The extensive COVID-19 viral testing and contact tracing program will continue through the 2020-2021 academic year. All students, faculty, and staff returning to the Boston campus will be required to undergo viral testing regularly. The test uses a frontal nasal swab, which involves minimal discomfort.
Massachusetts Reopening Plans: On March 18, Governor Charlie Baker announced plans for the next phase of Massachusetts’ reopening. A Travel Advisory and other public health orders remain in effect. The latest information is available on the Reopening Massachusetts website.
Daily Wellness Check
How will Northeastern faculty, staff, and students complete the required daily health assessment?
Each day, all Northeastern faculty, staff, and students are required to complete a Daily Wellness Check to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and close contact with others who have COVID-19. This includes faculty, staff, students across our global campuses, and students who live off campus
What if I have no symptoms of COVID-19 and have not been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Do I still have to use the Daily Wellness Check?
Yes, faculty, employees, and students are required to use the Daily Wellness Check. If they report no symptoms, the wellness check will indicate you are cleared to come to campus, participate in classes, and (if you are located in Boston) be tested at the Cabot Physical Education Center testing site on your assigned testing day.
What happens if I report COVID-19 symptoms when I complete my Daily Wellness Check?
You will receive instructions at the end of the Daily Wellness Check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be prompted to contact our COVID-19 telehealth provider, Tufts Medical Center, and a clinician will advise you on next steps. The phone line is available between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday; voicemails can be left at night and on weekends for clinician follow up.
You will receive instructions at the end of your wellness check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be directed to your primary care physician for care and next steps.
What happens if I indicate exposure to someone with COVID-19 when I complete my Daily Wellness Check?
You will receive instructions at the end of the Daily Wellness Check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be prompted to contact our COVID-19 contact tracing team, and a member of our team will advise you on next steps.
You will receive instructions at the end of your wellness check not to come to campus until cleared by a medical professional to do so. You will be directed to your primary care physician for care and next steps.
Why is Northeastern requiring frequent testing for all students, faculty, and staff on the Boston campus?
The CDC promotes symptom screening, testing, and contact tracing as strategies that workplaces can use to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Northeastern is adopting all three strategies on its Boston campus to promote the safety of the campus community. Testing everyone on a regular cycle, whether they show symptoms of COVID-19 or not, will allow the university to swiftly offer help to anyone who is sick, isolate them while they may be contagious, identify their close contacts, and promote their full recovery.
Will students who live off campus be able to get testing at outside facilities rather than on campus?
With the exception of the faculty arrival test mentioned above, all testing required by Northeastern will need to be performed at the Northeastern testing center.
I am an international student. Should I get a COVID-19 test before arriving in Boston?
We recommend that all Northeastern students get a test for COVID-19 before they travel. There may be other requirements you need to follow for departure, both for entry into your transit points and for your point of entry into the United States. Northeastern’s Office of Global Services has prepared a guide for international students who are traveling to Northeastern from abroad, with detailed information for specific countries.
What happens if someone refuses to be tested?
Frequent testing of the entire on-campus community is essential to the health and wellbeing of all. Students who refuse to be tested will undergo a review with the Office of Student Affairs, staff will undergo a review with Human Resources Management, and faculty will undergo a review with the Office of the Provost. Members of the Northeastern community who prefer not to get tested will not be physically allowed on the Boston campus and will need to transition to a fully online learning or working experience.
Will I still need to be tested even if I have already had COVID-19 or if I’ve tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies?
If you have had COVID-19 confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 viral PCR test and recovered from it within the past three months, you can request medical clearance by University Health Counseling Services to come back to campus without being tested. You will need documentation from a medical clinician or your local public health authority that you have recovered from COVID-19 and are no longer contagious, along with your positive test result. If you do not have the document from a clinician, you may request the medical clearance by a clinician at UHCS. If it has been longer than three months since the date you had the positive viral test, you will need to be tested to come back to campus. Because the current data about the role of antibodies in COVID-19 is insufficient, we are not able to accept antibody testing results.
Scheduling a Test
How will Northeastern students, faculty, and staff schedule appointments to be tested?
Please visit the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule your appointment. The testing center only takes scheduled appointments. No walk-ins are permitted. Students, faculty and staff in Boston will receive regular email notifications to remind you of when you need to schedule your next appointment.
What are the hours when testing will take place?
Sample collection will take place seven days a week in the Cabot Physical Education Center. Hours vary during holiday breaks and at the end of the term. Please check the COVID-19 Test Scheduler for the open time slots or visit the Cabot Testing Center hours of operation, available on services.northeastern.edu/wellness.
Will I get a notification when it is time to schedule my next testing appointment?
Faculty, staff, and students who are required to be tested will receive regular email notifications about scheduling their next testing appointment.
Does the testing center take walk-in appointments?
No, the testing center does not take walk-in appointments. You will need to use the COVID-19 Test Scheduler to schedule an appointment.
Understanding the Testing Schedule
What are the testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals?
Faculty, staff, and students can move to a testing cadence of once every seven days after they attest that they are fully vaccinated. Visit vaccine.northeastern.edu to access the Self-Report Vaccination form. Submitting the form will move you to a testing cadence of once every seven days if you are marked Primarily In-Person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
At our other U.S. campuses where COVID-19 testing is required, fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students will continue to test once weekly.
What are the testing requirements for faculty and staff to begin working on campus?
Staff should schedule a test for the day they return to campus. The test can take place at any time during their first day on campus. On that day they should adhere to all safety protocols such as completing the Daily Wellness Check, wearing a mask, practicing healthy distancing, and washing their hands frequently. Following their initial test, they will then be tested every four days unless they attest to their full vaccination by submitting the Self-Report Vaccination form, found on vaccine.northeastern.edu. Submitting the form will move them to a testing cadence of once every seven days. Faculty members will need to receive a negative test result in the seven-day period prior to their return to the classroom—a test they can obtain on the Boston campus or elsewhere.
What are the testing requirements for students arriving in Boston?
Students arriving in Boston for summer 2021 courses will be required to have a COVID-19 test on arrival and then move into a regular testing cadence—every three days if not yet vaccinated or once weekly if fully vaccinated. Students will not be required to quarantine upon arrival.
I am a faculty member or staff member who is primarily in-person on the Boston campus. How often will I need to be tested?
Faculty, staff, and contract workers who are primarily in-person on the Boston campus and are fully vaccinated can be tested once every seven days. Visit vaccine.northeastern.edu to access the Self-Report Vaccination form. Submitting the form will move you to a testing cadence of once every seven days if you are marked Primarily In-Person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
Faculty, staff, and contract workers who are primarily in-person on the Boston campus and haven’t attested to being fully vaccinated will be tested every four days. You should mark yourself as primarily in-person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and follow the testing requirements. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler provides some flexibility within this four-day testing schedule, allowing you to schedule a test two days earlier than your assigned test day or one day later. For instance, if you take a test on Wednesday, the COVID-19 Test Scheduler will send you a notification to schedule a test on Sunday. You may schedule your test two days before the assigned test day—on Friday—or a day after your assigned test day, on Monday.
I am a faculty member or staff member who does not come to campus. How often will I need to be tested?
Faculty and staff who do not come to the Boston campus are not required to undergo testing. You will need to mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler. However, if you come for a one-time visit—such as to pick something up from an office—you would need to be tested any day you come to campus. Fully vaccinated individuals who come to the office occasionally should be tested any day they come to campus.
