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Students: Welcome to Spring Quarter

Dear students,

Today marks the beginning of Spring Quarter for most of you, and with the new term comes increased optimism about the trajectory of a pandemic that has drastically altered Northwestern’s regular operations for more than a year. Our hope is that you were able to find some time during spring break to rest and recharge, and are ready for the new quarter to begin.

As we return, Northwestern requires students to participate in Wildcat Wellness, the modified quarantine that runs through April 5 for most programs, including Kellogg. While there will be no in-person activities until in-person classes commence April 6, information about virtual programming during Wildcat Wellness is available online.

Meanwhile, there are promising signs that the state will significantly lift restrictions on gatherings in the coming months as vaccines are administered more widely. While we must continue to adhere to the health practices that have served us well so far, we are exploring ways to safely increase in-person activities this spring, both in academic and co-curricular settings, as well as in the residence halls for those living on campus. The University continues to plan for the long term and is currently considering lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and implications for the future.

As you settle into your classes, please update your time zone in Canvas to give your instructors a better sense of whether you and your classmates are local, in the event they would like to hold face-to-face sessions at some point in the quarter. Additionally, Evanston undergraduate students will have an opportunity to elect Credit/No Credit grading for classes they took this academic year after the end of the Spring Quarter. Review the policy now and make sure to talk with your adviser(s) during the quarter about this option. Later in the quarter, the Office of the Registrar will share details about how and when you can make this election.

Below, you will find additional details about vaccines, testing compliance, health guidance and expectations for Fall Term. As we have throughout the pandemic, we will share what we know with you when we know it.

Vaccines and testing

Last week, we provided an update on Northwestern’s approach to the evolving vaccination rollout. The safety of our community remains our priority as we continue a gradual return to campus. Most students will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine April 12, when the State of Illinois opens eligibility to all individuals 16 and older. We encourage students to get vaccinated. 

Any student who becomes fully vaccinated through a location other than Northwestern University is encouraged to disclose to the University (1) the type of vaccine received (e.g. Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson) and (2) the date(s) of vaccination. Students can complete their disclosures here.

These disclosures are entirely voluntary. This information will be securely maintained and accessible only to those who need access to it due to their role and responsibilities at Northwestern. At this time, we expect to use this information to support our continued management of the pandemic.

All students—including those who have been vaccinated—are required to comply with COVID-19 testing expectations throughout the Spring Quarter. Undergraduate students are required to test twice weekly—one Color and one rapid test. Testing requirements for graduate and professional students vary based on program and the amount of time you spend interacting with the Northwestern community.

If you are arriving late or you are temporarily or permanently leaving campus, please visit our website for instructions on how to stay in compliance with your testing protocol.

Failure to abide by these guidelines or your testing protocol may result in a conduct violation, restriction from campus and/or more severe consequences. 

Updated health guidance

The University aligns its guidance with public health recommendations on matters such as visitor safety protocols, gatherings and events. Please continue to use the COVID-19 website as a resource for the most current policies and guidelines, and review the Spring Quarter Summary for updated information.

Our entire Northwestern community of faculty, students and staff—including those who have been vaccinated—must follow established safety protocols, including: 

Planning for Fall

We are actively planning for Fall Quarter and working to define how it will take shape in the coming months. Our aim, as we have stated, is to have as many in-person classes, co-curricular opportunities and social experiences as possible as local and national guidance evolves and pandemic restrictions begin to loosen. At the same time, we will identify opportunities to be flexible and examine the potential evolution of how we teach, learn, research and work to reflect the lessons we have learned through the pandemic.

Thank you for your continued diligence as we navigate this time together as a Northwestern community, and we wish you the best of luck as you begin the Spring Quarter.



Kathleen Hagerty
Provost and Professor

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier
Vice President for Student Affairs