Important COVID-19 Vaccine Requirement Information
June 23, 2021

Dear students,


Our preparations for the fall 2021 semester are focused on returning to a more traditional semester. We realize that the limitations COVID-19 imposed on in-person and residential activities in 2020-21 had negative consequences for our community’s academic, social and mental health. We know you want to resume activities that enhance your personal, academic and professional growth, and we share this aspiration. Throughout the pandemic, the university has been closely monitoring evolving scientific evidence and public health guidance, and we recognize now that the most effective way for our campus community to accomplish these goals is through COVID-19 vaccination.


NIU will require—and provide an incentive—for all students to be vaccinated. The requirement and incentive apply to all students who will live in residence halls or participate in face-to-face classes or in-person research or artistry. Students who enroll only in online classes are exempt from this requirement and incentive. 


Students who are not already vaccinated should get the vaccine as soon as possible, and, fortunately, there are many options for doing so. Students who live in the residence halls or Northern View are required to receive either the two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or the one dose of Johnson & Johnson before they move into their rooms. Students who do not live in NIU housing but are taking in-person classes should receive the full dose of their vaccines by Friday, August 20. Students who show proof of vaccination to the university on or before their respective deadlines will get $100 each, which they may choose to receive in a refund or have applied directly to their Fall 2021 account balance.    


Instructions on how to provide authorization for disclosure of vaccination records or to upload a copy of the Vaccination Record Card will be communicated soon. Students who have not received the full dose of the vaccines by their required date will not be permitted to move into the residence halls or attend in-person classes unless they have approved exemptions.  


Students can request exemption from the vaccine requirement for documented health or religious reasons. Additionally, while the three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States are under an FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) exemption, we will allow students to request personal exemptions. Students receiving personal exemptions will be notified and become subject to the vaccination requirement after the EUA designations convert to full FDA approval. Students who are not vaccinated will be required to undergo weekly COVID-19 surveillance testing. More information will be provided in the coming weeks regarding how to request an exemption. 


All students participating in organized extracurricular events and activities will be expected to follow relevant CDC and IDPH guidelines. As a reminder, students who are not fully vaccinated and those who might need to take extra precautions should continue to wear masks indoors and in crowded settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, but may choose to do so. Huskies should not make assumptions, question, judge or discriminate against others regarding masks or vaccination status.


Answers to other frequently asked questions about the vaccine, the incentive and the requirements are available online.


Making this decision was not quick or easy, nor will it be embraced by all. There are members of our community who are reluctant to get vaccinated because of concerns about side effects, mistrust of our health systems or a lack of understanding the science involved in creating the vaccine. I did not hesitate to get vaccinated because I am convinced that facts show the vaccine is safe, effective and worthwhile. I encourage you to learn more about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines from experts and medical professionals with diverse backgrounds and expertise. I want you to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that you and our NIU community are protected.


We are excited to welcome you back to campus in the fall. Thank you for all you are doing to help Protect the Pack.



Lisa C. Freeman, D.V.M., Ph.D.

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