I am a faculty member or staff member who comes to campus occasionally—one day a week or less. How often will I need to be tested?
You should be tested any day you come to campus. You will need to mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test any day you come to campus. Fully vaccinated individuals who come to the office occasionally should follow this protocol.
I am a faculty member or staff member who comes to campus regularly but on two consecutive days. Do I need to be tested both days?
It is not necessary to be tested on two consecutive days. You will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test on the earliest day you are on campus.
I am an active, full-time undergraduate student. How often will I need to be tested?
Active, full-time undergraduate students who fall into the following categories are required to get tested at the Cabot Testing Center every three days, regardless of how often they come to campus. This includes:
- Undergraduate students living in university housing
- Undergraduate students living in LightView
- Undergraduate students, including those on co-op, living in off-campus residences in the neighborhoods surrounding the Boston campus. This includes students living in the zip codes of 02115, 02118, 02119, 02120, 02130, 02215, and 02121.
You should mark yourself as primarily in-person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and follow the testing reminders.
Undergraduate students who are fully vaccinated can move to a once-weekly testing cadence. Visit vaccine.northeastern.edu to access the Self-Report Vaccination form. Submitting the form will move you to a testing cadence of once every seven days if you are marked Primarily In-Person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
Why is Northeastern asking undergraduates to be tested even if they don’t come to campus?
This is a safety measure to protect your health and the health of the Northeastern community. Many undergraduates interact regularly with Northeastern community members—seeing friends or living with other Northeastern students—even if they don’t come to the Boston campus regularly. If a student on co-op lives with Northeastern students or sees them regularly and becomes ill, they risk spreading the illness to their friends, roommates, and the rest of the Northeastern community, even if they don’t come to campus.
I am an undergraduate student in the College of Professional Studies who lives off-campus and comes to campus occasionally. How often will I need to be tested?
Undergraduate College of Professional Studies students who live off-campus and come to campus occasionally should be tested as often as they come to campus.
I am a graduate student who lives off-campus and comes to campus occasionally. How often will I need to be tested?
Graduate students who live off-campus and come to campus occasionally—including fully vaccinated individuals—should be tested any day they are on campus. They should mark themselves as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and schedule a test for any day they come to campus. Graduate students coming to the Boston campus regularly for classes should be tested every three days, unless they have attested to being fully vaccinated and are on a seven-day testing cadence.
I am a graduate student traveling to the Boston campus once this semester for a one-day commitment. How should I be tested?
If you are traveling to the Boston campus from another state or country, we strongly encourage you to minimize contact with others before you travel and to have a COVID-19 test before you leave. If possible, please follow Massachusetts travel guidance and get a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours or less before your arrival in Massachusetts. Please plan to arrive at least 36 hours before your event and schedule a test as soon as possible on arrival, so you can confirm a negative test before you fulfill your one-day commitment.
What if I go on vacation or travel away from Boston for the week?
If you are out of the office for a week or travel away from Boston, you will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler and will be exempt from testing for that week. You will need to be tested again on the first day of your return to campus, which will start another four-day testing cycle if you are an employee, a three-day testing cycle if you are a student, or a seven-day testing schedule if you have attested to being fully vaccinated.
If I am a student, can I schedule my test for another day besides my assigned test day?
Students are required to be tested every three days, unless they have attested to being fully vaccinated and are on a seven-day testing cadence. You may schedule your test for one day earlier or one day later than your assigned test day. For example, if your assigned test day is on Wednesday, then you may schedule your test for Tuesday or Thursday. This will begin a new three-day testing cycle that starts on the day you have your test. You may schedule your next appointment on the day following your most recent test.
If I am a faculty or staff member, can I schedule my test for another day besides my assigned test day?
Faculty and staff who are primarily on campus are required to be tested every four days, unless they have attested to being fully vaccinated and are on a seven-day testing cadence. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler allows the flexibility to schedule two days before or one day after their assigned test date. So if a faculty member receives a notification that they need to be tested on Sunday, they may schedule a test for Friday or for Monday. This will begin a new four-day testing cycle on the day you have your test. You may schedule your next appointment on the day following your most recent test.
I am a student who takes classes remotely from my home city. Will I need to be tested?
You are not required to participate in testing if you take classes entirely remotely from another state or country. You will mark yourself as primarily remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
Can students leave the state for a weekend or travel? Will they need to follow certain testing protocols if they visit home for a holiday?
If you travel, please make sure that you check the travel requirements where you are traveling. You may be required to have a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine to enter your destination state and to return to Massachusetts. If you will be gone for several days, make sure that you mark yourself as remote in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler for the period of time when you are away from campus.
Can students who live nearby go home for a night or a weekend?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts doesn’t limit travel within the state or to lower-risk states. Just make sure you keep up with your testing requirements and that you keep practicing healthy behaviors—wearing a mask, washing your hands, and practicing healthy distancing—wherever you go.
What type of test is it?
It is a diagnostic test that indicates whether you are currently infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is an anterior nasal swab, and Northeastern uses the gold standard of testing—polymerase chain reaction to test the genome of the virus. The test is not a serological test, meaning it will not detect the presence of antibodies for SARS-CoV-2
Is testing free?
Where does COVID-19 testing take place on the Boston campus?
Cabot Physical Education Center, located at 400 Huntington Avenue, is the main testing site on the Boston campus with a secondary site for symptomatic testing located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue. The Cabot testing site has sufficient capacity for Northeastern to collect up to 7,000 samples a day.
What do I need to do to prepare for my testing appointment?
- Make sure you’ve completed the COVID-19 testing consent form.
- Bring your mobile device to display your completed Daily Wellness Check from the day of your testing or print the page to show your results.
- Remember your nine-digit Northeastern University ID number. This number is available on your northeastern.edu account or on your Daily Wellness Check result page.
- As always, have your Husky Card visible on a lanyard, wear a face mask or face covering except for the brief moments during the swabbing, stay six feet away from others, and wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, before you arrive for your test and after you leave.
Does the testing center provide accommodations for those needing additional assistance?
Yes. The COVID-19 Test Scheduler allows users to indicate a request for accommodations at the time of booking their next testing appointment. The testing center staff makes every reasonable effort to accommodate each request. It is recommended to make your appointment and indicate your request as far in advance as possible.
What does the process look like for testing Northeastern students, faculty, and staff?
You will arrive at the collection site, show confirmation of your appointment time, and show the results of your Daily Wellness Check. You will receive a temperature check, and then a staff member will scan the QR code on your Daily Wellness Check to assign you to a check-in line. Inside the building, you will confirm your identity and contact information and receive a personal barcoded label. Your identity and contact information may need to be manually entered if it is not already pre-loaded into the check-in system.
Then you will be ushered to a swabbing station where you will receive a testing kit with a swab and a sterile tube. The test is an anterior nasal swab—a less invasive and less uncomfortable but still highly reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. You will place your barcoded label on your tube and then be instructed to self-swab while under direct observation from a qualified health professional. You will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds. After repeating the swab in both nostrils, you will seal the swab in your sterile tube, and follow the signage to exit. The test is quick, painless, and should take no more than ten minutes.
What does the process look like at the test center for people who are showing COVID-19 symptoms?
