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Coronavirus Self-Isolation Policy Announced

Dear members of the Northwestern community,

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly in the U.S. and abroad, University leaders are implementing self-isolation policies and other new guidance for students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campuses. Various teams are meeting regularly to assess current and future concerns, answer questions and take actions to keep our community as safe as possible during this outbreak. This message summarizes new self-isolation policies and links to new FAQs on our COVID-19 website that explain how to carry out these policies.

At this time, we have no reported or confirmed cases impacting the University; however, we want to remind the community that faculty and supervisors have been asked to be more flexible and to accommodate, as needed, ill students or employees who cannot attend class or come to campus due to these concerns.

General Isolation Policy

Following updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week, any travelers to the U.S. returning or coming for the first time from any country under a CDC Warning Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel) are expected to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of whether that direction is specifically given to them at the U.S. point of entry. Those Level 3 countries are China, Italy, Iran and South Korea, but there is a strong possibility that this list of countries will grow. Individuals who have transited these nations do not need to self-isolate if they did not leave the airport. If they left the airport or remained in the airport for more than 24 hours, self-isolation is required. Updates will be announced and posted to the University’s new FAQs as soon as possible if more countries are added to the list.

Northwestern expects that all students, faculty and staff returning to the University or coming for the first time who meet this criteria–or, who have been exposed to the Coronavirus--will self-isolate for 14 days prior to coming to campus. All visitors to campus (non-employee, non-student) for short- or long-term periods who meet the CDC criteria are expected to follow the same 14-day self-isolation requirement. Northwestern has provided FAQs with a comprehensive description of what it means to self-isolate, including specific instructions for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

Thank you for your partnership in working to make the Northwestern community as safe and healthy as possible during this crisis. Northwestern students, faculty and staff have an ethical responsibility to our community to conduct ourselves in a way that aims to protect us all, starting with following these guidelines on illness. We will continue to monitor the evolution of the COVID-19 outbreak and keep you informed of the latest developments.



Luke Figora
Senior Associate Vice President & Chief Risk and Compliance Officer

Julie Friend
Director, Office of Global Safety and Security

Robert Palinkas, MD
Executive Director, Northwestern Health Service