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Dance Marathon update

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

Earlier this morning, you received an email from us updating you about our efforts to monitor and mitigate the impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19). As we said in that email, we are in the process of evaluating large campus events on a case-by-case basis.

After much discussion and careful consideration, University leadership decided not to hold Dance Marathon this weekend. The decision was not made lightly. We understand how important Dance Marathon is to our community, to the registered dancers and to the event’s 500 organizers, who have worked tirelessly to make Dance Marathon a success.

Given the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we felt it was important to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our students, Evanston community members and the University as a whole. The decision was made in consultation with the University’s COVID-19 policy group and health professionals, and based on national recommendations about this rapidly changing situation. Given the prolonged duration of Dance Marathon, the close proximity of dancers and the strain it puts on participants, health experts thought those in attendance could have been at greater risk for illness had the event continued as planned.

Dance Marathon is an important tradition for Northwestern, and we are committed to ensuring it continues for years to come. We also are committed to making sure this year’s fundraising beneficiaries -- Children’s Home and Aid and Evanston Community Foundation -- reap the benefits of our community’s hard work. In the coming days and weeks, we will work with Dance Marathon leadership and other University leaders to determine our next steps. Once the details are in place, we will follow up with additional information.

We encourage community members to read Dance Marathon’s statement and to stay engaged with the organization through its Facebook page. Please also consider making a donation to Dance Marathon through the event’s website.

The restructuring of this year’s event should in no way diminish from the amazing work organizers have done, and the incredible impact their fundraising efforts have had on the Dance Marathon’s primary beneficiary this year, Children’s Home and Aid, as well as the event’s secondary beneficiary, the Evanston Community Foundation.

We truly appreciate the efforts of our students and organizers as the University deals with the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. This website will continue to be updated with the latest messages, advisories and information about COVID-19 for our students, faculty, staff, parents and others interested in the University’s response.   

Again, we thank you for your partnership as we all try to keep our community safe and healthy during this global challenge.



Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Craig Johnson
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs