Health, Wellness and Safety
Last updated: 9/3/21
Where can I find the latest numbers on positive cases within the CMU community?
CMU case numbers are updated every business day on this Dashboard reporting page.
What are CMU’s contact tracing protocols?
The Allegheny County Health Department has authorized the university to conduct contact tracing on behalf of university community members. Under the direction of University Health Services (UHS), staff are trained on proper protocols and systems that are consistent with those used by the county in order to integrate seamlessly with the broader community.
For all COVID-positive reports, the university will initiate a contact tracing process including plans for UHS to test students identified as close contacts. Under the direction of UHS, staff will interview individuals who have been determined to be a confirmed positive COVID-19 case and notify anyone who came in close contact (6 feet or 2 meters apart for 15 minutes or more) with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 while they were believed to be infectious. Those individuals identified through contact tracing will be provided direction, resources and support.
All contact tracers are obligated to maintain confidentiality. If you test positive for COVID-19, your identity will not be disclosed to those identified through contact tracing. However, you may elect to give permission for your college liaison to disclose your status to your faculty members or others on campus who can provide individualized support or accommodation.
If you are contacted by the university to participate in the contact tracing process, we expect you to respond immediately and follow all guidance and direction provided. This is a critical role you must play to support your own and the community’s health and well-being, as expected in A Tartan’s Responsibility. All official CMU contact tracing phone calls will come from a Carnegie Mellon area code and prefix (i.e., 412-268-XXXX).
What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?
Reported illnesses have ranged from having no symptoms to mild symptoms to severe illness for confirmed COVID-19 cases. Symptoms may appear 2-10 days after having been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 10 days.
Learn more on our Symptoms & Reporting page.
What if I get sick?
Our first priority is your safety and well-being.
Find guidance for what to do if you get sick on our Symptoms & Reporting page.
What should I do if I’m diagnosed with COVID-19?
Our first priority is your safety and well-being. Please reach out to University Health Services at 412-268-2157 or your primary care provider for guidance in treating symptoms and keeping others around you safe.
For connection to additional supports, we encourage you to email email@example.com. If you have received a positive test result or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you must report your result to Community Health and Well-Being at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can connect you with supports and take proper precautions to keep you and our community safe.
Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms who may require some short-term academic accommodations related to their illness should contact Disability Resources at email@example.com. If you have received a positive COVID-19 test result and have documentation of that result, please attach it to the email when you contact Disability Resources.
For Faculty and Staff:
Our first priority is your safety and well-being. Please reach out to your primary care provider for guidance in treating symptoms and keeping others around you safe. Human Resources has also provided guidance about supports and available options in their Work Leave Options [PDF].
Additionally, you must report your diagnosis to Community Health and Well-Being at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can connect you with supports and take proper precautions to keep you and our community safe. Information regarding your diagnosis will only be shared as necessary for the university to safeguard the community and to comply with any applicable laws or government orders.
If an instructor or faculty member tests positive for COVID-19 but can still teach, is it at their discretion to choose how they continue to teach?
A faculty member should first follow the Action Plan for Faculty/Staff Who Receives a Positive COVID-19 Test Result, and other processes found on the Symptoms & Reporting page to alert CMU that they have a positive COVID-19 diagnosis if they haven't done so already. Human Resources’ Leaves Department will be in contact with the faculty member to provide them with information on the requirements they need to meet before they can return to work on campus. The Leaves Department will also provide guidance regarding leaves and other benefits in the event that the faculty member finds themselves unable to work remotely. The Leaves Department may be reached at Leavemgmt@andrew.cmu.edu.
It is up to the instructor whether they choose to disclose the diagnosis to their head/supervisor: in either case, they should work with their supervisor to find the right short-term solution to their problem. Some short-term solutions for an instructor who feels well enough to teach include the instructor teaching remotely to students in the classroom with a facilitator; instructor moves class sessions fully remote temporarily until they are cleared to return; instructor shifts class to asynchronous teaching and learning temporarily until they are cleared.
If someone tests positive for COVID-19 and alerts Community Health and Well Being (CHWB@andrew.cmu.edu), what is the timeline for CHWB's next steps?
Contact tracing usually begins within 24 hours after CHWB is notified of the positive diagnosis. The timing depends on such factors as the time of the day it is reported, the volume of cases, etc. For additional information on the process, you may wish to contact CHWB (CHWB@andrew.cmu.edu).
What should a faculty member do if they find out they test positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic and feel well enough to teach?
