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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.

Travel, Events and Visitors

Area Permitted Prohibited


  • Domestic travel for essential purposes
  • Travel is not recommended to areas:
    • With high or increasing COVID-19 cases
    • Where a quarantine is required on either end
  • International travel, unless required for COVID-related research, in alignment with State Department and CDC guidance

Meetings and Events

  • Gatherings of 50 or fewer people can occur in-person when:
    • Northwestern students are the primary participants for the event
    • Social-distancing and other health-related guidelines are able to be followed
    • Records of attendance are maintained for contact tracing
  • All other gatherings should plan for remote delivery
  • Gatherings:
    • Of over 50 people
    • Where majority of participants are not affiliated with University
    • In spaces insufficient for maintaining social distancing

Visitors to Campus

  • Pre-approved visitors:
    • Whose purpose is among permitted reasons to be on campus
    • Who have completed a health survey
  • Unregistered visitors
  • Visitors without an academic, research, nor administrative purpose

Programming for minors

  • Remote-delivery programming for minors who are not enrolled at Northwestern, including all pre-college populations
  • In-person programming for minors who are not enrolled at Northwestern, including all pre-college populations