Health, Wellness and Safety
Last updated: 5/6/22
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?
Contact tracing is critical to our strategy for preventing community spread of the virus, protecting your health and to maintaining the privilege of an in-person educational experience. Our current practice is to provide each individual who tests positive for COVID-19 with detailed isolation instructions, guidance and resources for support. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to notify their close contacts. Read more from the CDC about determining close contacts and informing close contacts.
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) and Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB), staff are trained on protocols and systems that are consistent with those used by the county in order to integrate seamlessly with the broader community.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether the test was administered by CMU or not, all COVID-19 positive individuals are encouraged to notify their close contacts. Read more from the CDC about determining close contacts and informing close contacts.
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 are the isolation plans for students diagnosed with COVID-19?
Isolation separates people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as people who are close contacts of someone with a positive diagnosis and are symptomatic (probable cases) from people who are not sick. 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.
- We will guide residential students who test positive and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms to isolate-in-place in their currently-assigned rooms, suites or apartments. Residential students at higher risk and/or with moderate-to-severe symptoms will continue to be temporarily relocated to dedicated Isolation & Quarantine housing locations. All residential students will be provided with detailed instructions for their isolation period, information and support regarding meals and other resources as needed.
- Residents with a local permanent address who prefer to travel home in a private vehicle and complete the isolation period there are permitted to do so after consulting with their housefellow.
- Any “well” resident who tests negative and prefers to live in alternate housing will have the option to arrange to do so with friends or loved ones, or be temporarily relocated; students should contact their housefellow for details, if needed.
- Off-campus students will be given instructions on how best to isolate in their residence, including when you are living with family or roommates.
- 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 7 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 CMUSafe Ambassador. CMU employees can also notify their human resources business partner.
In and around campus or need assistance, notify a CMUSafe 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. Students are encouraged to notify faculty, instructors and supervisors so that appropriate academic support and accommodations can be provided as they cope with their illness. If they need assistance with this, their college liaisons will also reach out with the student’s consent.
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.
What is our current stance on facial coverings?
Facial coverings are strongly recommended but optional on campus for individuals who are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines. Exceptions include situations where facial coverings will continue to be required in accordance with the university’s Minimum Requirements.
Am I required to wear a facial covering on campus?
Facial coverings: Facial coverings both indoors and outdoors are optional for members of our community who are up-to-date with respect to COVID-19 vaccinations (meaning fully vaccinated and boosted when eligible). Those who are not up-to-date on vaccinations must continue to follow mitigation measures, including wearing facial coverings while indoors.
If you are not up-to-date on vaccinations and 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.
Can I require the wearing (or not wearing) of facial coverings in a classroom, theater, lab or common space in which I teach or present?
No, you cannot require it but you can request that individuals wear a facial covering in a classroom, theater, lab or common space. If individuals choose not to wear (or wear) a facial covering based on your request, there should be no negative consequences or repercussions.
Can I require the wearing of facial coverings by visitors in my private office or on-campus residence?
Yes, you can require anyone coming into your private office or residence to wear a facial covering. (If you are sharing an office or residence, please respectfully discuss with your office or roommates.)
Can I require the wearing (or not wearing) of facial coverings for events and gatherings?
What if I need a medical accommodation or work adjustment related to COVID-19?
For Faculty and Staff: The faculty or staff member should submit a Request for Accommodations Form with Human Resources’ Office of Disability Services. This will initiate an interactive process to evaluate your request where you will be asked to provide medical information to Disability Services. The medical information you provide will be kept confidential. A Disability Services representative will work with you, and your department head, to explore the most appropriate solution on a case-by-case basis.
If you are seeking a work adjustment not related to your personal health concerns (e.g., unvaccinated child at home; immunocompromised family member), you should work with your department head, who may also work with the dean. Work adjustments should be revisited on a regular basis.
Additional information can be found at https://www.cmu.edu/hr/work-life/accommodations/index.html
For Students: If you desire an accommodation due to a medical condition, please contact the Office of Disability Resources.
Are facial coverings required for events or gatherings where food and drink are provided?
No, facial coverings are not required for events or gathering where food and drink are provided.
Should I continue to carry a facial covering with me?
Yes, continue to keep a facial covering with you for times when it will be beneficial. The university provides disposable facial coverings throughout campus, including KN95 masks via vending machines at no cost to students, faculty and staff.
What does is it mean that there should be “no negative consequences or repercussions” for an individual’s decision to wear or not wear a facial covering?
A faculty member, staff member, student, contractor, or other third party may not be sanctioned, disciplined, reprimanded, or be subjected to any other negative actions based on the individual’s decision to wear or not wear a facial covering (except in situations where facial coverings are still required).
Examples of negative consequences or repercussions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Removing an individual from a class, meeting, event, or other activity;
- Negative grading or academic decisions;
- Formal or informal disciplinary action;
- Verbal reprimand;
- Adverse academic actions or adverse changes in academic opportunities or assignments;
- Adverse change in work assignments, opportunities or the terms and conditions of employment;
- Harassment or bullying;
- Threats of any of the above actions.
May I ask why an individual has decided to wear or not wear a facial covering?
In order to be respectful of the personal health choices and medical privacy of others, it recommended that you do not inquire about the reasons for an individual’s choice to wear or not wear a facial covering.
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, 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 Spring 2022?
Yes, we still have an ample supply of these. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request these.