Steps Before Testing:
If a student completes their Daily Wellness Check and they have symptoms of COVID-19, they will be directed to call the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team for appropriate health support and triage from a clinician. The phone line is available between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday; voicemails can be left at night and on weekends for clinician follow up. If the telehealth team recommends a test, the person will be tested at the university’s testing site for symptomatic people, located in the Huntington Testing Center at 259-269 Huntington Avenue.
The person will arrive at the symptomatic collection site, show confirmation of their appointment time, and show the results of their Daily Wellness Check. They will receive a temperature check. Once they confirm their identity and contact information, they will receive a label associated with their information and be ushered to a testing station. A qualified health professional, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, will administer the swab test.
The test is an anterior nasal swab— less invasive and less uncomfortable but still reliable and accurate way of collecting samples. The medical assistant will insert the swab a half-inch inside the nostril and rotate the swab for approximately 15 seconds to collect the sample.
What are the safety precautions Northeastern is taking in its testing sites?
Signage and decals will show entrances and exits and will mark six-foot healthy distancing in the queues. Throughout the process, you will wear your own face mask or face covering except for the brief few minutes during your test. Six-foot healthy distancing will be maintained throughout the testing space. Northeastern will also install ultraviolet germicidal irradiation lighting (UVGI) with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems in the two areas on campus where COVID-19 testing will take place
What kind of demographic data is collected and where will it go?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires COVID-19 testing labs to collect certain demographic data including gender, race, and ethnicity. Collecting this data helps public health officials understand COVID-19, its transmission, and how it may impact certain groups. The two labs analyzing Northeastern’s samples for COVID-19—the Broad Institute and the Life Sciences Testing Center—will collect this data on check-in and report it confidentially to state public health agencies. You may decline to answer demographic questions on gender, race, and ethnicity.
Where are the samples sent for analysis?
Some samples will undergo analysis by the Broad Institute and others will undergo analysis by the university’s newly-built Life Sciences Testing Center. The Life Sciences Testing Centerrecently secured state and federal certifications to process coronavirus samples using the gold standard for viral testing. In accordance with state law, all test results will be shared with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
How soon will I get my test results?
Test results will be available within 36 hours.
How will I create an account and be informed of my testing results?
Please watch for signage at the Cabot testing center when you are in the line for check-in. The signage will direct you to a QR code you can scan for information on how to access your test results portal and how to view your results. Test samples are currently being processed by Northeastern’s Life Sciences Testing Center (LSTC) in Burlington and by the Broad Institute. An email notification of your result will come from the laboratory that processed your sample and will direct you to the laboratory’s secure online portal. If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal.
Please check your junk or spam folder if you don’t receive your test results within 36 to 48 hours. If your test results are negative, you will receive an email notification letting you know that your test results are ready, and you will be able to access your results through a secure portal. If your test results are positive, you will first receive a personal phone call from a member of our team with further instructions. Then your results will be accessible through the portal.
What if my test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs?
If your test was processed by Northeastern’s LSTC labs, your results will be available through Northeastern’s secure COVID-19 Test Results Portal. If your test result is negative, you’ll get an email notification from email@example.com when your test results are ready to view. Log into the LSTC test results portal using your Northeastern username and password. Links to the test results portals are available at northeastern.edu/wellness.
What if my test was processed by the Broad Institute?
If your test was processed by the Broad Institute, your results will be available through the Broad’s CareEvolve secure portal.
- If your test result is negative, you will receive an email from CareEvolve@lknotification.com with subject line “Lab results available from your provider.” The first time you receive results from CareEvolve, this email will contain information about how to register an account and log in to view your results.
- For any help resetting your password and logging in to the results portal, contact CareEvolve Support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will I receive test results for other illnesses besides COVID-19?
No, the samples will only be tested for COVID-19
What does it mean if I receive a notification that my results are inconclusive, partial, NA, or invalid?
There are some situations where you may have to repeat the test to receive a conclusive result. If your results are inconclusive, it means the lab cannot determine whether or not CoV-SARS-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is present in your sample. An inconclusive result does not mean you have COVID-19. If your results are partial, NA, or invalid, it is likely because the sample collected was insufficient to run the test. You may receive an NA or “test not processed” result due to errors such as inserting your swab upside down into the tube, your tube breaking during transport, or a barcode that could not be scanned. If your result is inconclusive, partial, NA, or “test not processed,” you will be notified that you need to provide another swab specimen to repeat the test.
Other Testing Questions
Will testing be available to family members or outside community members?
Onsite testing is limited only to students, faculty, staff, and vendors who come to campus. Boston-based University faculty and staff may now purchase take-home COVID-19 pool testing kits for their households. The kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household.
How can Northeastern faculty and staff members reserve a take-home COVID-19 pool testing kit for their household?
The take-home pool testing kit will provide a single test result—positive or negative—for your household. To take advantage of this resource for your household, please follow the steps below:
- Complete the household surveillance testing consent form with your household.
- The consent form confirmation page will direct you to a link where you can purchase your test kit at the below-market cost of $40 per kit.
- Schedule a test for yourself at Cabot Testing Center on the same day that you’ve indicated you’ll pick up your kit. Once you’re there, follow the signage for “Household Testing” and provide your Northeastern University ID to pick up your kit. Once you have your kit, you may complete your own individual COVID-19 test at the testing center.
- Follow the written directions provided with the kit and return it to Cabot Testing Center within 24-48 hours of collecting the first sample.
Is the self-administered anterior nasal swab reliable?
A study by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that test samples collected by self-swabbing were as accurate as samples collected by health care workers. Having participants swab their own nostrils reduces the risk of infection for healthcare providers, who won’t be in close contact with the participants. And, since it is less complex, it will also result in faster sampling
If my testing question isn’t answered here, is there a contact number where I can ask further questions?
If you have other COVID-19 related questions, please email NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu or call 617.373.7333. This inbox and phone line are monitored from 8:30 a.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.
Positive Tests and Contact Tracing
If I test positive for COVID-19, what happens with the information I share with contact tracers?
Northeastern requires our community members to fully cooperate with contact tracers from Northeastern, the city, and state to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Information you share with contact tracers will be kept confidential and only shared on a need-to-know basis with a limited number of Northeastern employees who are responsible for cleaning and coordinating support for community members sick with or exposed to COVID-19, and with local and state public health authorities, as required by law.
Contact tracers from Northeastern, local boards of health, or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will call those identified as your close contacts during the infectious period when you could have spread COVID-19 to others. University contact tracers will only ask you about close contacts you’ve had on campus only. These contact tracers will keep your identity confidential and will only share date of exposure and instructions for quarantine, if necessary. Please remember that you help your close contacts and the Northeastern community by informing accurately about their exposure in a timely manner
What is the definition of a close contact?
You will be deemed a close contact if you’ve had this type of contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19:
- If you’ve been within six feet for longer than 15 minutes
- If you’ve had intimate physical contact such as kissing and hugging
- If you’ve been coughed or sneezed on
- If you’ve shared eating or drinking utensils such as dishes and cups
- If you’ve played a sport that can involve close contact with other players, such as basketball, football, volleyball, etc.
If I tell contact tracers who I was around when I was infectious, will those people find out I have COVID-19?
If Northeastern’s contact tracing team identifies any close contacts after you receive a positive test result, the contact tracing team will follow up with close contacts to inform them that they were exposed and should begin to quarantine and monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19. Contact tracers will never share any identifying information about you with close contacts, including your name, relationship to the close contact, and place or exact time of exposure
Which close contacts will Northeastern call?
