Carnegie Mellon University

CMU Housing COVID-19 Planning

Spring 2021 Move-Out

All residential buildings close for the spring semester on Wednesday, May 19, at 12 p.m. This is a one week extension of the date listed in the Housing License Agreement due to the late start to the semester. All residents are expected to vacate their rooms and check out by this date. The only exceptions will be those approved for summer housing, graduating seniors, and RAs and CAs who need to stay for work. Additional exceptions may be granted for those with extenuating circumstances through the Extension Request Form available on the Housing Portal starting April 19.

Graduating seniors with a final graduation term of Spring 2021 (as listed on the “Enrollment Status” page in SIO) will be granted an extension through 12 p.m. noon on Monday, May 24, 2021. Seniors who are graduating should work with their academic advisor to make sure that their graduation date is accurately reflected in SIO.

Due to data limitations, Housing is only able to see a student's latest graduation date, so a student who is part of an accelerated masters programs or other dual degree program with a second graduation date later than Spring 2021 will not receive an automatic extension. If you do not receive an email notifying you of an automatic extension, please be sure to complete the Extension Request Form available on the Housing Portal starting April 19 so that we are aware of your additional graduation date and need to stay late.)

To prepare for checkout, all residents must:

  • Complete your building specific move-out date sign up process as communicated by your Housefellow or CA.
  • Clean your bedroom and if in a suite/apartment, also clean the living room/kitchen/bathroom. Remember to empty the refrigerator, wipe counters and clean the oven. Leaving the room and/or common areas dirty may result in a cleaning charge.
  • Return and reassemble all furnishings to their proper locations, including bunk beds. Missing room furniture will be charged to the occupants of the space. The furniture must be in move-in condition.
  • Remove all personal belongings before leaving your room as the university is not liable for your personal belongings. Check dressers, closets and desks to ensure items are removed. Items left in rooms will be discarded at the resident’s expense.
  • Remove all garbage from your room to the dumpsters outside. Large items/excess trash left in the room will result in a charge.
  • Ensure all windows are closed.
  • Turn off all lights and faucets and lock your room door.
  • Complete the self-checkout form in the Housing Portal and return the following items via the drop box located in the Residence on Fifth vestibule:
    • Shady Oak - keys
    • Fairfax - keys and fob
    • Webster – Keys, fob and laundry card

Yes, all residents must complete the  self-checkout form located in the Housing Portal when they depart campus for the semester. By submitting this form residents confirm that they have completed all the required checkout steps and have vacated their room. For electronic access buildings, checking out will also end your access.

On the day of departure, residents are permitted to have one individual assist them with move out. Whenever possible, limit the time the individual helper is in the building by fully packing up your room prior to this individual entering the building.

Outside of the day of move-out/departure, guests are not permitted in the residential buildings. Guests are defined as any persons not assigned to your same house community. This means that parents, family and friends – including other Carnegie Mellon students and residents outside of your assigned building – will not be permitted as guests during the spring semester. 

Yes, moving carts will be available from your CA, RA or the RA on call. It is recommended to connect with your RA in advance to set up a time to get a cart. Supplies will be available to sanitize the cart before and after use. Please remember that you are responsible for the cart while it is assigned to you.

To ensure a smooth move out for everyone, we ask that you limit the time you are parked around all buildings to only the time needed to pack your vehicle. Campus Police and Parking Services will continue to enforce all traffic regulations so do not park on sidewalks, in an active lane of traffic, or in a fire lane. In order to avoid violating any parking or traffic regulations, we highly suggest that you fully pack up your room, then load your vehicle.

Free parking is available in campus parking lots and in the East Campus garage on weekdays after 5 p.m. and all day on weekends. At all other times, please do not leave your vehicle unattended while parking in a campus lot. In many areas, City of Pittsburgh metered parking is available at the posted meter rate.

When moving out, all residents of Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak must return their key and fob (and laundry card for Webster) in a completed checkout envelope to the Residence on Fifth Key Return drop box at 4700 Fifth Avenue. The drop box is located in the vestibule area (through the first set of doors and before the second set.) Key return envelopes are located above the key return drop box. Failure to return your keys will result in an up to $125.00 charge to your student account.

Webster residents must also return their laundry card. A lost laundry card will result in a $25 charge to your student account.

Dorm Room Movers provides an easy way to store your stuff over the summer. They will send you boxes and tape and their professional and insured movers will pick up your items, store them and either deliver back when you return or ship them to you. Visit this Housing Services webpage for more information on Dorm Room Movers and other local self-service storage options.

On-campus storage is not be available. 

No. All residents must completely vacate their room whether or not they are returning to the same room for the fall 2021 semester. Students who are unable to take all of their belongings home with them can utilize Dorm Room Movers for storage. Any belongings left in the room after May 19 will be discarded at the resident’s expense.

Summer Housing will be available for Carnegie Mellon students who have an academic need to be on campus this summer and who require housing for a period equivalent to a summer school session or the full summer. Summer assignments will be offered in Apartment Singles within an Oakland Apartment building (to be determined at a later date), and will be made based on application date. The Summer Housing application will go live on April 1, 2021 on the Housing Portal.

