Updated Guidance for Phase 5 of Restore Illinois
June 11, 2021

Dear Students,


Today the State of Illinois entered into Phase 5 of its Restore Illinois plan after a consistent decline in COVID-19 cases. All sectors of the economy are now fully open and can resume at regular capacities including retail, dining, large events and venues.


This progress has been made possible because of the wide-spread availability and acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine. The science shows that vaccines are safe and effective in not only protecting against COVID-19 but reducing its severity and limiting its transmission. I continue to strongly encourage all members of our community to commit to your health and get vaccinated. Information about the vaccines and where to get them is available via the CDC and at


In this new phase and with guidance from the CDC and public health officials, the university is updating the following guidelines effective immediately:


Classrooms for Summer Courses

Regardless of vaccination status, faculty, instructors and students will continue to wear face masks and maintain physical distancing while they are in the classroom this summer. We will share later this summer on how we will proceed in classrooms for Fall 2021.


Fully Vaccinated Individuals*

Fully vaccinated students and employees are not required to wear masks or practice physical distancing indoors or outdoors but may do so if they prefer. Limited exceptions to this include healthcare settings such as our Northwestern Medicine Student Health Center, public transportation and in-person courses scheduled for the summer where masks remain required.

Unvaccinated Individuals

Students and employees who are NOT fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times indoors unless alone in their private work or living space. Students with in-person summer courses who are not fully vaccinated must participate in NIU’s surveillance testing program. Non-compliance with masks and testing could result in disciplinary measures including being removed from a residence hall or classes.


Preparing for Fall 2021

Entering this phase is another important milestone in our plans for resuming a more “normal” campus experience in the classroom and beyond this fall. We are excitedly preparing for your return in August to in-person classes, social activities and events that Huskies love. If you haven’t signed up for fall classes yet, please reach out to your advisor or the Center for Student Assistance so we can help you with your plans and any challenges you might be facing.


Lastly, I also want to acknowledge that while there is much to look forward to, this period right now is one of adjustment where comfort levels will vary as restrictions are lifted. Please continue to demonstrate respect and compassion for one another as we all navigate these changes. Huskies should not make assumptions, question, judge or discriminate against others regarding masks or vaccination status.


We will keep you updated on changes and wish you the best all throughout the summer.


Together Forward,

Lisa C. Freeman


*The term “fully vaccinated” is defined as someone who is now past the two (2) weeks following their second injection (Pfizer or Moderna) or single injection (Johnson & Johnson).

This message has been approved for distribution by the appropriate NIU party and is distributed by the Division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications.
NIU Mass E-Mail Policy

Northern Illinois University's vision is to be an engine for innovation to advance social mobility; promote personal, professional and intellectual growth; and transform the world through research, artistry, teaching and outreach.
Learn more about NIU’s vision, mission and values.