Northwestern, DePaul universities outline plan for students' return to campus

Several Chicago-area universities have unveiled plans for students' return to campus following closures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Northwestern University is announcing a six-phase plan for students and staff to return to campus.

Under the plan, face masks will be required in all public and shared environments, and social distancing will be enforced.

Northwestern is currently in its first phase, which only allows faculty and staff who have been deemed essential to work on campus. The next phase will focus on reactivating research labs, and the third phase will bring some key research, educational and other support functions back to campus. This could mean that professors could teach remote classes from campus facilities, but overall remote work and restricted visitors and events will continue.

The fourth and fifth steps aim to pilot classroom experiences in the summer before potentially allowing students to return to campus in the fall.

The university hasn't given concrete dates for any of the six phases yet.

For more information on the phased return, visit Northwestern University's website.

Meanwhile, DePaul University announced it'll open for limited in-person learning the fall, with reduced occupancy of on-campus housing.

The university told all employees to plan to work from home through at least July 17.

"We expect to make further announcements regarding our blueprint for fall quarter operations soon," President A. Gabriel Esteban announced in a statement to the university. "We are tracking the progression of COVID-19 and listening to state, local and public health leaders to determine what degree of social distancing and remote learning will be required in the fall to safeguard the health of our community."

The University of Illinois has promised to give an update on its plans and timeline within the next week.

The university said Monday that it will consider state health department recommendations, but will make its own decision about whether its safe to have students back on Urbana-Champaign campus in the fall.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.