NU to require vaccine for students starting fall 2021


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

The Weber Arch. Northwestern will require vaccinations for students who plan to register for classes Fall Quarter, with exemptions.

Sneha Dey, Editor in Chief

Northwestern will require students to be fully vaccinated for the 2021-22 academic year. Faculty, staff and visitors will not be required to get the vaccine, Provost Kathleen Hagerty announced in a Wednesday community email.

Students who cannot provide proof of their vaccination status and have not received an exemption may not be eligible to register for fall classes, according to the email.

“Requiring students to be vaccinated will best support the health of our community and position us for in-person classroom and co-curricular activities for the Fall Term,” Hagerty wrote to the community.

The University plans to release information around exemptions in June. International students who cannot secure a vaccine appointment will be able to receive a temporary exemption from the vaccine requirement on the condition they will sign up for vaccination upon arrival to campus.

NU joins a growing body of Illinois colleges requiring vaccinations for the fall, including Columbia College Chicago and DePaul University. 

The University also announced changes to testing protocols effective immediately. Students will now be expected to test with Abbott’s BinaxNOW rapid antigen test twice a week. A limited number of Color tests will still be administered but a PCR test is no longer mandated.

NU has not yet announced plans for testing requirements for the summer and fall. 

The changes in testing protocols were made based on recommendations from medical experts, students’ requests to simplify testing protocols and consistent results across the tests from Abbott and Color.

More than 75 percent of students are currently fully vaccinated or in the process of getting vaccinated, according to the email. Students who are interested in registering for a vaccine appointment should work with the University’s vaccination team, the email stated.

Hagerty said fully vaccinated students do not need to wear a mask outdoors unless they are engaging in large outdoor gatherings. The update to outdoors mask requirements aligns with U.S. Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention guidelines. All students, regardless of their vaccination status, are expected to wear a mask indoors. 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @snehadey_

Related Stories:

Students discuss uncertainty about vaccination requirements for Fall Quarter 

Study co-led by NU researchers find increase in support for school vaccination requirements since February

The Daily’s COVID-19 vaccination guide: what you need to know and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine