Dear Northwestern Community,
With the number of COVID-19 cases growing quickly across the state and much of the country, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance Wednesday, Nov. 11, asking residents to stay at home “as much as possible” for the next three weeks.
Although the new guidance is designed to enable schools and businesses to remain open, the guidance urges individuals to work from home, if possible, to avoid gatherings and travel, and to go out only for necessary and essential activities. Those include COVID testing, grocery shopping and trips to the pharmacy.
For our Northwestern community, we ask that you follow these new guidelines so we can balance continuing the Fall term with doing our part to protect not only ourselves, but also the most vulnerable on and near our campuses.
Faculty and Staff
All schools and units will assess their faculty and staff currently working on campus and identify those who must continue to be onsite to perform their work or research. This includes supporting students who are on campus. Faculty and staff who are able to work from home will be advised to do so through Nov. 29, the end of Thanksgiving break.
Per the state guidance, classes, research and student activities that currently occur in person can continue to be held in person. However, the modality of individual face-to-face or hybrid courses may be re-evaluated, if preferred. If individual classes do transition to remote delivery, students must be notified in a timely manner and syllabi and student systems updated accordingly. The last day of in-person classes will remain Nov. 24.
The new guidance follows recent updates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Illinois Department of Public Health recommendations about safe practices for this holiday season.
As previously stated, students who plan to leave the area at the end of in-person classes should get tested for COVID before they leave. Exit testing for all students will be available Nov. 16-25. More information about this will be communicated on Friday.
Although our COVID numbers on campus have grown in recent weeks, the positivity rate remains low, around 1% for the last seven days – a testament to all of your hard work and adherence to social distancing, mask wearing, hygiene measures, regular testing and contact tracing. We are thankful for your work so far, and ask that you redouble your efforts at this critical time. Your commitment to keeping our community safe and well has enabled us to have a smoother-than-expected Fall Quarter and helped us plan for bringing more people back to campus in January.
Those plans for Winter remain unchanged, but we will continue to monitor the trajectory of the pandemic as well as additional public health guidance, which will inform our plans.
We truly appreciate your efforts throughout this difficult year, and we trust that you will continue to take the necessary measures to protect our community and help the University finish Fall Quarter as strongly as possible.
Provost and Professor
Senior Vice President for Business and Finance