Carnegie Mellon University

COVID-19 Updates

Information and resources for the CMU community

Scotty with mask and vaccination bandaid

A Tartan’s Responsibility

Updated for Fall 2021


Foundational to the university’s community standards is the Carnegie Mellon Code, under which students are expected “to meet the highest standards of personal, ethical and moral conduct possible.” The Code sets a high bar for members of the student body to personally uphold the standards of the community, and to likewise hold fellow students accountable for these ideals, recognizing that “it is rare that the life of a student in an academic community can be so private that it will not affect the community as a whole.

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.

These rules are based on the Minimum Requirements that apply to our entire community. For students who were on campus in 2020-21, the minimum requirements have been modified to reflect the university's current posture. They are designed following federal, state and local guidance to maintain our collective health and vitality, and to promote a culture of shared responsibility for the safety of all community members in and around our university, including our neighbors. Faculty and staff are also adhering to requirements as condition for returning to campus that are designed to protect the community and their health and safety.

By returning to campus, you agree to:

Minimize the Introduction of COVID-19

In connection with our launch of the fall semester, the university requires every student to complete two baseline tests through the Tartan Testing program (regardless of vaccination status). The first of these tests should ideally be completed within five days after arrival to the Pittsburgh area, while the second must be completed by September 24, 2021.

Students already living in the Pittsburgh area are encouraged to begin their baseline testing as soon as possible; students not currently coming to campus should plan to complete their testing within the two weeks prior to their engagement with campus activities, research, orientation or classes.


Prevent the Spread of COVID-19

Consistent with scientific evidence on the importance of vaccine adoption to control spread of the virus, to the extent permissible by law, Carnegie Mellon University requires all enrolled undergraduate and graduate students in U.S.-based programs to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with a World Health Organization emergency use listed or U.S. emergency use authorized vaccine.

Those who are not fully vaccinated (e.g., two weeks have passed since the final vaccine dose) or who have received an approved exemption from the vaccine requirement will be permitted to engage in campus life provided they uphold the following mitigation requirements: completing the Daily Self-Assessment, participating in weekly Tartan Testing, wearing facial coverings in all public indoor settings (or maintaining physical distancing of 6 feet when eating) and wearing facial coverings in outdoor settings whenever physical distancing of 6 feet or more cannot be maintained.

All students are required to have submitted valid documentation of their completed vaccination(s) through HealthConnect (or provide documentation supporting an approved medical, religious or strong moral/ethical objection exemption to University Health Services) by September 20, 2021. Students who do not meet this expectation will be placed on administrative suspension and will be expected to immediately absent themselves from campus.

Contribute to the Identification of COVID-19

All students are required to respond to university or county contact tracing outreach and other related requests as necessary.

Students who are not fully vaccinated are required to participate in weekly Tartan Testing and the Daily Self-Assessment toward identifying the virus.

Support the Containment of COVID-19

Students are expected to engage in timely reporting to University Health Services, and following their guidance, when experiencing symptoms or when they believe that they may have been in close contact with the virus.

Additionally, students are expected to engage with and follow the instructions of University Health Services staff, contact tracers and Student Affairs staff regarding the need to quarantine or isolate.

These expectations are subject to change as conditions of the pandemic evolve, so students should regularly consult the university’s COVID-19 website and also thoroughly review all COVID-related university communications for the latest information and guidance. For example, the university reinstated universal facial covering requirements for the start of the academic year.

Should you find that you are unable or unwilling to comply with these rules at any point during the academic year, then, in acknowledgement of your responsibility to the community, you agree to remove yourself from campus immediately.

The university strongly believes that adherence to these expectations is critical to maintaining a healthy living, learning and working environment during the pandemic. To be successful as a community in upholding these expectations, each of us must embrace our role as active bystanders to help one another. Students who fail to adhere to these rules will be subject to immediate action, which may include administrative suspension, and student conduct action.

We recognize that these rules may impact your experience on campus this year. We also know the pandemic has had disproportionate impacts on communities of color and on vulnerable populations, and has led individuals from other countries to feel less welcome in the United States. We trust you will join us in upholding our values as an inclusive and equitable community with a shared commitment to the continued health and well-being of the entire CMU and extended community this coming year. We also trust that together we will persist through these challenging times to preserve the privilege of delivering an in-person education for those who join us in Pittsburgh.

As Tartans, we are all in this together, and our ability to be successful rests upon all members of this community embracing our responsibility to live out these expectations each and every day.