Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

Returning to Campus

Last updated: 9/3/21

Plans for Fall 2021: Next Phase of Returning to Campus

For CMU employees who have been working remotely, situations for returning to campus will vary.

Individuals will need to work with their supervisors regarding the timing of returning to working on campus. 

Throughout the next few months, university leadership, unit leaders and supervisors will be working through the details of returning to work on campus.

Depending upon the programs and services delivered, units may be bringing more or fewer employees back to campus or may employ staggered work schedules or other approaches during this period. Units will be communicating planning details for their organizations directly to employees over the coming weeks, including providing guidance to faculty for how they should approach the expansion of research activities in their laboratories and office suites for students and post-docs.

CMU is optimistic about resuming operations to support as many in-person experiences as possible, both inside and outside the classroom. We envision a return to in-person learning for most of our courses, the standard residential experience for students, as well as increased availability of on-campus opportunities for organizations and recreation.

To support more on-site work, our plan necessitates bringing more of our staff back to campus. CMU will be transitioning many more of our employees and research community back on campus in some capacity over the coming months.

Learn more about the plans for fall 2021 on the Next Phase of Returning to In-Person Campus Operations page.

This next phase of the return-to-campus plans is possible due to the increased availability of COVID-19 vaccinations. The university has been working to secure appointments for our community members, and we will continue to communicate details for these opportunities as they are available.

The overall goal is to have far more in person programs and services in place by the fall. For the longer-term, building on experiences we’ve had and the lessons we’ve learned over this past year, Human Resources is evaluating possible adjustments to CMU’s policies on remote work and flexible work arrangements, and will be communicating those as they are decided.

All faculty, staff and students who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must participate weekly in Tartan Testing, the university’s COVID-19 asymptomatic testing program, if you are planning to be on campus. 

Tartan Testing will also be available for fully vaccinated CMU community members who desire a weekly test.

Carnegie Mellon University requires all students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

Students are required to either request an exemption or upload first dose information and then follow up with second dose information (if required) to the CMU Vaccine Database immediately, but no later than September 20.

Faculty and staff are expected to upload confirmation of vaccination status to the CMU Vaccine Database or request exemption no later than September 30, which means those who are not yet vaccinated will need to soon make plans to receive the vaccine.

Approved to Return to Campus 

If you need specialized PPE equipment, please email Procurement Services at

The university reinstated the requirement for everyone to wear facial coverings (sufficient to cover the nose and mouth) 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.

Please visit the One-Time Campus Access Request Process page for more information on getting one-time access.

If an employee is experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19, the supervisor should notify University Health Services.

Employees who suspect they may be sick should not come to their designated work location, but stay home and consult their health care provider. If employees begin to feel ill while on site, they must leave the premises, notify their supervisor immediately and consult their health care provider.

Email FMCS to arrange a discussion about enhanced sanitation and disinfection for specific spaces.  

Please refer to the Enhanced Sanitation and Disinfection section of the Minimum Requirements to Return to On-site Work page for more information.

CMU's Pandemic Safety Initiative is comprised of the following two distinct roles: 

  • A Pandemic Safety Officer (PSO) is an individual identified by their Department head or supervisor to assist with the development, support and regular reviews of their organization's Return-to-Campus Plan. A PSO ensures that colleagues have the information and resources to comply with the minimum Return-to- Campus requirements.
  • A Community Pandemic Safety Ambassador (CPSA) is part of a voluntary program intended to support the university’s COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy and report instances that do not follow its guidelines. A CPSA is to serve as a resource of information, monitor responsible areas to identify needs and submit requests for assistance or supplies. In addition to the existing roles and responsibilities of a PSO within their respective department or unit, a CPSA will support the campus community in common areas and classrooms and perform health and cleaning spot-checks.

Both roles serve as resources to the CMU community and assist in the COVID-19 mitigation strategy and return-to-campus efforts.

Please refer to the Faculty and Staff Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms section of the Symptoms & Reporting page for more information.

Consistent with CMU’s commitment to maintain the health, safety and welfare of its faculty and staff, the university will provide a reasonable accommodation to eligible faculty and staff who, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, require workplace accommodations to enable them to perform the essential functions of their job, unless doing so would create an undue hardship.

More information on the process can be found at the Human Resources website.

Daily Self-Assessment (Required for Returning to Campus)

The Daily Self-Assessment is an online form that consists of a few “yes or no” questions that allow individuals to share information about their daily symptoms and potential close contact to COVID-19. Immediately after submitting responses, you will be directed to a webpage that will either confirm you are permitted to come to campus or provide additional guidance.

Fully vaccinated individuals are no longer required to participate in the Daily Symptom Self-Assessment, but may still do so.

All faculty, staff, students and visitors who are not fully vaccinated must participate in the applicable CMU daily symptom self-assessment, which includes temperature monitoring, for any day they are planning to be on campus, or at any CMU facility. If the individuals listed above are not coming to campus, they are still strongly encouraged to complete the self-assessment.

Faculty, staff and students will receive a daily reminder with a link to the form. Additional information is also available on the Daily Self-Assessment page.

While not required, it is strongly encouraged that faculty and staff working remotely should complete the self-assessment each day, even if you’re not planning to visit campus and are fully vaccinated.

The university tracks log-ins to the Daily Self-Assessment for the purpose of determining if individual employees and students have completed the form on a daily basis. Responses are tracked at the aggregate level for purposes of assessing the health and well-being of our university community. The university does not link individual responses with personally identifiable information.

After taking your temperature, the self-assessment takes less than a minute to complete.

Faculty and staff receive a daily email reminder with a link to the form. The form, along with additional information, can also be found on the Daily Self-Assessment page.