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Efforts to Safeguard Our Campuses from Coronavirus Disease 2019

...We are global citizens who carry real responsibilities at this crucial moment.”

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community,

We would like to share with you additional information about our efforts to safeguard our campuses as the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread to some 40 nations around the world. At Northwestern, we are taking proactive measures to safeguard the well-being of our community.

We have been actively updating a Northwestern Now page and Health Services FAQs page. Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to report that the current risk for the American public is low. However, that risk assessment could change, given that health officials now believe the virus is likely to reach pandemic proportions.

We would like to offer you a brief update on the situation and our responses to date:

  • No COVID-19 cases have been identified on any of our campuses.
  • We held a town hall meeting Feb. 27 for NU schools and units, to help them prepare to address needs in their areas. Further information regarding issues discussed at the meeting is forthcoming.
  • By policy, Northwestern restricts undergraduate travel to countries deemed high-risk (levels 3 or 4) by the Department of State, which now include China and South Korea. University-sponsored travel to China is restricted for all community members until further notice. Similar precautions could be put into place for other countries as the virus spreads.
  • One undergraduate and one graduate student studying in Italy returned home early due to precautionary closures of their programs. No students traveling as part of a University program are currently in areas considered at significant risk.
  • A number of University-sponsored trips are scheduled for spring break. At this time, all trips are under constant review up to their planned departure times. Some could be relocated to other destinations or canceled by the University or by the program provider or host. We understand the potential inconvenience involved and ask for the continued patience of students, trip leaders, organizers and parents.
  • At this time, there are no plans to cancel spring break itself. However, if it becomes clear that public safety necessitates certain measures, we will alert you immediately.
  • We do not condone discrimination against members of our community based on their country of origin or where they have traveled.

We ask that all members of the NU community consider carefully any upcoming travel plans in the U.S. or abroad, including personal, non-University travel.

Students who are experiencing flu-like symptoms and are concerned about COVID-19 should call the NU Health Service at 847-491-8100. Faculty and staff with such concerns should contact their healthcare provider or visit an urgent-care center.

Our Northwestern community is a microcosm of our world, with members hailing from more than 80 nations. Many of us are deeply engaged in academic work at Northwestern University-Qatar and in dozens of other countries. This makes it impossible for us to insulate ourselves completely from challenges such as this one — but it also reminds us that we are global citizens who carry real responsibilities at this crucial moment. As such, may we all exercise prudence and care in the coming weeks and months, while being supportive of every other member of our worldwide Northwestern family.