Photo of two people wearing face masks walking on the Main Campus with the Ronald Williams Library in the background

COVID-19 updates for January 2022

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Northeastern Illinois University continues to make the health and safety of students, faculty and staff its top priority. Due to recent increases in COVID-19 cases, the spread of the omicron variant, and new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Northeastern is implementing new COVID-19 health and safety measures.

Remote work and instruction

Northeastern is pivoting to a remote work and instructional format for a three-week period from Jan. 11-30, 2022. Unless considered essential staff or staff in critical departments, all staff at the Main Campus, Jacob H. Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies (CCICS) and El Centro are advised to work remotely. 

All three University locations will remain open during this three-week period. Further, please note that critical areas impacting University operations will still be active on campus during this time and key employees in these critical areas will be required to continue to work on campus.

Vaccination requirements to return to campus on Jan. 31

Per Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s Executive Order 2021-22 (available to read in Arabic, Polish, Tagalog, Chinese, Spanish and Hindi), all higher education faculty, staff and students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Furthermore, all members of the Northeastern Illinois University community are also now required to get a COVID-19 booster shot as soon as they are eligible per the CDC Booster Shot guidelines

Booster shots are available at the IDPH vaccine clinic in the Main Campus bookstore location from 1:30-5:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, and 9 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Those with vaccine exemptions are required to submit a negative COVID-19 test upon their return to campus on Monday, Jan. 31.

Testing requirement for vaccine exemptions

Individuals who have already been exempted from the vaccination requirement due to medical or religious reasons will be exempt from the booster requirement. Exempt individuals are still required to test weekly for COVID-19. 

Illinois SHIELD testing is available at the Main Campus, CCICS and El Centro. Please view the Guidance for Coronavirus Testing webpage for hours of operation, scheduling an appointment, testing instructions and more information about COVID-19 testing.

Face mask requirement

The wearing of face masks in all public indoor settings on campus will continue to be required. The CDC also advises individuals to consider wearing a face mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with others who are not fully vaccinated. Individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a high quality face mask, such as a three-layer surgical mask, KN95 or N95 respirator mask to protect against the omicron variant. Surgical, KN95, and/or N95 masks will be distributed to all classrooms and office suites. Masks will also be available for students and employees at the Main Campus Welcome Desk.

Exposure Guidelines

Employees and students who feel sick should stay home. Students who test positive for COVID-19 students should immediately notify Student Health Services. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 should notify their supervisors and the Office of Human Resources. Additionally, faculty and staff are required to report positive and presumptive student COVID-19 cases and exposures to Student Health Services. When someone who has been on campus tests positive, Northeastern works with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to determine the appropriate response, which differs greatly depending on the situation. We continue to follow CDPH and CDC guidelines as we ensure proper protocols and preventative measures are in place for the health and safety of our students and employees. 

Food Services 

The cafeteria will be closed for service from Jan. 11-30. Food service in the cafeteria will begin on Jan. 31. Café Descartes will be open for service from 8 a.m.-noon Jan. 10-14 and Jan. 17-21. Farmer’s Fridge will restock its vending machine on Jan. 18.

Northeastern Illinois University is committed to continuing to assess and update our COVID-19 health and safety protocols to align with public health guidance. We will continue to use careful thought and consideration in the planning and implementation of a multilayered approach to the prevention and response to COVID-19. 

The NEIU COVID-19 Task Force is currently reviewing and updating the COVID-19 Return to Campus Interim Policy and website to align with new CDC isolation and quarantine guidelines as well as Spring 2022 COVID-19 guidance. Details and updates from the COVID-19 Task Force will be available soon. Questions and comments can be addressed to the COVID-19 Task Force.