Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
December 02, 2020

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing Prior to Winter Break

Dear Carnegie Mellon Students,

As the semester draws to a close, we know many of you will travel to another location during Winter Break. The best way to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others is to avoid high-risk behaviors, abide by all mitigation protocols and quarantine for 14 days prior to and following travel. This practice aligns with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Allegheny County’s stay-at-home advisory. As a reminder, all coursework and exams are being delivered in a remote format for the duration of the semester, and university services and supports are available to you virtually. Staying home while you complete your semester responsibilities helps mitigate the spread of the virus and helps facilitate a smooth transition home for you and your families. 

In support of students’ travel plans, the university will offer asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to all Pittsburgh-based students prior to winter break. Each student may access one asymptomatic COVID-19 test during this testing period at no cost. If traveling, you should allow for at least 5 days from the time of the test to allow for the results to come back prior to your departure. If you have questions about asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, please contact

It is important to remember that a negative COVID-19 test result represents a moment in time, and that anyone could become infected at any time before or after a test is administered or results are received. However, when paired with careful adherence to our COVID risk mitigation behaviors — completing the daily self-assessment, maintaining physical distance, wearing a facial covering and washing your hands — the American College Health Association finds that asymptomatic testing can be a valuable tool to inform your travel plans. 

Students who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19 should not access testing through this method. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 14 days, please stay home and access care by calling University Health Services at 412-268-2157.

How to Schedule a Test

Asymptomatic COVID-19 tests will be conducted during the weeks of December 7-11 and December 14-18 as well as on Monday, December 21. Please note that while we are able to offer an asymptomatic test to all students who want one, there is a finite number of testing appointments per day. If you wish to schedule a test, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as soon as possible through the HealthConnect portal.  

Testing will take place in the East Campus Garage, and students will self-administer a nasal swab on site. Students are required to wear a face covering throughout the testing process, except during test collection when they will be asked to lower their mask below the nose. Testing site staff wear required personal protective gear and practice safe protocols consistent with public health and CDC guidelines for this type of testing. Please visit our COVID-19 website for detailed instructions regarding asymptomatic testing. 

Results will be processed by Curative (our test supplier) and are anticipated to be returned to University Health Services approximately 2-4 days after test administration. 

If students receive a positive COVID-19 test result during this testing period, our normal policies for isolation, contact tracing and care will remain in place. Anyone who becomes ill, receives a COVID-19 diagnosis between now and the holiday break or has close contact to someone with the virus will be expected to isolate or quarantine and delay travel. University Health Services and university staff will provide guidance and support to those who test positive or are close contacts of someone testing positive.


As we look forward to a well-earned break from our studies and work, I remain appreciative of your dedication to fulfilling the commitments of A Tartan’s Responsibility. Your perseverance has resulted in a successful fall semester so far, and I am grateful for your vigilance in keeping ourselves and our community as safe as we can. 

I am proud to be in this together with you, always, everywhere. 


Gina Casalegno
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students