NU COVID-19 isolation housing evolves, NU provides no booster shot update


Daily file illustration by Hank Yang

Since the last Universitywide communication in the summer, Northwestern relaxed its Isolation Housing guidelines while leaving the community in the dark after the new booster dose rollout earlier this month.

Angeli Mittal, Digital Managing Editor

Following the last Universitywide communication on COVID-19 on Aug. 15, Northwestern made no mention of the updated bivalent booster vaccine rollout as it posted changes online to its isolation housing policies.

The August email stated the potential of reinstating a booster requirement if a new vaccine were to offer different benefits. As of Sept. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authorized Pfizer and Moderna bivalent booster doses. These new vaccines offer protection against not only the original COVID-19 strain but also the omicron subvariants, which have dominated COVID-19 infections since February.

When asked about the effect of the new booster dose rollout on COVID-19 policy, University spokesperson Jon Yates reiterated the August update in an email to The Daily. Yates said the University is waiting to learn of benefits different from the monovalent booster dose — which has been discontinued for individuals ages 12 and older — before deciding whether to reinstate the requirement.

Individuals seeking bivalent booster doses or primary series vaccines can find them at local retail pharmacies. NU community members can also receive the vaccine through Northwestern Medicine Student Health Service at the Evanston campus via appointment.

Meanwhile, students, faculty and staff are still required to report positive COVID-19 cases online. Students who test positive and live on campus will complete their minimum five-day isolation period at 1835 Hinman Ave., which has served as the Quarantine and Isolation Housing facility since Fall Quarter 2021.

Isolation housing policies have relaxed for Fall Quarter 2022 as of Sept. 11, with more details released more than two weeks later. 

Before then, the University’s last mention of these updates came from an August email, which stated that community members should check the COVID-19 isolation housing website in the coming weeks. 

While students placed in Quarantine and Isolation Housing were previously delivered two campus meals daily, students in 1835 Hinman have more flexibility with their meals this quarter. In addition to a $40 DoorDash daily allowance, individuals have access to a pantry of snacks and microwaveable meals. 

Though on-campus residents who test positive are required to stay at 1835 Hinman, students now have the option of leaving the building — provided they wear N95 or KN95 masks, do not enter campus buildings and are in 1835 Hinman from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

Exceptions may be made if asymptomatic students living in isolation housing need to sit for in-person exams, with instructor approval.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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