Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

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Minimum Requirements to Return to Campus

Revised November 19, 2020

Effective 11/20/20: Non-curricular, in-person gatherings and meetings are being suspended.

The university is implementing a phased return of on-site activities. This process has begun with select pilot projects; at this time, please do not send unsolicited requests to return to on-site work.

After being selected and approved by leadership to return to campus, units and individuals must follow a number of minimum requirements:

  • Facial Coverings: Everyone must wear a facial covering (sufficient to cover the nose and mouth) at all times — both inside and outside of buildings. 

    Exceptions include: While eating or drinking, if working outdoors during hot and humid conditions, or when alone in a private space, such as an office, assigned residence hall room, or enclosed vehicle. When outdoors, facial coverings are expected to be worn whenever physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained, such as on sidewalks and in other similarly crowded or rapidly changing circumstances. If you cannot wear a facial covering due to a medical condition, please contact either the Office of Disability Resources (students) or HR Disability Services  (employees) to request an exemption as an accommodation. Individuals who are granted a medical exemption from wearing facial coverings are expected to access university programs, activities, and courses remotely or through other contactless methods (e.g. pick-up / delivery) whenever reasonably possible. 

    If you are in need of a facial covering, contact for assistance
  • Daily Symptom Self-Assessment: All faculty, staff and visitors must participate in the applicable CMU daily symptom self-assessment survey, which includes temperature monitoring, for any day they are planning to be on campus or at any CMU facility. It is strongly recommended to participate even if not planning to be on campus. Students must complete the applicable symptom self-assessment survey daily if they are in Southwest Pennsylvania.
  • Anyone who is sick must stay home: All employees, students, contractors and anyone else planning to be on campus who exhibits COVID-19 symptoms must stay home.

    Employees and students who have received a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, or have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual within the last 14 days, must inform Community Health and Well-Being at They must stay home and cannot return to campus unless cleared by a health care practitioner. Students residing in on-campus housing must stay in their residence hall room and cannot return to class or other campus activities until cleared by a health care practitioner at University Health Services. Employees should provide documentation of their clearance to the Office of Human Resources.

    Visitors, contractors and other persons who are planning to be on campus and received a positive diagnosis or close contact exposure in the last 14 days must inform their local supervisor or CMU host. They must stay home and cannot return to campus unless cleared by a health care practitioner. The supervisor or CMU host will inform Community Health and Well-Being at to initiate communication protocols.
  • Physical Distancing: All employees, students, contractors and anyone else on campus must maintain 6 feet (2 meters) distance between themselves and others and minimize any close contact to no more than 15 minutes.
  • Hand-washing: Personnel will wash their hands after coming into contact with high touch surfaces. For anyone who performs in-person customer service or retail operations, hand-washing breaks must be taken at least every hour. Personnel are required to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • In-person Meetings: Effective 11/20/20, non-curricular, in-person gatherings and meetings are being suspended. All meetings should be held virtually via Zoom or other conferencing technologies.
  • Enhanced Sanitation and Disinfection: Every 24 hours Facilities Management and Campus Services (FMCS) will conduct enhanced sanitation and disinfection in high-traffic and common areas that are in use. FMCS is following CDC Guidelines for cleaning and is available for consultation regarding additional or enhanced cleaning of offices, laboratories and other spaces needed for unit operational plans. Email FMCS to arrange a discussion about specific spaces.

Note: The Minimum Requirements listed here are effective as of the date shown and are subject to change in the future. Exceptions to the minimum requirements as written into Return to Campus Plans may only be made with the approval of the COVID-19 Coordinator.

Pandemic Safety Initiative

Carnegie Mellon University's Pandemic Safety Initiative is comprised of two distinct roles, the Pandemic Safety Officer (PSO) and the Community Pandemic Safety Ambassador (CPSA). Both roles serve as resources to the CMU community, assist in the COVID-19 mitigation strategy and assist in Return-to-Campus efforts.

A PSO is an individual identified by their supervisor to assist in the development, support and regular reviews of their organization's Return to Campus Operational Plan, ensuring that colleagues have the information and resources to comply with the minimum Return to Campus requirements and monitoring their organization’s activities for ongoing compliance to their Operational Plan.

CPSA is a voluntary program intended to support the university’s COVID-19 risk mitigation strategy and report instances that do not follow its guidelines. A CPSA is to serve as a resource of information, monitor responsible areas to identify needs and submit requests for assistance or supplies. In addition to the existing roles and responsibilities of a PSO within their respective department or unit, a CPSA will support the campus community in common areas and classrooms, perform health and cleaning spot-checks and assist the campus community implement physical distancing.

Learn more about the pandemic safety initiative and find the list of PSOs