Distributive policy

NU to implement mask-optional policy after fluctuating COVID-19 positivity

Northwestern’s COVID-19 positivity rate fell slightly last week after an overall upward trend over the past four weeks.

After three weeks of mandatory testing requirements for all undergraduate students at the start of the term, the positivity rate remained around 2% for three weeks, averaging 2.48% with a decreasing number of tests taken. every week. However, in week seven, the positivity rate Pink at 4.35% – an increase of 1.87 percentage points from the previous week – while the number of tests carried out increased slightly to around 4,700 after the 4,000 of the previous two weeks each.

With 300 fewer tests carried out this week compared to last, the number of new positive cases rose to 152 from 206 last week. The positivity rate this week was 3.42%.

Of the 152 new positive cases seen, undergraduates accounted for 83% of the positive cases with 126 this week – a proportion that is increasing week by week. Non-university students make up 17 of the positive tests, while faculty and staff account for a total of nine cases.

The University is also suspending the use of its campus activity levels framework Friday because the metric does not represent the “complexities of responding to COVID-19 developments,” according to an email sent Thursday.

At the time of the announcement, NU flagged campus activity levels as “yellow,” signifying the need to modify normal in-person operations as well as testing protocols for targeted populations. This change was made in the second week of the quarter. Although the University mandated a third week of testing for all students, testing requirements ceased soon after.

The University also wrote in Thursday’s email that it had “effectively managed” the spread of COVID-19 on campus, allowing NU to proceed with a mask-optional policy in certain indoor shared spaces in accordance with the state and the city. time limit.

Starting Monday, masking will be optional in most indoor spaces like research labs, sports facilities, libraries and the Norris University Center. Wearing a mask will still be mandatory in classrooms and on campus shuttles.

While the distribution of home testing kits is still suspended on campus, NU students, faculty and staff can receive free asymptomatic in-person testing at the Donald P. Jacobs Center 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. People with symptoms should use the testing entrance on the northwest side of the Jacobs Center to receive in-person testing from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

Students, faculty, and staff can receive free surgical masks at most building entrances as well as free KN95 respirator masks at Norris reception during business hours or in the lobby of 345 Superior St. on campus Chicago NU from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Week.

E-mail: [email protected]

Twitter: @amittal27

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