Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

Requirements for Spring: Undergraduate and Graduate Students

Tartan Testing

Although not required, participation in weekly in Tartan Testing if you are not fully vaccinated (including booster when eligible) is recommended.

Complete the vaccination process

Upload your vaccination documentation to HealthConnect. If you are not fully vaccinated (including booster when eligible), locate a vaccination site.

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 both indoors and outdoors are optional, but remain strongly recommended, for members of our community who are up-to-date with respect to COVID-19 vaccinations.

Physical distancing

If you are not fully vaccinated (including booster when eligible), you must maintain 6 feet when eating or drinking.

A Tartan's Responsibility

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. Our current practice is to provide each individual who tests positive for COVID-19 with detailed isolation instructions, guidance and resources for support. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to notify their close contacts. Read more from the CDC about determining close contacts and informing close contacts.

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 (CHWB), staff are trained on 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 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, 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 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-19 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 6 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. Read more from the CDC about determining close contacts.

Students who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to notify their close contacts. Read more from the CDC about informing close contacts. Close contacts who do not have symptoms should test 5-7 days after the most recent date they were in close contact with the COVID-19 positive individual. Only close contacts with symptoms should test right away and should reach out to UHS or their health care provider for guidance regarding 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-19 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. 

Isolation and quarantine requirements are shifting for anyone not fully vaccinated and boosted (i.e., “up to date”).

  • If you are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case and are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination series, are asymptomatic and test negative, you are not required to quarantine.
  • However, if you are a close contact of a COVID-19 positive case and are not up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination series, you must quarantine for seven days.
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 an individual confirmed to have COVID-19. Students will be directed to quarantine when appropriate, 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 Pennsylvania guidance (PDF), students who are identified as a close contact but are fully vaccinated (including booster when eligible) 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.

  • We will guide residential students who test positive and are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms to isolate-in-place in their currently-assigned rooms, suites or apartments. Residential students at higher risk and/or with moderate-to-severe symptoms will continue to be temporarily relocated to dedicated Isolation & Quarantine housing locations. All residential students will be provided with detailed instructions for their isolation period, information and support regarding meals and other resources as needed. 
  • Residents with a local permanent address who prefer to travel home in a private vehicle and complete the isolation period there are permitted to do so after consulting with their housefellow.
  • Any “well” resident who tests negative and prefers to live in alternate housing will have the option to arrange to do so with friends or loved ones, or be temporarily relocated; students should contact their housefellow for details, if needed.
  • Off-campus students will be given instructions on how best to isolate in their residence, including when you are living with family or roommates.
  • 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.