Northeastern’s contact tracing team will call close contacts within the Northeastern community (students, staff, and faculty). If you have close contacts who are not Northeastern students, staff, and faculty, contact tracers from the contact’s local board of health or the state’s Contact Tracing Collaborative will inform those contacts of their exposure and next steps for quarantine
Are roommates considered part of a ‘household’?
In off-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include other housemates living in the same house. In on-campus housing, a ‘household’ would likely include students who are living in the same suite and sharing a common area.
What happens if my roommate in university housing tests positive?
Any student who tests positive will receive a phone call from our COVID-19 telehealth provider, Tufts Medical Center, and a member of our Northeastern contact tracing team to share next steps and guide them in following the self-isolation protocol. Assuming the roommate meets the definition of a close contact, the roommate would be notified by our contact tracers and notified if they need to move into quarantine as well. Although your roommate might choose to share their diagnosis with you, the contact tracers would not share your roommate’s identity to follow privacy requirements and protect their private health information.
What happens if someone tests positive in my class?
When anyone in the Northeastern community tests positive, our contact tracing team will be working closely with local and state public health authorities to notify anyone who fits the definition of close contact about their exposure. Since Northeastern is reducing its classroom density to allow six-foot distancing, requiring masks, and improving its air ventilation, you and your classmates would most likely not fall under the CDC definition of close contact if someone in your class tests positive. If there were any exceptions and if trained contact tracers determined you were a close contact, then the contact tracing team would contact you and let you know your next steps. The person’s identity, schedule, and personal health information would not be shared with you.
Am I required to report if I know of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Northeastern medical providers and contact tracers keep all information confidential, as required by HIPAA and the Americans with Disabilities Act. To encourage cooperation with efforts to reduce COVID-19 and avoid retaliation and stigma, we ask that all community members who learn of a positive COVID-19 test do not disclose this information to others. The Northeastern testing center and all other COVID-19 testing labs automatically report positive results to the state’s Department of Public Health.
What happens if I am a student living in university housing, get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, and have to move into self-isolation?
A clinician from the Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. If you live on the Boston campus, you’ll move into our COVID-19 Wellness Housing so you can have your own room and bathroom and recover away from others. You’ll get a wellness package with a thermometer, an oximeter to measure your oxygen, and over-the-counter medicine to help manage minor symptoms. Food will be delivered, and our telehealth provider will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen.
What happens if I am a student living off campus and get a positive COVID-19 diagnosis?
A clinician from our Tufts Medical Center telehealth team and a member of our contact tracing team will personally contact you to let you know what you need to do. Any student living off campus is encouraged to move to on campus wellness housing, but it is not required. Wherever you choose to stay, a clinician from our telehealth team will check in with you regularly to monitor your symptoms and advise you on medical care. Students may also call the telehealth team directly if their symptoms worsen. We will also connect you with We Care and Off Campus Housing and Support Services for additional support.
How am I released from isolation?
You will need to remain in isolation until your local public health authority (the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, your local board of health, or the Massachusetts Contact Tracing Collaborative on the Boston campus) clears you to leave. A public health authority will be in contact with you regularly and will conduct another assessment during your isolation period. They will confirm that you may leave your room once the risk of infecting others is determined to be low.
If I’m exposed to COVID-19, how long will I have to stay in quarantine?
Under Massachusetts guidance, quarantine lasts 14 days from the date of last exposure or at least 10 days, provided all of the following: you do not have symptoms; you’re tested on or after day eight of quarantine using a molecular diagnostic test and receive a negative test result; you monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. Northeastern provides testing on or after day eight of quarantine, so it is possible some people will be released from quarantine after 10 days.
What if I am a close contact of someone who has a COVID-19 diagnosis and I need to quarantine in university housing?
Please remain in your residence and wait for a member of our contact tracing team to contact you to let you know what to do. If you are a close contact and live in university housing, you may be asked to quarantine in your own room if you live alone or in the COVID-19 Wellness Housing that Northeastern has set aside for isolation and quarantine. Our case managers will help you arrange what you need for quarantine, including food deliveries, medical care if needed, and further COVID-19 testing. If you live off campus, you are encouraged to quarantine on campus but it is not required. If you choose to stay off campus, you will need to quarantine at home, away from others as much as possible. Northeastern‘s contact tracing team will reach out to provide you further instructions and assistance for quarantining in place.
If I am a student, can I go home if I test positive for COVID-19 instead of remaining on campus?
You will need to isolate immediately, so if a family member cannot immediately pick you up, you should move into isolation housing in university housing until they arrive. You will need to follow CDC guidance if you choose to isolate at home. If you’re not able to do so, the university strongly recommends that you remain in on-campus isolation housing rather than returning home and risking infecting your family members. Your parents and other household members will also need to quarantine at home and monitor their health, since living with someone confirmed to have COVID-19 will make them close contacts. If you do choose to go home, please let your case manager know and share your home address.
Are Tufts Medical Center telehealth services covered by a students’ private insurance or by Northeastern?
Tufts Medical Center will provide COVID-19 related telehealth services to our student community in Boston, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. The cost of these telehealth services is covered by Northeastern at no charge to the student or to their insurance. If a student needs in-person care at a hospital or another health care provider, they would need to submit their insurance info to the health care provider for coverage. Students are welcome to get their in-person care at Tufts Medical Center but may choose to go elsewhere if another health care provider is in network.
What do Tufts Medical Center telehealth services cover?
Tufts Medical Center provides only COVID-19 related telehealth services, including notifying students of a positive COVID-19 test, triaging students who report COVID-19 symptoms through the Daily Wellness Check, and checking in regularly with any student who tests positive for COVID-19. Any questions related to other Northeastern health services should be directed to University Health Counseling Services. Questions about COVID-19 campus operations should be directed to NUCovid19Qs@northeastern.edu.
Northeastern’s Vaccine Requirement for Fall 2021
Is Northeastern able to vaccinate its students, faculty, and staff?
On January 5, Northeastern was the first university in Massachusetts to begin vaccinating its community. However, due to limited federal supply, in late February the state of Massachusetts decided to prioritize vaccine distribution to its mass vaccination sites and is no longer providing vaccine to higher education institutions. If you are eligible for vaccination now under the state’s three-phased approach, we recommend that you schedule your vaccination at one of the sites listed on mass.gov/vaccine.
How will Massachusetts determine the order and priority of vaccine distribution?
Massachusetts is in Phase Three of its phased vaccine distribution, with vaccines available to the general population. Phase Three includes higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff.
Is vaccination mandatory?
Beginning in the fall academic term, all students attending Northeastern University’s campuses will be expected to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the first day of classes. You can find additional information in the university’s announcement of the new policy.
Is it legal to require the Covid vaccine for students if it is only approved through an Emergency Use Authorization?
The health and wellbeing of our community is what drives our decisions. We believe that for students in a close-knit, residential environment vaccination is essential. The overall scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports widespread vaccination. We believe our vaccination requirement is consistent with current law.
Why is Northeastern requiring all students to be vaccinated against Covid-19?
We are requiring the Covid vaccine for the same reason we require students to be vaccinated for Measles or Meningitis—to protect our community. At this point, vaccination is proving to be the best way to control and ultimately defeat the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the best tool we have for advancing the safety and wellbeing of our students, faculty, and staff. Students with legitimate religious or medical exemptions will be accommodated.
