Skip to main content

For Faculty and Staff: COVID-19 updates for January

Dear faculty and staff,

We are pleased that the COVID-19 landscape at Northwestern and in our surrounding communities has remained stable during the academic year. As the world adapts to the virus, Northwestern continues to do the same.

When we return from Winter Recess in January, Northwestern will evolve its COVID-19 response to preserve the guidelines and resources that are most impactful for our community while phasing out others.

Even as we refine our approach to COVID-19, it remains important that all members of our community monitor their health, take precautions against the transmission of illness, stay home when they are sick and support others as they do the same. As we have since the start of the pandemic, we will remain responsive to changes in the trajectory of COVID-19 in partnership with local health officials and our medical experts.

The following guidelines will apply upon our return from Winter Recess.

Vaccine requirement

With 98% of the campus community currently vaccinated, Northwestern no longer will require COVID-19 vaccination for faculty and staff. We do strongly recommend vaccines and boosters for people who can obtain them as a critical tool for minimizing severe illness. 

We will continue to require the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination for all students in on-campus programs, a population that brings regular, large influxes of new people into the University community and often lives communally.

Isolation Housing

Northwestern will continue to offer Isolation Housing for on-campus residential students who test positive for COVID-19. With the approval of individual instructors, students in Isolation Housing who feel well enough can sit for exams proctored in person. 

COVID-19 testing

In response to declining demand, Northwestern will discontinue asymptomatic testing at its Evanston and Chicago locations. Symptomatic testing will continue to be available from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Jacobs Center. Faculty and staff who have symptoms and want to be tested can visit our symptomatic testing site in Evanston, take an at-home test or arrange for a test off campus through their primary healthcare provider. Students who require symptomatic testing in Chicago should contact Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service.

Reporting positive tests

Faculty and staff will no longer be required to report when they test positive for COVID-19. Instead, stay home and address COVID-19 with your medical provider and supervisor as you would other illnesses that require the use of sick days. Instructors are still welcome to teach up to 10% of their class sessions remotely if necessary. Students who access campus are still required to report positive cases of COVID-19.

Website updates

Northwestern will update the COVID-19 website in early January to reflect these changes. In addition, we will suspend reporting weekly positive case numbers after the Dec. 22 update to the COVID-19 Dashboard. Experts now focus on hospitalization and severe case data as the primary factors in determining community guidelines.

If conditions dictate a stronger response, Northwestern may reinstate its vaccination, booster and/or testing requirements.

Thank you for your commitment to keeping Northwestern a healthy and productive place to learn, live and work. We wish you well during the final weeks of 2022 and look forward to a successful start to the new year.


Luke Figora
Vice President for Operations

Lorraine Goffe
Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Office

Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor