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Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common questions about the online Symptom Tracker app.

Updated September 18, 2020

1. Why am I being asked to use the Symptom Tracker app?

This app helps to ensure that anyone coming to the Northwestern University campus has the ability to check symptoms in accordance with public health policies and guidelines.  The information you provide through the app will be used by Northwestern University to control access to Northwestern campus and buildings through the app’s badge system in an effort to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the Northwestern community.

2. Who is this application intended for?

The Symptom Tracker app is for any student, staff, faculty or visitor who intends to access campus.

3. Do I have to use and answer the symptom questionnaire in this app? If so, when?

Every student, staff, faculty or visitor who wishes to access campus must use the app and be prepared to show their badge on a daily basis.

4. How often must I use this application?

Only once daily, prior to accessing campus. Your responses and resulting badge will apply for 17 hours.

5. Where is it necessary to present a badge?

Northwestern University will be spot checking in campus buildings, especially high traffic locations.

6. What do I do if I accidentally answered a question incorrectly?

You will need to email the case management team at and that group will assist you with correcting the response.

7. What does a red badge mean?

A red badge means you are not permitted to come onto campus.

8. What does a green badge mean?

The green badge means you are permitted to come onto campus.

9. What does a purple badge mean?

A purple badge means, as a visitor, you are permitted to come onto campus.

10. What is considered to be a fever?

The CDC defines a fever as a temperature of 100.4° F (38° C) or greater.

11. What is considered to be “close contact?”

Close contact is contact with a person for 15 minutes or more at one time at a distance of less than 6 feet.

12. What do I do if I have "COVID-like" symptoms, but I know I don’t have COVID-19?

If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms which you can confidently attribute to a non-COVID condition, you may disregard such symptoms when responding to Question 1. If you are unsure, you should not assume your symptoms are not attributable to COVID and you must answer the question accordingly.

13. How do I use the app?

A web-based form accessible through any computer web browser at that you can complete and/or print out if necessary.

14. Does the Symptom Tracker app record/monitor my geolocation?

No, it does not use wi-fi, geolocation or Bluetooth technology to track your location.

15. What personal information does Symptom Tracker collect?

Through your use of Symptom Tracker, we may collect information about you from which you can be identified (“personal information”), including:

  • Certain COVID-19 health-related information in the form of your “yes” / “no” responses and, if you choose to provide it, your temperature, and
  • If you are a Northwestern student, faculty or staff member, your Northwestern user ID and password, which will allow us to link the information collected about you through the app to other information about you that Northwestern already maintains, such as information contained in Northwestern’s existing directories, including your first and last name, email address, and phone number.

You can learn more about how we use the personal information, and protect the privacy of users of Symptom Tracker by visiting Symptom Tracker Privacy Policy.

16. Will any of my personal information be shared with anyone outside of Northwestern University?

Your personal information will only be shared with third parties outside of Northwestern in limited circumstances as described in the Symptom Tracker Privacy Policy, and we will only share the minimum amount of your information necessary. For instance, we may share your personal information with our outside service provider, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, for purposes of providing technical support for Symptom Tracker, performing COVID-19 tests, and administering and improving Northwestern’s COVID-19 testing and tracing program. We also may share your personal information as required by law.

17. What if I don’t want anyone to know if I am infected with COVID-19?

If you are infected with COVID-19, then you will not be allowed on campus or access to campus facilities, so you will not be asked to complete the app or show a badge. However, if you have had access to campus recently and have had contact with others, then you are required to contact the Office of Risk Management for contact tracing. If you access campus, then you are committing yourself to sharing this required information with the University.

18. What version of Android/iOS is needed for the app to run?

11.0 for iOS and Android 6.0

Added 9/16/2020

19. I used Symptom Tracker and got an error message when I submitted my survey. What should I do?

The most common reason for this, is that you may be a temporary or contract employee or work for a University contractor. If that is the case, when logging onto Symptom Tracker, enter your email address in the box labeled Visitor Email and click on the Continue As Visitor button.

Added 9/18/2020