Frequently Asked Questions for Students

You’ve faced incredibly challenging circumstances this past year. Our academic programs, services and resources will help you pivot, press on, overcome and finish what you started. So please hang in there. You’ve got this. And we want to help. We believe in you and are committed to providing you with a future full of opportunity. As we return to the vibrant campus Huskies know and love, we want you to truly experience what makes Huskie life so special.

Face Masks and Protective Measures

When and where are masks required at NIU?Updated

Governor Pritzker lifted the mandate requiring face coverings to be worn on public transportation. Effective immediately, face masks are not required on the Huskie Bus Line, but riders are welcome to wear them voluntarily. (4/20/22)

NIU continues to require masks in the following circumstances and/or locations: 

  • Faculty members can require masks be worn in their teaching spaces
  • Surveillance testing locations
  • Northwestern Medicine Student Health Clinic
  • NIU health clinics

Huskies are also expected to wear masks at the request of individuals when meeting in the personal work or living spaces of those individuals.

Masks will be optional in all other settings. Any member of the NIU community who prefers to continue to mask is welcome and encouraged to do so.

Updated 4/20/22

Why is NIU changing its mask policy?

In light of the steady decline in COVID-related hospitalizations and cases throughout the state, Illinois Gov. Pritzker has begun lifting COVID-19 mitigation requirements. Additionally, the CDC released new masking guidelines on Feb. 25 that allow for a reduction in mask requirements based on COVID-19 Community levels. NIU will continue to monitor the situation and update our Protecting the Pack guidelines as necessary.

Added 2/28/22

Are masks required for meetings?

No, masks are not required for meetings, but anyone who would be most comfortable wearing a mask is encouraged to do so.

Added 2/28/22

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required for students?

NIU students taking in person classes, participating in in university-sponsored experiential learning opportunities such as clinicals, internships and student-teaching and/or who are living in the residence halls are required to be vaccinated or have an NIU-approved Medical or Religious exemption.

Updated 1/24/22

International Students

What vaccines will the university accept from international students?

NIU strongly encourages students to be vaccinated prior to arrival to the United States and will accept the following vaccines as of July 8:

U.S. Vaccines with FDA Emergency Use Authorization

  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech

International vaccines authorized for emergency use by the WHO:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Covaxin
  • Covishield (Serum Institute of India)
  • Sinopharm (Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products)
  • Sinovac-CoronaVac 

Students who were vaccinated outside the United States with an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine or WHO-approved vaccine from the approved NIU list and have received all the recommended doses do not need any additional doses. People who received the first dose of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses do not need to restart the vaccine series in the United States but should receive the second dose as close to the recommended time as possible.

Updated 11/9/21

I will have received one dose of non-FDA approved vaccine before I come to the U.S., will I be able to get my second dose when I arrive?

No, we will not have access to any vaccines not approved in the U.S. The university and local health department will discuss your options with you which will include receiving a full series of one of the vaccines approved in the U.S. at least 28 days from your dose received outside the U.S. If you choose not to receive this full series, you will be considered unvaccinated and will need to follow all masking and social distancing requirements.

Added 7/16/21

What if I have an opportunity to receive a first dose of a WHO approved vaccine (that is not approved by the FDA) but will be unable to get a second dose before I leave for NIU – should I wait until I get to the U.S. to get vaccinated?

We urge all students to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but in situations like this you may want to take into account the additional challenges that may be created by getting partially vaccinated shortly before your departure. If you choose to wait until you arrive in the U.S., we urge you to take every precaution as you travel and until you are vaccinated. There is no shortage of COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S. so if you have an opportunity to receive the vaccine in the U.S. before arriving at NIU, you may do so. Be sure to have proper documentation of the first dose so we can give you an appropriate second dose if you receive Pfizer or Moderna (Janssen is only one dose).

Added 7/16/21

Do I need to get a vaccine if I already had COVID?

Yes, all students who previously had COVID-19 should get a vaccine. According to the CDC, experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.

Added 7/16/21

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