On-Campus Service Postures
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:
As we start the second week of classes and welcome more students back to campus, we remain optimistic that our COVID-19 mitigation protocols, driven by research-based scientific evidence, are serving us well. CMU leadership continues to actively monitor the pandemic, engage with peer institutions and consult with internal and external experts to inform our approach as the academic year proceeds.
The start of a new semester is always an exciting time. As much as we want everyone on campus to enjoy their experience, we all have a deeper responsibility this year to do our part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, both on and off campus, as embodied in A Tartan’s Responsibility. Despite our best efforts as a campus community to maintain these standards, we know that the fluid nature of the pandemic could necessitate a shift in campus operations.
CMU has adopted three operational postures for our Pittsburgh campus – Modified, Restricted and Essential – to reflect the appropriate levels of in-person versus remote activity based on the nature of the pandemic on campus and in our region. We encourage you to review the three postures and what each one means for students, faculty and staff.
As we enter the fall semester, we are currently in the Modified Services posture focused on the hybrid model for teaching and learning. University leadership is tracking a host of metrics and data to assist with risk-informed decision-making in the event that a transition in operations is needed.
- Confirmed cases on campus
- Allegheny County case data
- Daily self-assessment trends
- Availability of quarantine/isolation housing
- Our supply bases for protective equipment, testing and cleaning
The above, along with many other factors, will be assessed to determine and define which state is appropriate for the continued safe operation of campus. The university is actively evaluating these indicators collectively, and no single indicator or data point will solely inform decision-making. The context of the overall situation and the available response mechanisms will be analyzed together to formulate the appropriate campus posture.
We are tracking and reporting case numbers on our COVID-19 case dashboard. The dashboard provides updates to the numbers of confirmed positive cases, the ongoing results of asymptomatic testing on campus, and links to Allegheny County, regional and nationwide data.
As the pandemic evolves, we will continue to evolve and enhance our management strategies. Over the last two weeks, we administered polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to over 1,000 residential students after their arrival on campus, introduced the student version of the self-assessment tool to support daily symptom monitoring by every student, and distributed wellness kits. We expanded our approach to COVID-19 testing to include asymptomatic testing of all off-campus undergraduate and graduate students living in the Pittsburgh area. Any positive case initiates self-isolation protocols and robust contact tracing.
Together, we can achieve an outstanding academic year of in-person and remote learning, academic discovery and life-changing experiences. Please continue to practice socially responsible behavior both on campus and in our neighboring communities; complete your daily assessments; wear face coverings; physically distance; and if showing symptoms, consult with your health care providers. Working together we all can continue to enjoy our campus in the months ahead. Tartans, All In. Everywhere!
Chief of Staff and Vice President for Strategic Initiatives