NU students line up for COVID tests on Monday, Jan. 3. (Jeff Hirsh photo)

Northwestern University students will be welcomed back from vacation with a cotton swab being placed in their nostrils.

All NU students, graduate and undergrad, will have to take a COVID-19 test after returning from Spring Break.

In a message to the university community, Vice President Luke Figora and two other top administrators say that students, “regardless of their vaccination status,” will be required to take at least one in-person COVID test at the campus test center during the week of March 27. Spring quarter begins March 29.

Those with approved exemptions to NU’s vaccination mandate will still have to be COVID-tested twice a week.

Masks remain required in classrooms through the end of Winter quarter on March 19, but are optional in offices, dorms, libraries and public events.

Figora says, “We are monitoring pandemic conditions and will make a decision in the coming weeks about masking on campus after Spring Break.”

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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