Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
March 20, 2020

First Confirmed Case of COVID-19 in the Campus Community

Dear Members of the Pittsburgh Campus Community:

I am writing to make you aware that a member of our Pittsburgh campus community has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The student is being monitored by the proper health officials and is in self-isolation in an off-campus residence. We are working closely with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) and University Health Services (UHS) to take the appropriate steps to ensure the health and safety of our campus community.

The student returned to Pittsburgh following Spring Break and was last on campus on Monday, March 16 to be tested at UHS’s secure testing facility. We will continue to provide support and appropriate medical care as the student self-isolates and recovers. The student will remain in self-isolation until fully recovered. Communication with those who have been in close contact with the individual is in progress, and they will be required to also self-isolate for 14 days. Because of privacy laws, we are not able to provide additional information about the individual.

This case of coronavirus in our campus community is a sobering reality, and it is a reminder that every group is potentially vulnerable to the spread of the virus. At the same time, I also want to reassure you that we have been taking every precaution and we continue to take this situation extremely seriously.

My heart goes out to our student who is ill, and to the families and loved ones who are affected. We are doing everything we can to help them through this difficult time. I also wish to thank the dedicated staff who are taking the necessary measures to keep our campus community safe and to support those in self-isolation.

As the availability of testing becomes more plentiful, and the number of confirmed cases grows across the nation, we know it is possible that the number of COVID-19 cases could increase in our community in the future. CMU will also work closely with ACHD to individually contact individuals who may have had close contact with anyone who is determined to have a confirmed diagnosis. For additional information on the university’s response, please visit our coronavirus website, which is currently being updated on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.

As I mentioned in my message yesterday, I cannot overemphasize how important it is that we all do our part to slow the community spread of the coronavirus by practicing the recommended good hygiene practices and by strictly following social distancing guidelines.

I also want to encourage all of us to find ways to show care and compassion to one another, especially those who have been impacted by these recent events and to anyone who may be feeling down. Check in with your friends and colleagues via video chat, phone or text message. Nurturing these (virtual) connections will help us all sustain our emotional, physical and mental health during this quarantine.

We know there will be additional questions and concerns going forward, and we will continue to monitor the situation and keep the university community updated as the latest information becomes available.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair