculty returning to work physically on our campuses.
  • Select students returning to campus to work or research in laboratories.

Separate policy guidance will be issued for students as they return to campus for academic coursework.

Continuing Remote Work

Managers must allow an employee to continue remote work when they (1) can perform the essential functions of the position remotely; and (2) satisfy one or more of the following:

Note that employees seeking to work remotely due to an underlying medical condition must submit a request to the Office of Equity at

Health and Hygiene on Campus

New guidelines have been established to keep the community safe. They are required for any faculty or staff member on Northwestern's campus.

Health Reporting

Employees are required to report the following using the University’s online reporting portal:
  • Any positive tests for COVID-19
  • Voluntary self-isolation due to a suspected exposure to COVID-19, or the presence of symptoms of respiratory illness

See detailed reporting guidelines.

Avoid Campus When Sick

  • Employees should not report to work in person if experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness.
  • They must stay off campus until such symptoms are no longer present.

See detailed personal illness guidelines.

Social Distancing

Employees must maintain at least six feet of social distance wherever possible.

  • They must follow capacity and space restrictions identified by the University.
  • Managers must develop a plan for facilitating and implementing the social distancing.

See detailed social distancing guidelines.

Face Masks and Coverings

When on campus and in the presence of others, employees must wear a face mask or covering if:

  • Social distancing cannot be achieved
  • In shared spaces, including  elevators, common rooms and hallways

Read detailed health and hygiene guidelines.

Events and Visitors

Both events and visitors on campus are prohibited at this time.

See exceptions for visitors, including visiting students and faculty, contractors, and research-related visitors approved in advance for the Vice President for Research.


Meetings should be virtual whenever possible. Requirements for any in-person meetings:

Feet of Social Distance
Maximum Attendees

University-Sponsored Travel

Until further notice, no University-sponsored international or domestic travel is allowed.

Exceptions for domestic travel:

  • The travel is 100% funded by sponsored awards and approved by the relevant dean or vice president’s office; OR
  • The travel is for COVID-19-related research and approved by the dean, the Vice President for Research, or the Senior Vice President for Business and Finance.


Page last updated: June 3, 2020