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For Faculty and Staff: Spring Quarter plans for classes and required testing for students

Dear faculty and staff,

We write today to provide updates on Northwestern’s plans for the start of Spring Quarter.

Upon students’ return from Spring Break on Tuesday, March 29, the University will resume classes and activities in person. All graduate and undergraduate students, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to complete at least one in-person COVID-19 test during the week of March 27. Students, faculty and staff with an approved exception to the vaccination requirement are still required to complete two in-person tests each week. Instructors teaching an in-person class may again teach up to 10% of their class sessions remotely.

We are monitoring pandemic conditions and will make a decision in the coming weeks about masking on campus after Spring Break. Public health officials and our own medical experts continue to inform our guidance on masking and other mitigation strategies. 

Masking remains a requirement in classrooms, lab-based classes and other spaces where instruction takes place through the Winter Quarter. Masking continues to be optional in University administrative spaces, offices, research labs, public spaces, public events, athletic facilities and non-classroom communal spaces such as residence halls, libraries and the Norris University Center. Masks are still required in University health settings such as Health Services, Counseling and Psychological Services and our COVID-19 testing sites. There also may be indoor campus events during which masks will be required more broadly. Individuals in leased spaces, patient-facing areas or clinical buildings should refer to local guidance regarding indoor masking policies, as they may differ from University-owned buildings. 

Instructors and managers are not permitted to require masking of others unless they are directed to do so as part of an approved medical accommodation through the Office of Equity or AccessibleNU. As we said in our Feb. 24 announcement, we understand that many people hold strong personal feelings about masking, and we encourage students, faculty and staff to continue masking if that makes them more comfortable. The University community is committed to respecting and supporting one another’s choices. Free surgical masks are available in the entryways of most campus buildings, and free KN95 masks remain available on the Evanston and Chicago campuses.

Thank you for your commitment to a safe and healthy University community.


Luke Figora
Vice President for Operations

Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor