Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

A Tartan's Responsibility

Last updated: 11/5/21

A Tartan’s Responsibility outlines the expectations we have for all CMU students who will be living, learning, working and interacting with our campus community, whether living on or off campus. By coming to Pittsburgh for in-person instruction, research and campus engagement, you agree to adhere to the following rules both on and off campus, for as long as they are in effect.

Students returning to campus for in-person classes were required to do the following.

  • Minimize the introduction of COVID-19: In connection with our launch of the fall semester, the university requires every student to complete two baseline tests through the Tartan Testing program (regardless of vaccination status). The first of these tests should ideally be completed within 5 days after arrival to the Pittsburgh area, while the second must be completed by September 24, 2021. Students already living in the Pittsburgh area should plan to complete their testing within the two weeks prior to their engagement with campus activities, research, orientation or classes.
  • Prevent the spread of COVID-19: Consistent with scientific evidence on the importance of vaccine adoption to control spread of the virus, to the extent permissible by law, Carnegie Mellon University requires all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students in U.S.-based programs to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with a World Health Organization emergency use listed or U.S. emergency use authorized vaccineThose who are not fully vaccinated (e.g., two weeks have passed since the final vaccine dose) or who have received an approved exemption from the vaccine requirement  will be permitted to engage in campus life provided they uphold the following mitigation requirements: participating in weekly Tartan Testing, wearing facial coverings in all public indoor settings, wearing facial coverings in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained, and participating in the Daily Self-Assessment. All students are required to have submitted valid documentation of their completed vaccination(s) through HealthConnect (or provide documentation supporting an approved medical, religious or strong moral/ethical objection exemption to University Health Services) by September 20, 2021. Students who do not meet this expectation will be placed on administrative suspension and will be expected to immediately absent themselves from campus until they are compliant.
  • Contribute to the identification of COVID-19: All students are required to respond to university or county contact tracing outreach and other related requests as necessary. Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to participate in weekly Tartan Testing and the Daily Self-Assessment toward identifying the virus.
  • Support the containment of COVID-19: Students are expected to engage in timely reporting to University Health Services, and following their guidance, when experiencing symptoms or when they believe that they may have been in close contact with the virus. Additionally, students are expected to engage with and follow the instructions of University Health Services staff, contact tracers and Student Affairs staff regarding the need to quarantine or isolate.

A full list of rules and expectations can be found on the A Tartan's Responsibility page.

These rules are based on the Minimum Requirements that apply to our entire community. They are designed following federal, state and local guidance to maintain our collective health and vitality, and to promote a culture of shared responsibility for the safety of all community members in and around our university, including our neighbors. Faculty and staff are also adhering to requirements as condition for returning to campus that are designed to protect the community and their health and safety.

Should you find that you are unable or unwilling to comply with these rules at any point during the academic year, then, in acknowledgement of your responsibility to the community, you agree to remove yourself from campus immediately.

The university strongly believes that adherence to these expectations is critical to maintaining a healthy living, learning and working environment during the pandemic. To be successful as a community in upholding these expectations, each of us must embrace our role as active bystanders to help one another. Students who fail to adhere to these rules will be subject to immediate action, which may include administrative suspension, and student conduct action.

We recognize that these rules may impact your experience on campus this year. We also know the pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on communities of color and on vulnerable populations, and has led individuals from other countries to feel less welcome in the United States. We trust you will join us in upholding our values as an inclusive and equitable community with a shared commitment to the continued health and well-being of the entire CMU and extended community this coming year. We also trust that together we will persist through these challenging times to preserve the privilege of delivering an in-person education for those who join us in Pittsburgh.

Individual Expectations

The university reinstated the requirement for everyone to wear facial coverings (sufficient to cover the nose and mouth) on campus at all times indoors, regardless of vaccination status. While this expectation is in effect, physical distancing is required only for unvaccinated community members who have removed their facial covering for the purposes of eating/drinking or working outdoors. However, all community members are strongly encouraged to be mindful of physical distancing, particularly in situations where they are appropriately unmasked. (Note: this item will be updated when the facial covering requirement is adjusted or eliminated.)

