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New COVID-19 health resource for students

Dear students,

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 your and your family’s health and safety. 

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. Students can continue to report their positive tests to the COVID Response Team by using the self-reporting form or by changing their SymptomTracker app to red. Please note, these at-home tests will not replace your on-campus testing requirements at this time, unless otherwise communicated by your academic program. Instead, they are meant to support you personally for the rest of the spring and into the summer.

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 that 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