Carnegie Mellon University

All first-year students and returning upper-class students with housing assignments for any portion of the 2020-21 academic year are expected to read this FAQ site in its entirety.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions regarding Housing Services at CMU during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you can't find the information you are looking for here, please email us.


Fall 2020 Move-In

Move-in for first-year students is August 19 to August 23, 2020, and move-in for upper-class students is August 24 through August 30, 2020.

Students with confirmed Fall 2020 housing assignments can sign up for their move-in timeslot through the Housing Portal. Available timeslots can be browsed prior to selecting. Students are asked to make travel arrangements in conjunction with the available move-in timeslots for their building.
Each move-in timeslot is an hour or two hours in length (depending on the building), beginning at 9 am and ending at 8 pm. The last time slot is 7-8 pm. There will be no hard key or ID card pick-up outside of these hours.

The number of residents who can select the same timeslot is determined by building unloading capabilities and building capacity. Larger buildings such as Fairfax, Webster and Stever, for instance, will require that fewer residents are able to select the same timeslot so that each resident can move in safely. In order to accommodate a safe move-in experience, we must utilize all timeslots, which will be selected and confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis.

During the move-in and check-in process, students, families and guests will be responsible for maintaining public safety and physical distancing requirements.

  • All students, family members and guests assisting with move-in are required to wear a facial covering at all times.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times during move in. Students, families and guests must physically distance from other groups moving in at the same time. Many buildings only offer stairwells which will be generally marked as either “up” or “down” to avoid people passing in them. Buildings with elevators are to be used by a single move-in group at a time. (If accommodations are needed during move-in due to a physical limitation or special need, please let Housing Services know that prior to your move-in timeslot by calling 412-268-2139 or emailing us.)
  • Some buildings will use floor decals to outline paths that promote physical distancing to check-in points or elevators.
  • Students are encouraged to keep any boxes used for move-in in their rooms for the semester. Upon move-out, this will be helpful in packing. During move-in, trash will need to be taken to the nearby dumpsters. A map of dumpster locations will be available at move-in. No large items are permitted in the trash receptacles in the building hallways during move-in.
  • Only those individuals helping with move in are allowed in the building. Additional guests or friends are not permitted in the building in order to de-densify the move-in process.

The person(s) helping you during move-in are expected to maintain public safety and adhere to physical distancing requirements. We strongly encourage you to limit the number of people helping you move in to no more than two if possible.

  • All students, family members and guests assisting with move-in are required to wear a facial covering at all times.
  • Because we are assigning residents to specific bathroom fixtures, family and guests should only use the public bathrooms in the building lobbies and not the communal floor bathrooms.
  • Family members and guests are expected to stay with their students at all times.
  • Family members and guests must leave their student’s housing building by the end of the day on their move-in day. Once a new day’s timeslots start, occupancy of the building is limited to only those students and families/guests moving in on that day.
Your CMU ID card will provide you access to your building and room unless you live in Fairfax, Webster or Shady Oak, in which case you will need to pick up a hard key.

First-year students with a domestic address will receive their CMU ID cards in the mail and we anticipate you should receive them by August 14. First-year students who did not receive a card in the mail or live outside of the U.S. can pick up their ID cards during their designated move-in timeslot at the Residence on Fifth located at 4700 Fifth Avenue. 

Upper-class students should already have a CMU ID card. If a card is lost, students will be required to get a new card from the HUB during business hours. More information can be found on The HUB website.

Hard keys can be picked up during your timeslot at the Residence on Fifth located at 4700 Fifth Avenue.
Students living in buildings with hard keys will need to come to the Residence on Fifth located at 4700 Fifth Ave. The office will be open for key distribution every day during move-in (August 19-30) from 8:30 am to 8 pm.
Students will drop off their belongings in front of or near their housing building. Someone will need to stay with the vehicle at all times during the unloading process (if unloading outside of the building). After unloading, the vehicle will need to be moved to a designated parking lot as soon as possible and no later than the end of their assigned time slot.

Temporary parking on Margaret Morrison Street is for the purposes of unloading only. CMU Police will enforce this as needed.
During move-in, Residential Education staff will be available for support in the residence halls. There will be a Resident Assistant (RA) on each floor who can be contacted if needed. Please maintain physical distance when interacting with the staff member.

In Greek chapter facilities, students should contact their housefellow for support.

