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Spring Wildcat Wellness

Modified Quarantine for Students

 At the start of Spring Quarter, Northwestern is requiring students to participate in “Wildcat Wellness,” a seven-day period that aims to reduce the chances of spreading COVID-19 and to better position the campus community to start the term healthy and well. 

All Northwestern students who intend to be on campus—including those living in on-campus residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, and off-campus residences—will participate in Wildcat Wellness before in-person activity begins. Any students travelling for spring break, or coming to campus for the first time, are expected to arrive on campus or at their off-campus residence by March 30.

Wildcat Wellness will be March 29 – April 5 for most programs, including Kellogg. Anyone arriving after March 30 is expected to follow a 7-day Wellness period starting upon arrival following the stages and requirements outlined below.  Programs that do not have a spring break will not observe Wildcat Wellness.

All students participating in Wildcat Wellness are required to receive TWO negative COVID-19 tests during the wellness period. Students living in residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, or needing access to on-campus dining must receive an initial rapid (Abbott) test as soon as possible upon returning to campus or the area.

Limited exceptions will be made for students in the Pritzker School of Law, graduate students in active research labs who have not left Evanston, and identified student athletes who are following a customized testing protocol. Details on those exceptions are outlined below.

Students who have received a COVID-19 vaccination must abide by the wellness period and all testing expectations.

Students are expected to follow CDC guidance on travel and holiday gatherings. 

Wildcat Wellness Stages

In the spring term, there will be two stages of Wellness.

  • Stage A –Testing Period with Limited Activity: During this period, students will receive two negative tests and may leave their on-campus room or off-campus residence only to perform a narrow set of allowed activities. Students must return to their residences and rooms no later than 8 p.m. daily and remain there until 7 a.m. the following morning.
    • All students must receive an initial test upon arrival to campus, and a second one 2-3 days later within the wellness period (March 29-April 5). Students should complete one Color test and one Abbott test during this period, and separate the two tests by 2-3 days. Testing instructions, locations, and hours are all available on the COVID-19 Testing webpages. Following Wildcat Wellness, students will continue their current testing protocols through the remainder of the term.
    • Students should receive a negative rapid (Abbott) test before engaging in allowed activities, if at all possible. If necessary, students can engage in allowed activities and then receive their first rapid test at the first possible opportunity when the testing center opens, followed by their Color test 2-3 days later.
    • Students living in residence halls, fraternity and sorority houses, or needing access to on-campus dining halls must receive an initial rapid (Abbott) test as soon as possible upon returning to campus or the area. Unless students return to campus when the testing center is closed, they should receive their negative initial rapid test prior to accessing dining or other campus amenities.
    • Off-campus students may not come to campus for any reason other than medical needs, including completing testing, prior to receiving the initial negative test, unless they fall into an exception category listed below.
    • The dining centers will be open on campus serving hot meals, but all meals will be to-go during the Spring Wellness period and students will need to return to their rooms to eat.  There will be no meal delivery to residence hall lobbies for this spring wellness period.
    • Students who need to go to essential jobs that cannot be performed remotely can leave their residence halls outside of this timeframe for those activities only.
    • The first week of classes in most programs will be delivered remotely.
  •  Stage B – In-Person Activity: On April 6, in-person activity will begin for those students who have completed required testing, have quarantined for at least 7 days, and are not in quarantine or isolation.
    • The scope of in-person activity that will begin April 6 will depend on positivity rates of arrival tests and adherence to Wildcat Wellness expectations. At the soonest, it is anticipated that in-person instruction will begin April 6. If needed, Northwestern will delay non-academic in-person activity.
    • Any in-person activity must adhere to community expectations regarding wearing face coverings and maintaining 6-foot physical distancing.

Students, faculty and staff participating in Chicago programs, or living in Chicago, must adhere to the city’s Emergency Travel Order.

Many non-essential campus facilities may have restricted access during Wildcat Wellness. Core services, such as Health Services, will be open.

All students, whether living in residence halls or off campus, must comply with these requirements. The compliance and behavior of our whole community will be extraordinarily important during this period and can help prevent the extension of the modified quarantine.

Campus-wide Modified Quarantine

The University closely monitors the number of students, faculty and staff who test positive for COVID-19, the number of students in quarantine and isolation, and guidance from state and local authorities. Based on these inputs, the University may issue a return to a modified quarantine, or may make the difficult decision to effectively close on-campus housing and dining.

Goals of Wildcat Wellness

The goals of Wildcat Wellness are to:

  • Reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19
  • Help students coming to the Evanston and Chicago communities to be better positioned to start the quarter healthy and well
  • Create a clear and equitable way for our campus community to adhere to CDC and local travel quarantine guidance for the local community
  • Be a responsible member of our neighboring communities
  • Give our students, faculty and staff the best possible conditions for a successful start to the term

Implications for Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff are also expected to observe Wildcat Wellness and refrain from scheduling in-person activities, except those that are essential or necessary to support students’ return and cannot be delivered remotely. Schools and units should evaluate whether faculty and staff should be on campus or remote and how best to support Wildcat Wellness. Faculty and staff who live or work in Chicago must adhere to the city’s Emergency Travel Order.

