As we work to mitigate the COVID-19 virus on campus and respond to its evolving effects, we have made some changes to how we operate. Our knowledge and understanding of the COVID-19 virus continue to evolve and, as a result, our policies and plans are periodically reviewed and revised accordingly as more information becomes available.
This document is designed to address needs for our entire on-campus student community. As you read through its contents, please pay close attention to the sections below that apply to your individual situation.
We can join together as a community to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus on our campus. As we follow these protocols and procedures, we will exercise wisdom that is shaped by our faith. We trust God’s sovereignty as we experience the hazards that are common throughout life.
We look forward to the upcoming fall semester with deepened faith, knowing the Lord has been and will continue to be faithful to us as individuals and as a community.
General Health & Safety
Northwestern's safety protocols and procedures continue to be shaped by guidelines and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE), and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), —and by prayer.
COVID-19 vaccines are not required for Northwestern employees or students; however, the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend vaccines for eligible individuals over the age of 12. Because vaccination is a personal and private health care decision, we encourage you to consult with your health care provider.
In addition, MDH offers the following guidelines:
For those not fully vaccinated:
- Continue to wear a face covering when around others.
- Those who are not vaccinated still risk contracting and spreading COVID-19, so unvaccinated people are strongly encouraged to continue to wear face coverings.
- More information available at the Minnesota Department of Health.
- Continue to maintain at least six feet of physical distance from members of other households, as much as is possible.
- When to quarantine:
- When within six feet of someone contagious with COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more over the course of a day (24 hours).
- When living in the same household as someone with COVID-19.
- When in direct physical or intimate contact (e.g., kissing, hugging, other types of physical contact) with a person who is sick with COVID-19.
- If someone has recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and is exposed again, they do not need to quarantine if all of the following are true:
- Their illness was laboratory-confirmed in the past 90 days.
- They have fully recovered.
- They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
For those who are fully vaccinated:
- CDC and MDH now advise fully vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings indoors if you live in a place with substantial or high transmission.
- MDH also recommends face coverings for vaccinated people in a few additional situations. Information available at the Minnesota Department of Health.
- If someone has completed COVID-19 vaccination (two doses in a two-dose series or one dose in a one-dose series) and is exposed, they do not need to quarantine if all of the following are true:
- The COVID-19 exposure was at least 14 days after their vaccination series was fully completed.
- They do not currently have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- When to quarantine:
- If you meet the above criteria as being fully vaccinated and without symptoms, you do not need to quarantine and can continue with all normal activities.
- If you are not fully vaccinated and are with or without symptoms, you will need to quarantine.
- If you are experiencing symptoms and are fully vaccinated, stay home and schedule a COVID-19 test through Health Services or a local provider. If it is negative, stay home until your symptoms have improved and then you may return to your normal activities.
For those vaccinated or unvaccinated, MDH strongly recommends that everyone:
- CDC and MDH advise everyone to wear face coverings indoors in areas of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.
- Wash their hands often.
- Stay home if they are sick and get tested for COVID-19 through UNW Health Services or a local testing site. Visit “If You Are Sick: COVID-19"
Exhibiting COVID-19 Signs and Symptoms
We look forward to welcoming you to campus! However, it is imperative that you do not arrive on campus ill.
If you are ill:
- Please stay home until you are well.
- If you have come into close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, please stay home for the appropriate quarantine timeframe and test for COVID-19.
- If you must delay your scheduled arrival on campus for health reasons, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to coming to campus.
Self-Screening for COVID-19
Students, faculty, and staff should be prepared to daily self-screen and monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 prior to engaging with the community.
Symptoms of COVID-19 to watch for:
COVID-19 symptoms include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
Effective 8/25, the following mitigation changes are in place:
- Face coverings required in all indoor academic settings when 6’ distancing cannot be maintained
- Face coverings required during chapel and alternative chapel programs
- Face coverings required during UNW provided transportation
- Face coverings encouraged indoors at all other times when 6’ distancing cannot be maintained (department meetings, offices, etc.)