Is the vaccine mandatory for faculty and staff, and do we expect the vaccine to be mandatory for faculty and staff?
The COVID-19 vaccine is mandatory only for students.
Will there be an option to take courses remotely through Hybrid NUflex in the fall, if someone doesn’t want to receive the vaccine?
All students are expected to arrive on campus in September fully vaccinated, unless they have a medical or religious exemption. The university is planning to return to a normal, in-person fall semester with in-person classes and regular campus activities.
Where can I submit my proof of immunization?
Details on how to submit your proof of vaccination will be announced.
Can I request an exemption?
Yes. Students may request religious and medical exemptions to the policy. Religious and medical exemptions to the vaccine policy will be approved in the same way Northeastern approves other vaccine exemptions. Students who have a medical reason for not receiving an immunization, must submit documentation from their health care provider documenting the reason and diagnosis that prohibits receiving a vaccine. Students who have a religious reason must submit a letter, authored by the student, expressing the reason for the exemption. Details on how to submit the requests will be announced in due course.
Will students who receive a medical or religious exemption be required to follow different health and safety protocols?
No. Students who receive a religious or medical exemption will follow the same healthy and safety protocols required of any Northeastern student. They will be able to live in residence halls, attend classes in person, and participate in any campus activity available to the rest of the student body.
What will happen if I try my best to access the vaccine and I’m not able to before classes begin?
Northeastern will continue to carefully monitor vaccine access and supply across our global network locations, especially as we approach the start of the fall term. We strongly encourage you to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you. For international students who may have limited access to the vaccine, Northeastern will assist you in getting the vaccine soon after your arrival.
Does this requirement mean COVID-19 testing requirements or other health and safety protocols will change?
Northeastern will continue to monitor and follow CDC guidelines when it comes to health and safety protocols like mask-wearing, hand-washing, and healthy distancing. All health and safety requirements, including testing, remain in place until further notice.
Which vaccines will fill the requirement?
You will need to get a vaccine approved in the country where you’ll be taking classes.
- Students attending a campus in Canada will need a vaccine approved by the Canadian government.
- Students attending a campus in the United States will need a vaccine approved by the U.S. government.
- Students attending a campus in the United Kingdom will need a vaccine approved by the U.K.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in California?
Please see the vaccine FAQs on the Northeastern Bay area website. Visit the following websites for more information:
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Seattle, Washington?
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Charlotte, North Carolina?
Please see the vaccine FAQs on the Charlotte website. Visit the NCDHHS Vaccine Website for more information on the vaccine distribution timeline and the Mecklenburg County Vaccination Page for information on local distribution. We encourage you to start by registering an account with Atrium, Novant, or Mecklenburg County Health Department to easily schedule an appointment when your group becomes available.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Toronto, Ontario?
You can find more information on Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine website. The province has a three-phased vaccination plan with vaccines available to the general public beginning in July 2021. Visit this page to book a vaccine if you are eligible.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Vancouver, British Columbia?
You can find more information on British Columbia’s COVID-19 vaccine website. The province has a four-phase vaccination plan with vaccines available to the general public beginning in April through June 2021. Read more about eligibility for the vaccine and registering for the vaccine.
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in Portland, Maine?
Where can I find information on how to access the vaccine in London, United Kingdom?
If a student has already received a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom, will Northeastern require them to be vaccinated a second time?
Students who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not authorized in the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom can request a medical exemption to the vaccination policy. Medical experts and public health agencies have not yet issued a recommendation on the safety of being vaccinated twice. Until we have confirmation that it is safe to do so, these students can request a medical exemption to the policy.
Should a student delay vaccination if they only have access to a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom?
We do not advise that students delay vaccination if another vaccine is available to them, and we recommend that you discuss your vaccination options with your primary care physician. Students who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not authorized in the U.S., Canada, or the United Kingdom can request a medical exemption to the vaccination policy.
Does the vaccine requirement apply to students participating in Northeastern global co-op and study abroad programs?
Yes. The vaccination policy applies to all university travelers participating in fall global co-op and study abroad programs, including N.U.in, NU Bound, and NU Immerse. You should carefully review any vaccination requirements for the country where you are traveling and consult the approved vaccine list for your destination. Please note that these lists are constantly being updated. We recommend discussing vaccination options with your primary care physician.
If I can’t get the vaccine before arriving in the U.S., will I be able to get it on the Northeastern campus before the term starts?
Northeastern is not currently distributing the vaccine on its campuses, including in Massachusetts where the state changed its vaccine distribution plan. If you are a Northeastern student who lives, works, or studies in Massachusetts, you are eligible to access the vaccine through another vaccine distributor listed on vaxfinder.mass.gov. While appointments can’t be scheduled months in advance, we can assist you in booking a vaccine closer the date of the fall term.
What kind of help will Northeastern provide international students who are unable to access the vaccine in their home country?
For international students who may have limited access to the vaccine, Northeastern will assist you in getting the vaccine soon after your arrival. Northeastern will appoint and train staff to assist students with booking vaccination appointments at the vaccination sites available in their campus location. Appointments can’t be scheduled months in advance, but we can assist you in booking a vaccine closer to the date of the fall term.
Will I be able to enter the U.S. more than 30 days before program start date if I have a vaccine appt?
No, International Students can only enter the U.S. up to 30 days prior to the program start date on your I-20/DS-2019. Please review the Academic Calendar for other important dates for the start of your program. Please contact Office of Global Services for questions regarding your individual arrival plans.
Which international documents will be accepted as proof of immunization?
Please keep any vaccination records you have available to you, to document your immunization.
How should an international student provide proof of COVID-19 immunization to Northeastern if their country doesn’t provide proof of immunization?
We recommend following the same process an international student would follow for other proofs of immunization.
- Make an appointment with a doctor who is authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
- Bring any record of your COVID-19 vaccination, including approximate dates.
- The doctor will review them, may do a blood test for COVID-19 antibodies, and certify that the individual is vaccinated based on the document provided as proof of vaccination or through a blood test.
- The physician might recommend another vaccine based on what they see in the blood test results.
Is an international student allowed to get a vaccination in Canada, the United States, or the United Kingdom if their permanent residence is outside of the country?
Yes. The COVID-19 vaccine is available to international students in all of our global network locations.
- In Massachusetts, the vaccine is available to anyone who lives, works, or studies in the state.
- In California, vaccinations are available to anyone regardless of immigration or citizenship status.
- In North Carolina, vaccines are available regardless of immigration status.
- In Washington, vaccines are available regardless of immigration status.
- In Canada, vaccinations are available to anyone who lives, works or studies in British Columbia or Ontario, regardless of immigration status
- In the United Kingdom, the government has confirmed that vaccines will be available regardless of immigration status.
Please note that each location has its own phased vaccination plan based on age, health risk, occupation, and other factors. You may need to meet other eligibility factors to get the vaccine.
Are faculty and higher education staff in Phase Two or Phase Three?
Massachusetts guidelines place most higher education employees in Phase Three. Phase Three includes “Higher education workers, including administrators, teaching and non-teaching staff.”
How will Northeastern protect the private information of those who attest to certain medical conditions in the attestation form?
Northeastern safeguards this data using its strictest security controls. The data you submit does not become part of your personnel or student record and is only used to invite you to schedule a first and second vaccination dose.
If someone lives with a person in Phase Two, do they qualify for the vaccine in Phase Two or must they wait until Phase Three or when they are eligible?
