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Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates


Information for Feinberg

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Illinois, a variety of considerations are necessary to accommodate the life cycle of our clinical work, educational programs, and clinical training activities. We are committed to the health of our students, faculty, and staff, and to the communities and patients we serve. Every effort is being made by our hospital affiliates to conduct our patient care activities thoughtfully, and each entity will exercise their preferred processes to maximize everyone’s safety.

The following information is specific to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Northwestern University continues to update university-wide guidance on an ongoing basis.

Northwestern Medicine will test any Feinberg faculty, student, or staff member who exhibits symptoms or is otherwise determined to need testing. For questions about a potential exposure and testing options, call the Northwestern Medicine COVID-19 Hotline at 312-47-COVID (312-472-6843) and follow the prompts.

Clinical Care Information

All patient care activities will follow the lead and guidance provided by each of our clinical affiliates.

Education Guidance for Feinberg

 MD Program

  • M1 student teaching and exams have moved to an online format for the time being. We are committed to achieving the educational objectives fully for our M1 students.
  • M2 students are on break preparing for licensing examinations. We plan to begin the M3 year as scheduled.
  • Direct patient care is on pause for M3/M4 students until further notice; we will review this periodically in conjunction with future LCME guidance. Clinical clerkships continue using a virtual teaching format.
  • We continue reviewing each educational experience to ensure learning objectives are met. To ensure an optimal choice of residencies for the M4 match, there is no change to our M1-4 grading for course work or clinical rotations.


  • All McGaw residency and fellowship programs are continuing clinical activities with schedule modifications as determined by the program director and department chairs.
  • Many conferences have moved to an on-line format to continue to meet educational objectives. Anyone with questions about this method of instruction or in need of help with implementation should feel free to contact Vice Dean for Education and President of McGaw, Diane B. Wayne, MD.

 Other Degree Programs

  • Student clinical training for all allied health profession programs (e.g. Physical Therapy, Orthotics, Physician Assistant, and Clinical Genetics) will be modified as needed based on clinical site availability and accreditation guidelines.
  • Driskill, NUIN, and other PhD and Masters programs on the Feinberg campus will adopt virtual classrooms until an assessment is made about returning to a regular teaching format. Typical small group conferences and teaching sessions at the graduate student level should proceed virtually.
  • Graduate students will receive Pass/No Pass grades for Spring Quarter 2020, but have the option to select quality (letter) grades. We encourage only those who must have a letter grade for external accreditation, licensure or reimbursement to opt-out of Pass/No Pass grading. Pass/No Pass grades do not count in the GPA; a Pass grade does earn a credit and is equivalent to a B in graduate courses. Programs will follow up to advise students in programs where letter grades may be prudent, and with information about allowing Pass/No Pass grades from Spring Quarter 2020 to fulfill requirements.
  • For Summer 2020, graduate student grading will revert to the method described in the course catalogue for each course. The decision to revert to standard (pre COVID-19) grading practices is made in view of the need to maintain student progress toward a degree while meeting Northwestern University graduation requirements for GPA and minimum graded credits. While maintaining our high standards, we encourage programs to be flexible for students who find remote learning and other Covid 19 related adjustments challenging.

Research Guidance for Feinberg

  • As the University prepares to ramp up the research enterprise, all non-essential on-campus research in Feinberg is still currently paused. This pause does not represent a shutdown of all research activity, as much of our research continues off campus, including writing and planning.
  • Activity considered essential and can continue on campus is defined as follows:
    • COVID-19 research that has the potential to mitigate the pandemic’s spread;
    • Certain medical research that, if paused, would harm its research participants;
    • Procedures to maintain critical research infrastructure. For example: animal care, irreplaceable cell lines, laboratory equipment that requires gas or cryogenic monitoring, etc.; 
    • Activities that if discontinued would result in significant degradation of safety and/or the loss of time and data.
    • Northwestern's Office for Research has published new guidance for ramping up research and has continued to post information for conducting essential research on campus.
  • NUCATS has compiled a list of COVID-19 funding opportunities and resources.

Clinical Research

To ensure we are complying with public health guidance and tending to the safety and welfare of research personnel and research participants, we are asking for research teams to:

 Research Monitors/Sponsor Representatives

  • Please cancel on-site visits from research monitors or sponsor representatives.
  • In instances where research monitoring is essential to participant health/safety, consider remote monitoring.  Where monitoring must include review of source documentation from Epic, temporary access may be provided as a response to COVID-19.  Remote access to systems other than P1 (current instance) Epic is not possible at this time.  More information on remote monitoring will be distributed in the coming days.
  • In the event on-site access is required, contact Abby Cosentino-Boehm and Megan Carney.

 Research Participant Visits

  • Please postpone or cancel research visits unless the research visit is essential to the health, clinical care and/or well-being of the participant.
  • The CRU has also suspended visits unless the same threshold has been met.
  • If possible conduct visits remotely. Please refer to guidance from the IRB on conducting your trial during these situations.  NU IRB COVID-19 Memo

Administrative and Technical Information for Employees Working Remotely

  • Northwestern University has compiled resources to help our community teach, learn and work during this time - including web conferencing, online chat and file sharing, and call forwarding and voicemail management. Additionally, Feinberg-specific information is available to complement these materials.
  • Feinberg's Office of Finance and Administration has published interim changes to payroll transaction processing while working in a remote environment.
  • Northwestern University has implemented changes to accounts payable, mailroom, and other office services that impact the Chicago campus.
  • The Chicago Parking Office in Abbott Hall is now closed until further notice. However, Departments and employees of Feinberg remain eligible to purchase parking coupons for Chicago campus lots for individuals who cannot work from home and who typically commute via public transit. During this time, employees in need of daily parking passes may pick up at the Erie/Ontario garage customer service office. The customer service office is located off the first floor vehicle exit on Ontario Street between the Southeast and Southwest elevator lobbies. Departments may also purchase visitor parking coupons for issuance to those individuals. We will continue to evaluate parking capacity and communicate further updates in April.
  • As of March 20, 2020, Starbucks in Searle, and Beefsteak and Slice in SQBRC, are temporarily closed. Smart Market in SQBRC remains stocked and open. 

Northwestern’s Commitment to an Inclusive Environment

All members of the Northwestern University community should be free from harassment and discrimination, and we intend to uphold our values. If any member of the community feels they have been treated unfairly because of their race, country of origin or where they have traveled, please reach out to the Office of Equity.
Northwestern Office of Equity
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