Skip to main content

HR Coronavirus FAQs

Northwestern employees can find answers to specific work-related coronavirus/COVID-19 questions. More general information can be found on the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates site.

1. Are there in-person HR services available on campus?

Yes. askHR is our centralized point of contact for the entire Northwestern community, providing in-person services on behalf of most HR units. askHR has locations on both the Evanston and the Chicago campus. 

askHR Evanston
1800 Sherman Avenue, First Floor Lobby
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Monday-Friday
askHR Chicago
Abbott Hall, 710 N Lake Shore Drive, Room 150
10 a.m. - 3 p.m. | Wednesdays

In-person askHR services include, but are not limited to:

  • Support for prospective, current, and past employees
  • New employee I9 verification and onboarding
  • Assisting with foreign national processing and documentation for new students and employees
  • Benefits assistance
  • Payroll/tax concerns and paperwork processing

2. What should I do if I work on campus and have symptoms of COVID-19?

Regardless of vaccination status, all employees who experience symptoms of COVID-19 should report the symptoms using the Symptom Tracker App prior to coming to campus. If you are badged “red” Northwestern’s COVID Response Team will coordinate a symptomatic test and provide guidance on next steps.

3. What options are available if I need to temporarily care for a dependent for COVID-19 quarantine-related reasons? (E.g. school, classroom or care center closure, dependent caregiver tests positive, child required to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure, etc.)

Staff employees may use personal floating holidays and vacation time to care for dependents during this temporary quarantine period. Effective Oct. 1, 2021 and until further notice, staff members also may use Incidental Sick Time for this reason. 

If the work responsibilities can be sufficiently performed from home, the employee may seek permission from their manager to work fully remote during the temporary quarantine period. If approval is granted, it may be rescinded by the manager at any time.

Instructors who are teaching an in-person class may teach up to 10% of their class sessions remotely. Should exceptional circumstances arise that require additional remote class sessions, the instructor should contact their department or dean’s office. Additional guidance for instructors may be found here.

All employees, both faculty and staff members, are expected to immediately and consistently stay in communication with their managers or department chair or dean’s office regarding their expected return to work or their regular on-site schedule.

Northwestern may require documentation to verify school/care center closures. Managers and school leaders are encouraged to provide flexibility for these instances; however, for staff absences the Staff Handbook polices related to attendance, unscheduled absences and pattern absences and Incidental Sick Time use still apply.

Contact Information

For questions related to the University’s caregiving resources and options, contact HR’s Well-being team.

4. What resources are available for employee well-being?

Staff and faculty can contact the Employee Assistance Program to schedule free, confidential 24/7 telephonic and video counseling with a licensed counselor for themselves or for their household family members.

The Faculty Wellness Program is also available for Faculty including international locations. Download a printable Faculty Wellness brochure.

The YourLife mailing list will provide weekly up-to-date communications about resources and online programs.

The NU Cares emergency fund supports benefits-eligible staff and faculty experiencing a severe, temporary, and unforeseen financial hardship. Applications are strictly confidential and are reviewed by a committee of staff and faculty. The fund is administered by the Well-being team within the Office of Human Resources. Assistance granted is not a loan and is not required to be repaid.

The Well-being team continues to offer individual, tailored well-being consultations telephonically or via video chat. Email to schedule an appointment.

5. What resources does the University provide for learning remotely?

The Office of Human Resources has introduced a new remote learning solution: Learn From Where You Are. Learn From Where You Are is here to provide you access to on-demand and live virtual learning, and offer you ways to grow professionally, build your skills, and stay engaged and connected.

6. How will the Performance Excellence process be impacted?

All schools and units are expected to complete Performance Excellence reviews and ratings. Goals and priorities may have shifted recently and performance reviews should take these shifts into account. Supervisors and staff engaged in remote work are advised to define performance according to successful outcomes rather than “time in seat.” 

In all times, it is a manager's responsibility to provide a candid performance rating and let staff members know where they stand. Ideally, performance ratings promote honest conversations between staff and supervisors that lead to strong planning for the year ahead.