The Need-To-Know DePaul COVID-19 Updates for Fall ...

The Need-To-Know DePaul COVID-19 Updates for Fall Quarter 2021

As students return to campus amid the ongoing pandemic, many rules and regulations have been put in place to keep the DePaul community safe. DePaul has made dozens of updates prior to the beginning of the school year, and we’ve kept track of them every week since the pandemic began. As the DePaul community begins to navigate campus once again, here’s what you’ll need to know:


Masks must be worn at all times while indoors in all DePaul facilities and classrooms. If students fail to wear a mask in class, they will be asked one time to put a mask on and if the student does not respond by wearing a mask, they will be asked to leave the classroom. Similarly in other DePaul facilities, the proper supervisor must be notified if a patron is not complying with the mask mandate. The only time that people don’t have to wear a mask is if they’re alone and in an office with the door closed.

The Dean of Student Office will be investigating all claims of noncompliance with the mask policy. If students or staff forget a mask, there are limited amounts available in the following locations:

Loop Campus Free Disposable Mask Distribution Points:

  • CDM Center, 243 S. Wabash Ave., Public Safety desk in the lobby
  • Daley Building, 14 E. Jackson Blvd., Public Safety desk in the lobby
  • Daley Building, State Street entrance, Public Safety desk in the lobby
  • Lewis Center, 25 E. Jackson Blvd., Public Safety desk in the lobby
  • DePaul Center, 1 E. Jackson Blvd., Public Safety desk in the lobby

Lincoln Park Campus Free Disposable Mask Distribution Points:

  • Holtschneider Performance Center, 2330 N. Halsted St., Public Safety desk in the lobby
  • Schmitt Academic Center, 2320 N. Kenmore Ave., Parking Services Office in Room 177
  • 2400 N. Sheffield Building in the lobby
  • Student Center, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., lobby

Where can I eat on campus?

The university has stated that eating and drinking during class is highly discouraged, unless absolutely necessary. However, dining areas have been set up on both campuses according to the university housing FAQ page, and picnic tables and benches outside, like in the Lincoln Park Campus, are a safe option that don’t require the wearing of masks.

In March 2020, water fountains throughout campus were turned off in order to help stop the  spread of COVID-19. Students are able to access water on campus using their personal water bottle with the water bottle fillers located next to some water fountains.

Vaccination Status  

This year, only 2.6 percent of all students received a medical or religious exemption to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to university spokesperson Russell Dorn. This comes out to less than 500 students total; these students will be required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing.

If students remain unvaccinated or did not meet the qualifications for exemption from the vaccine, students have been dropped from in-person classes and student benefits. For students who missed the deadline to report their proof of vaccination to the university, but are seeking vaccination, they can find vaccine resources here.

After receiving the vaccine, students must report vaccination status to the university via Campus Connect. To do so, go to Campus Connect > Student Resources > Immunization Status. You may also find it under the Admitted Student Home Page in Campus Connect ​> Immunization Status and upload the appropriate vaccination card.

Concerns about falsified vaccination cards have been rampant, particularly as vaccine mandates are set into place, but in an email to 14 East, Dorn writes that information submitted by students, faculty and staff “appears to be authentic,” and that the university “will investigate and address any situation in which we have information indicating a person has furnished false information.”

Students will also not be notified if a classmate is unvaccinated. “Like ​any other medical treatment and condition, a student’s vaccination status is personal health information, which is confidential under university policy and is a record protected by FERPA,” according to Dorn, referencing the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, which protects confidential student information from faculty and other students.

This doesn’t bar an unvaccinated student from sharing with others, including their professor, that they are unvaccinated, but it does prevent professors from asking their students about their vaccination status — a hot topic during last month’s faculty council meeting.

Social Distancing Guidelines 

Physical distancing is encouraged throughout campus as advised by the City of Chicago’s guidance. The university has advised people to “maintain physical distance to the extent possible.”

Residence Halls

With the return of in-person classes, DePaul Housing has accepted on-campus residents at full-capacity. All university housing will follow university, city, state and CDC guidelines.

Additionally, all on-campus housing has adopted a temporary no visitor policy. The policy is to be reevaluated in the first couple weeks of the quarter, and a change or continuation will be in effect on Sept. 27 according to the university housing website. Previously, each resident was allowed to sign in up to two guests.

Reporting Protocol 

If someone of the DePaul community tests positive for COVID-19, the university requires that the positive case is reported by the person that tested positive or someone that knows someone has tested positive. There are two options on DePaul’s COVID-19 website, one reports a positive test about oneself and another one allows someone to report a positive test about someone else.

DePaul’s COVID-19 dashboard has data aggregated by week and type, separating the case counts by “student,” “faculty/staff,” and “other” categories. It’s accessible here. This data is accurate as of Thursday evening (September 9, 2021).

The university will not, however, continue to send emails regarding individual COVID-19 cases and their locations like they did during the 2020-2021 school year, according to spokesperson Russell Dorn, due to the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) changing their policies regarding case notifications.

As of January 2021, CDPH does recommend that the entire campus community should be notified of positive cases in order to spread awareness, but states that a dashboard is sufficient. Currently, DePaul is using a Google Data Studio dashboard to report aggregate cases by week, though this does not include the location of cases or cases by date.

Travel Protocols

As of September 8, every state and U.S. territory have been placed on the City of Chicago’s travel advisory list. While traveling all individuals should wear masks on all forms of transportation and while indoors. Unvaccinated travelers are recommended to quarantine for seven days and get a negative COVID-19 test upon return.

COVID-19 Safety Training 

All members of the DePaul community, including students, faculty and staff, are required to complete the online COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines training. Students can access the training through D2L. Faculty and staff can access the training through BlueSky.

COVID-19 Testing

Current faculty, staff and students experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 should get tested. Unvaccinated faculty, staff, and students who have received religious or medical exemptions are required to get regularly tested.

DePaul provides free saliva COVID-19 testing on both campuses throughout the week. The locations and hours are listed here along with instructions for making an appointment. Testing is by appointment only and requires a DePaul ID at check-in. No health insurance is required.

DePaul offers a free mail-in COVID-19 testing program for students, faculty and staff based in the United States. We broke it down in our newsletter in November here. Photo by Cam Rodriguez, 14 East.

If a current faculty, staff or student is experiencing symptoms, or has been exposed to COVID-19 and are having difficulty finding a testing site, they can request a mail-in test from the university, which we broke down in our COVID-19 updates newsletter in November.

The COVID-19 testing resources page provides links to available testing outside the university.

Returning back to school — pandemic or not — can be intimidating, exciting and overwhelming. For more information on DePaul’s handling of the pandemic, plus Chicago news, campus updates and useful resources on mental health, COVID testing, housing resources and more, check out our weekly newsletter here.


Header image by Natalie Wade.