Requirements

Learn more about what activities are allowed and required during this period. 

Allowed Activities during Wildcat Wellness

Students may leave their residence for essential activities during Stage A of Wildcat Wellness. Participation in large groups should be avoided. Essential activities include both on- and off-campus tasks, such as:

  • Health and safety tasks, including activities essential to the health and safety of their family or household members (including, but not limited to, pets)
  • Meals will be to-go during the Spring Wellness period. Dining Centers will be open on campus serving hot meals, but students will need to return to their rooms to eat.  There will be no meal delivery to residence hall lobbies for this spring wellness period. Off-campus students must eat in their place or residence – no in person dining in restaurants is allowed. 
  • Obtaining services and supplies for themselves and their household members, such as groceries and food, household products, supplies they need to work from home, textbooks, and banking
  • Essential academic preparations, including required testing, performance practice connected to an academic program, and picking up their Wildcard and textbooks
  • Essential work that cannot be performed remotely. If your work is essential, you cannot perform it remotely, and you have received your negative test result(s), essential work is permitted, though please consider modifying your schedule to stay at home through Wildcat Wellness and work between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on those days.
  • Engaging in outdoor activity such as walking, hiking, running, and biking
  • Religious observance such as attending services or other religious events or gatherings

All of these aforementioned activities must be performed while wearing face coverings, especially where maintaining social distance of six feet is impractical. These activities that are considered essential must be performed only by those who are well and without symptoms. Those with symptoms or sick should stay home.

COVID-19 Testing

Undergraduate and graduate students staying in the area during Spring Break, returning back to Evanston/Chicago, or coming to campus for the first time are required to receive TWO negative COVID-19 tests during the Wildcat Wellness week.

All students living on campus and off campus must receive an initial test upon arrival to campus, and a second one 2-3 days later within the wellness period (March 29-April 5). Students should complete one Color test and one Abbott test during this period, and separate the two tests by 2-3 days. Testing instructions, locations, and hours are all available on the COVID-19 Testing webpages.

Following Wildcat Wellness, students will continue their current testing protocols through the remainder of the term.

Additional information about testing, quarantine and isolation, and procedures for positive cases can be found on the COVID-19 Health webpages.

Community Expectations

It is critical that we each take responsibility for maintaining the health of our community. Students, faculty, and staff are asked to abide by safety and hygiene standards, including those regarding face coverings, social distancing, limiting gatherings, hand washing and sanitizing, and cleaning shared surfaces. Students are expected to follow CDC guidance on travel and holiday gatherings. As a condition of returning to campus, students, faculty and staff are required to follow policies, protocols and guidance designed to protect everyone’s health. All students must:

Community members who violate these expectations may face disciplinary actions. For students, this could mean a range of responses from a reminder in cases of unintentionally not following guidance to separation from the University in severe cases of repeat offenses of intentionally disregarding expectations.

Students received specific information about training and community expectations.

 

Exceptions to Wildcat Wellness

The following groups will observe Wildcat Wellness with modifications:

  • Students in the Pritzker School of Law are not required to observe Wildcat Wellness given that the School calendar does not include a spring break this year.
  • Due to access to daily testing for some teams and the timing of competition in the Spring Term, some athletes will have a modified form of Wildcat Wellness to allow for conditioning and in some cases team practice with safety precautions in place. Each team will be provided a schedule of allowed activities that is modified based on the team’s competition schedule and degree of required contact.
  • Graduate students in active research labs will adhere to the following guidance: 
    • Students who have not traveled to states identified by the Chicago Emergency Travel Order can return to labs during the Wellness period and should continue their regular testing protocol.
    • Students who have traveled to a state identified by the Travel Order, or international destination:
      • In Evanston, may return following a negative COVID-19 test result
      • In Chicago, must follow the Chicago Emergency Travel Order
        • Following travel to yellow states, return to labs following a negative COVID-19 test result
        • Following travel to orange states: quarantine for 10 days OR receive a negative test prior to arrival in Chicago
        • Following travel to red states: quarantine for 10 days

Those with exceptions from the Wildcat Wellness program are still asked to support the campus community in a healthy start to the academic year. Other than their exempted activities, student athletes and graduate students in active research labs should approach this as a modified stay-at-home period while still:

  • Adhering to the Illinois’ Restore Illinois Plan Phase 4 as applicable
  • Minimizing social interaction outside of essential activities
  • Limiting exposure to groups larger than 50 (outside of research, varsity sports practice, etc.)
  • Practicing social distancing and wearing face coverings in all public places
  • Following expectations posted on campus