Coronavirus FAQ


Please see the FAQ on the Human Resource Services website, the Returning to Work on Campus FAQ and Working Remotely FAQ on our Keep Working site.


Please see the Student FAQ page.


For more information regarding commencement, visit our commencement FAQ.


Summer 2020 Coursework, Research, Artistry and Travel

What about summer research, artistry and scholarship for faculty and students?

In the absence of any Illinois stay-at-home order, the university intends to gradually reopen facilities and spaces on campus for research, scholarship and artistry. Toward that end, the Division of Research and Innovations Partnerships, in collaboration with the Return to Research and Graduate Studies Task Force, has created detailed guidance for a phased approach that will require approval processes and specific safety measures. All scholarly activities that have been executed in a remote manner should continue remotely and are unaffected by this guidance. As always, our top priority remains the health, safety and well-being our faculty, staff, students and stakeholders.

Added 5/14/20

What is NIU’s summer travel policy through July 31 for faculty, staff and students?Updated

All non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is prohibited through July 31. Those who believe that they have essential business reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

If you have already made plans for university-sponsored travel, the university will support you in making other arrangements and reimburse university-related expenses that are nonrefundable.

All of us should consider the risks associated with any form of travel given the spread of COVID-19. These risks include exposure to the virus, challenges with return travel and the potential need to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

With the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, personal international travel also is strongly discouraged, and we urge that you exercise caution and good judgment for personal domestic travel. If travel is imperative, please check with the CDC for travel advisories, which continue to be updated daily.

Please also refer to NIU’s International Travel Policy and Procedures, enacted in September 2019, and register your travel, if deemed essential.

Updated 6/23/20

University Operations and Events

How will NIU support students who live on campus? Will campus operations and services be available?

Campus remains open, and we will continue to have modified services available to you in the fall. We’re working through the details now to develop the right type of programming and resources for our diverse student body this fall while respecting the need to follow appropriate physical distancing measures from public health authorities. More information will be provided in the coming weeks. Please continue to check your NIU email and our Coronavirus Updates page.

Updated 5/19/20

What is NIU doing for campus cleaning efforts?

During the stay-at-home period, our facilities team has been working diligently to support cleaning for essential functions continuing on campus (i.e. Public Safety and heating plant operations, occupied residential halls, etc.). As more functions are allowed to resume on campus, regular cleaning levels will also resume to ensure "high-touch" surfaces in public areas (such as tables, doorknobs, door push plates, light switches, handrails and student desks) are regularly disinfected. The additional hand-sanitizer stations mounted at building entrance areas will continue to provide increased hand-disinfecting opportunities.

Updated 4/22/20

Can I park on campus?Updated

Yes. Through July 31, you can park wherever, as long as it’s not in a reserved spot or facilities spot. No tickets are being issued.

Updated 6/18/20

Getting Timely Information

Why aren’t all my questions answered here?
This type of developing situation will no doubt leave you with more questions than answers. We are in constant communication with state agencies and public health authorities. Our NIU leaders are working diligently to work out the details and provide you with communications and instructions as soon as possible. We especially appreciate your patience.

International and Domestic Travel

I have recently traveled. What do I need to know or do about protecting myself and others?Updated

NIU advises that you follow the travel guidelines set by the CDC.

If you have traveled internationally, we need you to follow the CDC guidelines and self-quarantine at your permanent home immediately upon return from your travel. We ask that those self-quarantining complete this form so that we can provide you with support. For more information, visit the Returning from International Travel page on the CDC website.

If you have traveled domestically, please monitor whether you have COVID-19 symptoms upon your return.  For more information, visit the Considerations for Travelers—Coronavirus in the US page on the CDC webiste.

We also encourage all travelers to pay attention to CDC updates and practice everyday prevention measures such as social-distancing, frequent handwashing, staying home when sick and covering coughs and sneezes. 

Updated 6/23/20 

What is NIU’s travel policy for the period from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020?Updated

All non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is limited and restricted through December 31, 2020. 

Travel must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Required by an employee’s job (examples: admission counselor visits to high schools; travel to Springfield for state relations, travel for athletic functions, necessary site visits to clinical agencies, etc.).
  • Essential to the progression of an employee’s professional development or research, scholarship or artistry (examples: participation in a professional workshop or service position, participation in a conference, delivery of a presentation, examine documents at remote archives, collect data; performances by a musician, etc.).
  • An obligated activity associated with grants and contracts (Examples: delivery of clinical services, data collection, etc.).

Approval should be provided by an employee’s immediate supervisor. Those who believe that they have other reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost.

Updated 6/23/20

How will the pandemic impact grant or contract-funded or mandated travel through July 31?Updated

All non-essential, university-sponsored domestic and international travel for faculty, staff and students is limited and restricted through December 31st, 2020. Travel must meet one of the following conditions:

  • Required by an employee’s job. Examples might include admission counselor visits to high schools; travel to Springfield for state relations; travel for athletic functions; necessary site visits to clinical agencies, etc.
  • Essential to the progression of an employee’s professional development or research, scholarship or artistry. Examples might include data collection, musician performances, participation in a conference, delivery of a presentation, participation in a professional workshop or service position, or a visit to remote archives for document examination.
  • An obligated activity associated with grants and contracts. Examples might include data collection, delivery of clinical services, etc.

Approval should be provided by an employee’s immediate supervisor. Those who believe that they have other reasons to travel can request waivers through the Office of the Provost. Please be aware that the issuance of waivers will be rare.

Updated 6/23/20

Protection and Supportive Measures

I work at Northwestern Medicine and/or I’m a first responder for DeKalb County and would like to stay on campus, who do I contact to make arrangements?

