Booster Requirement, Travel Recommendations, Arrival Testing & Spring Plans
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community,
As we complete this fall semester, we thank you for your judicious and thoughtful behavior that helped mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and enabled our academic year to progress successfully. We all look forward to some well-deserved downtime over the next few weeks as we enjoy this winter break.
Looking toward the start of a new semester in 2022, we are sharing a preliminary outline of what to expect regarding our ongoing COVID mitigation efforts. We stress that this guidance is subject to change as we track the progress of the pandemic and in particular the impact of the Omicron variant.
We will be requiring booster shots for all CMU community members and in January will provide further information on the timing of that requirement, how to enter that data into the university’s HealthConnect system and the exemption request processes. We are sharing this information now to enable everyone eligible to take advantage of scheduling their booster shots during the upcoming break.
Vaccinations have proven to be safe and highly effective in reducing the severity of symptoms and risk of hospitalization, and preliminary indications are that boosters will prove to be an effective defense against severe symptoms with the Omicron variant as well. Earlier this month, we were able to administer close to 2,000 booster shots to our community.
We will be maintaining our facial covering requirements as we begin the spring semester, and encourage everyone to wear facial coverings in high-risk situations throughout the break.
Many in our community will be traveling during the coming weeks, and we point you to this important travel guidance as you finalize any travel plans.
Two important travel reminders:
1) As of December 6, all international air travelers, regardless of vaccination status, must show a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than one day before travel to the United States.
2) We continue to recommend getting tested for COVID-19 three-five days before and after traveling.
We will be requiring all CMU community members to complete a baseline test during the month of January regardless of vaccination status. This testing can be completed via Tartan Testing, or using At-Home testing kits. Tartan Testing will resume January 3, 2022, at its new location, the first floor of TCS Hall.
Spring Semester Plans:
As you may recall, to provide our community with more time to rest, plan and prepare for the spring semester, we adjusted the academic calendar to begin classes on January 18, which is a later start than previous years.
Continuing to utilize our current mitigation protocols for the spring, we are planning for an in-person learning experience with flexibility for localized decisions on course modalities. However, we will continue to monitor developments, particularly with the Omicron variant and will communicate any changes to the current course modality plans during the first week of January.
It is our hope that each of you is able to take comfort in the ways that all of our community acted with care and prudence these past months. Wishing you the best for the new year ahead and we look forward to seeing everyone in 2022!
Jim Garrett, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Gina Casalegno, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Daryl Weinert, Vice President for Operations, Interim Vice President for Research, COVID-19 Coordinator