Dear Carnegie Mellon Students:
We realize this is a difficult and disappointing time for many of you - especially our seniors, who are preparing for your final weeks as Carnegie Mellon students. We share many of these very same feelings. Like you, we are concerned about the uncertainties this unprecedented situation has created for our campus community. While we know we don’t have answers to all of your questions, please know CMU leadership is diligently working to identify and address the issues that will impact the remainder of your semester.
For students whose families reside outside of Pittsburgh, we urge you to complete your semester at home.
We recognize for international students, this is a complex decision given uncertainties about what restrictions might be imposed for your eventual return to the United States. For any international student who wishes to finish the semester in Pittsburgh, we welcome you.
As President Jahanian stated in his message earlier this week, life on campus will be quite different moving forward. We are committed to being transparent with you as you make decisions about where to finish your semester. Below are updates we hope will help inform your decision.
Updated Self-Isolation Requirements:
We expect all students who in the last two weeks have traveled to Seattle, Washington; Santa Clara County, California; and New Rochelle, New York, not to return to campus. These three locations were recently declared high-risk areas by the Allegheny County Health Department. Returning from these areas, as well as international countries under Level 3 travel warnings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will require you to follow CMU’s self-isolation guidelines. At this time, Level 3 restrictions include China, South Korea, Iran and the CDC recently added Europe to their advisory. We will continue to update our website as more areas are declared high-risk and will necessitate self-isolation.
Remote and Online Teaching, Academic Support and Assessments:
As announced by President Jahanian on Wednesday, remote and online teaching, academic support services and assessments will begin on Wednesday, March 18. Classes are cancelled this Monday and Tuesday. After consulting with the college deans today, we have decided we will not be returning to in-person classes, labs, assessments or programs for the remainder of the semester. All students will only be able to complete coursework remotely and online. Thus, there is no academic reason for you to return to campus. We strongly encourage all undergraduates, especially those living in university housing, to complete your semester remotely.
In addition to classes and other educational activities being available remotely, Academic Development programs, including academic tutoring, will be conducted online. Faculty and TA office hours, advisor appointments and other academic supports will be available online or by phone. In-person meetings will not be required of any student to complete their semester.
For many of our graduate students, we know Pittsburgh has become a home to you. We will continue to support your experience for those who stay in Pittsburgh. We recognize, however, that the experience on campus will be different in order to practice social distancing strategies as we work together to protect our entire community. We will soon be issuing guidance on strategies for those conducting research to effectively practice social distancing and determine appropriate remote work possibilities.
For those who comply with our request not to return to campus, Housing Services will be communicating tomorrow about move-out procedures and pro-rated refunds. Look for an email from Housing Services tomorrow (Friday, March 13). For students who, through absolute necessity, must finish their semester on campus, residence halls remain open.
For students who must remain on campus, Dining Services will continue operations with adjusted hours to meet changes in demand. At this time, all locations will be open. In the meantime, Dining Services is also enacting new proactive steps to protect the health of our community.
Students not returning to Pittsburgh will receive a pro-rated refund for their dining plans. Details will be communicated with Dining Plan holders separately.
Health Services and Counseling:
University Health Services (UHS) and Counseling and Psychological Services (CaPS) will continue to provide support for your well-being.
If you become ill with fever and a cough, call UHS immediately at 412-268-2157. You will consult with a nurse who will give you instructions to protect you and others before seeking care. If you experience shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, call campus police at 412-268-2323 immediately to alert them to your medical emergency.
To support social distancing and to protect both students and staff, UHS will offer many virtual services, such as telephone and video appointments and consultations. UHS will see patients by appointment only in order to be prepared to assess and treat students with proper infection control techniques. One of those techniques will be a new front door intercom system for visitors, which will help UHS triage students before entering the main waiting area. This will help avoid the spread of infection.
UHS has posted additional, new information on its website.
CaPS remains open and will be seeing students to support their emotional well-being. Students who are feeling ill with fever or cough and who have appointments at CaPS should call the CaPS office at 412-268-2922. Do not go to your appointment without first consulting by phone with CaPS. This is for our students' protection as well as for the protection of CaPS staff.
If you are away from campus or not able to come to CaPS due to illness, the staff will work with you to provide guidance and support around your mental health needs. These may include individual consultation if you are in Pittsburgh, ongoing phone or video consultation if you are in self-isolation and within the state of Pennsylvania, or helping you find care within your community if you are out of state.
Effective Friday, March 13, fitness centers in the Cohon University Center, Tepper Quad and housing facilities are closed until further notice. This follows guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department, which has stated the use of fitness facilities increases the risk of virus transmission.
Until further notice, University Libraries will maintain Spring Break hours and all due dates for library materials will be waived and no fines will be accrued. All library events and workshops have either moved online or been canceled. Visitors to the libraries will find more frequent cleanings of spaces and additional hand sanitizers in highly trafficked areas. We will expect social distancing guidelines to be upheld in the Libraries and ask students to self-monitor and comply with any staff requests as necessary.
Visit the University Libraries website for the most up-to-date information.
Campus Traditions, Student Events and Meetings:
With sincere disappointment, we are canceling two great campus traditions, Greek Sing and Spring Carnival, following guidance from the Allegheny County Health Department. Cancelling these events is the only way we can commit to social distancing and to limit the spread of infection.
For the safety of our students and community, varsity, club and intramural sports are cancelled for the remainder of the semester. In-person student organization events are cancelled until further notice. The SLICE office will be issuing guidance on how student organizations can comply with social distancing guidelines to support limited engagement.
The coronavirus outbreak has literally changed our world, upending our normal routines. We encourage you to continue following best practices for personal health, including frequently washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. At the same time, please continue to support your family, friends and one another. As President Jahanian wrote yesterday, we need every member of CMU’s global community to face these unprecedented challenges with equal parts patience and cooperation. As hard as these times are, over our collective years at CMU, we both have seen this community rise to challenging occasions and persist through hardship. We are confident that together we will get through this difficult period and we are here to support each of you.
James H. Garrett Jr., Provost
Gina Casalegno, Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs