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COVID-19 Testing Information for Northwestern Faculty and Staff

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare for Fall Quarter, your health and that of our students continues to be our highest priority. To help us start the new academic year as safely as possible, we are implementing a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan, which we shared with students earlier today and would also like to share with you. 

In partnership with Northwestern Medicine, we have established a three-step testing process for students:

  1. An at-home test, to be delivered to undergraduates and completed before they return to campus for the start of Fall Quarter.
  2. Testing for undergraduate and graduate students to be conducted upon arrival to campus or prior to the start of fall classes at on-campus facilities in Evanston (Jacobs Center) and Chicago (345 E. Superior St.) between Aug. 24 and Sept. 20.
  3. Ongoing periodic testing for faculty, staff and undergraduate and graduate students through the duration of the quarter.

You can find a detailed explanation of student-testing procedures on Northwestern’s COVID-19 and Campus Updates website. As a reminder, our testing protocols are just one component of the efforts underway to foster a healthy campus environment for students, faculty, and staff as they return to campus.

Testing for Faculty and Staff (including Postdocs)

Any faculty or staff members who demonstrate symptoms should contact the NU COVID-19 Case Management Team at 847-491-8422. If you are on campus when your symptoms develop, you will be directed to one of the on-campus testing sites. If your symptoms develop while at home, contact your primary care physician to arrange for testing and medical follow-up.

Periodic testing of faculty and staff also will be conducted on campus throughout Fall Quarter. Some of that testing will be on a random sampling basis, and some will be focused on certain faculty and staff in higher-risk positions or those who pose a higher risk to others based on the nature of their role while on campus. The testing of asymptomatic faculty and staff will primarily begin following the completion of testing for students as they arrive. More information on this process will be sent in the coming weeks.

Any member of the community who receives a positive test at any point will be instructed to self-isolate for 14 days, either in their residence or, in the case of undergraduate students who live on campus, in dedicated on-campus quarantine residences.

New Symptom Tracker App Coming Soon

The Northwestern community also will have access to our Symptom Tracker application. Students, faculty, staff and guests visiting the Evanston or Chicago campuses must use the app’s “Symptom Check” survey each day before physically arriving on campus, and be ready to show a virtual “green badge” (for students, faculty and staff) or a virtual “purple badge” (for visitors) when prompted on Northwestern’s campuses. Users who are identified as having symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 will be issued a virtual “red badge” and given instructions on how to proceed. A link to the app will be provided prior to the beginning of Fall Quarter. This app will replace the daily symptom monitoring form currently on the University website.

We appreciate your partnership in following these procedures, as well as other health safety guidelines outlined in our Return to Campus Policy. These actions will give us the best chance of maintaining the health and well-being of our campus community so that we may continue to offer face-to-face academic and co-curricular experiences. Whether remote or in-person, we are one Northwestern community, working together to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Luke Figora
Senior Associate Vice President
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer