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COVID Planning Guidance – Summer 2021

Key Considerations for Northwestern youth programs

Programming for K-12 populations can proceed in person as long as participants abide by local, state, and federal guidance, as well as applicable University policy. Schools or units operating and/or hosting K-12 programs on or off-campus (including virtual) must register the program on the Youth on Campus website.  No residential or overnight youth programming in University facilities will be allowed Summer 2021.

All in-person programming should follow the below expectations, which are subject to frequent change with the introduction of additional public health guidelines from local, state, and federal authorities.

Expectations for Youth Programming - Summer 2021
Expectations for Youth Programming - Summer 2021
Initial Communication and Screening
Programs should make sure participants/students and their parents/legal guardians are familiar with answers to frequently asked questions, University policies, and key health guidelines with respect to COVID-19.

Programs should implement communication plans that include what do to in the event of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Information on the University’s contact tracing process can be found here.

PPE & Social Distancing
All staff and participants should still wear masks at all times in public spaces, including outdoor and instructional spaces (exception for eating).

IDPH guidelines for K-12 programming have re-defined in-person social distancing to be 3-6 feet apart for students and fully vaccinated staff. Unvaccinated staff should maintain 6 feet apart in a classroom type setting to the extent possible.

Programs should continue to follow University policy and CDC/IDPH guidance on cleaning and facilities protocols.

Program Density and Staffing
Staffing ratios should still be adequate to ensure the safety of program participants. In a COVID environment, it is important staff develop a roster or contingency plan if qualified individuals get sick or have to return home for personal reasons.

If programs are taking place in Evanston or Chicago, they must adhere to local guidance which allow for gatherings or events up to 50 people with 50 percent of overall room capacity. Program staff should encourage fewer people per space and cohort maintenance.

Transportation & Dining
All meals should still be individually plated and catering should continue to be contactless. Buffet style meals and sharing of utensils should be avoided.  Programs should continue to encourage “grab and go” options that limit youth program participants gathering to eat. This is in addition to normal precautions with food allergies and dietary needs.  

Group travel by bus or van should be arranged through one of the University’s pre-approved vendors. Bus capacity remains no more than 50 people per bus, but it’s also determined by the space’s ability to accommodate social distancing.

Testing and Vaccine Controls

Programs should determine the process by which test screening and protocols are achieved as long as they are consistent with overall University guidance. For K-12 program participants, the University recommends prescreening and daily symptom monitoring. Any program staff that are employees or students of Northwestern will be subject to the existing testing framework found here.

For longer term youth programs, program directors should also encourage staff who do not hold a formal student or employee appointment at the University to undergo routine testing through their primary healthcare provider or a public testing location.

Programs/units should be encouraged to include any vaccinated individuals in a testing group if implementing a testing program.

Contact Tracing
Per IDPH guidance, youth programs/curriculum should require contact tracing in combination with isolation of those with suspected or confirmed cases and quarantine for close contacts, in collaboration with local health departments.

Programs should familiarize staff with the University’s general contact tracing process and reporting requirements


Requirements for External Organizations and Non-Northwestern Programs:

Third-party organizations that wish to utilize Northwestern University facilities or property for youth-serving programs or activities must ensure their programs are run consistent with the University’s Return to Campus Policy. Third-party organizations shall also ensure they comply with local guidance for Evanston and Chicago including limits on room capacity.

Third-party organizations must secure the written agreement of the University that attests to: