NU students line up for COVID tests at Jacobs Center on Monday, March 28.

You could say Northwestern University is hedging its bets.

With classes starting Tuesday for Spring Quarter, NU’s classroom mask mandate has been lifted. COVID-19 is diminishing, and university officials say they are comfortable with ending the face-covering requirement.

But another requirement still remains, namely, getting a COVID-19 test.

So, as they have several times during the pandemic, Northwestern students are lining up once again for a COVID check at the Jacobs Center on Sheridan Road.

Testing is available through Friday, from 8 a.m. to5 p.m. On Monday, several students told Evanston Now that they will likely wear masks in the classroom, even if they do not have to.

“I think so,” said graduate student Denara Urazova, pointing out that in China, for example, there are lockdowns, so wearing a mask here is reasonable.

Felllow grad student Trent Carrington also said he “probably will wear one in class” as well. Carrington said he did not go anywhere COVID-prevalent during just-ended Spring Break, but still felt masking up to start school makes sense.

First-year student Benjamin Barbaro said he is “not worried about COVID right now,” but still said he will “probably wear a mask for awhile” in class, to see what happens with the pandemic.

The COVID tests are required this week for both undergraduate and graduate students, vaccinated or not. Besides the Jacobs Center in Evanston, there is also a test site at 345 E. Superior in Chicago.

The Jacobs Center line was rather short on Monday. A staff member signing people in said things will no doubt pick up as the week goes on.

Northwestern required COVID-19 vaccinations for all students prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year, with exemptions possible for religious or medical reasons.

At least 97% of NU students were fully vaccinated when the academic year began.

Those with approved exemptions must continue to be COVID- tested twice a week for the remainder of the school calendar.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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