Northwestern to release plans for an in-person Fall Quarter, decision on vaccine requirements by end of spring


Daily file photo by Kelsey Carroll

The Weber Arch. Northwestern plans to release information about Fall Quarter — like vaccination requirements and in-person expectations — over the next two months.

Yunkyo Kim and Isabelle Sarraf

Northwestern will announce a decision on potential vaccination requirements for students in early May and in-person expectations as early as June, according to a Thursday release sent to faculty and staff.

The University plans to be in-person this fall to the extent that public health guidance will allow, a goal that University President Morton Schapiro and administrators discussed publicly at an April 8 event.

“I am always optimistic and I always think going back more than a year ago that this is going to pass,” Schapiro said at the event. “We all wait for the new normal, but we seem to be a little bit elusive, but I think we are getting closer and closer.”

While the University intends to bring faculty and staff back to campus this fall, administrators are working to provide flexibility for remote work, according to the release. Currently, NU says it plans to provide information on Fall Quarter course modalities, including the extent of remote or hybrid classes and social distancing requirements, by the end of June.

This month, individual schools and operational departments will develop plans and opportunities for select in-person student activities before the end of the 2020-21 academic year. By June, in-person expectations will be communicated to staff working remotely, encouraging more employees to “get reacquainted” with their physical workspaces.

The University will allow schools and units to gradually phase in these plans over the course of the summer, expecting in-person work plans to be fully enacted by Sept. 7 — with a caveat that they may evolve based on ongoing assessment.

“As always, any return to campus will need to align with current public health guidance, and if the environment deteriorates, this timeline could be delayed,” the release stated. “For now, we are optimistic about the summer and fall and are planning under these assumptions.”

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Twitter: @YunkyoMoonK and @isabellesarraf

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