- Face coverings encouraged in the residence hall common areas
- Face coverings encouraged during indoor off campus student activities
- Face coverings encouraged during athletic events for spectators
- Face coverings encouraged during music and theatre events
Physical distancing is not required; however, the MDH and CDC recommend that individuals who are not vaccinated physically distance when possible.
- All areas on campus will be reset to standard distancing; however, barriers and sneeze guards will remain in place in most areas of the campus until further notice.
- Barriers on the dining tables have been removed; however, barriers will remain in the serving areas.
- In outdoor spaces, such as the campus green or near the Billy Graham Community Life Commons, physical distancing is still encouraged if you have not been fully vaccinated.
Increased cleaning measures have been implemented to mitigate risk for our community members.
- Sanitizing stations are located at various locations as you enter and exit buildings on campus.
- Routine cleaning throughout the campus will be performed as normal. All high-touch surfaces, such as tables, counters, desks, door handles, restroom fixtures, etc., will be cleaned at least daily.
Currently, Northwestern will not require students to be tested before arriving on campus.
- Onsite COVID-19 testing will be available for students every weekday.
- Northwestern is prepared for internal contact tracing, if the need to respond to positive cases occurs.
- Those participating in athletics, theatre, and music ensembles may be required to test as a requirement of their participation per NCAA, MDH, CDC guidelines in practices, performances, and competition; or as a result of increased mitigation levels should a resurgence occur.
What to Bring
In addition to personal items you would normally consider packing for residential life, all community members should bring the following when coming to campus:
- Face coverings—Increased levels of mitigation on campus could require face coverings should a resurgence occur. In addition, surrounding area businesses may require face coverings. See “Face Coverings” for more guidance.
- Hand sanitizer (check for recommended ingredients)
- Sanitizing wipes
- Thermometer (residential students)
- A comprehensive list of items to bring, as recommended by Health Services, can be found online.
The originally published academic calendar for Fall 2021 remains intact with courses scheduled to begin on Wednesday, August 25, 2021. Northwestern will continue to monitor conditions and information related to COVID-19 and will remain responsive and flexible as the changing situation demands.
Face Coverings and Physical Distancing in the Classroom
All Northwestern community members and guests are encouraged to follow CDC/MDH guidance regarding when to wear face coverings in all public settings, which includes classrooms. See “Face Coverings” for more guidance.
- MDH has removed the requirement for a specific physical distancing measurements in classrooms; however, as a general principle, distancing will be encouraged as much as feasible in classrooms.
- To help allow for greater physical distancing, some classes may take place in larger meeting spaces not traditionally used for instruction (e.g., Nazareth Chapel, Nazareth Great Room, Youderian Missional Center, etc.).
- Some courses (like those with laboratory or studio components) may require students to frequently be in close physical proximity to others, and as a result, faculty may require use of face coverings. Laboratories that normally require use of eye protection (goggles or face shields) will continue to do so.
Various Teaching Modalities and Lecture Capture
While the majority of courses will be offered face-to-face, some courses, particularly those with larger class sizes, may be offered in virtual or hybrid formats.
- Students are expected to attend in the modality being taught. Academic Achievement will work with students who submit a request for accommodations or adjustments to their learning modalities.
- Lecture capture (i.e., recording of class content and/or real-time virtual instruction) will continue to be available in classroom spaces to support student progress and will be used if a student
- has been approved to receive an accommodation to attend an in-person class remotely (for approved courses only)
- is unable to attend class due to a non-ADA situation, and has provided documentation and received approval through Academic Achievement for an adjustment to temporarily attend remotely (e.g., COVID quarantine/isolation, family funeral, surgery, military service, etc.)
