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COVID-19 Testing

An important part of maintaining a safe and healthy environment is compliance with Northwestern’s testing protocols.

Northwestern’s COVID testing takes place in partnership with Northwestern Medicine. See general information about testing for more details.

Your Testing Protocols

Find all the information you need about your specific testing protocols and processes:


Please note that evening/weekend and out-of-state students who are unable to complete testing onsite during the day Monday through Friday will receive alternative options from their program staff.

Testing Goals

Asymptomatic testing is available for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are required to complete two Abbott rapid antigen tests every week. The goal of the testing program is to:

  • Immediately identify and test anyone who is symptomatic or identified through contact tracing efforts
  • Surveil the on-campus population through structured recurring testing in order to identify trends in COVID-19 prevalence and transmission, and identify asymptomatic cases early to isolate and quarantine

Due to the changing dynamics related to the delta variant of the virus, all students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to complete entry testing as they return to campus for the Fall. This applies to students who are in Evanston and Chicago over the summer for research or other purposes. Students who arrive outside of the typical window should test twice in their first week on campus.

Testing Compliance

All unvaccinated students in on-campus, for-credit programs must comply with their assigned testing protocol. Any unvaccinated student who fails to test two times per week will be referred to the Office of Community Standards and face escalating sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion. 

Any staff member who is unvaccinated without an approved exception, or who receives an exception but does not comply with COVID-19 safety protocols including testing, will be quickly escalated internally within their school or unit leadership for appropriate action. If a staff member remains non-compliant with these requirements, they will be transitioned to an unpaid leave of absence and, ultimately, terminated in alignment with the Staff Handbook.

For all faculty, continued non-compliance will lead to disciplinary actions, up to and including temporary suspension and termination of employment. The sanctioning process will follow the steps outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

Additional Resources

Find instructions and guidance related to testing procedures:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    Find answers to general questions specific to COVID-19 testing at Northwestern.
  • If You Test Positive
    If your test results come back positive, Northwestern’s COVID Response Team walk you through next steps, including self-isolation and contact tracing.
  • General Testing Information
    Find additional context on Northwestern’s testing protocols and requirements.