Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Student Resources

Our community has shown creativity, innovation and resilience during this global pandemic. The indefatigable spirit of the CMU community has been seen and felt from Pittsburgh to our campuses across the globe. We have never been prouder to be Tartans and we are confident that we will get through this together and emerge stronger on the other side.

The realities of this pandemic mean that life will necessarily be different as we resume classes this fall. Even as we plan for the return of those students who wish to study in person, we want to be transparent that this redesign of our educational approach must reflect ever-changing and new public health expectations that we all must embrace to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Building upon the success of our experience this spring and summer, we will continue to deliver a robust set of programs and services that strengthen the Tartan community and support your health and safety. Wherever you elect to study this fall, the CMU experience will be available to you.

HYBRID Learning, Course Schedules and Registration

Academic leadership, in collaboration with deans, faculty and academic advisors have been using the summer to refine a hybrid-learning approach for the fall semester. This strategy offers the ability to accommodate your needs in support of your continued academic progress while also maintaining our standards of academic excellence.

Courses this fall will be offered in one of three modalities: remote only, in-person plus remote and in-person only. The decision for which courses will be offered in-person was a careful process that considered optimal course design and content, safety protocols, guidance from department heads, classroom space and number of enrolled students.

Regardless of modality, you will receive a quality educational experience from Carnegie Mellon.

Hybrid Course Modalities

The hybrid model is designed to provide flexibility: access to your courses will be available in remote mode in almost all cases.

Very few courses will be offered as in-person only due to their highly specialized nature. Students who are residing in Pittsburgh (whether on- or off-campus) will have the option to attend approximately 30-40% of their courses in person while other students access those courses remotely.

The number of courses offered with an in-person option will vary by academic program, and the selection of these courses is still being finalized.

By July 20, we will share a preliminary fall schedule that indicates which classes will be offered via which modality.

Undergraduate Students

For incoming undergraduate students, your school or college will be communicating the process to register for classes. Your academic advisor will be available to support the registration process and answer schedule-related questions.

For upper-class undergraduate students, course schedules and planned modality (in-person only, in-person plus remote and remote only) will be available in SIO (Student Information Online). While there have been some adjustments made to class start times in the new fall schedule and we have incorporated longer breaks between classes, returning undergraduate students should expect minimal, if any, disruptions or conflicts to their existing fall 2020 schedules. Your academic advisor will be available to answer schedule-related questions.

International Students

We expect that international students in the U.S will be required to take some amount of in-person instruction to maintain their U.S. immigration status. The Office of International Education (OIE) is reviewing the recent guidance from the federal government on this matter, and has released some preliminary guidance for our international students. The OIE will communicate greater detail to our international students in the days ahead.

study abroad

The university has made the difficult decision to suspend participation in study abroad for the fall 2020 semester and over winter break (between the end of fall 2020 and the start of spring 2021) and will suspend participation in educational exchange for the 2020-2021 academic year. More details about the decision may be found on the Office of International Education website.

Academic Success

Academic services are available via remote tools. 

  • Academic coaching
  • Academic advising
  • Accommodations and exam accessibility
  • Language support
Get the Help You Need at the Student Academic Success Center

Additional Resources

Health and Wellness

Health and Safety Guidelines

Your health and safety remain our priority as we plan for the fall semester. We have watched the numbers of coronavirus cases increase in the Pittsburgh area, as well as in national and global communities, and this sobering trend has informed our approach to on-campus policies. We are finalizing our protocols for return to campus driven by science and research-based evidence, recognizing our knowledge of the virus continues to evolve. We will be responsive to emerging guidance as the start of fall semester approaches.

Learn more about our Health and Safety guidelines and approach.

CMU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

University Health Services has updated the CMU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) enrollment and waiver process for the 2020-2021 academic year to address the hybrid model of instruction.

  • All full-time, degree-seeking students located in the United States are required to carry adequate medical insurance to support your health and well-being.
  • Part-time students are not subject to the insurance requirement, but the SHIP is available for enrollment.
  • Students must be engaged in coursework for the first 31 days of the semester, whether remote or in person, to be eligible for the SHIP.
  • Students located outside of the U.S. taking classes remotely are not subject to the insurance requirement and are not be required to submit a waiver.

