Carnegie Mellon University

August 10, 2020

Dear Carnegie Mellon University Students:

As we stand on the cusp of an academic year unlike any other, the university’s leadership has been working closely with faculty, staff, student leaders and public health officials to prepare to welcome many of our students back to campus. We are proceeding carefully, methodically and with the understanding that the health and well-being of the entire campus, as well as our extended community, is a shared responsibility. There are few certainties about COVID-19, but one thing is patently clear – each of us must take an active role in preventing the spread of the virus.

With that sobering reality in mind, I am writing today to introduce “A Tartan’s Responsibility”— an agreement that details the expectations for all Carnegie Mellon students who will resume living, learning, working and interacting in our campus community. Just as our faculty and staff have committed to strict requirements in order to return to campus, so too must our students. These expectations will foster trust among our entire community and create a shared commitment among all students. The agreement confirms you will do your part to: (1) Minimize the introduction of COVID-19; (2) Prevent the spread of COVID-19; (3)Contribute to the identification of COVID-19; and (4) Support the containment of COVID-19. Each of these commitments corresponds to a set of protocols, processes and best practices that we have put in place for our entire community’s health and well-being. I recognize that these rules will impact your experience on campus this year, but I cannot stress enough the importance of embracing this shared responsibility each and every day. By doing so, we can preserve the privilege of delivering an in-person education for those who can join us in Pittsburgh.

The full text of “A Tartan’s Responsibility” can be found online at CMU’s COVID-19 student webpage. I urge you to please read and take the time to understand the full document, as any student who plans to return to campus — whether living on campus or off — will be expected to abide by these guidelines. In the coming weeks, you will also receive more information about required training that will aid in your understanding of these standards.

After months of planning to put comprehensive protocols, procedures and practices in place to protect our community’s health and well-being — including daily coordination and assessment with local health officials, our peer institutions, and others — it all comes down to whether we will each step up to follow through on these plans and truly make this year a success.

To our students, you are the heart and soul of our community and you have a huge role to play in our collective effort. I am confident you can demonstrate the power of shared commitment and cooperation to positively shape our experience this semester and the trajectory of this entire academic year. As some of the most talented and motivated members of your generation, I believe in your ability to rise to this occasion and our faculty and staff are looking forward to doing all that we can to make this a successful year.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair