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Student Housing Information

Updated 4/6/2020

Please note that all answers below are subject to change given the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation. Any changes will be noted clearly on this page and included in any regular updates sent to campus residents.

1. Do I have to move out of my room at the end of winter quarter?

Consistent with CDC guidance, all students who can go home must do so. Residents who indicated via a required survey that they were unable to leave campus were contacted about their circumstances by the University’s COVID-19 Housing Review Committee. As part of an occupancy verification effort, residents who did not respond to the survey were automatically checked out on Sunday, March 22 at 12 p.m.; this resulted in deactivation of access to their building and room. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation, Residential Services reserves the right to change room assignments in the interest of community and individual health. (Updated 3/26/20)

2. How is the University making decisions about granting exceptions to students to remain on campus after the end of winter quarter? Who is reviewing students' requests?

Due to the number of students indicating via the required survey an inability to leave campus, the University formed a committee of staff members with content expertise and connections to student populations appropriate for evaluating their circumstances in the context of Northwestern’s response to COVID-19. These staff members’ regular portfolios include supporting students who are most likely to face challenges related to a disruption in their housing and ability to be on campus. The University’s COVID-19 Housing Review Committee is comprised of experts from the Dean of Students Office, Campus Inclusion & Community, the Office of International Student & Scholar Services, and other units.

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is acting in consultation with the COVID-19 Housing Review Committee. CAPS is not opening or reviewing mental health records, should students have visited CAPS, or providing protected health information to the committee.
  • Questions about the committee and its process can be sent to (Added 3/19/20)

3. What are the requirements for students who remain on campus after the end of winter quarter?

All residents remaining on campus must adhere to the expectations outlined by Residential Services and the Dean of Students Office. Students who remain on campus cannot leave campus for any period of time. They further agree to report any COVID-19 symptoms to University Health Service for diagnosis. In the interest of community health, students who remain on campus are not permitted to have guests visit for any amount of time. Failure to fulfill requirements may result in removal from campus housing and/or disciplinary proceedings. (Updated 3/26/20)

4. Does completing the “Self Check-Out” form mean I am giving up my room?

No. Completion of the Self Check-Out form does not cancel your spring housing contract or lead to forfeiture of your room. The Self Check-Out form simply tells Residential Services that you are leaving campus and returning no earlier than Saturday, May 2, which is the weekend before the earliest potential resumption of in-person instruction. Upon submission of the form, your building and room access will be deactivated. (Updated 3/31/20)

5. What is the best way to prepare my room before I depart campus for an extended period?

Pack as many of your personal belongings as possible in boxes and/or luggage. Follow the steps outlined in the Self Check-Out form at, including:

  1. Empty and defrost your refrigerator(s)
  2. Dispose of waste/recycling and perishables in proper receptacles
  3. Remove personal items from all common areas
  4. Close/latch windows and close window coverings
  5. Adjust thermostat to 68°F (20°C)
  6. Double check room/suite/apartment
  7. Take anything you may need before May 2 with you (wallet, medication, passport, tickets, etc.) You may not access your building/room after checking out
  8. Unplug all electronic devices, turn out lights and lock the door
  9. If applicable, return any Temp Cards/Keys to your Building/Area Desk Take your Wildcard and/or room key with you
  10. Submit Maintenance Requests as needed
  11. Pick up any remaining mail/packages
  12. Submit Self Check-Out Form

 (Updated 3/31/20)

6. Are there University-approved options for shipping and/or storage of personal belongings?

University and Student Services (USS) is Northwestern University's preferred vendor for shipping and storage services. In addition, Reebie Storage & Moving, which is Residential Services' contracted moving company, has agreed to a flat rate of $150 to pack a student's personal belongings, with relocation pricing dependent on the destination of the items. Students can sign up for these services and request financial assistance for these types of unplanned expenses related to COVID-19 here. (Updated 3/19/20)

7. Can I leave personal belongings in my room?

Yes. Students with a spring housing contract can leave personal belongings in their room. We urge students to pack as many of their personal belongings as possible in boxes and/or luggage.

8. Can I return to campus to pick up my personal belongings during the remote instruction period?

No. If you leave campus for any period of time after the end of winter quarter, you cannot return during the remote instruction period. Students or families with questions about exception requests should contact Please note that Residential Services will not grant exceptions that would violate any State of Illinois orders pertaining to non-essential travel or activity during its COVID-19 response. (Updated 4/6/20)

9. What if I still have personal belongings in my room?

Residential Services asks that all students still on campus pack any personal belongings that they are not leaving with into boxes provided at their area desk. They should label these packed boxes with their name, cellphone number and Northwestern email address. Students will have the option to contract with USS, our preferred shipping and storage vendor, to have items stored and/or shipped based on their needs. Students can sign up for these services and request financial assistance for these types of unplanned expenses related to COVID-19 here. Of note, USS also provides a storage option in which storage is offered over the summer and your items are placed in your fall quarter room assignment prior to your arrival or delivered to your off-campus residence. 

10. How do I get larger items (e.g. futons) back to my permanent place of residence?

Students can leave in their room any large items that cannot be boxed or taken. E-mail with an item description, photograph, building name and room number so that we can coordinate a future pick-up or plan after May 2. If you choose to donate or dispose of it, please let us know in writing. (Updated 3/31/20)

11. What if I need financial assistance for travel, shipping, storage or any other unplanned expenses associated with COVID-19?

Students can sign up for these services and request financial assistance for unplanned expenses related to COVID-19 here.

12. If I remain on campus through spring break and the remote instruction period, what services will be available in my campus residence and residential area?

Please visit the COVID-19 Housing site for details and updates about services available to residents who remain on campus. (Updated 3/26/20)

13. I plan to remain on campus but I have read that COVID-19 can be spread through central air systems. What is the University doing to prevent this?

All campus residences use individual HVAC units in each room/apartment that do not circulate air between rooms/apartments.

14. What additional cleaning/sanitation precautions are being taken?

Residential Services maintenance staff are completing regular cleaning. Residential Services has increased the frequency of cleaning all touch points with a peroxide cleaner. On top of the increased cleaning regimen, we are also treating all common areas (corridors, lounges, community bathrooms) with our Clorox 360 ionization machines on a weekly basis.

15. What is the University's self-isolation procedure for students who live in campus residences?

In both electronic and in-person communications, Residential Services has urged any students experiencing flu-like symptoms to be evaluated at the University Health Service.

If the health team suspects that the student may have COVID-19, Residential Services has a detailed protocol that will safely move the student into isolation housing while testing is being conducted. On campus isolation housing is located in an area that is removed from all community members. Additionally, the HVAC systems are unit-based and do not recirculate any air to other rooms. Proper cleaning protocols and meal delivery as well as a central point of contact for students in these circumstances is provided. For more information on self-isolating, go to the University’s COVID-19 Self-Isolation page.

16. If I do not have a housing contract for spring but now plan to take Evanston-based courses because my study abroad program, journalism residency, etc. was canceled, can I live on campus during spring quarter?

Residential Services is continuing to gather information from residents about their plans for after winter quarter. Students without housing contracts should e-mail to express interest in a housing contract for spring quarter. As the COVID-19 situation develops and we have a clearer sense of campus occupancy, we will reach out about options.