First, if a faculty member develops systems or tests positive for COVID-19, they must report the information to Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB) at CHWB@andrew.cmu.edu. CHWB will inform Human Resources’ Leaves Department, which will be in contact with the faculty member to provide them with information on the requirements they need to meet before they can return to work on campus. The Leaves Department will also provide guidance regarding leaves and other benefits in the event that the faculty member finds themselves unable to work remotely. The Leaves Department may be reached at Leavemgmt@andrew.cmu.edu.
It is up to the instructor whether they choose to disclose the diagnosis to their head/supervisor. If the faculty member feels well enough to teach, they should work with their supervisor to find the right short-term solution to their problem. Some short-term solutions for an instructor who feels well enough to teach include the instructor teaching remotely to students in the classroom with a facilitator; instructor moves class sessions fully remote temporarily until they are cleared to return; instructor shifts class to asynchronous teaching and learning temporarily until they are cleared.
What are the isolation plans for students diagnosed with COVID-19?
Students with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 and probable cases will be directed to isolate until cleared by a health care provider to return to any campus or community activity.
Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have a probable COVID-19 diagnosis will be provided isolation housing. The university has reserved bedrooms and bathrooms in campus residences and will organize meal delivery and laundry service for these students to reduce spread of infection.
Off-campus students will be given instructions on how best to isolate in their residence, including how to isolate with family/roommates when necessary.
All students diagnosed with COVID-19 will be actively supported by university staff throughout their isolation period to ensure their physical, mental and emotional well-being.
What are the best practices for personal health?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Make sure you wash your thumbs, wrists and in between your fingers. This is the best defense against the spread of all viruses.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
- Stay home when you are ill. Rest will assure quicker recovery and decrease the spread of infectious illness on campus.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Get plenty of rest/sleep.
- Get the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine.
Find additional health resources on our Health and Wellness page.
What do I do if I think I have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 10 days?
How can I report a COVID-19 compliance concern?
If there is a clear and present safety threat, you should notify the Carnegie Mellon Police Department at 412-268-2323. If it is an emergency, please dial 9-1-1.
In your lab or workspace, notify your lab supervisor, principal investigator or Pandemic Safety Officer. CMU employees can also notify their human resources business partner.
In and around campus or need assistance, notify a Community Pandemic Safety Ambassador.
In student housing, contact your Housefellow or College Liaison.
To report violations of A Tartan’s Responsibility and non-compliance by students, notify the Office of Community Standards and Integrity (OCSI).
To report violations of A Tartan’s Responsibility or non-compliance by faculty and staff anonymously, please use the Ethics Hotline.
Which health services are available?
University Health Services (UHS) remains available with adjusted services to best meet the needs of our community at this time.
Telehealth is the primary mode of service provision.
In order to protect student and staff health and safety, all appointments and services must be initiated by calling UHS at 412-268-2157 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
For more information about how UHS will utilize telehealth care to provide continuity of care with medication refills, psychiatric care, transcare, and other primary care needs, please visit the UHS website.
If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 if you are off campus and if on campus, call 412-268-2323 to access Emergency Medical Services. After-hours non-emergency medical advice can continue to be accessed by TeamHealth at 1-844-881-7176.
What are the quarantine plans if I might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Students will be directed to quarantine when appropriate and given instructions on how to meet their basic needs and receive support from the university while ensuring they do not contribute to community spread.
During quarantine, we expect students to monitor their health and follow the guidance of a health care provider. They must remain in quarantine until cleared by a health care provider to return to any campus or community activities. This type of quarantine is more restrictive than the modified quarantine approach students must complete prior to joining in-person coursework or engaging in other on-campus experiences at the beginning of the semester.
If students in quarantine receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, they will be directed to isolate until cleared by a health care provider.
Is the university taking additional cleaning or sanitation measures?
Cleaning for health has always been our underlying approach to campus custodial services. Our cleaning staff is trained on how to properly disinfect touched surfaces and how to keep surfaces clean. They wear gloves while they clean and are required to wash their hands before and after breaks. Disinfecting wipes are being introduced at dining locations and public study spaces to allow people to clean tabletops before use.
Electrostatic disinfectant systems have been dispatched for use in University Health Services, classrooms and high-traffic public spaces. The technology’s touchless disinfection and sanitizing capabilities can treat an entire room in under three minutes. This EPA-certified, human safe and environmentally friendly solution earned recent recognition from The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS) as a 2019 Top Innovation of the Year.
Additional cleaning supplies have been ordered as a preparatory measure, and cleaning staff are receiving special coronavirus training every day.
What preventive measures are in place to protect the health of the campus community?