- is unable to attend class due to a pre-approved University-sponsored event (e.g., student athletic event, field trips, chapel preparation)
- Student requests to attend remotely via lecture capture for one class period, due to illness, must be made to faculty prior to the start of class time. Depending on the timing of the request and nature of class, faculty may consider if lecture capture would be most viable or if other strategies for maintaining progress should be used.
- Please note that class recordings will not be available beyond class participants. While the University has various technology that it may use from time to time to livestream and/or record classes, the University does not make any guaranty that any particular event/class will be recorded. Recordings may not be available for a variety of reasons, such as but not limited to, a decision not to record, inadvertent human error, technology glitches, and recording retention issues.
To help mitigate risk in our classrooms, Northwestern will continue using additional protocols for all in-person classes this fall:
- Seating assignments will be used in classes to help with contact tracing in the event that a student becomes ill.
- Eating during class should be minimized. If a student does need to eat during class, they are responsible to clean the area upon leaving the room for the next student using the desk/area. Labs do not allow food unless designated areas are identified. Students may drink from personal water bottles or cups.
- Northwestern will place additional cleaning supplies in classrooms and students will have the opportunity to clean the surfaces they use.
All student travel related to academic programming, such as Study Abroad, will be evaluated on a location-by-location basis on the ability to proceed.
- Health Services will be open during the following times:
Monday–Friday, 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. (Closed on holidays and weekends.)
- Students will be seen by appointment only. Virtual appointments are an option for certain needs.
- Northwestern Health Services intends to provide COVID-19 testing for all students as needed.
- Students requiring testing or a physical examination will be seen, by appointment only, at our clinic site (2955 Centre Pointe Dr., Roseville).
- Transportation to this site will be available by reservation if students are unable to transport themselves.
Exposure, Symptomatic, or Positive Diagnosis of COVID-19
- A limited number of quarantine and isolation rooms are available on campus. Students and parents should discuss a plan and be prepared to have a space for isolation or quarantine off campus if the need arises.
- The availability of quarantine and isolation rooms will be evaluated throughout the year and determined as needed.
- Student services, such as meals (via the student’s meal plan), health check-ins, and trash removal will be coordinated for those that need to stay on campus.
Student Life is excited to provide a range of engaging programs for students this fall. Programs will look similar to pre-COVID years, but with modifications to allow for some physical distancing.
- We still plan to provide our annual Grocery BINGO, Voter Registration, Club Fair, Homecoming, and much more. We will also offer some virtual programming for students to attend who may choose not to engage in activities in person.
- We are always looking for new programming suggestions. If you have an activity you’d like to see, please email Core at email@example.com.
Athletics guidelines will be updated based on the NCAA and UMAC processes, screening, monitoring, testing procedures, and travel information as they are released.
- Fall 2021 sports schedules have been adjusted. View Athletics team schedules and up-to-date news at unweagles.com.
Chapel & Spiritual Formation
Northwestern views Chapel as an integral part of the student experience as a place to gather, grow, and worship as a community.
- As spiritual formation is an enduring priority for every UNW student, we are committed to offer daily in person chapel programming for the Fall in a variety of settings. You can view a sample of the weekly chapel calendar here.
- Additionally, various spiritual development credit events will be offered outside of chapel each week.
- We are also planning to return to measuring attendance beginning this Fall.
- All full-time, traditional undergraduate students (12 or more academic credits per semester) are automatically given a requirement to fulfill 20 Spiritual Development Credits (SDC) each quad, which is an average attendance of three times per week.
- At least half of the required credits (10) must be met by attending chapel, however all twenty credits can be obtained by participating in chapel.
- Up to half (10) of the required credits can be obtained by attending a pre-approved SDC event outside of chapel.
- As fully integrated members of our community, PSEO on-campus students do not have an SDC requirement but are encouraged to participate in any chapel or spiritual development programming.
- While face coverings are no longer required, we are still determining the possible implementation of adjusted distancing protocols to help ensure an extra measure of safety as we gather for spiritual development programming.