The Housing Services office is located at the Residence on Fifth located at 4700 Fifth Ave. Housing staff will be available every day during move-in (August 19-30) from 8:30 am to 8 pm. For matters other than key pickup, students and families are strongly encouraged to call the Housing Services office at 412-268-2139 before making an in-person visit.
Under normal conditions, Housing Services makes a large number of red carts available in support of the move-in process. Given state requirements for sanitizing carts after each use and the specialized nature of this year’s move-in process, Housing Services is unable to provide them this fall. Students will be required to physically move their belongings (including those in storage) without the use of the red carts. (If accommodations are needed during move-in due to a physical limitation or special need, please let Housing Services know that prior to your move-in timeslot by calling 412-268-2139 or emailing us.)
Please refer to the CMU Postal Services website requirements for all shipping guidelines. Please also refer to the university policy regarding mail delivery as mail and packages are not allowed to be mailed directly to the residence halls.
Students are not permitted to arrive on campus prior to their selected timeslot. If you arrive early to campus, your ID will not work on the doors and you will need to find an alternative location while you await your timeslot.
If you have time, move items back to your vehicle. Then seek shelter in your vehicle or a nearby building until the storm has passed. If the weather is severe during the entirety of your timeslot, please begin your move-in process as soon as the weather clears.
Students, families and guests can park in designated lots only. A list of acceptable lots is available on the Parking Services website.

Parking is not permitted directly in front of housing buildings and this will be enforced by CMU Police and Parking Services.

Greek residents and families are not permitted to park in Greek lots unless they have a parking permit from Parking Services.

Fall 2020 Housing Considerations

It is very important that you read everything on this FAQ webpage before you make your decision that you prefer to live in campus housing for one semester. However, below are a few items of critical importance that will be further described in this FAQ.

  • If you are an upper-class student who is selected to receive Fall semester housing, it is possible that you will be reassigned to a different room, room type, and building than you originally chose during Room Selection, and it is possible that you will be assigned to a hotel room.
  • You are required to maintain a dining plan if you are an upper-class student assigned to suite, semi-suite, traditional or Greek housing, or if you are a first-year student living in any building. This dining plan is not optional for upper-class students in non-apartments, including those who may have their existing assignment changed from an apartment to a non-apartment room type. More information about the required dining plans and meals on campus after moving in is available in the Dining section.
  • A 14-day modified self-quarantine period will be expected of all residential students upon arrival. While in modified quarantine, students may not attend events or classes on campus, or leave campus. Activities such as picking up food from a campus dining location or exercising outdoors will be permitted so long as physical distancing is maintained and (except in the case of outdoor exercise) a facial covering is worn. For the purposes of some limited opportunities for social interaction, first-year students will form a “pod” with members of their Orientation group, while upper-class students can form a self-defined “pod” of up to 10 students living in the same residence hall. Details regarding how the quarantine will be operationalized for both residential and off-campus students will be shared with the entire campus community in early August.
  • All residential students will be required to take at least one viral PCR test for COVID-19 during your quarantine period. As our testing strategy evolves, we may require students to test more frequently than during your initial 14 days. This is being required to prevent spread of the virus, especially among asymptomatic individuals.
  • Isolation housing will be required for any student who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, as well as any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days. Isolation housing will be required until a student is cleared by University Health Services, a time period that generally will be up to 14 days or longer depending on symptoms. Isolation housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the isolation period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals will be delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins will be provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.
  • You will be expected to follow all of the community health mitigation strategies put in place by the university (including those outlined in this FAQ).
  • Only students who do not travel during Thanksgiving break will be permitted to continue living in on-campus housing after the break and through finals.

Personal belongings should be limited in size and quantity in the case that a mid-semester move out is necessary due to changing conditions. Please only bring essential belongings that you can easily take with you at move-out. 

Please reference the list of acceptable and prohibited items in the residence halls.

A Wellness Kit will be in your room prior to your arrival which will include CMU branded facial coverings, personal size hand sanitizer, and personal size anti-bacterial wipes.

First-year student rooms will also have Orientation materials, including a welcome card, undergraduate parent and family guide, and an Orientation t-shirt and sticker.

 

 

To rent a Microfridge, call 1-800-525-7307 or visit mymicrofridge.com. It costs $159.99 for the semester. Order by August 7, 2020, to guarantee delivery to your room before you arrive.

To purchase linens in advance of arrival to campus, please visit the University Bookstore. Please note that ordered linens will be available for pick-up by students at the university bookstore.

Housing rates do not cover personal properties. Students should consider getting their own personal property insurance. National Student Services Inc. has been providing renter's insurance to Carnegie Mellon students for years. Get a quote through NSSI's website for full information on pricing or coverage. The university does not assume liability under any circumstances for a student's personal property, and students are strongly encouraged to have some form of personal property insurance.
In the unlikely event a room needs a repair, place a work order request. If the request is an emergency, contact Service Response at 412-268-2910.

