Students who are feeling ill with any type of respiratory symptoms, whether you have a fever or not, please do not attend class on campus. Review the information provided below, if you have further questions, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246 during business hours. 

STUDENTS ONLY: To report COVID -19 exposure or positive result, use the COVID-19 Reporting portal. **Employees no longer need to report illness/exposures to Health Services. Please contact follow CDC/ your local health department guidelines regarding isolation/quarantine and contact your supervisor.**

If you have been instructed to sign a release form for your isolation/quarantine period, please click here to sign the release form. 

While great advancement and strides have been made in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still ongoing and there are some recent changes that have resulted in increasing COVID-19 cases once again. The Omicron ba.2 strain has become the dominant COVID-19 virus in Minnesota and beyond, proving itself to be more transmissible compared to past versions of the virus, spreading about twice as easily from one person to another.

  • Unvaccinated people, including younger age groups, are at risk of potential severe illness.
  • In addition, with the Omicron ba.2 variant, fully vaccinated people may be able to pass the virus to others. However, fully vaccinated people are less likely to be infected, and if a vaccinated person becomes infected, the illness will likely be mild.

Infected individuals can spread the virus through respiratory droplets when they cough, sneeze or exhale. The droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby and be breathed in. Infected people may be able to spread the disease before they have symptoms (typically 48 hours or 2 days before symptom onset) or even if they are asymptomatic. 

The most common symptoms can include the following; fever, cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, chills, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, congestion, and the loss of taste or smell.

Other less common symptoms include: 

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

If you have questions or concerns, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246 or ask your primary care provider. 

If you are experiencing any of these emergency symptoms listed below, call 911 right away. If you are a student living on campus, please call Public Safety 651-631-5310 after you have called 911. 

  • Blue lips or face
  • Consistent pressure on the chest
  • Trouble focusing/concentrating
  • Difficulty being aroused/staying awake

Click here for a list of FDA approved at-home test kits. 

All students with COVID-like symptoms or exposure must report to UNW via the COVID-19 Self Report Portal, or calling Health Services at 651-631-5246. If you have symptoms or have been exposed, please get tested. Call Health Services for a same-day appointment to get tested.

** Employees: Human Resources no longer requires that you report positive COVID-19 test results or close exposures to Health Services. If you need to take time off due to COVID-19 reasons, please contact your supervisor. If you have questions related to your leave or if you are unable to work remotely, please contact your supervisor or your HR Benefits Administrator.

  • If you or your immediate family members need COVID-19 testing, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246 to schedule an appointment. 

IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED AND HAVE SYMPTOMS (with or without exposure), please follow the reporting procedure stated above.  

If you are still unsure of whether or not you should get tested, click on this link to read Minnesota Department of Health’s current recommendations.

Students who have symptoms and choose not to be tested, must isolate for at least 5 full days until their symptoms have improved and have been fever-free for 24 hours without taking a fever-reducing medication. 

If you choose a PCR test where you have to wait for results, keep in mind that while waiting, you should stay home and separate yourself from other people in your home as much as possible. Wash your hands often and clean frequently touched surfaces. 

What test options does Health Services have?

Rapid Antigen Test:

Our most commonly used test is the nasal rapid antigen test. It is an excellent option and available for those with or without symptoms. This test detects protein fragments specific to the Coronavirus. Results are received within 15-20 minutes of the test time. For students, the cost is charged directly to the student account. For employees with UNW insurance, it is covered by your insurance company. For employees without UNW health insurance, payment is due at the time of the test with a credit card. A receipt is provided upon request (to submit to your insurance company for potential reimbursement).

Nasal PCR Test:

PCR testing is considered the “gold standard” in SARS-CoV-2 detection. This test actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms. It is sent out to Hennepin Healthcare Lab for processing and results are generally back within 24-72 hours. This test is billed directly to your insurance company from Hennepin Healthcare. The cost is $75 for non-insured students, the charge to the insurance may differ. *Please be aware that if your health insurance denies this claim, the fee will be directly charged to your student account. Please bring a copy of your insurance card to your appointment. 

Free Testing Options:

In-clinic: BinaxNow Rapid Antigen testing is a nasal swab that can produce results in about 15 minutes or less. This test can be done for individuals who have symptoms and those who do not, please note that the accuracy of the test is a lot lower in individuals who do not have symptoms. 

At home: The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) launched a new program that will enable Minnesotans to order free rapid COVID-19 tests online for delivery directly to their homes and campus mail. At-home rapid tests help detect the virus that causes COVID-19. You can do the nasal swab test anywhere and get results in about 15 minutes. The at-home rapid antigen tests can be used at any time, such as if you have symptoms of COVID-19, were exposed to someone who has COVID-19, or before an indoor gathering. Learn more on COVID-19 Self-Testing

You can order additional at-home testing kits here from the federal government. 

You can also follow this link to find an off-campus testing location near you.

