Northwestern University: Northwestern reinstates indoor masking requirement

Following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health and the Evanston and Chicago public health agencies, Northwestern has reinstated its masking requirement in all indoor shared public spaces, according to Luke Figora, vice president for operations, in a message to the University community on Aug. 3.

The masking requirement applies to all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, except when in a private room, such as an office, apartment or residence hall room or while actively eating or drinking.

Faculty who are fully vaccinated and who are teaching in-person may do so without a mask, provided they maintain appropriate distancing. Masking remains optional outdoors, though certain outdoor events may elect to require masking based on the number of attendees and location of the event.

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“Northwestern will revisit its masking requirement in late August as we learn more about the local trajectory of the pandemic,” Figora wrote.

The University will continue to provide further updates via email or through the Return to Campus Discussion Series. The next event in the series is a discussion for students and families at noon, Monday, Aug. 16, on issues of class registration and the classroom experience.

Free testing available on campus
The Aug. 3 message also included a reminder that free testing is available for all students, faculty, staff and visitors from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, in Evanston and at 345 E. Superior St. in Chicago.

Any unvaccinated members of the community are required to test at least twice per week, but everyone is encouraged to take advantage of the available testing resources. Northwestern will continue to work with public health and medical advisors to adjust the frequency of testing as the situation evolves.

In addition, Northwestern still has a large number of the FDA-approved Abbott BinaxNow over-the-counter rapid tests, which are available to faculty, staff and students at no cost. The tests are available for pickup at either the Jacobs Center or 345 E. Superior St. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.