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Emergency Messages

Returning from International Travel


Due to the widespread, ongoing transmission of the novel coronavirus worldwide, the Centers for Disease Control  and Prevention (CDC) have issued guidance for Returning from International Travel:

Stay home for 14 days from the time you returned home from international travel.

During this 14-day period, take these steps to monitor your health and practice social distancing:

  1. Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and monitor for fever. Also watch for cough or trouble breathing. Use this temperature log to monitor your temperature.
  2. Stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work or school.
  3. Do not take public transportation, taxis, or ride-shares.
  4. Keep your distance from others (about 6 feet or 2 meters).

If you get sick with fever or cough in the 14 days after you return from travel, seek medical care.  Call ahead before you go to the doctor's office or emergency room. More detailed information is available on the CDC's COVID-19 website.

Updated Health Insurance Information for Students and Employees Abroad



Northwestern students still abroad should be enrolled in the NU GeoBlue health insurance plan unless covered by an approved local plan. This does not include international students who have returned to their country of citizenship. If you need to extend your stay, be sure to extend your coverage using the Northwestern GeoBlue enrollment portal.

Faculty and staff are automatically covered by GeoBlue for Employees if traveling on Northwestern-affiliated travel. Generally, the plan’s duration is 180 days (roughly 6 months), however, until May 31, 2020, an extension of coverage is being offered for two reasons. If the traveler is unable to return due to a government-imposed travel restriction in effect at the end of the covered 180-period, coverage will be extended for a trip length of up to 365 days.  Likewise, if the traveler is unable to return due to a documented diagnosis or exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, coverage will be extended until the end of the quarantine or isolation period. 

To help reduce potential exposure, GeoBlue encourages all its travelers (students and employees) abroad to use the new telemedicine service, Global TeleMD. Global TeleMD provides 24/7 confidential access to a global network of medical doctors via telephone or secure video call at no additional cost. Go to Remote Care Services for instructions. The plan does not cover voluntary departure from a country with rapid COVID-19 spread.

Please continue to consult the Northwestern COVID-19 website Global and Domestic Travel FAQs for the most up-to-date information on the current situation.


 For students enrolled in the NU-SHIP plan who have left Evanston (including those abroad), the NU-SHIP Plan:

  • Covers 80% of in-network medical expenses with no claim limit, after a student meets their one-time $250 deductible. Students are responsible for the remaining 20%
  • Pays 100% of medical expenses, once the $2,000 out-of-pocket maximum is satisfied
  • Provides mental health care at 80% with a $20 co-insurance cap
  • Covers prescription medications, after copay
  • Has no exclusions for pre-existing conditions or travel outside the US
Students outside Illinois will be able to find in-network providers on the Aetna Student Health website. Students abroad will need to pay all costs up front and then submit their claims to Aetna for reimbursement.

To learn more about resources available for COVID-19, refer to the Student Health Insurance FAQs or contact

COVID-19 Update


On March 4, NU President Morton Schapiro announced that Northwestern-sponsored Spring Break trips to international destinations involving undergraduate and graduate/professional school students are canceled due to multiple factors associated with the spread of COVID-19 here and abroad. Faculty and staff were asked to defer any non-essential international travel.

News and resources for the Northwestern community have been posted on a new website including additional updates on other University-sponsored Global Travel.  Updates specifically on undergraduate study abroad travel are posted on the Global Learning Office's website COVID-19 Study Abroad FAQs.