Does Northwestern require students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

No.  Northwestern does not require COVID vaccines for students or employees, however, the MDH and CDC recommend vaccines for eligible individuals in order to reduce the prevalence and transmission of COVID-19. Individuals are advised to seek information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines from personal health care providers. If you do not have a primary care provider and would like to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with one of the providers in UNW Health Services, please make an appointment. 

Once a person is fully vaccinated and boosted:

  • Do they need to be tested for COVID-19?
    If experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, fully vaccinated and boosted individuals need to be tested. Fully vaccinated and boosted individuals also need to follow testing requirements for travel and work as needed.  
  • Do they still need to wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet physical distancing?
    Individuals who are fully vaccinated and boosted are strongly recommended to wear face coverings indoors or outdoors and when it is required by businesses or entities. Federal, state or local requirements may also require face coverings in various settings including but not limited to forms of public transportation and health care facilities. 
  • Do they need to quarantine if exposed to someone who tests positive to COVID-19? 
    Individuals who are vaccinated with the primary series and boosted are not required to quarantine if they do not have symptoms. 
    • Boosted individuals will need to wear a well-fitted face covering for 10 days after exposure and on day 5 after exposure, get tested.
    • If symptoms develop at any time after exposure, isolate and get tested. 

If you still haven't gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, but you are still thinking about it. Click here

It is best to stay informed of the travel recommendations put forth by the CDC. This link outlines those recommendations and includes an interactive map in which you can determine the level of risk to an area you are considering. Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Per CDC, travel should be delayed until you are fully vaccinated. 

If you have necessary travel plans, all air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens, regardless of vaccine status, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before they board a flight to the United States. 

If you would like to schedule a travel consult or need to schedule a test prior to your departure, please call Health Services. 

For the best information on how to protect yourself and others, click here

If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you may need to quarantine yourself.

If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine) and (choose which scenario fits your situation)

1. Are unvaccinated OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 5 months ago and are not boosted OR completed the primary series of J&J over 2 months ago and are not boosted

    • Quarantine: Stay home for 5 days.
    • Test on day 5
      • Negative: You can resume normal activities once approved for return. Continue to wear a well-fitted face covering around others for 5 additional days.
      • Positive: Stay home for 5 more days and follow the above Isolation Protocol.
    • If you develop symptoms at any point, get a test and stay home.

2. Have been boosted OR completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 5 months OR completed the primary series of J&J vaccine within the last 2 months OR tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days and do not have current symptoms of COVID-19

    • Wear a well-fitted face covering around others for 10 days.
    • Test on day 5 (unless you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days)
    • If you develop symptoms at any point, get a test and stay home.

How long to Quarantine for: 

  • Stay home for 5 full days.
  • Get tested on Day 5. If your test is negative you can resume normal activities once approved by Health Services for return. Continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for an additional 5 days. 
  • If you cannot wear a well-fitted mask, stay home for the full 10 days.
  • If you develop symptoms at any point, get tested and stay home.

Follow these steps to properly quarantine yourself:

  1. Stay at home except for testing or needed medical care
  2. Stay away from people who are at high-risk for COVID-19. This includes older adults, those living in long-term care facilities, and people with health conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, or weakened immune systems.
  3. If you start to feel sick, separate yourself from others in your household. Stay in a specific room and use a separate bathroom if possible. 
  4. Do not use public transportation, ridesharing (such as Uber or Lyft), or taxis. 
  5. Wear a mask.
  6. Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share food, dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home.
  7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 

*** If you work or volunteer in health care, or a congregate care setting, such as long-term care or a correctional facility, please check with your facility regarding your return to work/volunteer.

After stopping quarantine: Wear a mask for an additional 5 days, stay 6 feet from others when possible, wash hands, and avoid crowds or settings with people who are at risk of severe illness from COVID-19.  

Notify Health Services of your exposure as soon as possible by using the COVID-19 Self Report Portal. Health Services will do its best to get back to you within a few hours. 

Notify Health Services, and/or primary care clinic as soon as possible if you start to develop symptoms.

Anyone Who Tests Positive for COVID-19, Regardless of Vaccination Status Needs to Isolate. 

  • Stay home for 5 days.
  • If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can resume normal activities but must meet criteria (symptoms much improved and fever-free for at least 24 hours) to be approved by Health Services for return. Note, a negative test is not required after day 5. 
  • Continue to wear a well-fitted face covering around others for 5 additional days.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and are instructed to isolate, here are some tips to isolate properly:

  1. Do not go to work, school, or any other place outside the home. Stay home for 5 days from when your symptoms started, until your symptoms are getting better and you have had no fever for the last 24 hours, without using medicine that lowers fevers. You can sit outside or go for a walk but should remain physically distanced from others. 
    1. You can leave isolation if you need to seek medical care.
  2. Stay away from others in your home. Stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if you can.
  3. Avoid sharing personal household items. Do not share food, dishes, drinking glasses, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people in your home. After using these items, wash them thoroughly with soap and water. Clean all frequently touched surfaces in your home daily, including door knobs, light switches, or faucets.
  4. Wear a well-fitted face covering if you need to be around people, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Wash hands thoroughly afterwards. 
  5. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Caring for yourself while you are ill:

  1. Check your temperature at least twice a day, and record them.
  2. You can take Tylenol, Ibuprofen or Cold/Flu relief medications as directed on the package.
  3. Stop taking medication as soon as you start to feel better so you can monitor your temperature without the aid of fever reducers. 
  4. Keep hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of fluids, eat small meals often.
  5. Alternate activity with rest, as you're able. 
  6. There are medications available for individuals who are at high risk for severe illness. Click here.   

