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Northwestern undergrads to take at-home COVID-19 test before returning to campus

The school’s testing process will also include testing upon arrival at Evanston’s campus, as well as ongoing testing of both on- and off-campus students

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JULY 23: A person uses a nasal swab for a self administered test at the new federally funded COVID-19 testing site at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium on July 23, 2020 in Miami, Florida. U.S. Surgeon Jerome M. Adams visited the site, as the state of Florida experiences a spike in coronavirus cases, to encourage people to wear a mask and take other precautions to fight the pandemic.
All Northwestern University undergraduate students have to complete an at-home COVID-19 test by Aug. 27 before returning to campus.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Northwestern University announced Wednesday its three-step COVID-19 testing plan for undergraduate students returning to campus for Fall 2020.

Northwestern students will have to complete an at-home nasal swab test and receive a negative result before regaining access to campus buildings, according to an email from the university Wednesday. The university will also require testing upon arrival to Evanston, as well as ongoing testing of on- and off-campus students, with more details on those steps still to come.

Students will order a test kit from Picture Genetics and receive it within two or three days. After self-administering the nasal swab, students must ship the sample back by Aug. 27. The results, which will be shared with Northwestern, should arrive two to four days after shipping the sample. Students won’t be charged for the sample kit.

The COVID-19 testing kits can’t be sent to international students or people under age 18, so those students will be exempt from the first step of the testing process, according to the email.

All students are encouraged to self-isolate for two weeks before returning to campus, but if people test positive, students will have to self-isolate for 10 to 14 days and be cleared by the university’s student Health Services before returning to campus. Northwestern begins fall classes Sept. 16.

The university also plans to release a symptom-tracking app to be used by staff, faculty, students and guests at both the Evanston and Chicago campuses.