If you are locked out of your room, there are multiple ways to gain access. For residents in Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak, please see options 3 and 4. 

  1. You can utilize the CBORD Mobile ID app to receive a six-digit temporary lock-out code. You must be near your lock and logged into the CMU-Secure WiFi on your mobile device to activate the app. Make sure you push the hashtag (#) button on the key pad before entering the six-digit code. Follow the instructions to download the app. This app can also be used to unlock the main entrance to your residence hall.
  2. If your phone is not available, visit the Access Housing website to acquire the one-time use temporary lock-out code.
  3. Call the Housing Services office (412-268-2139) at the Residence on Fifth Monday through Friday during business hours (8:30 am - 5 pm) to receive a temporary access code. For residents in Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak, please call to make an appointment to come pick up a temporary key if you are locked out or have lost your original key.
  4. If no other options are available, contact University Police (412-268-2323) after hours for lock-out assistance.

If your lock does not display any lights when you press the # symbol, the batteries need to be replaced. Please call Housing Services office (412-268-2139) at the Residence on Fifth Monday through Friday during business hours (8:30 am - 5 pm). When the Housing office is closed, call the Service Response Center at 412-268-2910. Please be specific about what the lock pad is displaying when the service technician answers.

For more information on how to operate your lock, please visit the Housing Services access webpage.

Each room is single occupancy for Fall 2020 and no bed lofting or delofting will be approved.

Students will only have access to the building to which they are assigned.

Most lounges in Housing facilities will be available for use during the Fall semester, although the amount of furniture has been de-densified to promote physical distancing. Some of the other shared amenities, such as common kitchens, exercise rooms and makerspaces, will be closed.   

Students who had their belongings stored by the university and who will be living on campus for the fall can expect their boxes of items to be placed in the rooms before arrival. Housing Services is working on moving all boxes from storage for all students with a fall assignment. 

Students who had their belongings stored by the university and who will be living off-campus in Pittsburgh will be notified in early August regarding the procedures to retrieve them.

All mail and packages for campus housing residents must be addressed and sent to the individual's Student Mail Code (SMC) box. Mail and packages include anything sent through the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, DHL, Amazon Prime, etc. No mail or packages of any kind should be sent directly to the street address of the residence hall or apartment building. Housing Services bears no responsibility for the damage, theft, or removal of any packages that are sent directly to the building addresses. In order to ensure that your packages and mail are safe and secure, you must send it to your SMC code address. All mail and packages should be addresses as follows:

Your Name
5032 Forbes Avenue
SMC ####
Pittsburgh, PA 15289

Housing works with the FMCS division of Custodial Services to clean the residence halls (excluding Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak which are leased buildings, cleaned by their respective management teams, and are required to meet CMU's level of cleaning expectations).

  • All buildings will be cleaned seven days a week by Custodial Services staff from 9 am until 7:30 pm. Custodial Services staff will also be doing enhanced daily cleaning of common restrooms and disinfecting high touch areas.
  • Traditional residence halls and Greek chapter houses will have the communal bathrooms cleaned twice a day. Students in these spaces will be assigned to specific bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets and showers). Students will be required to only use their assigned fixtures, which will be assigned upon move-in.
  • During the semester, the Custodial Services staff will conduct enhanced deep cleaning of common bathrooms and common spaces.
In effort to mitigate in-person contact and support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning private spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites and apartments will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.

In an effort to mitigate in-person contact and to support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning personal spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites and apartments will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.  


Financial Considerations

Yes. Students living in suite, semi-suite, traditional, Greek and hotel housing will be charged the lowest common room rate, which is the traditional double rate of $4,605 per semester. Students living in an apartment will be charged the studio apartment double rate of $5,362 per semester, which is the lowest apartment rate in our system.
Students can cancel up to August 13 without a penalty. After August 13students will be charged the $400 cancellation penalty. However, after students move into campus housing and elect to cancel their Fall assignment, they will be charged a pro-rated daily rate of the semester charge plus the $400 cancellation penalty.
It is our plan to maintain continuity of services throughout the semester. If conditions change, we will communicate with the relevant students and families about any changes to our operations, including financial considerations.
Students who choose to travel home or elsewhere for Thanksgiving will not receive a pro-rated refund for their housing charges for the remainder of the semester. Our housing operation is being maintained at a significantly lower occupancy level than normal, and the semester room rates that are being applied have already been reduced below what students would normally pay to live in a single bedroom living space. In so doing, we face significant budgetary constraints in connection with our ability to provide on-campus housing this Fall, and we cannot extend beyond those constraints in order to accommodate students who voluntarily elect to move out of housing at Thanksgiving.

