Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

In-Person Activities & Spaces

Effective 6/14/21 at 8:00 a.m.
Indoor meetings and university-sponsored events of up to 50 persons are permitted. However, recognizing that many colleagues may still be operating remotely during this transition period, virtual alternatives are encouraged and may be necessary to ensure adequate participation.
Outdoor meetings and university-sponsored events are permitted up to 50% of outdoor facility capacity.

The coronavirus does not distinguish between campus borders, beloved traditions or types of activity. The individual choices we each make, whether on or off-campus, could have serious impacts to all members of the CMU community. The guidelines outlined below prioritize the safety and health of all members of the campus community.

These guidelines apply to groups or organizations that can be described by the following or related characteristics:

  • Recognized by a department or governing body on campus 
  • Generally understood to be an official group – supported or endorsed by a department, college, etc.
  • Using university space and/or resources 
  • Using university, Joint Funding Committee (JFC) or activities fee funds
  • Hosted or promoted by an organization

Student Pandemic Safety Ambassadors

Two Student Pandemic Safety Ambassadors (SPSAs) should be established for all student groups and organizations, including governing bodies, college-based organizations, Residential Education student staff (RAs and CAs) and athletic teams, regardless of if they intend to host in-person activities. Each organization president plus one other executive member will serve as an SPSA. At least one SPSA must be in Pittsburgh. Any student who is found responsible for violating A Tartan’s Responsibility will not be eligible to serve as an SPSA.

SPSAs need to be onsite for the entirety of the in-person gathering. Organizations are welcome to train as many influential, integrity-filled leaders to serve as SPSAs for their group. Email the names and Andrew IDs and they will be added to the Student Pandemic Safety Ambassador Canvas course.

Attendee to SPSA ratios are as follows:

o   1-11 attendees = 1 SPSA

o   12-25 attendees = 2 SPSAs

o   26-38 attendees = 3 SPSAs

o   39-50 attendees = 4 SPSAs

In the spirit of A Tartan's Responsibility, student leaders and student organizations must focus on and promote shared accountability.

Both individuals participating and the organization hosting in-person gatherings are jointly responsible and accountable for upholding these expectations; all individuals involved will go through the accountability process, not just the leader and/or the SPSA.

The organization accountability process builds off the established process for individuals, with an overlay of the student organization's conduct process.

More information about SPSA training and expectations is available on the SLICE website.

In-Person Activities & Meetings

The university has established guidelines in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Health Department guidance and community health best practices. These baseline considerations, including capacity and physical distancing expectations, should be applied to all in-person activities or meetings.

Requirements for Hosting In-Person Activities

To request an in-person event, organizations should submit an In-Person Activity Request (IPAR) form for approval. Prior to submission, they must have two Canvas trained SPSAs or the organization’s IPAR will not be considered. Organizations, including student organizations that provide services to the campus community, will need to demonstrate the “value add” for the requested activity to be held in person and will need to outline how the experience will be accessible for students who are not in Pittsburgh.

All in-person activities will need to track RSVPs, record attendance and comply with CMU’s minimum requirements for activities hosted on or off campus. More information about in-person activity requirements is available on the SLICE website.


All student organization meetings should be held remotely, including but not limited to executive board meetings, general body meetings, committee meetings, floor meetings, training and onboarding meetings. 

Off-Campus Activities

The virus knows no boundaries and individual choices that are made, whether on or off-campus, could have serious impacts on members of the CMU community. Therefore, all events taking place at off-campus locations, whether at a rented venue, off-campus residences, parks, etc., must adhere to all university standards, including but not limited to facial coverings, capacity maximums and physical distancing. This stance supports the expectations outlined in A Tartan’s Responsibility. Additionally, these events must comply with any additional expectations as outlined by the location or venue.

Performance and Club Sports Organizations

Given the increased risk of transmission for activities involving physical exertion, this set of activities requires more stringent expectations. Singing, brass, and woodwind playing outside is now possible with specific mitigation strategies! Group should email for more details before beginning their IPAR.

Students who are participating in club sports can engage in drills and practice(s) without physical contact. A physical distance of 10 feet must be maintained between participants. Similarly, performance-based groups such as dance organizations must maintain 10 feet of space between participants at in-person activities. Use of shared equipment will need to be approved. Organizations, including club sports, will not be permitted to participate in competitions, regardless of location.


