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Graduate and Professional Student Testing

Effective March 1, 2021, the Spring Term testing protocols for graduate and professional students were adjusted. These protocols may continue to change based on the experience as the Term evolves.

Graduate and Professional Student Testing Protocols

  • Most graduate and professional students are required to test on either a weekly or every other week cadence, depending on the amount of time they spend on campus.
    • Students answering “Daily” or “Frequently” to their CAESAR Campus Interaction Survey are on a weekly cadence
    • Students answering “Occasionally” or “Rarely” are on an every other week cadence
    • Feinberg School of Medicine students have received separate guidance from Feinberg about their testing options for Winter term.
    • Certain short-term or evening/weekend programs may have different testing instructions that are provided by your program.
  • Starting March 1, all graduate and professional students on a weekly cadence are asked to test twice weekly. One test should be a Color test, and the other should be an Abbott rapid antigen test.
  • The two tests can happen on any day of the week but students should try to separate the two tests by 2-3 days.
  • Students are encouraged to complete additional Abbott rapid antigen tests as frequently as they want.
  • Students on an every other week cadence will continue completing their Color test every other week. They do not need to complete additional Abbott rapid antigen tests, but are welcome to complete as many rapid tests as they would like.
  • Students Arriving After the Week of March 29:  If you are planning for a delayed arrival to campus and will not be arriving the week of March 29, you must update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR to “never.” When you arrive to campus or the Evanston area, you must update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR to your interaction frequency for the quarter.  You also need to get tested on your first day back, or the first day the testing center opens, and again.
  • Students Needing to Temporarily Leave Campus During the Term:  If you need to temporarily leave campus during the quarter, you should not update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR during your time away from campus.  Please leave your typical status in CAESAR and email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu to inform them of your trip.  They will document an exception for you to exempt you from testing during the window you are away.  Upon your return to campus or the Evanston area, you need to get tested on your first day back, or the first day the testing center opens, then follow your typical testing protocol.
  • Students Permanently Leaving Campus Prior to the End of the Term:  If you permanently leave campus prior to the end of the term, you must update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR to “never.”
  • Compliance:  Failure to abide by these guidelines or your testing protocol may result in a conduct violation, restriction from campus, and/or more severe consequences.

Completing Your Abbott Rapid Antigen Test

Please see the details on the Abbott Rapid Antigen Testing website for information about rapid antigen testing and for instructions on how to:

  • Download the Abbott NAVICA app;
  • Confirm your Northwestern email address; and
  • Connect to Northwestern via the NAVICA app to ensure your results are shared with Northwestern for case management and compliance tracking purposes

Once you’ve activated your NAVICA app and connected to NU on the app, you are ready to test. All Abbott rapid antigen testing occurs at the Jacobs Center in Evanston, using the south entrance (Deering Meadow), or 345 E. Superior Street in Chicago. No appointment is needed for rapid antigen testing.

Completing Your Color Test

Please see the details on the Color Testing Website for information about Color and how to:

  • Activate your Color account
  • Complete your weekly Color test
  • Receive your test results

Once you’ve activated your Color account, your weekly testing should go smoothly. Information about where to complete your Color test is available on the Color testing site.  No appointment is needed for Color testing.

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. If your address changes during the term, please make sure to update it quickly. Please make sure to also update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR .

Testing Reminders and Compliance

All local (i.e., live on- or off- campus) graduate students are 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 from Northwestern’s testing operation 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.

Questions about Testing

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.

If you are asymptomatic but have recently been in contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19: update your symptom tracker app so that your badge turns red and wait for a call from the COVID Case Management team. Case Management will provide specific instructions for testing at the University Health Service.

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, please update your SymptomTracker app which will turn your badge red.  Please schedule your appointment with Northwestern University Health Service and self-quarantine until your testing appointment.  Expect a call from the COVID case management team to discuss your symptoms. If you are experiencing technical difficulties with the MyNM app, please email MyChartSupportforNU@NM.org or call 1-855-457-6966. If you have any questions regarding testing parameters, call the University Health Service at 847-491-8100 in Evanston or the Chicago Health Service at 312-695-8134 in Chicago.

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

While waiting for your COVID test/results, it is very important that you self-quarantine until you receive a negative test result via the MyNM app. If your test result is positive, continue to self-isolate and wait for case management to call you with further instructions.

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 MyNM account.