Dining Plan Requirement and Meals

Dining plans for first-year and upper-class students will be available for use at the time of move-in. Students are able to use both meal blocks and FLEX at a select number of dining locations on campus. Blocks and FLEX used before classes begin will be deducted from the allotment of the regular selected/assigned meal plan, which starts on Sunday, August 30.

You will be required to maintain a meal plan if you are an upper-class student assigned to suite, semi-suite, traditional or Greek housing, or if you are a first-year student living in any building. This meal plan will not be optional for upper-class students in non-apartments, including those few students who may have their existing assignment changed from an apartment to a non-apartment room type.

Yes, any first-year student living on campus is required to have a dining plan, regardless of whether or not your residential space has a private kitchen.

No, first-year students living off-campus locally within the Pittsburgh area are not required to have a CMU dining plan. You may elect to have one but it is not required.

Given that common area kitchens will be closed throughout university and Greek housing to prevent spread of the virus, all upper-class students living on-campus will be required to maintain a limited meal plan (unless they live in an apartment with its own kitchen).

The available dining plans and associated costs may be found on the Dining Services website. First-year students may select from the Traditional Plans as indicated on the site. Upper-class students may select from any plan that is the value of the “Scotty’s Choice” community plan (which will serve as the default plan if no selection is made) or higher.

More information will be provided by Dining Services to relevant students after housing assignments have been made.


Health and Safety Expectations and Mitigation

During the move-in and check-in process, students, families and guests will be responsible for maintaining public safety and physical distancing requirements.

  • All students, family members and guests assisting with move-in are required to wear a facial covering at all times.
  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times during move in. Students, families and guests must physically distance from other groups moving in at the same time. Many buildings only offer stairwells which will be generally marked as either “up” or “down” to avoid people passing in them. Buildings with elevators are to be used by a single move-in group at a time. (If accommodations are needed during move-in due to a physical limitation or special need, please let Housing Services know that prior to your move-in timeslot by calling 412-268-2139 or emailing us.)
  • Some buildings will use floor decals to outline paths that promote physical distancing to check-in points or elevators.
  • Students are encouraged to keep any boxes used for move-in in their rooms for the semester. Upon move-out, this will be helpful in packing. During move-in, trash will need to be taken to the nearby dumpsters. A map of dumpster locations will be available at move-in. No large items are permitted in the trash receptacles in the building hallways during move-in.
  • Only those individuals helping with move in are allowed in the building. Additional guests or friends are not permitted in the building in order to de-densify the move-in process.

Using the best available science- and research-based evidence, we are finalizing our protocols for mitigation strategies. At present:

  • A 14-day self-quarantine period will be enforced for all residential students upon arrival. During this time, students may not attend in-person gatherings or classes. First-year students will self-quarantine with their Orientation group following strict stipulations for physical distancing; details regarding how this will be operationalized will be shared in early August, including how the quarantine period will interface with the start of classes.
  • All residential students will be required to take at least one viral PCR test for COVID-19 during your quarantine period. As our testing strategy evolves, we may require students to test more frequently than during your initial 14 days. This is being required to prevent spread of the virus, especially among asymptomatic individuals.
  • Isolation housing will be required for any student who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, as well as any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days. Isolation housing will be required until a student is cleared by University Health Services, a time period that generally will be up to 14 days and could be longer depending on symptoms. Isolation housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the isolation period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals will be delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins will be provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.

Details regarding these protocols are still being finalized and will be communicated prior to arrival.

It is of key importance you reflect on these mitigation strategies and protocols while you consider whether or not you want to live in university housing this year.

A 14-day modified self-quarantine period will be expected of all residential students upon arrival. While in modified quarantine, students may not attend events or classes on campus, or leave campus. Activities such as picking up food from a campus dining location or exercising outdoors will be permitted so long as physical distancing is maintained and (except in the case of outdoor exercise) a facial covering is worn.

For the purposes of some limited opportunities for social interaction, first-year students will form a “pod” with members of their Orientation group, while upper-class students can form a self-defined “pod” of up to 10 students living in the same residence hall.

Details regarding how the quarantine will be operationalized for both residential and off-campus students will be shared with the entire campus community in early August.

We are generally not able to grant exceptions for early arrivals in order to ensure a safe, structured and appropriately-staffed move in process. The hybrid-learning approach allows for residential students to participate fully in classes using remote technology until their quarantine period is completed.

