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Winter Graduate and Professional Student Testing

To start the Winter Term, graduate and professional students will be required to follow the testing protocols outlined here. These protocols may be adjusted based on the experience as the Winter Term evolves.

Testing during Wildcat Wellness:

  • All graduate students will need to be tested once during Wildcat Wellness
  • All other graduate students  need to complete their first test the week of January 4th or 11th, prior to beginning in-person classes
  • Graduate students with a Wildcat Wellness exemption for research purposes need to be tested before beginning on-campus activities

Testing after Wildcat Wellness

  • Most graduate and professional students will be required to test either weekly or every other week, depending on the amount of time they are expected to spend on campus.
    • Feinberg School of Medicine students will receive separate guidance from Feinberg about their testing options for Winter term.
    • Certain short-term or evening/weekend programs may have different testing instructions that will be provided by your program.
  • You will receive reminders from Color when your next test is due.

Setting up Your Color Account

Students need to create a Color account prior to arriving on campus for the Winter Term. You can create your Color profile at any time. 

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.

Scheduling and Checking-in for Your Test

Students need to book their testing appointments in advance in order to allow the testing sites to operate with minimal wait times. Please schedule your testing appointments and arrive within 15 minutes of your scheduled time. Allow 15-30 minutes for testing. If you can’t make your appointment, reschedule to a new time that works better for you.

When you check in for your test, you will need to have your NetID and have the password to your Color account. Some students 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, and 2) verify that you are due for your next test. If you have recently tested and are not due for your next weekly test or every other week test, the staff will ask you to come back on a later date.

Testing Options

There are two options to complete your Color test.

  • On-Site Testing: Graduate and Professional students 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
  • 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. 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.
  • If you take this option, you MUST follow the important steps outlined below

2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) and 345 E. Superior St (Chicago), and the pick-up/drop-off locations, are all open Monday through Friday from 9am to 3:30pm. 

Your First Test

All initial tests need to be completed at 2001 Sheridan Rd (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior St (Chicago).  Following the initial test, students are welcome to visit one of the alternative sites.  Please review the site map to see all locations. 

  • 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.
  • All other graduate students need to complete their first test the week of January 4th or 11th - prior to beginning in-person classes
  • Graduate students with a Wildcat Wellness exemption for research purposes need to be tested before beginning on-campus activities

Updating Your Address in CAESAR

Before you arrive for testing, please make sure to update your local address in CAESAR. This will help ensure your test results are matched and communicated appropriately. 

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

You must follow these steps in order for your test to be accepted and a 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

All local (i.e., live on- or off- campus) undergraduate students and any graduate students that will be on campus over winter term will be required to comply with their assigned testing cadence throughout the entirety of the term.  As a condition of returning to campus or participating in any University program, community members must follow policies and guidance issued by Northwestern, including testing protocols.

If you do not comply with your specific testing protocol, you will receive outreach both from Color and a member of Northwestern’s COVID Response Team to notify you of noncompliance.  Our team will assist you in any difficulties and work with you to ensure that you can return to compliance as soon as possible.  

For the health and safety of our community, students that remain out of compliance and miss two consecutive tests within their specified testing protocol will be referred to the Office of Community Standards for disciplinary action.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

It is very important that students who have COVID-19 symptoms or who have been identified as a direct contact through contact tracing efforts follow the processes outlined below.

You may not visit an asymptomatic testing site if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you were identified through contact tracing. Doing so may risk the health of others in the Northwestern community.

Scheduling Your Test if You Have Symptoms

If you have symptoms and need to be tested, call the University Health Service at 847-491-8100 in Evanston or the Chicago Health Service at 312-695-8134 in Chicago. It is important that you follow these steps and do not walk-in for testing without an appointment in order for your testing to be orchestrated by and paid for by the University.

Feinberg School of Medicine students should call the NM COVID hotline if they are symptomatic.

While waiting for your test, and while waiting for your results, it is very important that you self-quarantine until you have a confirmed test result.

Updating Your Address in CAESAR 

Before you arrive for testing, please make sure to update your local address in CAESAR. This will help ensure your test results are matched and communicated appropriately. 

Getting Your Results

You will receive your results in 2-4 days through your MyMN account.