Living with or acting as a family caretaker for a person in Phase Two doesn’t qualify someone to get the vaccination in Phase Two. Each person qualifies for Phase Two based on their own age, occupation, or certain medical conditions.
If someone is working or studying remotely but is coming to campus for the vaccination, do they need to get a COVID-19 test?
Yes. If possible, you should plan to get tested the day before your vaccination appointment in the interest of keeping yourself and others safe.
After Your Vaccination
Will people who get the vaccine still be required to follow Northeastern’s protocols on mask wearing, hand washing, and healthy distancing?
Yes, based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until experts learn more about the protection the vaccine provides, the CDC recommends that people continue to use face masks, wash hands often, and stay at least six feet away from others.
What are the testing requirements for fully vaccinated individuals?
Faculty, staff, and students can move to a testing cadence of once every seven days after they attest that they are fully vaccinated. Visit vaccine.northeastern.edu to access the Self-Report Vaccination form. Submitting the form will move you to a testing cadence of once every seven days if you are marked Primarily In-Person in the COVID-19 Test Scheduler.
At our other U.S. campuses where COVID-19 testing is required, fully vaccinated faculty, staff and students will continue to test once weekly.
Will people who get the vaccine be exempt from quarantine if exposed to a person diagnosed with COVID-19?
Northeastern follows MDPH guidelines on this question: If a fully vaccinated person is exposed to someone with COVID-19 but has no symptoms, they are not required to quarantine. However, it is critical to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and to avoid being in close contact with others for 14 days following an exposure, even if they are fully vaccinated. If they experience symptoms, they should indicate the symptoms on the Daily Wellness Check, isolate themselves from others, speak to a member of the Northeastern Wellness Team, and be tested for COVID-19.
Other Vaccination Questions
Could I test positive or be infected because of the vaccine?
No. The vaccines do not contain the live COVID-19 virus, and neither vaccine will cause you to test positive. The CDC provides more information on these questions and others you may have about the vaccine, how your body may respond to it, and how it works.
Can I receive the vaccine if I have already had COVID-19?
Yes, but only after you recover and meet the criteria to discontinue isolation. Because reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, you may want to defer vaccination for 90 days after recovery. If you received antibody therapy to treat COVID-19, you should wait for 90 days after the date of the treatment before you receive the vaccine. Please consult your primary care provider if you have further questions about your history of COVID-19 what it means for you to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Can I receive the vaccine if I was exposed to a person with COVID-19?
Yes, but only after you meet the criteria to discontinue quarantine. Receiving the vaccine after you are exposed to the virus will not prevent an infection caused by that exposure. Because you are at a high risk of developing the infection and transmitting it to other people, you have to stay quarantined until cleared by the Northeastern Wellness Team or a public health authority. If you are exposed after you schedule your vaccination, please reschedule your appointment.
Can I receive the vaccine if I have an underlying medical condition, am pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding?
Please consult your primary care providers and the CDC guidelines about the risks and benefits of receiving the vaccine.
If I have a question not answered here, where should I go for information?
Do Northeastern’s healthy distancing and face mask requirement apply to social gatherings?
Yes. Northeastern requires both healthy distancing and wearing face masks. Similarly, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires people to wear masks or face-coverings in indoor public places and outdoors when they are unable to maintain 6 feet distance from other people. Face coverings continue to be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking. Massachusetts also requires six-feet social distancing at any indoor or outdoor gathering, even at private residences.
Do I need to wear a mask and maintain healthy distancing when I’m not on campus?
Yes. Northeastern requires all students—whether they live in university housing or not—to wear a face mask or face covering in public spaces and to maintain healthy distancing from others both on campus and off-campus.
What kind of social gatherings are prohibited?
The following gatherings are not allowed, either off-campus or on campus:
- Gatherings where people are not wearing face masks or face coverings indoors
- Gatherings where people cannot or do not maintain six feet distance, both outdoors and indoors
- Gatherings that do not follow Massachusetts guidelines. Massachusetts prohibits any gathering (outdoors or indoors) where six feet of distance isn’t maintained.
What kind of disciplinary measures will Northeastern take if someone hosts or attends a prohibited gathering?
The university has discretion to take any action deemed necessary in response to COVID-19 protocol violations, including suspension or expulsion, depending on the circumstances and egregiousness of the violation.
- Students who host an unsafe (no masks and without healthy distancing) gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus can expect suspension
- Students who attend an unsafe gathering, social or party, either on or off-campus can expect suspension
- Student organizations, club sports, and teams that host an unsafe gathering, social or party can expect to have to have their university recognition withdrawn.
Disciplinary processes will be expedited so that Northeastern can move swiftly to protect the health and wellbeing of everyone. Note that if you are removed from campus, you will not receive a tuition or room and board refund, if applicable.
In addition to Northeastern’s disciplinary measures, Massachusetts may issue fines up to $500 for private gatherings that violate the rules.
If students take temperatures at the door or rotate people in and out to keep limits low, does that make a social gathering permissible?
No. These measures do not replace the restrictions mentioned above.
What kind of social gatherings are permitted?
Virtual gatherings are encouraged and permitted. Any kind of in-person gathering carries risk. We encourage you to socialize virtually and to limit in-person socializing to a “pod” of a few close friends. The following types of in-person gatherings are less risky:
- Gatherings limited to others in your immediate household, such as your roommate or a significant other
- An outdoor gathering of a small group of friends following the capacity limits mentioned above, keeping six feet distance at all times, wearing masks if healthy distancing can’t be maintained, and not sharing any food, drink, or other objects.
Is there a way to report a gathering that violates the healthy distancing rules?
You may report observed or planned unsafe gatherings by calling 617.373.TIPS or emailing SVCstudentaffairs@northeastern.edu. The latest guidance on gatherings is available in Governor Charlie Baker’s COVID-19 Order dated February 4.
If students are being tested every three days, why is it still unsafe to gather without masks and without healthy distancing?
Northeastern’s COVID-19 PCR test is the gold standard of COVID-19 testing, but it only indicates that your viral load is undetectable on the day you are tested. You may still have the virus in your system and be able to spread it to others, even with a negative test. That’s why we need to continue practicing other healthy measures, like wearing a mask, keeping a healthy distance, and washing hands frequently.
Is there a recommended number of students where it’s OK to gather with masks and social distancing?
The most important number to remember is six feet distance between you and others. In a small room where three people can’t maintain six feet of distance and aren’t wearing masks, a gathering isn’t permitted. Even in a large room where people can spread out, a gathering is less safe when people are closer than six feet and aren’t wearing masks
Where can students find healthy activities to do?
- Visit the Student Hub at northeastern.edu. It shares virtual opportunities through SAIL and integrates with Communities.northeastern.edu
- Go to northeastern.edu—the online destination for the Northeastern community to connect with each other
- Explore the SAIL Opportunity Finder – a place to find virtual events and opportunities to learn and connect with others
- Visit Center for Student Involvement—the place to learn about student organizations on campus—and use the Engage platform to search for organizations that interest you
- Check out places to “get connected” on the Student Life website
- Talk with your RA to find out if there are activities happening in your residence hall
Can students expect sanctions on the first offense?
The Office for Student Affairs is reviewing every reported incident and concern to determine the appropriate way to respond and resolve the matter. Students may be suspended or dismissed on the first offense if it is a serious one. Attending a large, unsafe gathering indoors where distancing is not possible is grounds for immediate suspension or dismissal.
