Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
May 29, 2020

Welcome Message to Class of 2024+

To the CMU Class of 2024+:

Congratulations and welcome to you — the newest members of the Carnegie Mellon University family and a truly extraordinary group of students! On behalf of the entire CMU community, I am thrilled that you will be coming to CMU and joining us as Tartans. I am writing today to provide insight into your first semester with the university.

I know you are preparing for the start of your college career under a particularly challenging set of conditions. Throughout the past few months, you have shown great resilience in creating new traditions and finding alternate ways to celebrate cherished milestones. You also have built innovative, virtual connections to one another that have already enlivened our community. In other words, you have exhibited the very qualities that define a CMU student — passion, creativity, inclusion and innovation. I cannot wait to see the mark you will make on our community in a few short months!

Even as the novel coronavirus continues to transform our world, the CMU community spirit remains as strong and as vital as ever. The entire university community has responded to these recent challenges with ingenuity, compassion and a shared commitment to our mission.

We are eager for you to join us and engage in CMU’s transformative education, and we know that you are eager for information about what your CMU experience will look like under these unique circumstances. While your first semester at Carnegie Mellon will look different from our previous fall semesters, please know we are committed to designing and delivering an outstanding experience for you this fall. We will be communicating more as we continue our planning, but today I wish to emphasize a few key points:

Carnegie Mellon will start fall semester classes as planned on August 31 under a hybrid instruction model, which offers a blend of in-person and remote learning. Whether you are here with us in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in the world, you will be able to launch your CMU career this fall. Our goal is to have our students back on campus, with the health and safety of the community and our students as our first priority.

We are committing to this hybrid model because it provides maximum flexibility, primarily for our students. We recognize there may be some students, as well as faculty and staff, who will not be able to be on campus for a variety of reasons, such as visa challenges or individual health and safety concerns. We also understand we may need to pivot to other modes of operation if conditions change — nationally or regionally — and we will be prepared to deliver a high-quality educational experience under all possible conditions.

We are actively working to develop protocols, procedures and technology-based tools to prepare for students arriving on campus. All our decisions will be rooted in science, driven by data and informed by the guidance of public health experts and government officials. Our focus is to make sure that all students have the most supportive environment possible — both for your academic success as well as for your physical, emotional and mental health. These strategies will include:   

  • Adhering to health and safety practices, including use of facial coverings, disinfection of surfaces, and testing and tracing protocols;
  • Reconfiguring classrooms, learning spaces and common areas to support physical distancing;
  • Leveraging our world-renowned strengths in the science of learning by making investments in creative curricula and technological infrastructure;
  • Making arrangements to reduce density on campus, including smaller class sizes and staggered course schedules;
  • Striving for a consistently high-quality experience across both in-person and remote learning environments; and
  • Re-imagining countless other facets of our operations — across instruction and research, as well as community life, athletics, university traditions and student services.

We are actively planning to welcome students to our housing and dining facilities and to provide student health and counseling services on campus. Our planning includes COVID-19 testing that we are certified to conduct at our accredited health services facility. We are developing these preparations to evolve with health and safety standards required not just by our state and local governments, but with input from our own campus experts.

All first-year students, regardless of location, will benefit from our signature Tartan welcome programming through virtual summer events and our outstanding orientation program that will support your successful transition to college life and a vibrant CMU experience. Rest assured, we are approaching all these decisions with care, compassion, attention to detail, and a commitment to the best possible experience for all our students — no matter where you choose to study. We look forward to keeping you informed about these plans as they develop. Over the course of the summer, you will receive detailed information from our enrollment and student affairs teams along with your academic program leaders as we prepare for the first day of class.

Class of 2024: You are turning Tartan at a pivotal time for society and now more than ever, we need YOUR ideas, creativity and passion. Throughout your time at CMU, I look forward to hearing your aspirations for a bright new future and working with you to make them a reality.

Once again, on behalf of the entire university community, welcome to Carnegie Mellon. We cannot wait to meet you!


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President's Chair