While the university strongly encourages students to wear a facial covering in such public off-campus settings, the university requirement in connection with A Tartan’s Responsibility applies only when one is present on campus or attending an off-campus university event. (Note: this item will be updated when the facial covering requirement is adjusted or eliminated.)

Detailed information about baseline testing requirements in association with student arrival to campus for the fall semester can be found on the Students page. Under the current university posture, students may travel during the semester without the need to register their travel or quarantine thereafter. Students who are not fully vaccinated must continue to participate in weekly Tartan Testing following their travel. View the complete university travel protocol.

Under the current university visitor protocol, visitors (both indoors and outdoors) for one-time visits and/or recurring meetings/events on campus are permitted subject to the requirements in the protocol. However, with the exception of support in the arrival and move-in process, students are strongly discouraged from bringing guests to campus during September while we seek to stabilize the overall well-being of our newly-arrived community.

Events and Gatherings

University related and/or sponsored events occurring off campus should adhere to the expectations for events and gatherings under the current university posture.

While off-campus private gatherings that are not university-related / -sponsored events are considered outside the scope of A Tartan’s Responsibility, hosts of such events are encouraged to plan and coordinate them in a manner that reduces the possibility of transmitting the COVID-19 virus (see these CDC recommendations on how to do so). During the months of August and September, while we seek to stabilize the overall wellbeing of our newly-arrived community, students are strongly encouraged to be particularly mindful of these recommendations when contemplating and planning any private gatherings.

Hosts and guests are reminded of the university’s expectation to ensure that off-campus gatherings are otherwise compliant with all relevant university policies, local ordinances and state laws. In particular, student conduct review will be immediately initiated in response to any incident reported to the university that involves hosting or participating in a disorderly off-campus gathering or event.

Under the current university posture:

  • Student organization meetings and events will no longer need to be reviewed and pre-approved through the In-Person Activity Request (IPAR) process that was used during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Student organizations will be required to follow the university’s minimum requirements including (initially) the use of facial coverings at all events without regard to whether they are held on- or off-campus.
  • Under the university posture (effective 10/4/21), indoor meetings and university-sponsored events of up to 50 persons or 50% of the indoor space capacity (whichever is greater) are permitted. Outdoor meetings and university-sponsored events are permitted up to 75% of outdoor facility capacity.
  • If shared food (e.g., pizza) is provided for a meeting or event, it is recommended that one should use their individual unused utensil (e.g. fork or spoon) to retrieve the food item. The event should be hosted in a space that provides for ample physical distancing between participants. In light of the re-institution of the universal face covering mandate, we continue to encourage that food or beverage be consumed outdoors or provided on a takeaway basis to be consumed in a private space whenever possible.
  • Non-curricular brass and woodwind instrumentalists are approved to play but need to either utilize an instrument-specific facial covering or bell cover. Bell covers are preferred. Vocalists are required to wear a facial covering while singing.

  • Restrictions on using transportation that were in place for the 2020-21 academic year have been generally lifted. Facial coverings must be worn when using transportation in connection with a student organization event.
  • Student organizations are no longer required to track attendance at meetings or events. However, student organizations may encourage or require student members or attendees to participate in Tartan Testing as appropriate.

For specific questions regarding student organization meeting or event planning, please contact the Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Civic Engagement (SLICE) or visit Covid-19 Guidelines for Student Orgs

Reporting Concerns

All community members have an obligation to remind others of the requirements outlined in A Tartan’s Responsibility in order to keep themselves and the greater community safe. For example, while we have a universal facial covering requirement in place, reminding someone to wear a facial covering is considered an appropriate and sufficient action. When inappropriate student behavior is addressed and corrected, additional action or reporting of the situation is not necessary. Further, the university is implementing mechanisms to directly monitor compliance with many of the key current expectations such as our vaccination and testing requirements.

Serious or repeat violations of A Tartan’s Responsibility by students may be reported to the Office of Community Standards and Integrity (OCSI) through this form. OCSI will facilitate follow-up with student(s) once reported; however, reporting to OCSI does not absolve your obligation to address the situation in the moment.