Music & Theatre
Northwestern Music & Theatre desires to provide a healthy environment for students, faculty, staff, and patrons and looks forward to continuing in-person instruction and performances in Fall 2021.
- As part of the Fall 2021 Campus Plan, Music & Theatre is taking specific steps related to teaching and learning and the unique aspects of what we do.
- The details of these plans will be articulated to students on their course syllabi in order to reflect the most recent guidelines available, including guidelines pertaining to distancing and face or instrument coverings.
- As an example of our creative approach to mitigating risk, the early fall production, Marvelous Wonderettes ’58, will be performed outdoors in the Nazareth Hall courtyard and gazebo. We look forward to the educational opportunities that open-air theatre presents for our students, as well as sharing this aspect of Theatre’s history with our campus and community.
Music Ensembles and Theatre Rehearsals
- Music and Theatre rehearsal and performance indoor spaces have been equipped with air purification/treatment systems to improve ventilation.
Private Music Lessons
- Voice studios have been equipped with high-tech UV-C air sanitization systems that circulate the air in the room every four minutes.
- Other teaching studios improve ventilation by opening the window or allowing for a ventilation break between lessons.
- All students and teachers have the added flexibility to move private lessons to a virtual learning environment, as needed.
- All Totino practice rooms have been equipped with a highly rated HEPA air purifier.
- Cleaning and disinfecting supplies will be provided in each room.
- Music & Theatre desires to create an environment that supports those who want to wear a face covering, especially when some individuals have weaker immune systems or higher risk of infection and severe disease.
We look forward to welcoming our new commuter students on Friday, August 20, and our returning commuter students on the first day of fall semester classes.
- Commuter Life is committed to serving Northwestern’s commuter students through seeing, supporting, engaging, and connecting them with the greater Northwestern community. Our goal is to provide events and programming that students are excited about and will help them grow and thrive.
- Our professional staff (Director of Commuter Life) and student leaders (Commuter Assistants) are working hard to develop programming that engages commuter students and meets them where they are at amidst their Northwestern experience. Stay informed of opportunities by following us on social media @UNWCommuterLife.
- The Commuter Life Office (G124 in The Billy) will continue to be a resource and central hub for connection for commuters and Commuter Life staff. It will also continue to be a central location to access helpful resources and information about Commuter Life events and programming.
We look forward to welcoming you to campus!
All residential students are asked to limit their move-in assistance to one or two other individuals.
It is imperative that you do not arrive on campus ill. If you are ill, please stay home until you are well. If you are currently in quarantine due to close contact exposure, please stay home until your quarantine timeframe is completed and you are without symptoms. If you must delay your scheduled arrival on campus for health reasons, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org prior to coming to campus.
New Student Move-in—August 20:
- New students will be assigned a one-hour window to arrive for move-in.
- Student leaders will be available to help new students move in who need assistance.
Returning Student Move-in—August 23 & 24:
- Returning students will self-select a one-hour window to move in.
- Returning students should coordinate with their roommate(s) to move in at separate times.
Dining is a major part of campus life at Northwestern. Some adjustments to the dining experience will be made to reduce risk while still facilitating the opportunity for a great dining experience. We continue to explore diverse options.
- Dining Staff will pre-screen prior to each shift and will wear face coverings in accordance with MDH guidelines.
- Self-service stations will be reintroduced for Fall 2021.
- To-go and individually packaged items will continue to be offered at all dining locations.
- Students will scan their own ID/dining cards at the registers for contactless payment.
- Mobile ordering will continue to be available as a contactless pick-up option.
- Campus dining tables and chairs will be configured to provide some physical distance for guests.
- Clear barriers may be installed at some tables to provide protection options; however, most tables will no longer require barriers.
- Heritage Café, Main Dining, and Eagle’s Nest will be returning to standard hours as posted on theRock. See: Dining Hours
- Student event catering requests will be coordinated with Events Services. Bon Appetit is Northwestern’s approved catering provider and will ensure compliance with MDH and CDC guidelines.