For Faculty and Staff: Reminders and updates for COVID-19 case management, testing and vaccine protocols
As faculty and staff return to campus, we want to remind you of the appropriate steps to take related to various COVID-19 scenarios. We understand that due to the evolving nature of the pandemic, the guidance for testing and vaccinations can be difficult to follow.
This message provides the latest guidelines and addresses some of the most common questions we have received. If you have questions related to Northwestern’s approaches to COVID-19 testing and vaccines, please review this message carefully.
If you test positive at a Northwestern testing site
If you test positive at one of Northwestern’s testing sites, you may not report to work on campus and are expected to self-isolate. After you test positive, a member of Northwestern’s COVID Response Team (CRT) will reach out to you to provide instructions about your isolation period. Please self-isolate as soon as you learn of your positive test.
If you test positive using an at-home test
If you test positive using an at-home BinaxNOW or other over-the-counter test, you may not report to work on campus and are required to report that positive test to Northwestern using the self-reporting tool. You are expected to self-isolate until a member of the CRT provides you instructions on next steps.
If you test positive at another testing location
If you test positive at another healthcare facility and not at a Northwestern testing site, use the self-reporting tool to report the result to Northwestern. You may not report to work on campus and are expected to self-isolate. The CRT will contact you to provide instructions about your self-isolation period.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms
If you have COVID-19 symptoms but have not tested positive, you should badge red immediately using the Symptom Tracker application and test as soon as possible. You should not come to campus for work if you have symptoms. Because of the importance of testing as quickly as possible if you have symptoms, faculty and staff on the Evanston campus who badge red can now receive a symptomatic antigen test immediately by using the northwest entrance at the Jacobs Center (not the general entrance by Deering Meadow) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You will need to show your red badge and a photo ID when you arrive to test.
For faculty and staff on the Chicago campus, the CRT will coordinate a test at a Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Center or the Lavin testing site.
If you test negative but your symptoms persist or worsen, you should badge red again, and the CRT will provide additional instruction.
Return to campus for work
Under new public health guidance, faculty and staff may return to campus for work following a negative onsite (not over-the-counter) rapid antigen test five days following their initial positive test. Please note, the initial positive test date is considered “Day 0,” and a release test will occur five days later. If that second test result is negative, you may return to campus for work. If the test result is positive, you are considered to still be infectious and will not be permitted to return to campus for work for the full 10-day isolation period. There will not be a second release test.
Given the level of potential infectiousness prior to Day 5, it is imperative that you not attempt to test out prior to Day 5. If you visit the Jacobs Center prior to Day 5, you will be turned away from testing and will not be permitted to return to campus for work for the full 10-day isolation period.
In Evanston, faculty and staff may receive a clearance antigen test by using the northwest entrance of the Jacobs Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. You will need to provide a photo ID and show your Symptom Tracker badge in order to receive the release test. In Chicago, faculty and staff will need to coordinate their release test at a Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Center or the Lavin testing site through the CRT.
If you believe you have been exposed to someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19
Given the high level of current community spread, you may learn of recent exposures to COVID-19.
- If you have been vaccinated or received a booster within the past six months (two months for Johnson & Johnson), you are not required to quarantine. You should test at the Jacobs Center (using the Deering Meadow entrance) or at 345 E. Superior St. in Chicago on the fifth day following your date of exposure as a measure of precaution.
- If you are unvaccinated or have not been vaccinated or boosted within the past six months (two months for J&J), you are required to quarantine for five days. You should badge red on Symptom Tracker to notify the CRT of your exposure, and they will provide information about your quarantine.
Ongoing asymptomatic surveillance testing
The Jacobs Center in Evanston and 345 E. Superior St. in Chicago remain open Monday through Friday for asymptomatic testing with no appointment. Faculty and staff who visit the Jacobs Center for an asymptomatic test should use the south (Deering Meadow) entrance and be prepared to show a green Symptom Tracker badge.
As a reminder, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days is not advised to complete asymptomatic surveillance testing (either onsite or at home), consistent with public health guidance.
Questions about testing
If you have questions about campus testing requirements or options, please email email@example.com.
Questions about vaccine and booster requirements
Subject to limited exceptions, all students, as well as faculty and staff who work on campus, must obtain a COVID-19 vaccination booster by Sunday, Jan. 30, 2022, or 30 days after becoming eligible, whichever is later. Please attest to your booster status and upload your documentation online. If you have questions about Northwestern’s vaccination or booster requirements, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other General COVID-19 or return-to-campus questions
For other general COVID-19 questions, please email email@example.com.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we prepare to return to in-person classes and activities Jan. 18. Guided by the latest public health guidance, these efforts will help us understand and stabilize campus health during Wildcat Wellness and beyond.