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Updates on campus health guidelines

Dear students, faculty and staff,

We’ve made it through the Spring Term and the majority of the 2020-2021 academic year. It has been a challenging year for all, but the local pandemic situation continues to improve, with the State of Illinois now in Phase 5 of its reopening plan.

As we continue to align with guidance from federal, state and local public health agencies, Northwestern is updating its protocols on:

  • On-campus masking requirements
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Capacity limits for gatherings, meetings and events
  • Symptom Tracker requirements

 The following updates are effective today.

Campus Masking

Those who are fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks in most indoor spaces or outdoors when on campus. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated, regardless of the reason, is required to continue masking indoors. While masks are no longer required for those who are vaccinated in most indoor spaces on campus, many will choose to continue wearing a mask for their own personal comfort, and the community is expected to support their choices.

There may be indoor campus events during which masks will be required more broadly. We will make informed decisions about any such requirements as we monitor campus and local health trends and adjust policies where appropriate.

In alignment with Northwestern Medicine practice, masks still will be required at our health facilities and testing sites, regardless of vaccination status. This means masking protocols will continue to be enforced and required on the Evanston campus at Health Services (Searle Hall) and the Jacobs Center, and on the Chicago campus at 345 E. Superior.

COVID-19 Testing  

Fully vaccinated students are no longer required to complete recurring asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to take two Abbott rapid antigen tests every week. This testing will continue to take place at the Jacobs Center (Evanston) or 345 E. Superior (Chicago).

Testing also remains available at these locations for faculty and staff. Those who are not fully vaccinated should complete regular testing.

Capacity Limits

Capacity limits and restrictions for meetings and events have been lifted. Everyone (including vaccinated individuals) might be required to wear masks at specific types of indoor events. As noted above, unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks at all indoor events and meetings. 

Symptom Tracker

All unvaccinated students, faculty and staff are required to use the Symptom Tracker application whenever visiting campus. This requirement is lifted for vaccinated people. Anyone may continue using the Symptom Tracker to initiate a case with the COVID Response Team if they have symptoms or exposures.

We will continue to update the COVID-19 website in the coming days and weeks to reflect our evolving response to the pandemic. Thank you for your diligence as we adapt to the changing landscape.



Luke Figora
Vice President for Operations