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Understand COVID-19 Guidelines

As a condition of returning to campus, community members are required to follow policies and guidance issued by Northwestern.

Health and Safety Guidelines

The safety and health guidelines, rooted in our core principles, provide guidance on how to:

  • Reduce transmission among community members and visitors
  • Maintain healthy business operations and
  • Maintain a healthy working, learning and living environment

Read the Guidelines

Protecting the Vulnerable and our Community

All of our personal situations will be unique. Some members of our community may be more vulnerable to complications of COVID-19 that increase the risk of infection or the severity of symptoms. Those who have questions or need accommodations are encouraged to contact their Human Resources representative, their Dean’s Office, the Office of Equity, The Graduate School or their Student Affairs office.


If you have any questions, comments or concerns:

Cleaning and Disinfection Post-Confirmed COVID-19 Cases

According to the CDC, coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Northwestern will follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Departments/units must coordinate with Risk Management or Research Safety to identify the affected area(s) and discuss the following disinfection steps below:

  • Identifying and closing close off area(s) used by the person who is sick. Departments/ units do not necessarily need to close operations, if they can close off affected areas.
  • Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person who is sick, such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards and remote controls.
  • Use a vacuum equipped with high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) filter, if available.
    • Do not vacuum a room or space that has people in it. Wait until the room or space is empty to vacuum, such as at night, for common spaces, or during the day for private rooms.
    • Consider temporarily turning off room fans and the central HVAC system that services the room or space, so that particles that escape from vacuuming will not circulate throughout the facility.
  • Once area has been appropriately disinfected, it can be opened for use. Faculty, staff, and students without close contact with the person who is sick can return to work immediately after disinfection.
  • If more than 7 days since the person who is sick visited or used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary. Continue routing cleaning and disinfection. This includes everyday practices that businesses and communities normally use to maintain a healthy environment.