Housing works with the FMCS division of Custodial Services to clean the residence halls (excluding Fairfax, Webster and Shady Oak which are leased buildings, cleaned by their respective management teams, and are required to meet CMU's level of cleaning expectations).

  • All buildings will be cleaned seven days a week by Custodial Services staff from 9 am until 7:30 pm. Custodial Services staff will also be doing enhanced daily cleaning of common restrooms and disinfecting high touch areas.
  • Traditional residence halls and Greek chapter houses will have the communal bathrooms cleaned twice a day. Students in these spaces will be assigned to specific bathroom fixtures (sinks, toilets and showers). Students will be required to only use their assigned fixtures, which will be assigned upon move-in.
  • During the semester, the Custodial Services staff will conduct enhanced deep cleaning of common bathrooms and common spaces.
In effort to mitigate in-person contact and support physical distancing, Custodial Services will not be cleaning private spaces after move-in. Students in semi-suites, suites and apartments will be required to clean their own private/semi-private bathrooms. Students should acquire bathroom cleaning supplies prior to arriving on-campus as Housing Services does not supply them for private spaces.
Isolation housing will be required for any student who becomes symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19, as well as any residential students who were in close contact with such a student during the previous 14 days. Isolation housing will be required until a student is cleared by University Health Services, a time period that generally will be up to 14 days or longer depending on symptoms. Isolation housing provides a private bedroom/bathroom living space which a student must remain in at all times during the isolation period, meaning all engagement with university coursework will be done via remote learning. Meals will be delivered to the living space, and regular virtual support check-ins will be provided by University Health Services and Student Affairs staff.

Residential students will be required to complete daily symptom tracking, be evaluated if symptomatic, and participate in contact tracing and surveillance as required by the university.

Residential students will be required to have the influenza vaccine (once available).

Face coverings must be worn at all times outside private rooms in the residence halls. Residents will be encouraged to limit entering personal spaces of other residents and expected to engage in the recommended practices of self-hygiene and physical distancing in all residential spaces.

All common-area kitchens will be closed.  Some amenity spaces (e.g. makerspaces, fitness rooms, computer labs, recreation rooms) will be closed; we are in consultation with experts to determine which spaces can be safely maintained and which will need to be closed. Furniture in common spaces will be reduced and arranged to support physical distancing.

In general, gatherings (including RA programs) in social spaces will be limited and otherwise moved to remote delivery. The university has empanelled a working group that includes representation from Residential Education and Housing Services to propose guidelines and expectations for student gatherings and programs campus-wide, and our ultimate strategy will comport with these guidelines.

With the exception of the move-in and move-out processes, guests and visitors will not be permitted in housing facilities (including private rooms and community spaces such as lounges) as a means to mitigate community spread. 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 fall semester.
As a community health measure, the university will be moving to all-remote learning following the Thanksgiving break. Only students who do not travel during Thanksgiving break will be permitted to continue living in on-campus housing after the break, through finals and/or during winter break.

In keeping with the university strategy regarding one semester of housing, all Fall semester students should expect to move out of their housing assignment at the end of the semester. Students who need to remain on-campus during some portion of winter break will be relocated in order to facilitate cleaning of all rooms prior to Spring semester move-in for new residents. Details will be provided midway through the Fall semester.

Storage Items from Spring 2020

Students who had their belongings stored by the university and who will be living on campus for the fall can expect their boxes of items to be placed in the rooms before arrival. Housing Services is working on moving all boxes from storage for all students with a fall assignment. 

Students who had their belongings stored by the university and who will be living off-campus in Pittsburgh will be notified in early August regarding the procedures to retrieve them

The university will continue to safely store your belongings until your eventual return.

2020-21 Housing Availability

We are committed to offering you an opportunity to live on campus for one semester in the year ahead to provide an equitable approach to assigning our limited capacity. All first-year students, and all upper-class students with existing housing assignments, will be provided on-campus housing for only one of the upcoming two semesters, and only a very small number with special circumstances will be provided housing for both semesters. We know this is a disappointment for some students and families. We look forward to the day when we can offer our fulsome residential housing experience to all students. The extraordinary times of living through a pandemic call for our heightened and sincere commitment to your health and well-being, which we believe this approach promotes.
We recognize international students who do not yet have a valid visa are likely to have difficulty entering the U.S. for study by the Fall semester given consular closures, travel bans, and limited flight availability. The Office of International Education is working closely with all international students and partnering with Housing Services so we can optimize the possibility of securing housing for at least one semester for our international students. For questions, please consult with your OIE advisor.