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Winter Quarter Summary

Read an overview of the University's status and key protocols in place for Winter Quarter 2021. 

Increased Density on Campus

  • Students: First- and second-year undergraduate students are invited to return to campus for Winter Quarter. As in the Fall, students can choose to study remotely and make academic progress from afar. 
  • Faculty and Staff: With increased numbers of students on campus, it is expected that faculty and staff presence will also increase. When conditions permit, both faculty and staff are encouraged to look for opportunities to increase their presence on campus, in alignment with school and unit Return-to-Campus plans and space constraints. Managers will continue to extend flexibility for their staff, and the Alternative Work Arrangements Policy will be extended into winter terms.

Health and Safety Guidelines

As Northwestern begins its Winter Quarter, the health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority. Familiarize yourself with guidelines and procedures in place for those who return to campus:

  • COVID-19 Testing
    All students will now be required to test weekly or bi-weekly, depending on how frequently they are on campus. Faculty teaching in person and staff working with high levels of student or public interactions will be eligible to participate in regular, recurring testing.
  • Wildcat Wellness
    From January 3-17, 2021, Northwestern will repeat the successful strategy from the Fall term of a modified quarantine for all faculty, staff and students called Wildcat Wellness This includes an initial stage of quarantine until a first negative test result.
  • Symptom Tracker
    All students, faculty and staff are required to use a daily health monitoring application prior to attending on-campus work, programming or activities, including classes. Both a web-based version and mobile versions of the app are available.
  • Mask Mandate
    All members of the Northwestern community are required to wear a mask indoors even if they can socially distance — except when in a private office, personal residence or residence hall room. Labs requiring other personal protective equipment will be exempted.
  • Classroom Guidelines
    Students and instructors alike will be expected to follow new protocols before, during and after entering instructional spaces. Additionally, COVID-19 safety guidelines will apply.
  • Gathering Restrictions
    A 10-person limit applies to all University gatherings except classes. Northwestern students, faculty and staff must be the primary participants for the event, and social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines must be followed.
  • Travel Restrictions
    Travel should be limited or delayed wherever possible to promote the safety of our community and to contain costs. The policy was last updated on December 16, 2020 and remains in effect until further notice.

Community Behavior Expectations

  • Students, faculty and staff returning to campus must follow certain community standards, including complying with COVID-19 testing effort and health monitoring, while on campus. Community members who are also expected to participate in the University's contact tracing efforts and comply with quarantine and self-isolation procedures. Those who violate these expectations may face disciplinary actions.
  • Visitors to University buildings must have an academic, research, or administrative purpose associated with the mission of the University. Visitors must be pre-approved, and the visitor and the “host” who invited the visitor must comply with the Visitors Requirements.