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Northwestern returning to in-person operations in the fall

Dear students, faculty and staff,

In March, we first shared with students and faculty/staff our desire to host as many in-person classes and activities as possible in the upcoming academic year, and pledged to detail our expectations early this summer. 

Given the vastly improved local health landscape and the significant progress Northwestern has made in planning a return to campus, we are pleased to share today that our courses and the vast majority of our services and activities will return to in-person status for the 2021-22 academic year. Based on positive feedback and outcomes during the pandemic, some select classes, mostly in our graduate programs, will remain in remote or hybrid modalities. Offices will return to in-person operations gradually over the summer, opening fully several weeks before their academic programs begin. Students in on-campus programs also should plan to be in-person to make academic progress as the new year begins. We hope this announcement helps students, faculty and staff with personal, professional and academic planning and preparation through the summer months.

It is possible that local health guidance will change over the course of the summer. As we move forward, we all must continue to adhere to University health guidelines around required vaccinations, masking, testing and symptom tracking, and adapt when necessary. We have navigated this pandemic carefully together, and we will continue to do so.

Despite local improvements, much of the world continues to struggle with the pandemic, which greatly impacts those in our community who come from abroad to study and work with us. International students who are having trouble securing visas or who are subject to travel restrictions should reach out to their academic program and the Office of International Student and Scholar Services to make plans. Undergraduate international students will hear from their schools shortly about options for those who cannot arrive in time to begin the Fall Quarter. In addition, any student who wishes to request a reasonable accommodation for pregnancy or disability should contact AccessibleNU, and faculty and staff should contact the Office of Equity to submit a request.

Many in our community are looking forward to this full return to campus. However, we also understand that some of our community remain concerned and uncertain. Northwestern is committed to a safe return and has put many policies in place for this purpose. We have already navigated great change together over the past 15 months, and together, we can create an in-person experience that balances the needs of our students with the safety of our community. We are confident we will thrive together.

Northwestern will continue to provide updates on health guidance, academic plans and operational expectations throughout the summer. Northwestern also will resume its Return to Campus Discussion Series with a webinar for faculty and staff scheduled for noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 21. The webinar will focus on the health and safety of our University community and will feature two medical experts on the panel. Additional webinars for students and employees will be scheduled later in the summer. We look forward to seeing you online at these events, and we cannot wait to see you in person in the fall.



Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President for Student Affairs