If a student feels the consequences are unwarranted, can they appeal a decision or share their perspective?
Students will have the opportunity to share their perspective on the alleged incident and violation(s) during their meeting with a hearing administrator. Students who are found responsible for a violation of University policies will have the opportunity to appeal the decision based on the appeal process outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.
What should I do if I’m in a group of people who aren’t wearing masks?
If you are wearing a mask but the people around you aren’t, we ask that students first speak up and encourage their peers to follow the rules. We all have a shared responsibility to “protect the pack,” to keep the campus safe, and to speak up when we see people who need a reminder. If speaking up doesn’t work, students are also able to call the tip line at 617-373-TIPS or email email@example.com. Please also consider whether you can safely remain with the others in the group at the time that they aren’t wearing masks. Please keep yourself and others safe.
Will Northeastern ease these restrictions if cases stay low?
We will ease restrictions as guided by scientific expertise, public health agencies, and government orders. For now, we need to rise to the challenge as a community and work creatively within these limits to connect with each other and to continue research, teaching, and learning. Northeastern is continually monitoring internal and external COVID-19 metrics that will inform its decision making — including the number of positive tests, new cases on campus, the numbers of students in quarantine or isolation, the trendlines of new cases in our communities, government orders, and the local capacity to manage COVID-19 cases.
Are informal sports games allowed, like an outdoor pickup game of soccer?
Athletic participation should be limited to individual activity that preserves appropriate healthy distancing. For most sports including soccer, it is unlikely that you can maintain healthy distancing during a game or scrimmage. If you’ve played a sport with someone who’s diagnosed with COVID-19, you’ll likely be deemed a close contact and will have to quarantine for at least 10 days. Masks are required for all athletic and fitness activities, including individual and gym activities, if the activity takes place indoors.
Is organizing or participating in a political demonstration permitted? What is the protocol?
Northeastern University’s protocol for demonstrations gives guidance on organizing an on-campus demonstration or protest or participating in an off-campus demonstration. On-campus demonstrations must comply with the Northeastern COVID-19 Reopening Event Policy and with university policy on demonstrations. Demonstrators are required to follow all Northeastern COVID-19 policies and protocols, including face mask requirements, healthy distancing, occupancy/density limits, and wearing a Northeastern ID. Students participating in off-campus demonstrations are still expected to adhere to all Northeastern COVID-19 policies and protocols, including face mask requirements, social distancing, and occupancy/density limits.
Cleaning and Sanitation
Are buildings on the Boston campus cleaned more frequently?
Yes, our Facilities team disinfects campus spaces including halls, classrooms, common areas, restrooms, and doorknobs more frequently than in the past. All buildings have a full cleaning and disinfecting nightly along with weekend cleaning for buildings in use on the weekend. Northeastern cleaning crews disinfect “high-touch” points—including door handles, counter tops, and elevator buttons—three times per day. Their work covers all of the common areas in every building, including restrooms, elevators, entrance door hardware, counters, and handrails, in accordance with the guidelines of the CDC.
Will facilities clean classrooms or other spaces between uses?
Facilities staff will be following a rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocol for all of our campus spaces. Given the number of classrooms and the time between classes, it will not be possible for facilities staff to fully clean classrooms between use, so each member of our community will need to share responsibility for sanitizing spaces before and after use. Facilities staff will supply classrooms with sanitation wipes. Each individual should personally wipe off surfaces after touching them, particularly if they may be touched by others. (Think of wiping carts when you go grocery shopping.) This would include AV equipment in meeting rooms, workstations at the beginning and end of every day, podiums and seats in classrooms, etc. The Facilities team will clean and disinfect each classroom nightly and will install and maintain hand-sanitizer stations and cleaning materials at entrances to buildings and classrooms. Office and lab occupants can buy wipes and other cleaning products on My Marketplace. Shared markers will be removed from the classrooms, so faculty should bring them if needed.
Classrooms Used for Course Instruction: Pursuant to the Higher Education Control Plan, classrooms used for in-person and hybrid instruction are exempt from the gatherings limit. Six feet of distancing and mask-wearing must be maintained, and steps to further reduce density, including holding smaller classes in larger classrooms and limiting in-person attendance, as the university already implemented, are strongly encouraged.
How does Northeastern maintain the air quality in buildings?
Facilities Management staff have continued to maintain buildings systems since last winter. In preparation for the return of faculty, staff and students to campus, HVAC systems are receiving regular maintenance, including filter changes and treatment for prevention of Legionella. There are three main types of buildings (in terms of air handling) among our academic, administrative, and residential buildings on campus. The first type of building is capable of providing exclusively outside air to the air handling system, and these buildings have been set to do just that. The second type has systems that can be set to have the majority of air provided from the outside, but do need a certain minimum amount of return air in order to properly operate. These buildings have been tuned to maximize, to the greatest extent possible, outside air supply. The third type of buildings do not use centralized air handling systems, and get fresh air from opening widows, much like a residence.
For buildings with building-wide HVAC systems, all supply air into the buildings, whether 100% fresh air or fresh air mixed with return air from the building, passes through a filtration system with at least a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 12. The filters have an 80% -90% particle size efficiency in capturing particles between 1.0 – 3.0 microns and a 90% or greater efficiency in capturing particles 3.0 – 10.0 microns in size.
For buildings with partial building HVAC systems, all supply air into the buildings, whether 100% fresh air or fresh air mixed with return air from the building, passes through a filtration system that either has or will have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 12 by the time campus re-opens.
What are the standards and guidance Northeastern is using to evaluate air quality?
Northeastern’s practices on ventilation are following recommendations and best practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in addition to professional and trade organizations, including the National Air Filtration Association, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, and Leadership in Education Facilities.
How often will shared bathrooms be cleaned in the residence halls?
Shared bathrooms will be cleaned three times daily.
What is the protocol for cleaning a space where someone with COVID-19 has been present?
The Northeastern cleaning and sanitizing protocol gives instructions for cleaning and sanitizing spaces where someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been present. If possible, we will vacate and close off areas where the person spent significant time—including offices, bathrooms, and common areas—for at least 24 hours or for as long as it takes to thoroughly clean and disinfect the space according to CDC guidelines. Our Facilities team will follow the cleaning and sanitizing protocol— a protocol based upon guidance from the CDC and OSHA, as well as the Massachusetts Department of Public Health—to clean and disinfect the space.
Northeastern must continue to follow the state’s latest office space guidance, which requires social distancing and restricts total density in offices to 50 percent of maximum capacity.
How will Northeastern clean classrooms that have been occupied by someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
These classrooms will be closed and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines and Northeastern’s cleaning and sanitizing protocol. Northeastern’s cleaning team will work with the Office of the Registrar to immediately close the space. Classes in the room will move to another location or to remote teaching while the cleaning takes place—in most cases, no longer than three hours. Northeastern cleaners will deploy one or more of their available 25 electrostatic sprayers, which offer 360 degrees of coverage as the cleaners make their way through, thus enabling the classrooms to be reopened as quickly as possible. It is also important to note that all classrooms and university learning spaces are cleaned and disinfected on a nightly basis as part of our daily cleaning protocols.
What is the protocol for cleaning dining spaces on the Boston campus?
