Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

In this Together: Guiding Principles 

Last updated: 03/20/2023 at 6:00 p.m.

Northwestern Health Sciences University is committed to our community’s health and safety, maintaining students’ academic progress, and minimizing disruptions as much as possible.

Guiding Principles for decision making
  • Protect the safety and health of all employees, students, patients, & campus visitors.
  • Make decisions using evidence-based practices knowing that evidence is still being gathered.
  • Our culture is and will be our north star during this crisis. Keep our culture strong.
  • Ensure business continuity: support our students, patients, and employees.
  • Strive to maintain the financial health of our institution.
  • Use guidance from CDC, MN DOH, and other trusted resources.

NWHSU monitors guidelines issued from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) guidelines and federal OSHA standards.

Slow the Spread and Protect Yourself and Others

Regardless of vaccination status, the most important actions each of us can take to further protect ourselves include:

    • Staying home if you have symptoms or are sick, follow recommendations at If You are Sick or Test Positive
    • Washing your hands often with soap and water; covering your cough and sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, and clean surfaces you touch.
    • Practicing self-care by eating a healthy diet and taking time to rest.
    • Follow Recommendations for Wearing Masks
    • Delaying travel if you are not fully vaccinated; do not travel if you are sick or have tested positive for COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated
    • Laying low and getting tested if you must travel; see this travel guidance for more information.
Campus COVID-19 Mitigations In Place

Effective December 17, 2022, the new, layered mitigation strategies based on publicly available data have been updated. Hennepin County results will be used. Please review the table below.

Current COVID-19 Community Levels | Public/Shared Spaces:
Follow the Low/Medium level mitigation strategies.


Current COVID-19 Transmission Levels | Instructional Labs and Treatment Rooms:
Follow the High level mitigation strategies.


When masks are required, they need to be surgical/procedure masks or respirator-style masks (e.g., N95, KN95, etc.). Both are available and easily accessible on campus and free of charge.

Due to professional requirements and the diversity of activities that occur in classrooms, faculty are empowered to require masks in their instructional spaces even when the CDC level and our mitigations do not require them.  And, as always, wearing a mask when it is not required is a supported choice for everyone in our community.

Please also note that there are two distinct sources of information being used – one for public/shared spaces and the other for instructional labs and treatment rooms.

The cross-functional, collaborative Covid Committee, with assistance from an expanded membership, recently recommended that NWHSU’s framework for mitigating the spread of Covid-19 be refreshed. The core principles of nurturing health and safety, maintaining students’ academic progress, and relying on expert guidance led to a realignment of mitigations to the CDC’s Community Levels.

The low and medium levels now have the same mitigations and the high level triggers masks in classrooms. With each sustained shift in the CDC levels, the campus community will be messaged about increasing/decreasing levels, what mitigations come next, and how to stay healthy.


Public/Shared Spaces: Guided by the CDC’s  COVID-19 Community Levels (updates every Thursday by 8 pm ET). These spaces include classrooms, cafeteria, hallways, library, fitness center, store, etc.).



Time Required Before Implementation


  • People may choose to mask at any time.
  • Stay home if you are sick and
  • People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask AND report your status.

Students report to | Employees report to

2 weeks
    Medium 2 weeks
  • Masks required in classrooms.
  • People may choose to mask in more public spaces on campus
  • Stay home if you are sick and
  • People with symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a mask AND report your status.

 Students report to | Employees report to

1 week

Instructional Labs and Treatment Rooms: Guided by the CDC’s Community Transmission Rates (updates daily by 8pm ET). All public and common space mitigations are in place with additional masking protocols in instructional labs (e.g., Basic Science, Methods, Allied Health, etc.) and clinic treatment and counseling rooms.

Level Masking Protocol Time Required Before Change
Low Masks encouraged 2 weeks
Moderate Masks encouraged 2 weeks
Substantial Masks required 1 week
High Masks required 1 week



Continuing Education (CE) will use this framework to make room/activity-based decisions for its events. Please see the CE webpage and event communications for more information.

These levels will be monitored according to the source data update schedules. As needed, updated mitigations will be communicated on the first and third Fridays of each month to be effective the following Monday. Changes will be communicated via email, the Covid-19 page, and posters on-campus.

Facial Covering

All faculty, staff, students, and independent contractors regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a surgical paper mask or respirator mask (e.g., N95 & KN95) where required. Please note: cloth mask, neck gaiter, scarf, bandanna, or other similar face coverings are not acceptable. A face covering must cover the nose and mouth completely. Patients, Campus Visitors and Store Customers may wear cloth masks.

Face Shields

The use of Face shields with a cloth mask require approval by Human Resources for employees and Disability Services for students. A face shield may be used as an alternative for people who cannot wear a surgical or respirator mask due to medical or other conditions. A face shield must cover the entire front (that extends to the chin or below) and sides of the face. Adhere to recommended manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection or to the instructions on this link when they are unavailable.

Report COVID-19 Symptoms, Exposures and Positive Tests

NWHSU employees and students should report exposures, symptoms, and positive test results to the Registrar or Vice President of Human Resources so they can guide you and manage our campus community well.

These notifications will help us monitor the situation on campus and provide guidance on your next steps.

FAQ – Follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health (MN DOH) Guidance:

Where can I get tested?

Click on this link to find out where to get tested.

Healthy Practices


Hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds with soap and water frequently throughout the day. Hand sanitizer dispensers are available throughout the campus.

What You Need to Know about Hand Hygiene.

Respiratory etiquette:  Cover your cough or sneeze

Please cover your mouth and nose with your sleeve or a tissue when coughing or sneezing and to avoid touching your face, and in particular your mouth, nose, and eyes, with your hands; even when wearing a mask You should dispose of tissues in the trash and wash or sanitize your hands immediately afterward.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Practices

Routine cleaning and disinfecting of campus including classrooms, clinic spaces, restrooms, cafeteria, and meeting rooms. Frequent cleaning and disinfecting will be conducted in high-touch areas, such as door handles, light switches, elevator panels, hand railings, copy machines, etc.

Where can I find additional information about COVID-19?

Questions or Reporting