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Frequently Asked Questions

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

Updated August 20, 2021

1. Who is this application intended for?

Unvaccinated faculty, staff and students are required to use Symptom Tracker any day they visit campus. While most members of the University community are not required to use Symptom Tracker every day, schools and units may wish to deploy it locally given its new features, and faculty and staff should be ready to display their badge if asked.

Individuals who have any COVID-19 symptoms—even if they are vaccinated—should report them using Symptom Tracker by “badging red.” Northwestern’s COVID Response Team will coordinate a symptomatic test and provide guidance on next steps.

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

Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are required to continue using the Symptom Tracker application whenever they come to campus. The University will monitor compliance for anyone without a COVID vaccination on record. 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.

Individuals who have any COVID-19 symptoms—even if they are vaccinated—should report them using Symptom Tracker by “badging red.” Northwestern’s COVID Response Team will coordinate a symptomatic test and provide guidance on next steps.

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

Every unvaccinated student, staff or faculty who wishes to access campus must use the app and be prepared to show their badge.

Individuals who have any COVID-19 symptoms—even if they are vaccinated—should report them using Symptom Tracker by “badging red.” Northwestern’s COVID Response Team will coordinate a symptomatic test and provide guidance on next steps.

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

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

5. What does a red badge mean?

A red badge means you are not permitted to come onto campus. It is for individuals who are currently experiencing symptoms or who are in quarantine or isolation status.

6. What does a yellow badge mean?

A yellow badge means you are unvaccinated and have not received a negative test at Northwestern in the past 72 hours. You should not access campus until you are able to test and have your Symptom Tracker update to green. 

7. What does a green badge mean?

The green badge means you are permitted to come onto campus. It is for anyone who is vaccinated, or who is unvaccinated and has received a negative test at Northwestern in the past 72 hours.

8. What is considered to be a fever?

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

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

Close contacts are individuals who were within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 cumulative minutes over a 24-hour period.

10. 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.

11. How do I use the app?

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

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

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

13. 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.

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

Your personal information will be shared with third parties outside of Northwestern only in limited circumstances as described in the Symptom Tracker Privacy Policyand we will share only 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.

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

If you access campus, you are committing yourself to sharing this required information with the University, and you are required to notify the COVID-19 Response Team at covidcasemanagement@northwestern.edu.

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

11.0 for iOS and Android 6.0

17. 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.