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New COVID-19 health resource for faculty and staff

Dear faculty and staff,

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stabilize and the situations in Illinois and on campus improve, many of us will start engaging in more social activities and travel, in addition to returning to school and work. While high vaccination rates are the most important tool to enable increased social activity, we realize that not everyone can currently get vaccinated — notably children under the age of 12. To help support the Northwestern community and to increase testing flexibility, we are offering a new tool to help foster the health and safety of you and your family.  

Northwestern has secured a large number of the newly FDA-approved Abbott BinaxNow over-the-counter rapid tests, which we are making available to faculty, staff, and students at no cost starting this week.

Similar to the tests we currently use on campus, the new tests also are authorized for at-home use without a prescription. This kit, which includes two tests per box, is intended for serial testing. Simply test yourself twice within 3 days, with at least 36 hours between tests. Results are available in 15 minutes. The tests are approved for children aged two or older when an adult collects the sample. 

Northwestern will not have access to the test results. If you or your family member tests positive, you should contact your personal medical provider. Faculty and staff who test positive with one of these tests should change their SymptomTracker to red and a member of the COVID Response Team will help arrange follow-up testing. You can also use the self-reporting form to report any external positive test results. 

The tests will be available starting immediately. You can visit either the Jacobs Center or 345 E. Superior St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday to pick up your first batch of tests in order to get started and to support your personal situation. They will continue to be available throughout the summer on a first-come, first-served basis. 

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity and that it helps you and your family return to a more normal summer this year.

Luke Figora
Vice President of Operations