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Illinois Stay-at-Home Order Issued

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

As you likely have heard, this afternoon Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued a “stay-at-home” order for the entire state. The order, which goes into effect tomorrow, Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m., is designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and we are urging all members of our Northwestern community to comply.

We know this order will cause increased anxiety and concern for many of you, but we want you to know that because the University has already taken many of the measures outlined in the order, the additional impact to Northwestern should be minimal. The University will continue to operate, and we will continue to deliver world-class instruction and essential research throughout the Spring Quarter.

As we outlined in an email to the community yesterday, all “essential” individuals who are required to be on site for essential work functions — including faculty members, staff, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students deemed essential to operations — will still come to work if they are well. All employees who can perform their work remotely are expected to do so and should not come to campus until directed to return. 

Students, faculty and staff who are packing up to leave campus in the coming days will be able to leave campus — as roads and highways will remain open. Students who must remain on campus can remain if they have received approval, and will be provided essential services such as housing, dining and emergency services. 

All campus buildings will have security card access activated 24/7. You will need your ID card in order to access buildings that you currently are granted access to.

When we return from Spring Break on April 4, courses will begin remotely, as planned. 

For those of you who already are working or studying from home in Illinois, you will still be allowed to go to grocery stores and hospitals, pharmacies and gas stations. You also can take walks outside or go jogging, as long as you practice social distancing.

But as Governor Pritzker said today, and as we have urged before, please take every precaution to help stop the spread of COVID-19, which means avoiding crowds, minimizing trips outside your home, social distancing when you must go out and self-isolating if you feel ill or have had contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in today’s news conference announcing the “stay-at-home” order, we are safer at home, but it is critically important that we do not lose our sense of community.

The measure taken by the governor today underscores the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to take this seriously — as suggested by our own medical professionals. We all must do our part to help battle this virus, and we know you will.

We will continue to closely monitor this pandemic and will offer further guidance over the next week — and as more information becomes available. Please continue to visit Northwestern’s COVID-19 resource page frequently, which includes a range of FAQs related to the virus and how you can protect your health.

If you have additional questions, please contact the COVID-19 Resource Center at and 847-467-4111.

As we have said repeatedly, we value your support, your partnership and your understanding as we continue to work together to keep our cherished institution running amid truly challenging times.



Jonathan Holloway
Provost and Professor

Kathleen Hagerty
Interim Provost Designate

Craig Johnson
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance 

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President for Student Affairs