Learn more about summer housing at CMU.

Fall 2021 Housing Plans & Considerations

The planned approach for housing in academic year 2021-2022 is an optimistic one, with conditions much closer to what our residents experienced prior to the pandemic. We have based our approach on the current assumption that, by the summer months, vaccine availability will be plentiful and the prevalence of the virus and any variants will have partially subsided. The following FAQs about fall 2021 are based on what we currently know and can presume. As conditions evolve, we will evaluate and update our plans and communicate periodic updates on this website and via direct email communication with residential students planning to live in our house communities.

Current undergraduates who are rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors received this email on March 24, 2021, about fall housing plans for 2021 and their participation in Room Selection 2021

We look forward to activating and utilizing our spaces at a higher density, which will allow us to best engender the social connectivity that our houses have always been known for. As outlined in the FAQs that follow, we will be positioned to offer opportunities, services and programs that best leverage our staff and facility resources, while maintaining our commitment to safety.

The prevalence of vaccinated residents is a key component of our plan for re-densifying our residence halls given the congregate nature of these living settings. Presuming that access to the US-based vaccines will be plentiful leading into the fall semester, and presuming that the FDA has fully approved them by then, we do intend to require that all residential students be vaccinated (or, alternatively, have obtained an accommodation based on medical or religious grounds) by the start of the fall semester.

Details around this expectation will be shared over the coming months based on developing conditions; among these are questions about how we will receive vaccination documentation, how we will facilitate vaccine access for unvaccinated residents, and how we will consider non-US-based vaccinations that international students may have received. We anticipate being able to provide more clarity about this expectation by no later than mid-July. For now, we encourage residential students for the 2021-2022 academic year to consider getting vaccinated as soon as they are eligible and have access.

We will return to a posture of assigning roommates, with no more than two residents per bedroom. Singles will be assigned as singles, while doubles, triples and quads will all be assigned as doubles.

The university is currently studying new and evolving research and guidance regarding physical distancing in academic settings and whether we can safely consider reducing the current six-foot distancing requirement in various campus settings. Our hope is that this review will position us to maintain a higher density of furniture and people in our residential lounge and common spaces than was the case during the 2020-2021 academic year, which will amplify the levels of in-person programming and social connectivity in our house communities.

Consistent with research and guidance on vectors for the spread of the virus, it is our ambition to reopen these spaces for the fall semester. Doing so as safely as possible will require the development of policies and structure for their use. Expectations for the use of shared kitchens, practice rooms, fitness rooms and recreation amenities will be provided prior to fall 2021 move-in.

In the spring 2021 semester, we assigned groups of no more than four residents to a set of fixtures in community bathrooms in order to enable our contact tracing efforts. While we aspire to make some adjustments to this expectation for the fall semester, we will be studying alternatives this summer and our strategy will be announced in August.

We do anticipate adjusting the “no visitor” policy for the fall 2021 semester. Our intention is to focus primarily on affording residential access to visitors and guests who have been vaccinated. Presuming that all residential students will be expected to be vaccinated, we fully anticipate that our policy will allow a student in one residence hall to visit a friend in another residence hall, as one example. We will continue to study our visitor policy based on evolving conditions and plan to announce it in August.

We anticipate continuing to require facial coverings to be worn in all public and common spaces in university housing. We do not anticipate requiring facial coverings in private living spaces unless a visitor or guest is present.

It is too early to know based on the many variables at play. The university will continue to assess local and national guidance from public health organizations to inform our approach, which we will provide information about as soon as we are able and by no later July. Should an arrival quarantine be warranted, Housing Services and Residential Education will articulate the expectations and resources that will support our residential students, particularly related to the dates for move-in. We encourage residential students to hold on making any travel arrangements to campus for the fall 2021 semester until the university has communicated it's posture on whether an arrival quarantine will be required.

Fall 2021 semester move-in will be largely dependent on how conditions evolve over the next several months. Detailed information will be provided by the end of July. We do anticipate a more flexible move-in process this fall than we were able to offer this past year.

We will continue to monitor public health guidance regarding surveillance testing (particularly for individuals who have already been vaccinated) to inform our expectations, which will be communicated no later than August.

Looking ahead to the fall 2021 semester, we are prepared that we may still need to require residential students in certain circumstances to move to IQ housing. The university’s expectations will be informed by evolving public health guidance, particularly related to whether vaccinated individuals who have been identified as a close contact need to move into IQ housing. Further information will be provided in August.

Under current conditions, isolation housing is required for any student who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, and quarantine housing is required for any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days. Isolation/quarantine (IQ) housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the IQ period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals are delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins are provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.

While we do not currently expect such issues to emerge in a manner that would significantly disrupt our plans, we have developed a number of contingency strategies to be responsive to circumstances that could possibly arise. Should we be forced to enact any such measures, our goal will be to do what we reasonably can to avoid adverse impact on the engaging in-person experience we aspire to offer for our students living in university housing next year.