Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid
November 05, 2020

Asymptomatic COVID-19 Testing Prior to Thanksgiving Holiday

Dear Carnegie Mellon Students,

We know many of you are planning to travel for the holiday and may be concluding the remainder of the fall semester in another location. The best way to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus to others is to quarantine for 14 days before travel and to avoid high risk travel (PDF) whenever possible. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned that traveling increases the risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19 and the American College Health Association (ACHA) recommends a “know before you go” approach to travel this fall to help keep our communities healthy.

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing prior to departure from the region is another way you can help plan for the health and well-being of yourself, your family and your community. In alignment with this guidance, the university will offer asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to all Pittsburgh-based students prior to the Thanksgiving break. Each student is eligible for 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 date of travel.

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 ACHA finds that asymptomatic testing can be a valuable tool to inform your travel plans. 

How to Schedule a Test

Asymptomatic COVID-19 tests will be conducted between November 9-13 and November 16-18. Please visit our COVID-19 website for detailed instructions regarding asymptomatic testing. If you wish to schedule a test, we encourage you to schedule your appointment as soon as possible through the HealthConnect portal. If you have questions about Pre-Thanksgiving asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, please contact

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.

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.

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.


As a reminder, all classes and instruction will be conducted remotely following the Thanksgiving holiday; however, university services and support will continue to be available to you. For those remaining in Pittsburgh, the commitments outlined in A Tartan’s Responsibility continue to apply. If you travel outside of the Pittsburgh region, and that travel is considered to be high risk (PDF), you must follow CMU’s travel protocol, which includes a 14-day self-quarantine before returning to campus. An upcoming message will provide more information about travel policies, in-person access to services and end-of-semester details.

As we look forward to this season of gratitude and reflection, I am appreciative of your perseverance in fulfilling the commitments of A Tartan’s Responsibility. Your dedication has resulted in a successful fall semester so far, and I thank you for doing your part to remain extra vigilant during this time to keep ourselves and community safe.

We are all in this together, everywhere, always.


Gina Casalegno
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students