October 6, 2020
Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community:
The CMU community began the academic year with cautious optimism that our university-wide planning to prepare for this unique and challenging time would pay off. As we enter the second month of classes, I am so pleased by the collective success of our community in executing a hybrid model that serves in-person as well as remote students. I am writing today to share two simple messages: Thank you, and let’s keep it up!
To our students: I have been impressed by your dedication in following the protocols and practices designed to keep our campus community — and our neighbors — safe. Thank you for upholding our shared commitment as outlined in A Tartan’s Responsibility and for showing the rest of the nation how CMU students face tough challenges. I am particularly grateful for the example set by student leaders, including members of our Student Government. To a great extent, students living off campus have also been exercising excellent judgement, and I hope you will continue to avoid the temptation to gather in groups.
There is so much to be proud of, but please remember we are not out of the woods yet; this pandemic remains active and ongoing. Especially with the arrival of colder weather and the flu season, public health experts are predicting another surge, with fall waves starting in mid-October and getting worse as fall heads into winter. Even now, according to recent reports, confirmed daily cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in 27 states across the nation. The latest data suggests that the COVID-19 outbreak is shifting to the U.S. heartland. We have also been tracking the data from Allegheny County and for the past several months, the number of new infections has been persistently between 50 and 100 cases per day. You may view CMU data on community testing results, isolation and quarantine housing in use, and other metrics by visiting our COVID-19 dashboard.
We will need to continue to be vigilant whenever we are on campus, off campus or even studying at home. By maintaining our momentum, we will preserve the privilege of an in-person option in the spring semester and beyond. Please, continue to follow our COVID risk mitigation behaviors, including:
- Complete the Daily Self-Assessment;
- Maintain physical distancing;
- Wear a facial covering; and
- Wash your hands often.
I also want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to get a flu shot. If you are a student who still needs to do so, please visit the University Health Services website for scheduling information. Almost 2,000 students have already received their flu shot at our facility! Information on our flu vaccination program for faculty and staff is available through the Human Resources website.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff during this time. We would not be where we are today without your commitment and care. Thank you for all that you have done to contribute to the planning and execution of these efforts and to serve as an example for our students.
I look forward to continuing this semester with all of the fortitude, resilience and compassion that this community has shown thus far.
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair