Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
July 11, 2020

Additional Information Regarding Fall Semester

Dear Undergraduate Students and Families:

Since the release of Thursday’s update regarding the fall 2020 semester, we have received many questions from students and families. Based on these inquiries, we would like to provide you with some important clarifications as you plan for the academic year ahead.

We have received questions about whether students need to live on campus or in Pittsburgh in order to engage in their courses. The hybrid model is designed to provide flexibility: access to your courses will be available in remote mode in almost all cases. Very few courses will be offered as in-person only due to their highly specialized nature. Students who are residing in Pittsburgh (whether on- or off-campus) will have the option to attend approximately 30-40% of their courses in person while other students access those courses remotely. The number of courses offered with an in-person option will vary by academic program, and the selection of these courses is still being finalized with the careful planning of academic leadership. Put simply, you can access your Carnegie Mellon education from beyond the Pittsburgh region, and if you reasonably and safely can consider remote study from home, we strongly encourage you to do so.

We also received a number of questions about the quarantine period upon arriving to Pittsburgh. This expectation, a result of the very recent acceleration of the pandemic in the Pittsburgh region, has been strongly endorsed by the Allegheny County Health Department and is a development that we are still reviewing. For those students who may need to finish their quarantine period after the semester has commenced, the hybrid-learning approach allows for students to participate fully in classes using remote technology until their quarantine period is completed.

Clarifications Regarding CMU Housing

Some students have asked questions about the need to submit their housing semester preference prior to the publication of the fall and spring semester course schedules. The fall semester course schedule that students are encouraged to view on SIO beginning on July 20th is preliminary and subject to change as conditions of the pandemic continue to evolve. In order to finalize and communicate room assignments for those being offered fall housing by the end of July, we must ask students to submit their semester preference by Monday, July 13.

We have been asked questions about the ability to cancel housing after submitting a fall or spring semester preference. For students who are offered housing for the fall semester, we will continue to allow cancellations (without penalty of a cancellation fee) through at least August 7, and we will continue to evaluate the situation between then and the assigned residential move-in date. Fall housing cancellations after move-in will generally not be permitted unless (1) you take a leave of absence or (2) changing factors related to the pandemic necessitate we restrict housing capacity further to support student health and safety. For students who are offered housing for the spring semester, we will accept penalty-free cancellations until sometime in late fall when we will know more about the plans for spring semester. Our goal in adopting this flexible stance is to reduce barriers for students and families in light of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. We will confirm the housing cancellation dates for each semester by the end of July.

By July 31, we will communicate fall room assignments, the process for move-in, staggered arrival dates to assure physical distancing and how quarantine will be accommodated in the residence halls. We strongly advise students living in campus housing this fall to defer making travel arrangements until that information is received. Thank you for your patience as we finalize these details.

We encourage you to continue reviewing the Housing FAQs website which we will update with this and other information as needed. If you need individual assistance, please email, which will be actively monitored throughout the weekend. If you have not already done so, we ask that you submit your semester preference or intent to cancel your housing request through the Housing portal by Monday, July 13.

Thank you for your understanding as we find a way forward together during these challenging times.


Jim Garrett, Provost
Gina Casalegno, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students