At least every 30 minutes, a crew of “cleaning concierges” will be using sanitation products approved by the EPA or Food and Drug Administration to wipe down every contact surface that may have been touched by guests or employees. Additionally, the dining facilities will be shut down in between breakfast, lunch, and dinner periods to undergo thorough cleanings. During those shutdown periods, public health protocols will be reviewed with the dining staff.
How will move-in be different this year?
During move-in, all students and visitors will follow all campus protocols—wearing face coverings, practicing healthy distancing, observing occupancy limits on elevators, and following exit and entry signage on stairways and hallways. There will be a limit of one hamper per student, disinfected between uses.
This year, students and families can expect more electronic communications and fewer papers and maps handed out on-site. There will be extra signage directing people where they need to go and in-depth training for the staff and volunteers who are helping with move-in. Proctor stations will be fully equipped with Plexiglass and hand sanitizer. Common areas and bathrooms will be cleaned multiple times a day.
The move-in team meets regularly to prepare for all contingencies and to create a move-in plan that follows the recommendation and guidance of the CDC and local public health agencies. Additional details will be forthcoming closer to the move-in date.
How will Northeastern approach residence hall cleaning and sanitation?
For residences managed or leased by Northeastern, we will take additional precautions to promote cleaning and sanitation. Residence hall common spaces will be cleaned daily, with high touchpoints cleaned at least three times a day. In first year residences with common bathrooms, facilities staff will clean bathrooms three times a day. In upperclassman residences with shared bathrooms and/or shared kitchens, Northeastern will provide students with a starter cleaning kit of standard household products at move-in. Electric hand dryers will be disabled and touchless paper towel dispensers installed across campus.
Will there be new protocols for the residence halls?
While on campus, students will wear their Husky ID on a lanyard. Face coverings must be worn at all times—both inside campus buildings and in outdoor spaces on campus. Face coverings are required in residence hallways and common areas but may be removed inside bedrooms. Students will need to wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds, and complete a Daily Wellness Check. Every five days, Northeastern will test students on the Boston campus for COVID-19.
How will Northeastern promote healthy distancing in the residence hall spaces?
In the residence halls, each proctor station will be equipped with a Plexiglass barrier and with decals and signage to promote healthy distancing. Proctors will be required to wear face coverings, will screen their health and report symptoms of sickness before every shift, and will sanitize their stations frequently. The CBORD Mobile ID will provide an option for contactless entry and, in some residence halls, students will be able to tap their Husky Card on a foyer reader to enter.
Residence hall stairs and hallways will be marked with signage to direct traffic flow. Elevators will have occupancy limits with clear markers on how to enter and exit and where to stand. Laundry rooms will have occupancy limits and options for MobileID pay. Study spaces will have occupancy limits with decals and signage to promote healthy distancing at study tables.
Will visitors to dorm rooms be restricted?
Beginning on March 15, the residence hall guest policy will allow residents to host other Northeastern students living in university housing as guests. Housing and Residential Life will share the details in a separate email. Masks and healthy distancing requirements will apply.
How will Northeastern change its residence halls to allow for healthy distancing?
Northeastern has secured a significant number of additional beds close to its Boston campus that will allow the university to reduce density in our residence halls and reserve a wellness space for students who may need to undergo isolation or quarantine. All additional beds are a combination of leased properties, apartments, individual bedrooms, and hotels that will be managed by Northeastern housing operations with residential directors and student residential assistants on site. To promote healthy distancing and safety, Northeastern will eliminate triples and quad rooms, will reconfigure its space to have minimal furniture in common space, and will offer contactless check-in and self check-in. Face masks will be required in the residence halls in any spaces outside of personal rooms, and visitors will not be allowed.
What are the requirements every member of the Northeastern campus is expected to follow?
Every member of the Northeastern community is required to submit the university’s Expectations for Return to Campus Attestation form as a prerequisite to returning to campus. The expectations outlined in this form include:
- To perform a daily self-assessment using the Daily Wellness Check. The Daily Wellness Check will go live at wellness-check.northeastern.edu this weekend.
- To follow all guidance on self-isolation and self-quarantine
- To wear your Northeastern University Identification card and have it visible at all times
- To wear a face mask or face covering
- To practice healthy distancing
- To practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing
- To agree to temperature checks as requested
- To appear as scheduled and participate in COVID-19 testing as requested
- To participate in contact tracing
- To comply with public health guidance and university protocols and policies
Can the university accommodate campus events?
Events will follow Massachusetts state guidelines for gatherings. Our global network locations in North America will follow these guidelines as well, unless their local or state guidelines are more restrictive. All in-person event requests will be reviewed by an events committee and must contain a compelling statement of why the event must be held in person and cannot be done virtually. For more details on scheduling and approving an event, please see the Event Policy.
What is the visitor policy?
At this time, all visitors to Northeastern University, in advance of their visit, must be determined to be essential to the university’s mission in order to be approved to visit a Northeastern campus. Approval for any visitors to the university not deemed essential is at the discretion of the appropriate senior vice president. For more details on the policy and visitors that are deemed essential, please see the Visitor Protocol.
Are people permitted to use face shields instead of a face mask or face covering?
The Centers for Disease Control and Preventiondoes not currently recommend face shields as a substitute for masks. People are welcome to use a face shield in addition to a face covering, but Northeastern still requires a face covering that meets the standards described in its face covering protocol. Cloth masks are permitted and should fit snugly, but comfortably, against the side of the face, be secured with ties or ear loops, include multiple layers of fabric, and allow for breathing and seeing without restriction or impairment. The face covering should be large enough to cover your nose and mouth.
How will Northeastern safeguard my personal data?
The university has adopted a COVID-19 Privacy Notice that supplements its general Privacy Notice. The Privacy Notice explains the data that Northeastern may collect to reduce the risk COVID-19, such as health data related to diagnosis or symptoms, test results, body temperature, and information on exposure to COVID-19. The university will treat this information as confidential and will only use it for the purposes of responding to COVID-19 and preventing its spread. Please read the full privacy notice for more information.
If I forget my mask, will there be a place on the Boston campus where I can get one?
We ask that people bring their own reusable masks, but disposable masks are available if you forget. You can go to the following places on the Boston campus to request a mask:
- MasParc Office at the Gainsborough Garage, open 24/7
- WVF Visitor Center, Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm
- Guard Booths on the Academic (east) side of campus, 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Guard Booths on the West Village side of campus, 7:00 am – 11:00 pm.
- Curry Student Center Campus Crossroads Help Desk *On August 26*
- Monday-Thurs 7am-12am
- Friday 7am -11pm
- Saturday 8am -11pm
- Sunday 10am -12am
What are the rules and guidelines around eating and drinking on campus?
Because people will need to remove their masks when they eat or drink, it is important to limit eating and drinking to certain designated areas on campus. Eating and drinking is not allowed in classrooms, in hallways, in the library, in COVID-19 testing center, or in teaching labs or studios—unless you drink through a straw without removing your mask. Healthy distancing is especially important in eating and drinking areas. Masks should be worn in designated eating and drinking areas, except when eating and drinking is taking place, and six feet distancing should be maintained. Please visit our eating and drinking policy for additional details.
Where is eating and drinking allowed on campus?
Please visit the interactive map to see tented dining areas and options that are available at Northeastern dining facilities. The map includes details on take away and mobile ordering options, seating availability, whether a meal plan or meal exchange can be used, and any restrictions on who can access certain dining locations. To accommodate students on meal plans, certain dining areas will be restricted to students only. Some locations will be open only to approved visitors.