The waiver/enrollment period is Wednesday, July 22, to Monday, September 14, at 11:59 pm. We strongly recommend waiting to enroll or waive coverage until your living arrangements for fall 2020 are finalized.

More information is available on the University Health Services website.

Campus Arrival and Self-Quarantine

Current guidance suggests that a 14-day quarantine will help reduce spread of the virus, so we are finalizing the details for an expectation of self-quarantine upon arrival to the region by anyone coming from outside Southwestern Pennsylvania. 

This expectation, a result of the very recent acceleration of the pandemic in the Pittsburgh region, has been strongly endorsed by the Allegheny County Health Department and is a development that we are still reviewing.

Early Pittsburgh Arrival

If you arrive from outside of Southwestern Pennsylvania (whether living on-campus or off-campus), you will be expected to monitor your health daily for 14 days before joining in-person coursework. If you do plan to study on campus this fall, we encourage you to come to Pittsburgh early enough that you will complete your quarantine prior to the start of classes on August 31. 

Hybrid Model to Support Late Arrival

For those students who may need to finish their quarantine period after the semester has started, the hybrid-learning approach allows for students to participate fully in classes using remote technology until their quarantine period is completed. International students who are currently residing within the United States should consult with the Office of International Education (OIE) for additional guidance.

 

Modified Quarantine for Residence Halls

We are developing more detailed guidance on this expectation and how we will implement a modified quarantine for students in the residence halls to support overall well-being and integration into the Carnegie Mellon community.

Housing

The extraordinary times of living through a pandemic call for our heightened commitment to prioritizing our community’s health and safety as we work to mitigate coronavirus spread in our facilities and on campus.

As a result, residential living will look quite different in the year ahead and it will take a shared commitment from all students and staff to ensure we can maintain open facilities to support in-person education for as many of you as we are able to safely accommodate.

Limited Housing Capacity

We are de-densifying all of our housing facilities so that we will have no more than one student per bedroom and no more than three students per bathroom fixture set. With the addition of some off-campus hotel rooms, this approach will allow us to maintain 50% of our usual occupancy for the coming year.

For all first-year students and upper-class students with existing housing assignments, we will provide you an opportunity to live on campus for one semester in the year ahead, and only a very small number of students with special circumstances will be provided housing for both semesters. This is the most equitable approach to assigning our limited housing capacity.

Encouraging Remote Study

We strongly encourage students and families who can reasonably and safely consider remote study from home for the 2020-2021 academic year to do so, which will allow more capacity for those who are in need of on-campus housing.

The requirement that first-year students live in university housing is waived for the upcoming academic year.

Upper class students with housing contracts who elect not to live in university housing will not be charged a cancelation fee.

Living on Campus

By July 13, all residential students should visit the Housing Services website, read the information there in its entirety and fill out the questionnaire to indicate your interest in housing for the upcoming academic year, or to cancel your existing housing request. Once that information has been submitted, we will assess the demand for fall semester housing and, if necessary, use a random process to determine semester assignments.

ON-Campus Semester Preference

Students still wishing to live on campus can indicate a preference for which semester they would like a housing assignment. We appreciate the support and endorsement we have received from student government leaders in approaching our assignment strategy in this manner that maximizes individual preferences as best we can, rather than making sweeping decisions about which populations can access campus housing in a given semester.

You will be notified by July 20 which semester you are offered a housing assignment. Students who are offered a fall semester assignment will also receive detailed information on the room assignment process with this notification.

Housing Cancellations

For students who are offered housing for the fall semester, we will continue to allow cancellations (without penalty of a cancellation fee) through at least August 7, and we will continue to evaluate the situation between then and the assigned residential move-in date.

Fall housing cancellations after move-in will generally not be permitted unless (1) you take a leave of absence or (2) changing factors related to the pandemic necessitate we restrict housing capacity further to support student health and safety.