Hand sanitizing stations are mounted at building exits and in other high-traffic areas as a reminder that hand hygiene is the most important tactic to prevent infection. Facilities Management and Campus Services (FMCS) has ordered additional, portable hand sanitizing stations in visible locations. The custodial staff are cleaning public spaces in every campus building daily. University Health Services is cleaned twice per day.
Weekend cleaning frequencies are being increased in public gathering areas of academic buildings. Disinfecting wipes are being introduced at dining locations and public study spaces to allow customers to clean tabletops before use. Hospital-grade electrostatic disinfectant systems have been dispatched for use in University Health Services, classrooms and high-traffic public spaces.
How frequently are public spaces cleaned by custodial staff?
Custodial Services staff start each day with refresher training on hygiene standards and sanitation of high-touch surfaces. The custodial staff are cleaning public spaces in accordance with CDC guidelines — typically the public gathering places in campus buildings are cleaned daily. Even more frequent cleaning is performed at University Health Services and dining locations. Weekend cleaning frequencies are being increased in public gathering areas of academic buildings.
What should I do if I see a space on campus that needs cleaning?
If you see a space on campus that you feel needs cleaning, please contact Facilities Management and Campus Services at email@example.com.
How can I help students who may be impacted?
We are encouraging impacted students to turn to those they trust and find most helpful when they need support or assistance. This includes family, friends, faith leaders and CMU's strong network of university resources, including housefellows, college liaisons, academic advisors, departmental coordinators and Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS). CaPS counselors are available at any time, day or night, at 412-268-2922.
Will faculty be notified if one of their students tests positive?
Faculty will be notified in a way that respects a student’s privacy and promotes the overall well-being of the campus community. If the student provides consent, faculty and instructors will be told the student’s identity so that appropriate academic support and accommodation can be provided as they deal with their illness. If consent is not given, Community Health and Well-Being will contact faculty and instructors and inform them of a positive case in their course.
Is CaPS available to students?
Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) remains available with adjusted services to best meet the needs of our community at this time. Teletherapy is the primary mode of service provision. In order to protect student and staff health and safety, all appointments and services must be initiated by calling 412-268-2922 during regular business hours (8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).
CaPS will continue to provide students after-hours point of need support, as well as consultation services for faculty and staff who are concerned about a student. If you are away from campus the staff will work with you to provide guidance and support around your mental health needs. Finally, CapS will also provide virtual skills workshops on various relevant topics to support students’ mental health during this time.
For more information about how University Health Services will utilize telehealth care to provide continuity of care with medication refills, psychiatric care, transcare and other primary care needs, please visit the UHS website.
As a faculty or staff member, what assistance is available to me to help me cope with the emotional impact of a COVID-19 outbreak?
CMU provides resources to help academic and staff employees and eligible dependents cope with these types of life events through the Guidance Resources Employee Assistance Program (EAP). You may also call the EAP line directly at 1-844-744-1370. The EAP provides confidential, short-term counseling at no cost to the employee.
Am I required to wear a facial covering on campus?
Facial coverings (sufficient to cover the nose and mouth) are now required on campus at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
Exceptions include: while eating or drinking, if working outdoors during hot and humid conditions, or when alone in a private space, such as an office, assigned residence hall room or enclosed vehicle. When outdoors, facial coverings are expected to be worn whenever physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained. If you cannot wear a facial covering due to a medical condition, please contact either the Office of Disability Resources (students) or HR Disability Services (employees) to request an exemption.
Exceptions have been made for faculty, staff and students who are actively engaged in in-person curricular music and drama courses/productions, and NCAA sponsored athletic events. However, individuals exercising this option are required to complete the daily self-assessment and participate in weekly Tartan Testing, regardless of vaccination status.
How long will masks be required?
CMU will continue to monitor the overall COVID landscape both regionally and nationally to inform and guide its ongoing mitigations. As CMU settles into this posture for the start of the academic year, the university will reassess the continued requirement for facial coverings once the semester is underway and it has the benefit of data and experience on vaccination rates and virus prevalence.
Will students (and faculty/staff) be expected to remain out of class if they are symptomatic (from any illness) or be expected to wear masks if they are symptomatic?
Consistent with the university’s minimum requirements (as of June 14, 2021), anyone who displays COVID-19 symptoms or is diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay home. If you are generally ill, you should remain home and contact University Health Services (students) or your Primary Care Provider (PCP) to receive care.
Will the university continue to supply transparent masks to be used by instructors in Fall 2021?
Yes, we still have an ample supply of these. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request these.