Amid rising cases, Northwestern announces weekly COVID-19 testing of students allowed on campus


Daily file photo by Binah Schatsky

The Donald P. Jacobs Center will close its asymptomatic testing center Dec. 21 to Jan 2.

Isabelle Sarraf, Campus Editor

Northwestern announced Friday that undergraduates permitted to be on campus this fall will be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.

Previously, the University wrote that off-campus students would participate in “surveillance testing” throughout the quarter but had yet to share detail on testing frequency or accessibility. All recurring testing for asymptomatic students will occur at the Donald P. Jacobs Center and will be coordinated on a self-service scheduling basis, according to an email. 

Students who do not participate in the mandatory testing will be restricted from accessing campus buildings, in-person activities and other University resources.

“The goal of this testing is to understand trends in prevalence of the virus in the on-campus student population, and identify cases early to initiate contact tracing and quarantine processes,” the email said.

From Sept. 9 to 15, the recorded positivity rate was 0.35 percent as a result of 15 new positive cases, but that statistic uses different data from the confirmed case count chart. The University’s COVID-19 dashboard showed 24 new cases between Sept. 11 and 17 — the highest weekly case count yet.

The data on the dashboard represent reported cases from NU students, staff and faculty across its Evanston and Chicago campuses. Data is provided by Northwestern Medicine and sourced from Fulgent Genetics, Tempus and EPIC.

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Twitter: @isabellesarraf

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