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Health Concerns

Updated 7/24/2020

About the Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website on the 2019 novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is the most up to date source for information on the coronavirus and the current spread domestically and globally. 

1. How is Northwestern protecting the NU community?

Northwestern University has been working to provide the community with information and updates as the outbreak unfolds. Various groups of faculty, staff and students have been engaged in the University's planning efforts in a variety of modes in response to the crisis.

As we move forward with a phased return to campus, the Return to Campus and Safety Work Group has been developing plans to repopulate our campus and ensure the community's continued safety. Visit the Phased Return to Campus webpage for more information on Northwestern's return to campus planning process. (Updated 7/24/20) 

2. Are the buildings clean and safely ventilated?

To protect the health and well-being of our community as the University ramps up plans for a return to campus, Facilities has shared guidance about plans for proper cleaning and ventilation. (Added 6/8/20)

Student Health

1. Will Aetna Student Health Insurance cover COVID-19 testing and treatment?

As of March 12, Aetna Student Health members will have access to the following resources:

  • Aetna will waive deductible/co-insurance for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19. This policy will cover the test kit for patients who meet CDC guidelines for testing, which can be done in any approved laboratory location.
  • Aetna will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits for any reason through September 30, 2020. Cost sharing will be waived for all video visits through the CVS MinuteClinic app, Aetna-covered Teladoc offerings and in-network providers delivering synchronous virtual care (live video-conferencing) for the NU-SHIP. Please note we highly encourage students to utilize Northwestern University Health Service (NUHS) prior to utilizing the telemedicine service. These services should be utilized if NUHS has no availability or you are residing out of state. 
  • Through Aetna's Healing Better program, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package containing CVS over-the-counter medications to help relieve symptoms. The package will also include personal and household cleaning supplies to help keep others in the home protected from potential exposure.
  • Through existing care management programs, Aetna will proactively reach out to members most at-risk for COVID-19. Care managers will walk members through what they can do to protect themselves, where to get information on the virus, and where to go to get tested.
  • Aetna is extending its Medicare Advantage virtual evaluation and monitoring visit benefit to all Aetna members as a fully-covered benefit. This offering will empower members with other conditions that need follow-up care to engage with providers without the concern of sitting in a physician's office and risking potential exposure to COVID-19.

Additionally, CVS Health is implementing the following programs to educate members about COVID-19 and help address any associated anxiety and stress:

  • Crisis Response Lines will be opened for all Aetna members who may be experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19.
  • Aetna members will have expanded 24x7 access to the Aetna Nurse Medical Line.
  • A Resources for Living toolkit, with materials specifically developed for members experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19, will be provided to members.

For more information or to access these resources please reach out to Aetna Student Health at 877-626-2314. (Updated 6/23/20)

2. If I am diagnosed with COVID-19, who should I notify?

Students: If you have a confirmed positive test for COVID-19, contact Northwestern Health Service (NUHS) at 847-491-8100 for further instructions. See the student housing page for additional information for students living in campus residences.


Face Covering Order

As of May 1, all Illinois residents are required to wear masks or face coverings in public places and in situations where they are unable to follow social distancing guidelines. The order, issued by Governor J.B. Pritzker, applies to all individuals on Northwestern’s Evanston and Chicago campuses, including faculty, staff, students, contractors and visitors whenever appropriate social distancing of at least six feet cannot be accomplished. This may occur when in elevators, common areas, lobbies or in densely-populated office areas.

As Northwestern begins a phased return to campus, please reference the Face Coverings and Facemasks webpage for guidelines and other information on how to use face coverings on campus. General questions about face coverings are answered below, and additional Face Covering FAQs are available for download. (Updated 6/8/20)

1. What is a face covering, anyway?

It is any type of cloth that covers your nose and mouth, including non-medical grade masks, homemade masks, scarves, bandanas or handkerchiefs. (Added 4/22/20)

2. What respiratory protection is reserved for our health care workers, medical providers and emergency responders?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommend reserving medical grade masks and N-95 respirators for these individuals. (Added 4/22/20)

3. Will the University provide me a face covering?

All community members will receive a set of reusable face coverings with instructions on how to wear and care for them.(Updated 6/8/20)