Fall 2021 Frequently Asked Questions Regarding COVID-19 Policies and Guidelines

Northwestern University is committed to the health and safety of its community and visitors. The University works closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Evanston and Chicago public health agencies to understand the latest health guidance. The Law School is collaborating with the University to ensure that appropriate and comprehensive guidelines are in place, and is working nimbly to adjust its policies as the evolving public health situation requires.

The Frequently Asked Questions below and associated responses represent the Law School’s current guidelines and approach. Updates to policies will be communicated immediately. Additional information is available on
University's COVID-19 website and this website.

Will masks be required when working on campus?

Yes. Masks are required in all shared indoor public spaces on campus. This applies to all students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, except when in a private office or 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 is required in all other situations even if individuals can socially distance. Masking remains optional outdoors, though it may be required for large-scale events. All members of the Law School community, as well as visitors, are expected to comply with this policy.

May individuals remove their masks to eat and drink?

Eating is prohibited in classrooms. Individuals may consume beverages in classrooms, but must wear a mask when not actively drinking from their beverages.

Is social distancing required?

Social distancing is no longer recommended as a primary method for preventing virus transmission and is therefore not required. Social distancing is also not feasible in many Law School spaces, including classrooms. If individuals choose to social distance when in spaces that allow for it, the community is expected to support their preference.

How do I report a positive diagnosis or possible exposure to COVID-19?

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or believe they have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 should immediately contact the University COVID Response Team (CRT), which is comprised of registered nurses who serve as case managers and contract tracers. This team works with all members of the NU community and reaches out to affected individuals on a proactive basis. The CRT can be reached directly by emailing covidcasemanagement@northwestern.edu.

The CRT becomes aware of a community member that is COVID-19 positive in two primary ways:

  • Based on results reporting of a COVID-19 test administered at one of our NU testing sites or through an offsite referral to Northwestern Medicine
  • Based on an individual’s mandatory self-reporting of a positive diagnosis identified through other means.

How does contact tracing work? Will someone contact me if I am exposed to COVID-19?

Once the COVID Response Team (CRT) is made aware of a positive case, a contact tracer will reach out to that individual to determine anyone in the Northwestern community with whom they have been in close contact. “Close contact” is defined as being within 6 feet of a COVID-positive individual for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. The contact tracer will reach out to all identified Northwestern University close contacts.

During this call, the contact tracer will likely cover a set of standard information, such as:

  • A basic health screening for COVID symptoms or other COVID risk factors
  • How to arrange for a COVID-19 test, if one is recommended
  • Required quarantine protocols and reporting documentation.

Current guidance does not require quarantining secondary contacts (i.e. close contacts of close contacts), but those who are secondary contacts may elect to quarantine voluntarily and monitor for symptoms.

For detailed information on the University’s approach to contact tracing, please see the University
Contact Tracing website, which also has links to other important COVID-19 University protocols.

If am I vaccinated, do I have to quarantine if I find out I’ve been exposed to COVID-19?

No, individuals who are fully vaccinated are not required to quarantine if they are exposed to COVID- 19.

Individuals who learn they’ve been exposed should immediately email the COVID Response Team. That team will follow up to determine next steps, including arranging for a COVID-19 PCR test 3-5 days after initial exposure.

Will I know who is vaccinated and who is not?

Northwestern University requires vaccinations for all faculty, staff, and students. Subject to limited exceptions, all community members are expected to be fully vaccinated before the start of the 2021-22 academic year.

Vaccination status is private health information. Individuals may choose to share their vaccination status with others, but individual vaccination status will not be disclosed publicly. School aggregate vaccination rates may be shared.

What is being done about air quality within the Law School?

Consistent with the University’s approach, air handling units (AHUs) serving the Law School are run to optimal design specifications. Also, the outside air and return air is filtered through a MERV 8 pre-filter and a MERV 13 final filters, as recommended by the CDC and ASHRAE. AHUs systems have been programmed to allow more outside air to be introduced to the space as well, through our BAS (building automation system).

I’m still wary about public transit, what are my options?

The CTA continues its enhanced COVID-19 safeguards, including requiring masks for all riders. An overview of the CTA’s COVID-19 response can be reviewed on the CTA website.

Students who live beyond a two-mile radius from the Law School may be eligible for a parking permit. Interested students should reach out to Marc Ellis in Student Services.

Faculty and staff who prefer to drive to work can re-activate/apply for a monthly parking permit or use the daily parking coupons. Please email the Parking Office to re-activate an existing permit. Please contact Tiffany Hanna to apply for a new monthly parking permit.

Faculty and staff can obtain daily parking coupons for the Erie and Huron lots. The daily parking cost with the coupon is $11, and up to 10 coupons can be obtained at one time with a Wildcard. Coupons are available at the following locations:

  • Huron Garage Customer Service office: Located on the second level outside of the northwest elevator lobby. To access the office from the ground floor, press Level 1 in the elevator. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Erie Garage Customer Service office: Located near the first floor vehicle exit on Ontario Street just east of the southeast elevator lobby. The office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Parking Services Office: Located in Abbott Hall, Room 100. The office is open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Note that due to limited staff, the office is closed from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and may close temporarily during break periods.

Additional information on parking can be found on the University website.