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For Students: COVID-19 updates for January

Dear students, 

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

Northwestern will continue to require the primary series of COVID-19 vaccination for all students. Boosters are not required, but we strongly recommend boosters for people who can obtain them as a critical tool for minimizing severe illness. Students may request an exception to the primary vaccine requirement based on personal health conditions or sincerely held religious beliefs. Students must have proof of their vaccination or approval for an exception on record in order to register for classes. 

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. Students who require symptomatic testing in Chicago should contact Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service.

Reporting positive tests

Students who come to campus will continue to be required to report positive cases of COVID-19. To submit a positive COVID-19 test taken somewhere other than the Jacobs Center, click on “Report COVID-19 Test Results” at the link provided. The COVID-19 Response Team will then contact you via email to confirm your isolation period. You may return to campus only after you have cleared that isolation period.

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.

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

Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor

Patricia Lampkin
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs