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Student Testing

Arrival Testing

Students with symptoms of COVID-19 should delay their return to campus. All graduate and undergraduate students who are registered for in-person classes are required to take one in-person, on-campus COVID-19 test each week of Wildcat Wellness, which runs from Jan. 1 through 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Students who live in the residence halls are welcome to move in as early as Jan. 1. All students taking in-person classes during Winter Quarter must arrive early enough to complete their first-week testing requirement—no later than Friday, Jan. 7. A second in-person, on-campus test is required during the second week of Wildcat Wellness. Students who do not complete these testing requirements will be referred to the Office of Community Standards for non-compliance.

Additionally, all undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of vaccination status or the presence of symptoms, should take at-home COVID-19 tests 36 hours before travel and again upon returning to campus and submit the results. At-home tests will be available in Norris University Center from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 2 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 3 through Jan. 7. Students living in residence halls will have tests available in their rooms when they return. To submit test results, click on “Report COVID-19 Test Results” at the link provided and follow the prompts.

These protocols may continue to change based on public health guidance.

Student Testing Protocols

  • Masking:  In alignment with Northwestern Medicine practice, masks are required at our health facilities and testing sites regardless of vaccination status. This means appropriate masking protocols are enforced and required at Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service (Searle Hall), the Jacobs Center, and on the Chicago campus at 345 E. Superior. 
  • All unvaccinated undergraduate, graduate and professional studies students are required to take two in-person Abbott rapid antigen tests weekly. Based on recommendations from Northwestern’s medical experts, these tests must be completed within three days of each other. If the number of days between tests is greater than three, the Symptom Tracker application will display in yellow as a reminder to complete a new test in order to return to green status.
  • All vaccinated undergraduate, graduate and professional studies students are not required to participate in recurring asymptomatic COVID-19 testing but do still need to submit to required arrival testing.
  • Students are welcome to complete additional Abbott rapid antigen tests as frequently as they want.
  • Unvaccinated Students Arriving After the first week of the term: If you are planning for a delayed arrival to campus, please email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu to inform them of your late arrival. They will document an exception to exempt you from testing during the time you are away. You also need to get tested on your first day back, or the first day the testing center opens.
  • Unvaccinated Students Needing to Temporarily Leave Campus During the Term: If you need to temporarily leave campus during the quarter, please email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu to inform them of your absence. They will document an exception for you to exempt you from testing during the time 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.
  • Unvaccinated Students Permanently Leaving Campus Prior to the End of the Term: If you permanently leave campus prior to the end of the term, please email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu to inform them that you will no longer be on campus. They will document an exception to exempt you from testing since you are no longer on campus. 
  • If you are unvaccinated and living on campus and/or taking an in-person class, you are expected to take two in-person Abbott rapid antigen tests weekly. If you are in a residence hall or taking in-person classes and are unable to test at any point, please email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu with your NetID to request an exception.
  • Compliance: Students who fail to abide by these guidelines or testing protocol will face sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion. 

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 or visit the NAVICA website
  • Create an account with your Northwestern email address
  • Connect to Northwestern via NAVICA to ensure your results are shared with Northwestern for case management and compliance tracking purposes

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

Updating Your Address in CAESAR

Before you arrive for testing, please 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 update it quickly.

Please make sure to also update your Community Interaction Status in CAESAR. If you are unvaccinated and living on campus and/or taking an in-person class, you are expected to test regardless of your CAESAR status. If you are unable to test, please email NU-COVID-Testing-Support@northwestern.edu with your NetID to request an exception.


Testing Reminders and Compliance

All local (i.e., live on- or off- campus) unvaccinated 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 testing protocol, Northwestern’s testing operation will notify you of noncompliance. Our team will assist you with any difficulties and work with you to ensure you return to compliance.  

For the health and safety of our community, unvaccinated students that do not complete two tests per week will be promptly referred to the Office of Community Standards for firm disciplinary action.

Questions about Testing

It is very important that students who have COVID-19 symptoms follow the processes outlined below.

If you have symptoms and need to be tested, please update your Symptom Tracker app, which will turn your badge red. Do 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.

Locations

Symptomatic antigen testing is available for all students at the Jacobs Center (Evanston), using the northwest entrance. No appointment is needed for rapid antigen testing. 

For symptomatic testing options near the Chicago campus, please contact Case Management to facilitate testing through the Heath Service. Symptomatic testing is not available at 345 E. Superior St. (Chicago).    

Obtaining Your Test if You Have Symptoms

If you have symptoms and need to be tested, please update your Symptom Tracker app, which will turn your badge red. Please visit the Jacobs Center, using the northwest entrance, during our hours of operation (10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for symptomatic testing). No appointment is needed for symptomatic rapid antigen testing. 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.

Before Testing

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

You have already received an email titled “NAVICA Invitation from Northwestern University for (your name)” to your Northwestern email address. This email details the steps you need to take to create your NAVICA account and connect to Northwestern. This email also provides your personal Connect Code that is necessary to connect to NU before you can begin testing.

Download the NAVICA app at App Store or Google Play. If your phone does not support the NAVICA app or if you are experiencing technical difficulties, you can use the NAVICA website as an alternate way to access your account.

  • Enter your basic demographic information to set up your account.
  • Use your Northwestern email.
  • You will receive a “Please confirm your email address” email from NAVICA/Abbott.
  • Upon completion, you will receive a “Welcome to NAVICA” email as part of this process.
  • Connect to “Northwestern” in your NAVICA settings. 
  • Once in the NAVICA app, select the “Test Site” tab from the bottom navigation.
  • Click the settings icon in the upper right corner.
  • In the “CONNECTED ORGS” section, select the “Connect an Organization” option.

If you are using the NAVICA website, scroll down until you see “Your Name’s Connected Organizations” and click “Add.” Enter your personal “Connect Code” provided to you in the above “NAVICA Invitation from Northwestern University” email and click the blue “Verify” button at the bottom of the screen. You need to enter this only once in the app.

Getting Your Results

For a rapid antigen test, you will receive your results within 30 minutes of completing your test. You will receive a notification on your phone informing you that your NAVICA results are ready. If you are using the NAVICA website, your results will be available under “Your Name’s Latest Test Result.”