Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

tartans all in everywhere

In-Person Activities & Spaces

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

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 Ambassador (SPSA) 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 a SPSA. At least one SPSA must be in Pittsburgh.

Aligned with A Tartan’s Responsibility, accountability will apply to both individuals and the organization as a whole, where all individuals involved will go through the accountability process, not just the leader and/or the SPSA. The organization accountability model builds on the process for individuals, with an overlay of the student organization conduct process that is used for student organization cases.

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

Every organization intending to host an in-person activity will complete a Student Organization Fall 2020 Plan [DOCX] which will outline their intended activities and strategies for meeting CMU’s minimum requirements. Student organizations that provide services to the campus community will also complete this process. These plans must be approved prior to the organization submitting an In-Person Activity Request form, which will be available shortly. 

To request an in-person event, organizations will submit the In-Person Activity Request form for approval. Organizations 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

All activities taking place at off-campus locations, whether at a rented venue, off-campus residences, parks, etc., must adhere to these guidelines and all university standards, including but not limited to facial coverings, capacity maximums and physical distancing.

Performance and Club Sports Organizations

Given the increased risk of COVID-19 transmission during activities involving physical exertion, this set of activities requires more stringent expectations. As a result of needing to remove facial coverings, singing and playing wind instruments will not be allowed in any in-person setting.

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. 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 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, trainings, etc. If the community partner does not require clearances, Carnegie Mellon requires you to still complete the clearance process. The Office of Human Resources can support students through this 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. Students who had applied for 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.

Non-CMU Affiliates Involvement

Due to the recent guest and visitor protocol, no minors will be allowed on campus during the fall semester. 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 on campus unless specifically approved. All non-affiliate participation 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 will be 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 will be closed for the semester.

Study spaces must be reserved. Study spaces in libraries will have limited availability and will not be open for group studying. Instead group study rooms will be 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 is creating “touchdown spaces” where students can spend time between classes. These spaces will be 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 to open later in the fall 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 be closed for the fall semester.

Religious and Spiritual Spaces

The Chapel in the Cohon Center will be open but de-densified. The Cohon Center's Prayer Room and washing station will be 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.

Makerspaces and Shops

In accordance with the guest and visitor policy, makerspaces in the residence halls will be closed. Tech Spark, the centralized common makerspace on campus, will continue to be open with modified procedures for use by partner courses and student organizations. Student organizations will be encouraged to utilize Tech Spark as frequently as possible, however, Tech Spark 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 submit a Makerspace Activity Request form after completing the Student Organization Fall 2020 Plan [DOCX]. Learn more about this plan and process on the SLICE website.