Northern Illinois University is honored to support local heroes who are on the front line managing the COVID-19 pandemic by offering complimentary housing in Neptune Hall – North for those individuals in need of a temporary, alternative residence so that they have a place to rest where they will not risk infecting their loved ones. Rooms can be reserved 24 hours in advance during normal business hours (8 a.m. – 4 p.m.) via email. A confirmation email will be sent to provide details on where to meet staff to obtain keys and an entry card. All arrivals need to take place between 7:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. on the scheduled day of arrival. To reserve a room we ask that you email, and include the following information:

Full name:
Date of arrival:
Time of arrival between 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Added 4/13/20

How can I protect myself and others?Updated
  • Clean your hands by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60 to 95% alcohol immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands); then, throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Avoid contact with others and do not travel while sick.
  • Practice physical distancing. Physical distancing is a way to reduce exposure to slow down the spread of a highly contagious disease. Try to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others.
  • Wear a protective face mask when physical distancing cannot be maintained or when you are in indoor shared spaces.

Updated 6/18/20

What do I do if I feel sick?
  • Monitor your symptoms closely. Each day, ask yourself:

    • Do I have a cough, a fever or chills?
    • Do I have an unusual, persistent headache?
    • Do I have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing?
    • Do I have a loss of taste or smell?
    • Do I have any new respiratory problems (such as wheezing, congestion)?
    • Do I have abdominal discomfort?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” stay home.

  • If you are sick and you are an NIU employee who is working at an NIU facility this summer, you must stay home and inform your supervisor. Employees who are able and feel well enough to work from home can do so.
  • Faculty, other academic personnel and staff should contact their primary care provider with any concerns or questions.
  • Students can contact the NIU Student Health Center and are asked to call first to schedule appointments instead of walking in.
  • Practice physical distancing. Try to maintain at least a 6-foot distance between yourself and others. Avoid shaking hands and close physical contact with others.
  • If you are sick, you should stay home until:
    • At least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared.
    • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without fever-reducing medication).
    • Other symptoms have improved.
  • Household members or those who may be helping care for you should quarantine for 14 days after the patient has been fever-free and symptoms are improving.

Updated 5/28/20

What if I have had close contact with a person who has a lab-confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 diagnosis?New

If you have been in contact with someone who has a lab-confirmed or presumptive COVID-19 diagnosis, then you are to self-quarantine for 14 days since your last contact.

If you have symptoms of the virus (fever over 100.4, coughing, shortness of breath), please call your healthcare provider.

If you are an NIU employee, you must not come to campus or any NIU workspace. Inform your supervisor and call your local health care provider. Anyone who has been exposed and recently been on campus or at an NIU facility should also call the NIU Police Department’s non-emergency number (815-753-1212). The police department will ask the employee a series of screening questions and share the results with the DeKalb County Health Department. Employees should not come to campus or NIU facilities until receiving guidance after answering the screening questions.

Added 6/18/20

I feel anxious about coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do?

We understand that these situations can induce stress, and we encourage our students, faculty and staff to support one another and seek professional support when needed. For students, please call the NIU Student Health Center at 815-306-2777 or NIU Counseling and Consultation Services. For employees, our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to provide you with support and can be reached at 815-753-9191. All of those listed above are confidential resources.

About COVID-19

What is 2019 Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

2019 Novel coronavirus (COVID-19), is a new respiratory virus identified in December 2019 as the cause of an outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. People who get sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) develop mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms including fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Illness can begin two to 14 days after an exposure. Although this virus likely emerged from an animal source, it can also spread from person-to-person. Spread from one person to another is thought to occur mainly via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Typically, with most respiratory viruses, people are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic.

See the CDC website for the latest situation summary updates, including the number of cases identified in the United States.


Will faculty members have assistance as they redesign delivery of course materials?

Yes. To support faculty efforts, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning has created a guide to help you quickly make the shift to teaching and learning that is not face-to-face.

The guide can be found on NIU’s Keep Teaching website, which is an important hub of information. The site highlights simple and straightforward practices designed for implementation with limited technology. You’ll find information on:

  • How to get started.
  • Strategies that consider your teaching style and the learning style of your students.
  • Examples of how faculty might respond under different scenarios.
  • Technology resources that support remote teaching and learning on short notice.
  • Frequently asked questions.
  • Campus resources for getting help.

Additionally, you can sign up and participate in the Online Course Design Academy to learn the practices and principles of effective online course design and apply them as you begin to develop your online course. Each week, you will experience and examine a variety of methods of online delivery firsthand and will select and implement effective strategies for quality online teaching and learning in your course(s). The Academy includes access to resources such as a Blackboard course template and materials to get started. For more details and to sign-up, visit the Keep Teaching website.


Are there any one-on-one supports for faculty?

Yes. Individual assistance with strategies and technology is available online or over the phone. A Faculty Support Hotline is also available; call or text 815-797-2477 or email for assistance.

Additionally, on-campus and online workshops for faculty will address such topics as delivering live online lectures and providing accommodations and flexibility to your students. Online workshops schedules and other supportive information will be posted to the Keep Teaching website. Faculty members who have further questions or concerns regarding instruction can call the center at 815-797-2477.

Updated 6/18/20

Who should faculty contact with questions about externally funded proposals and awards?

Sponsored Programs Administration is continuing with normal operations with staff working remotely. Due to remote work, additional time may be needed to prepare, review and submit proposals and other award-related actions. Please contact SPA as soon as possible via Outlook email with any proposal or award needs and/or questions so that they can provide the best support possible to you during this time.

See SPA Deadlines for Submitting Proposals for External Funding for submission timelines. We ask that you consider these timelines and all other SPA policies as best as you can right now. As noted, actions may require additional time, and additional lead time beyond that stipulated in the policy is advised.

Investigators also should monitor the SPA homepage for grant-related updates.

Updated 6/18/20

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