Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

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Positive COVID-19 Test Results

Last updated: 1/23/23

Guidance for Students, Faculty and Staff who Receive a Positive Test Result

Report your positive test result to Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB):

Students diagnosed with COVID-19 are offered clinical care coordination and emotional and academic support. They are provided with information about resources to reach out to should additional support be needed through Student Support Resources (SSR) or Housefellows (HF). Typically students are encouraged to notify their faculty, supervisors, advisors, and instructors themselves but SSR and HF's will assist them if needed. Students who are instructed to isolate do not need to seek accommodation from the Office of Disability Resources. Their outreach to you seeking short term accommodation is sufficient notification for faculty. Should a faculty member have reason to seek validation of the request, they may outreach to Student Support Resources at 412-268-2075 or via the CMU Cares Form.

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 Student Support Resources will also reach out with the student’s consent.

Faculty members and their departments should work flexibly to handle coverage as needed. This might mean asking a colleague to cover, looking at creative ways of working remotely, having a guest lecturer, or other options that might be relevant to the department or college. If a faculty member is feeling ill, they should not teach and they should not come to campus for 7 days if they have a COVID-19 positive test result. If a faculty member is positive and asymptomatic or has mild symptoms, they may choose to teach or have meetings remotely.  

If a faculty member develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, they must report the information to Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB) at CHWB will inform the Office of 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 beyond just a few classes. The Leaves Department may be reached at

The supervisor will work with the faculty member to determine the best course of action: short-term coverage by a colleague, short-term Zoom sessions if the faculty member is well enough, or other solutions that fit in with the practices of the department, school or unit.

Instructors may be among the first a student notifies about having tested positive for COVID-19. While a student is in isolation, instructors should handle this illness “as usual” in the sense of demonstrating our best practices for showing compassion and finding flexibility in course assignments, etc. while the student is on an excused absence. One possible difference from non-COVID illness is that students in isolation may feel reasonably well (e.g., they can do coursework even though they cannot attend class), so finding alternative ways for them to stay caught up on class is desirable. For example, some instructors are offering temporary remote (Zoom) class attendance as a natural option, when appropriate.

It is likely NOT necessary for you to take your class remote if there is a COVID-19 case. You should discuss the matter with your department head, who may also include the dean of your college.

If instructors would like to consult with an Eberly colleague on other possible options/strategies, feel free to email

If a student has a positive COVID-19 test result and therefore must isolate or is in quarantine as a close contact, you are expected to provide reasonable accommodation from within the flexible practices you’ve used for other kinds of illnesses.

If the student feels well enough to follow along with the class, you might consider using Zoom, offering audio or video recordings of lectures, and/or sharing slides. You could choose to make materials available only to the affected student (and not the whole class). You may wish to have a Zoom meeting or call during office hours. You might wish to extend the deadline on assignments. We also recommend consulting with the Eberly Center; send email to to schedule a consultation for additional approaches you could take.

If a faculty member does not feel they can accommodate a student who has been directed by the university to isolate or quarantine, they should discuss the matter with their department head/school head/unit lead, who may also wish to take up the concern with the dean of their college.