There will be no organized in-person volunteer experiences hosted off-site at a community partner’s location. Students are encouraged to consider volunteer activities that can be conducted on-campus with CMU community members joining together under an approved In-Person Activity Request or to seek out virtual volunteering opportunities which can also be found on the SLICE website.

Virtual volunteering with children under the age of 18 requires particular care to protect the safety of the minors involved. Student organizations seeking to conduct virtual volunteer activities with minors such as tutoring or mentoring should do so with community organizations who have already-established virtual volunteer programs. Student organization volunteers should follow all of the community organization’s requirements regarding clearances, training, etc. If the community partner does not require clearances, Carnegie Mellon requires you to still complete the clearance process. Students should contact Child Protection Operations within the Office of Human Resources to complete the required background clearance process. 

Note that CMU students who are located outside of the United States will not be able to renew or request new clearances due to the requirement for fingerprinting. Pennsylvania clearances are valid for five (5) years. Students who had obtained all required clearances in prior years and whose clearances are still valid can utilize those clearances regardless of their current location.

All questions regarding how to safely interact with minors should be directed to the Office of Child Protection within the Office of Human Resources.

Non-CMU Affiliates Involvement

Due to the current guest and visitor protocol, no minors will be allowed on campus. Relatedly, student organizations will not be able to host guest lecturers or performances for in-person activities. This policy also applies to instructors and coaches for student organizations. For student organizations whose membership includes non-CMU-affiliates, these members will not be allowed to participate in in-person gatherings, regardless of whether they will take place on or off-campus. All non-affiliate participation, including alumni, partners of current students and community members should occur virtually.

Rare requests for exception to this policy will be directed to the department that supports the student organization. Following a review of the request, if endorsed, the department would utilize the exception approval process outlined in the visitor protocol to request approval.

Spaces & Shared Equipment

As part of the campus mitigation plan, buildings are reset with a de-densified furniture layout that will include new posted capacities. Spaces that have commonly been used by student organizations, like the Cohon University Center and classrooms, will have limited availability this semester to accommodate enhanced cleaning protocols and the repurposing of non-academic spaces for classroom use.

Gathering and study areas such as the Tartan Collaborative Commons and Graduate Student Lounge in the Cohon Center remain available for use, but de-densified during Cohon Center building hoursThe CPDC study rooms are closed for the semester.

Study spaces must be reserved. Study spaces in libraries have limited availability and will not be open for group studying. Instead, group study rooms are reservable for individual use. Learn more about the CMU Libraries.

Touchdown Space

To support students who need to have a place on campus in between classes, the university has created “touchdown spaces” where students can spend time between classes. These spaces are identified with signage across campus.

RecreationAL Areas

Recreational outlets and spaces to de-stress and engage in activities that promote self-care and well-being are important. Access to recreational spaces will be coupled with the need to adhere to campus guidelines such as wearing facial coverings, 6 feet of physical distance, etc.

  • Scotland Yard in the Cohon Center: Will be closed initially, with the potential of opening with limited hours later in the spring semester. 
  • Residential Pool Tables and Ping Pong: Tables will remain available for use by students within the house community. Students will need to provide their own equipment such as cues, paddles and balls.
  • Residential House community fitness centers will continue to be closed for the spring semester.

Religious and Spiritual Spaces

The Chapel in the Cohon Center is open but de-densified. The Cohon Center's Prayer Room and washing station are open with de-densified capacity guidelines. Students will need to bring their own prayer rug as the common use prayer rugs have been removed. Students who need access to a travel prayer rug can contact Mandy Best.

Student organizations can find specific information about storage space, offices, conference rooms and shops on the SLICE website.

Makerspaces and Shops

To support the CMU maker ecosystem, there are several types of makerspaces and shops on campus. In accordance with the guest and visitor policy, makerspaces in the residence halls will be closed. 

TechSpark, the centralized common makerspace on campus, will continue to be open with modified procedures for use by partner courses and student organizations. Student organizations are encouraged to utilize TechSpark as frequently as possible, however TechSpark does not anticipate enough capacity to absorb all student organization makerspace needs.

To ensure that maker organizations have thoroughly developed protocols and policies that mitigate risks unique to their work, these organizations will complete a Makerspace Activity Request. The plan must be reviewed, discussed with the organization leadership, and approved prior to the organization accessing their space and returning to operations.

Learn more about this plan and process on the SLICE website.