For students who are offered housing for the spring semester, we will accept penalty-free cancellations until sometime in late fall when we will know more about the plans for spring semester. Our goal in adopting this flexible stance is to reduce barriers for students and families in light of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. We will confirm the housing cancellation dates for each semester by the end of July.

July Housing Dates

By July 13, all residential students should visit the Housing Services website, and fill out the questionnaire to indicate your interest in housing for the upcoming academic year, or to cancel your existing housing request.

By July 20, you will be notified which semester you are offered a housing assignment.

By July 31, we will communicate fall room assignments, the process for move-in, staggered arrival dates to assure physical distancing and how quarantine will be accommodated in the residence halls. We strongly advise students living in campus housing this fall to defer making travel arrangements until that information is received. Thank you for your patience as we finalize these details.

Dining

Dining Services is also refining offerings and meal plan options that align with evolving health and safety conditions.

  • First-year students living in university housing will be expected to maintain a meal plan to support a successful transition to college life.
  • All upper-class students living in university housing will be required to maintain a limited meal plan (unless they are assigned to an apartment with a kitchen), due to the closing of common area kitchens throughout university and Greek housing to prevent spread of the virus.

Further details regarding our approach to dining can be found on the Dining Services website.

Financial Aid and Fall Semester Invoices

Our Enrollment Services team is adapting policies and procedures in order to increase flexibility for you and accommodate your unique financial needs regardless of where you physically reside during this coming academic year.

Financial aid award letters for upper-class undergraduate students will be sent starting July 20. Students and families may expect that financial aid packages will be similar to financial aid packages from past years with similar components (grants and loans) and percentages of need met, as long as family and student finances have not changed significantly. If changes to family finances have occurred, there will be an opportunity to request adjustments to financial aid packages.

In addition, to allow more time for families and students to plan this year, we have adjusted our regular payment schedule as follows:

  • Fall 2020 semester invoices will be available July 31.
  • Fall 2020 semester balances will be due by September 15.

Events, Gatherings and Athletics

Meetings or Gatherings

In-person gatherings or meetings are discouraged. All meetings should be held virtually via Zoom or other conferencing technologies whenever possible. However, in-person gatherings or meetings of up to 10 persons are permitted in spaces that will allow proper social distancing.

For students not in Allegheny County, we recommend continuing to adhere to social distancing and physical distancing guidelines.

Shared food should be eliminated and any catered food should be individually sealed and wrapped.

Student Organization Events

In-person student organization events are canceled until further notice.

Assistance for Student Organizations

SLICE is available to help you consider new ways of virtually delivering aspects of the student organization experience and also to help you work though any questions you have regarding event cancellations, contracts and financial impacts caused by the COVID-19 restrictions. SLICE is available for phone and video conference consultations, which can be scheduled Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. by filling out a Meet with SLICE request.

Athletics Competition for Fall Semester

Carnegie Mellon’s Return to Play Task Force, which includes university administrators and team physicians, has spent months exploring return-to-play scenarios for our CMU athletes. We carefully considered options that would preserve the opportunity for our athletes to participate in and represent Carnegie Mellon through competition. With the health and safety of our community guiding our decisions, we cannot contemplate a return to competitive play for the fall semester.

We have made the difficult decision to cancel all intercollegiate athletic competition this fall, and our varsity student athletes were informed of this news.

Although we will not pursue competition for the fall semester, we are exploring meaningful ways for our varsity teams to stay engaged with their love of sport throughout the semester.

Doctoral and Master's Degree Students

Refer to the Researcher Resources page for more information regarding how the COVID-19 pandemic affects your research.

Researchers who have been approved to do specific research-related activities on campus facilities are expected to comply with all safety requirements as outlined in the Returning to On-site Work section of this site.

The university will maintain and manage the overall inventory of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies to support physical distancing. Requests for PPE and supplies needed by organizational units to support their return to campus can be made by emailing DRBC@andrew.cmu.edu.

International Students

We expect that international students in the U.S will be required to take some amount of in-person instruction to maintain their U.S. immigration status. The Office of International Education (OIE) is reviewing the recent guidance from the federal government on this matter, and has released some preliminary guidance for our international students. The OIE will communicate greater detail to our international students in the days ahead.