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COVID-19 Testing Information for Northwestern Graduate Students

Dear Graduate and Professional Students,

As we prepare for Fall Quarter, please know that your health and well-being are our highest priority. Each and every one of us play a role, through our daily actions and behaviors, in making our campus a healthy environment to live, learn and discover.

To help us start the new academic year as safely as possible and to continue monitoring the health of our community, we are implementing a free, comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan in partnership with Northwestern Medicine for all students on our Evanston and Chicago campuses for the Fall Quarter.

All students who plan to come to campus, for classes or other purposes, must receive a negative test in conjunction with the start of the Fall Quarter, even if they have been on campus over the summer, unless otherwise instructed by their program.We encourage all students who plan to come to campus this fall to self-isolate at home for two weeks before returning to campus to improve your chances of staying healthy and returning to campus on schedule.

Start of Quarter Testing

Testing for graduate students will be available by appointment on both our Evanston and Chicago campuses. 

Initial testing for Evanston-based graduate students will take place Aug. 26 to Sept. 5 at the Jacobs Center (2001 Sheridan Road). Initial testing for Chicago-based graduate students will take place Aug. 27 to Sept. 5 in the lobby of 345 E. Superior St. 

For graduate students arriving to campus after the initial testing period, additional appointments will be available Sept. 15-18 on the Evanston campus and Sept. 15-17 on the Chicago campus.

Appointments will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, with a fixed number of appointment windows each day. Students must show their Wildcard and know their NetID to complete on-site registration and proceed through the testing process. You can book your testing appointment here.

Students who test positive will be instructed to self-isolate at home in line with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

The initial testing process falls during Wildcat Wellness, a two-week period of modified quarantine from Sept. 6-20 that all students living on or near the Evanston and Chicago campuses are expected to follow, unless your academic program has started before Sept. 1 or you have been on campus over the summer for research purposes. Off-campus students should not be on campus before or during this period, with the exception of their testing appointment, or to continue classes or research that are already underway.

Periodic testing of students will continue through the remainder of Fall Quarter. More information on this process will be sent in the coming weeks. 

Symptomatic Testing

To decrease the potential spread of the disease, we are separating testing for symptomatic individuals from asymptomatic individuals.

All students demonstrating any symptoms of illness, including symptoms not related to COVID-19, should schedule an appointment at our symptomatic testing facilities. Symptomatic testing will take place at Searle Hall in Evanston (633 Emerson St.) or a Northwestern Medicine location in Chicago. These appointments need to be scheduled through the Health Service.

Only asymptomatic individuals will be tested at Jacobs Center and 345 E. Superior St. If you arrive to be tested at either location and are symptomatic, you will be immediately directed to the appropriate facility. 

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 before the quarter begins. This app will replace the daily symptom monitoring form that is currently on the University web page. 

We appreciate your partnership in following these testing procedures. Testing is but one aspect of a healthy campus ecosystem. We encourage you to learn and strictly follow the other health safety guidelines outlined on the COVID-19 website. 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. Thank you for playing an active role in the health and well-being of our broader Northwestern community.


Luke Figora
Senior Associate Vice President
Chief Risk and Compliance Officer

Dr. Robert Palinkas
Executive Director
Northwestern University Health Service