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Winter Faculty and Staff Testing

With an expected higher number of faculty and staff working onsite during the Winter Term, Northwestern’s asymptomatic testing plans for faculty and staff have been expanded.

As a reminder, if you have any symptoms, or need to be tested because of contact tracing, you must follow the Symptomatic Testing instructions outlined in the second tab.

Testing Options

Asymptomatic testing options for faculty and staff include:

Opt-in Recurring Surveillance Program

For those faculty and staff who work on campus most days, and want a more regular testing schedule, participating in the recurring surveillance program is good option. The surveillance program is a recommended option for faculty and staff who:

  • Have regular in-person interaction with students
  • Have regular in-person interaction with the public
  • Work in close settings, like research labs or shared offices, with other faculty and staff

By signing up for this program, you are agreeing to comply with the testing cadence assigned by Northwestern. That will likely be either weekly or every other week, depending on the amount of time you spend on campus and the type of work you do.

Please note: If you fall out of compliance with your assigned testing cadence, without a compelling reason as to why, you will be removed from the recurring surveillance program and no longer be eligible for the remainder of the term.

Signing-up for the Program

Participating in the recurring surveillance program is optional. To sign-up, please complete the sign-up link below.

Sign-up for the Voluntary Surveillance Program

The initial sign-up link was available through December 31, 2020 for initial enrollment and is now closed. The next enrollment window will be available later in January after initial testing of students occurs.

Please note:  Feinberg Clinical Faculty are not eligible for this program or for any asymptomatic testing through Northwestern, as you will follow the testing protocols for your clinical site.

Your First Test

Faculty and staff who opted into recurring testing, received an email the week of January 11th with instructions on completing their first test.. Initial testing for this group will be the week of January 18th, to allow for most testing to be focused on students during the initial weeks of January.

Locations, Scheduling, and Checking-in for Your Recurring Surveillance Test

There are two options to complete your Recurring Surveillance Test. All testing sites are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3:30pm.

  • On-Site Testing: You can visit Jacobs Center – 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago), where you will pick-up and activate your test, complete your sample collection, and drop-off your sample before leaving:
    • If you are testing onsite, you must book an appointment in advance. This will allow the testing sites to operate with minimal wait times.
  • Pick-Up/Drop-Off Testing: You can visit one of the alternative sites where you can pick-up your test kit, complete your sample collection at a place convenient to you, and drop it off later. 
    • If you take this option, you MUST follow the important steps outlined below. 
    • Please review this site map to see all locations.
    • Please note two things:
      • Only 2001 Sheridan Road (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago) offer on-site testing. Our other testing sites do not offer on-site testing and only have pick-up and drop-off capabilities.
      • Scheduling an appointment is required to test at 2001 Sheridan Road (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago). At our other testing sites, you can visit at any time without an appointment.  Because of this, you may experience a wait depending on the time of day. 

When you check in for your test, you will need to have your NetID. Some find it easier to write their NetID on a small piece of paper and hand it to the testing site staff. You should also bring your Wildcard, in case there are issues with your NetID.

The testing staff will:

  1. Verify that you have an appointment time (if testing at Jacobs/Superior), and
  2. Verify that you are due for your next test. If you have recently tested and are not due for your next test, the staff will ask you to come back on a later date.

Voluntary Scheduling

Each day, a number of testing appointments will be available for faculty and staff to schedule at their convenience. This testing option is a good fit for those faculty and staff working occasionally on campus, or who just want ad hoc access to testing when it is convenient to them.

Northwestern asks that faculty and staff be conscious of others and not utilize these appointments more frequently than once per week. 

Locations, Scheduling, and Checking-in for Your Voluntary Test

All Voluntary Tests must first be booked here, by selecting the “Voluntary Testing” option.

  • On-Site Testing: You can visit Jacobs Center – 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago), where you will pick-up and activate your test, complete your sample collection, and drop-off your sample before leaving:
    • If you are testing onsite, you must book an appointment in advance. This will allow the testing sites to operate with minimal wait times.
    • You will need to show your Voluntary Testing confirmation email for that day showing that you booked a Voluntary Testing appointment for that day.
  • Pick-Up/Drop-Off Testing: You can visit Jacobs Center – 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago), where you can pick-up your test kit, complete your sample collection at a place convenient to you, and drop it off later
    • Please note that you are not able to visit testing sites other than 2001 Sheridan Road (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago). The pick-up/drop-off sites are focused on our students, faculty and staff participating in our Recurring Surveillance Program. 
    • If you take this option, you MUST follow the important steps outlined below. 
 When you check in for your test, you will need to have your NetID. Some find it easier to write their NetID on a small piece of paper and hand it to the testing site staff. You should also bring your Wildcard, in case there are issues with your NetID.