If you are sick with any type of respiratory illness, whether you've had a fever or not, it is highly recommended that you stay home until you are completely well. Stay home until all three of these things are true: 

  1. You feel better- i.e: your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms are better and
  2. It has been 5 full days since you first felt sick and
  3. You have not had a fever for at least 24 hours, without using fever reducing medications (Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Nyquil/Dayquil, etc.).

If you have further questions or feel like you need to talk to a provider, call Health Services at 651-631-5246.

After hours, go to a doctor's office, urgent/urgency center or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your symptoms.

If you are currently being prescribed a medication through Health Services:

  • Preferred method: send us a secure message via electronic medical system Medicat
  • You can call Health Services at 651-631-5246 to talk to a Health Services staff or provider.

Even as the pandemic is improving, the impact of COVID-19 may be causing some anxiety, fear and stress for people. Coping and managing with stress can help you and the people you care about. Here are some tips on how to cope if you find yourself in quarantine: 

  • Exercise- get your heart pumping with a fun-filled Zumba lesson or other exercise videos on YouTube. Whichever activity you choose, choose one that will take your mind off COVID-19. 
  • Do some cleaning or de-cluttering that you have been putting off for a while.
  • Get your information from a reliable source, such as WHO, CDC, or MDH.
  • When you feel overwhelmed or anxious, remember to take a deep breath- breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Go outside and take a walk, or get some fresh air. 
  • Take this opportunity to take a break from your normal routines and do some relaxing activities such as reading a good book, watching movies or a series that you haven't had time for. 
  • Remember, you can still stay connected with the people who are important to you, in person when appropriate or via FaceTime, Skype, Marco Polo (app), 
  • This document was put together by our counselors here at UNW on how to cope with mental health during COVID-19 and is a great resource to get tips on how to deal with anxieties that you may have with this pandemic and looking to God for calm and peace.  

Below are some things to prepare if you will be living on campus: 

  • Advil (Ibuprofen) or Tylenol (Acetaminophen), or both
  • Dayquil or Nyquil
  • Mucinex (expectorant)
  • Thermometer 
  • Hand sanitizer for your backpack or purse
  • Soup
  • Small cans of 7-up
  • Water
  • Extra Kleenex
  • Extra well-fitting face coverings
  • Warm fleece blanket for chills
  • Icepack for forehead if you run a fever
  • Cough drops
  • Lotion (your hands can get dry from frequent handwashing, and it is a great protection from viruses and bacteria as well)
  • Disinfectant wipe/spray to clean frequently touched surfaces

It is also highly recommended for you to carry a copy of your insurance card with you, and have a care plan if you become ill. 

  1. If I tested positive and have been instructed to isolate for 5 days, can I visit someone else who is in quarantine or isolation?

    1. No, at this time per UNW policy we are asking that you do not do this. 

  2. What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

    1. Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.

    2. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. (

  3. What is the length of time I need to isolate or quarantine?

    1. Someone from Health Services, Student Care, or Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will discuss the quarantine isolation/quarantines dates with you.

    2. If you are positive for COVID-19  (symptomatic or asymptomatic) and are isolating, you will isolate from either the day after your symptoms started for 5 days and the 6th day is the return back to campus/normal routine, OR the day after you tested positive if asymptomatic for 5 days with the 6th day being your return back to campus date. You must be fever free, with symptoms improving, and without needing to take over the counter medications for at least 24 hours in order to return back to campus.

    3. If you are in quarantine as a result of an exposure to a confirmed positive case, you will need to quarantine for a full 5 days starting the day after you had last close contact with that person.  

  4. Who needs to report a positive COVID-19 result?

    1. Everyone living or attending classes on campus needs to report a positive test. Please call Health services at 651-631-5246 or click on Student COVID-19 Self Report.

  5. When do you need to contact Health Services?

    1. If you are unvaccinated, or not up to date with COVID-19 vaccines and have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    2. If you have any of the following symptoms: cough, fever, body aches, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, or diarrhea.

    3. If you would like to complete a COVID-19 test, please call Health Services at 651-631-5246

    4. If you would like to schedule an appointment or have other questions regarding your health and well-being. 
  6. What does it mean to be a close contact with someone?

    1. You were within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more.

    2. You are living in the same household or are the roommate of a COVID-19 positive individual.

    3. You were in direct contact with infectious secretions of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 during the infectious period (e.g. direct care of a COVID-19 positive individual, kissing, sexual activity).

If you have any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19, please call our office at 651-631-5246 and our staff will try to help you as best we can. Please know that we are here to help and serve you. 


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