PNW Mask Protocol, Chicago “Quarantine” Order and Other Important Information

October 15, 2020

A PNW student wears a mask in the Westville library

Thank you to everyone for your cooperation in keeping the university community safe thus far into the fall semester and our active infection rate very low relative to our total population of students, faculty and staff members. We have accomplished these goals only through your efforts to remain socially distanced, wear your face coverings, and help keep classrooms and workspaces clean.

Yet we can all see the reports of COVID-19 cases rising in Indiana, Illinois, and our immediate region. Our continued, collective diligence is more important than ever as we power onward through the semester. We would like to offer clarification around some recent public announcements, reminders of required campus protocols, and other helpful information.

Mask Protocol

Purdue Northwest’s face covering protocol remains in effect until further notice. Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb extended the statewide mask mandate on Oct. 14. PNW leadership, acting on the recommendation of the Safe Return to Campus Task Force, believes the use of face coverings indoors and when within six feet of other people is one of the most effective ways to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. A face covering must be worn on campus in compliance with the PNW protocol.

Indiana “Phase 5”

While Indiana is in “Phase 5,” PNW’s current university status remains in Phase 2 of our own COVID-19 guidelines. Virtual meetings and events are encouraged where possible. Events are significantly limited and subject to restrictions. Full guidelines are available on the website.

Chicago/Indiana “Quarantine”

Chicago’s order to quarantine travel from Indiana has received much publicity. To clarify: students who live in Chicago who commute regularly to Indiana for school are exempted from the Indiana quarantine order. Similarly, a resident of Chicago can travel to Indiana for the primary purpose of carrying out their primary work in that state.

Details can be found on the City of Chicago website. Please note: the emergency travel order applies only to travel to and from the city of Chicago, and not to suburban Illinois or to those who live in the suburbs.

Reminder: Reporting Exposure or Positive Test

As a reminder, all members of the university community are asked to please report a positive COVID-19 test or possible exposure, even if you believe you have not been on campus recently. To report:

  • Students: Please contact Colin Fewer in the Dean of Student’s Office.
  • Faculty: Please contact Catharine Olsen in the Provost’s Office.
  • Staff: Please contact Sue Miller in Human Resources.

Flu Shots

We are proud to share that this year’s recent on-campus flu shot events were among the most successful ever, with participation among faculty and staff up from last year. If you have not yet had a flu shot, please consider getting one as soon as possible.

Our collective efforts to avoid serious illness this winter will help reduce strain on medical services and facilities. Regional Health is offering COVID-19 testing as well as the seasonal flu shot. They have an office located on PNW’s Hammond campus, off 173rd street by the Fitness and Recreation Center. There is a cost for these services. Other options are available on the website.

The recent increases in positivity rates in our communities and Chicago’s efforts to restrict travelers from Indiana demonstrate that we all need to remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. PNW will continue to monitor local and state conditions and government advice, and we plan to stay the course with our protocols at least through the fall.


Safe Return to Campus Task Force