The testing staff will verify that you have a Voluntary Testing appointment and that you have not tested in the last week. If you have, the staff will ask you to come back at a later date.

Random Sampling

Northwestern will also continue testing a random sampling of faculty and staff throughout the Winter Term, to monitor any underlying changes in COVID-19 prevalence and identify any differences between Northwestern and the general public. The exact number of individuals selected will vary each week, and will depend on the number of faculty and staff working on campus and the number of faculty and staff availing themselves to other testing options. Participation in the random sampling program is optional. If you are selected for random sampling, and you do not wish to participate or you are not currently working onsite, you can simply ignore the email invitation. Those selected by random sampling will be provided scheduling instructions in that email invitation.

Other Important Test Procedures and Logistics

Familiarize yourself with testing procedures that you'll follow regardless of which testing option you choose.

Setting up Your Color Account

To set-up your Color account go to color.com/covid/activate and complete the registration.  Please be sure to use your Northwestern University email address to be eligible for free testing through the University.

Getting Your Results

You can expect to receive your test results within 2-4 days of testing. You will receive your results online. Color will send you a text and an email when your results are ready and you will log into your account to view your results. You can also visit your account dashboard to check if your results are ready. You’ll need to sign into your Color account.

Completing Your Test: Important Steps

Regardless of whether you take your test onsite at the Jacobs Center/345 E. Superior or use one of the pick-up/drop-off sites, you must follow these steps in order for your sample to be accepted and a test result generated:

  1. Activate your test kit by visiting color.com/covid/activate and use your NU email.  Please note – if you do not receive a confirmation text or email – your kit has not been activated.  Do not move forward until you’ve confirmed kit activation or the lab will not process your sample
  2. Collect your sample immediately after activating your kit
  3. Drop-off your sample by 3:30pm that same day

You must activate your kit, collect your sample, and drop-off your sample all in the same day. If you do not, your sample will not be valid and you will not receive a test result.

Testing Reminders and Compliance

When you are due for your next test, you will get an email or text message from Color reminding you that it is time.

As noted above, if you do not comply with your testing reminders, you will be removed from the program.

Testing Site Hours

All testing sites are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3:30pm (excluding major holidays).

Testing Site Locations

On-Site Testing: 2001 Sheridan Rd (Jacobs Center -Evanston) and 345 E. Superior St (Chicago).

Pick-up / Drop-off Testing: Please review this site map to see all locations.  Please note that outside of 2001 Sheridan Road (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago), these testing sites do not offer on-site testing and only have pick-up and drop-off capabilities. Please note – Volunteer Testing and Random Sample Testing can only take place at the Jacobs Center (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior (Chicago)– not at the various locations across campus.  

Frequently Asked Questions

For questions not addressed in the Color FAQs, please take advantage of the following resources:

It is very important that faculty and staff who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been identified as being exposed to COVID-19 through contact tracing follow the processes outlined below.  

  • Update your SymptomTracker immediately, which will turn your badge red and wait for Case Management to reach out
  • Please Note:  please allow 2-6 hours for Case Management to contact you and be on the lookout for a call from a number that you don’t recognize.  If it has been more than 6 hours, you can call the Case Management team directly at 847-491-8422 or covidcasemanagement@northwestern.edu
  • If you develop symptoms while at home, stay at home, update your supervisor, and self-quarantine while you await additional guidance from Case Management.
  • If you develop symptoms while at work, update your supervisor, leave work immediately, and self-quarantine while you await additional guidance from Case Management
  • Testing: 
    • Do not go to one of our asymptomatic testing sites. 
    • If Case Management believes testing is the right next step, you will talk through options with them.  In order for your testing to be orchestrated by and paid for by Northwestern University, you need to follow the above steps and guidance from Case Management and not visit testing centers before connecting with Case Management

Feinberg School of Medicine clinical faculty or staff who are symptomatic should visit Feinberg's COVID-19 testing website for instructions.

Results

If you are directed to test at a Northwestern-affiliated testing facility, your test result will be available through your MyNM account.

If your test results come back positive, a member of Northwestern’s COVID Response Team will reach out to walk you through next steps. This will include direction regarding your need to self-isolate as well as guidance regarding how Northwestern will coordinate required contact tracing and to help support your health and welfare throughout this period.

In the event that you receive notification of a positive result prior to hearing from the COVID Response Team, please immediately begin to self-isolate pending further guidance and call us at 847-491-8422. This number is currently staffed with case managers and contact tracers from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. At all other times, this line will connect you to the University Health Service’s after hours call service where you can ask to speak with the physician-on-call, who will provide you with guidance for any immediate next steps.

If at any point you require emergency medical attention, call 911 to access the most local emergency services.