Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

Requirements for Fall: Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Tartan Testing

Participate weekly in Tartan Testing if you are not fully vaccinated.

Complete the vaccination process

Upload your vaccination documentation to HealthConnect. If you are not fully vaccinated, register for a free clinic.

Report symptoms

Notify University Health Services when experiencing symptoms or when you may have been in close contact with the virus.

Comply with contact tracing

Respond to contact tracing and other related requests as necessary.

Wear a facial covering

Facial coverings are required outdoors when less than six feet of others and indoors at all times except when eating or drinking.

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If you are not fully vaccinated, you must maintain six feet when eating or drinking.

A Tartan's Responsibility

Updated for Fall 2021

A Tartan’s Responsibility outlines the expectations we have for all CMU students who will be living, learning, working and interacting with our campus community, whether living on or off campus. By coming to Pittsburgh for in-person instruction, research and campus engagement, you agree to adhere to the following rules both on and off campus, for as long as they are in effect.

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Contribute to the Identification of COVID-19

Contact tracing is critical to our strategy for preventing community spread of the virus, protecting your health and to maintaining the privilege of an in-person educational experience.

The Allegheny County Health Department has authorized the university to conduct contact tracing on behalf of university community members. Under the direction of University Health Services (UHS) and Community Health and Well-Being, staff are trained on standardized protocols and systems that are consistent with those used by the county in order to integrate seamlessly with the broader community.

If a university community member tests positive or is deemed probable for COVID-19, the university initiates contact and space tracing. Contact tracing is performed by staff trained on standardized, evidenced-based protocols and systems, including requirements around confidentiality.

If you test positive for COVID-19 or are deemed to have a probable case, your identity will not be disclosed to those identified as close contacts through contact tracing.

Students are encouraged to communicate directly with faculty or research supervisors if they must miss class or have other academically-related needs. You may also elect to give permission for your college liaison to assist with disclosing your status to your faculty members or others on campus who can provide individualized support or accommodation.

Once the contact tracing interview with the student is completed, Community Health and Well-Being (CHWB) is contacted with results.

CHWB notifies: College Liaisons for students, Human Resources for faculty and staff, Facilities Management and Campus Services (FMCS) and the Covid Coordination Team (CTC) Communicators.

Clinical care coordination, emotional and academic support are offered to students diagnosed with COVID-19. Faculty and staff will also be provided support through Human Resources.

Space Tracing

Space tracing helps identify where an individual, who tests positive or is deemed probable for COVID-19, has been on campus for longer than 15 minutes.

Close Contact

"Close contact” is defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Allegheny County Health Department as someone who has spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 during the time they were presumed to be infectious. The contact tracing interview is designed to identify the close contacts of an individual who tests positive for COVID-19.

For close contact public health recommendations and more, visit this CDC page.

Our strategy for COVID-19 detection began at the start of the year with asymptomatic student baseline testing. All students were expected to complete two baseline test through Tartan Testing.

University Health Services (UHS) staff routinely processes clinical tests in their on-site laboratory and are trained and certified by the federal government through CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) to conduct in-house symptomatic COVID-19 testing for students. 

Throughout the semester, if students present with any symptoms that suggest a COVID infection or are close contacts of known positive or probable cases, our testing strategy calls for two levels  of testing to quickly assess students and provide rapid results. Based on clinical guidelines and testing supplies, UHS will administer a rapid PCR test or a rapid antigen test so we can take swift action for confirmed positive cases (residential students will be administered a rapid PCR test so that appropriate housing accommodations can be made). For negative antigen test results, we will administer a confirmatory PCR test (with results in 2-4 days).

All students with positive test results, as well as those waiting for confirmatory results, will be provided care, guidance and contact tracing as appropriate.

Support the Containment of COVID-19

We will use a combination of quarantine and isolation plans to help protect our community by preventing exposure to people who have or may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 10 days. 

CMU guidance does not accept a negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to the 10-day isolation required for a COVID-19 positive/probable individual or the 10-day quarantine for an individual identified as a close contact.

University Quarantine and Isolation chart

Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who are asymptomatic but need to be monitored due to close contact with a COVID-19 individual. Students will be directed to quarantine when appropriate and given instructions on how to meet their basic needs and receive support from the university while ensuring they do not contribute to community spread.

  • Under current PA guidance (PDF), students who are identified as a close contact but are fully vaccinated (two weeks after final dose) will generally not be instructed to quarantine.
  • During quarantine, we expect students to monitor their health and follow the guidance of a health care provider. They must remain in quarantine until cleared by a health care provider to return to any campus or community activities.
  • If students in quarantine receive a positive diagnosis of COVID-19, they will be directed to isolate until cleared by a health care provider.

Isolation separates people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 as well as people who are close contacts of someone with a positive diagnosis and are symptomatic (probable cases) from people who are not sick. Students with a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 and probable cases will be directed to isolate until cleared by a health care provider to return to any campus or community activity.

  • Residential students who test positive for COVID-19 or who have a probable COVID-19 diagnosis will be provided isolation housing. We have reserved private bedrooms and bathrooms in campus residences, and will organize meal delivery and laundry service for these students to reduce spread of infection.
  • Off-campus students will be given instructions on how best to isolate in their residence, including how to isolate with family/roommates when necessary.
  • All students diagnosed with COVID-19 will be actively supported by university staff throughout their isolation period to ensure their physical, mental and emotional well-being.