Carnegie Mellon University
August 09, 2021

Preparations for Fall Teaching and Reminders for Syllabus

Dear CMU Faculty Members and Course Instructors:

Thank you for all your efforts to design, prepare and offer your courses and syllabi for Fall 2021. If you have not done so already, I would like to remind you to upload an image of your COVID-19 vaccination to the CMU Vaccine Database in HealthConnect as soon as possible. Instructions on how to enter your COVID-19 Vaccine information can be found on CMU’s COVID-19 vaccine database webpage. The vaccine database provides a comprehensive understanding of the vaccine status of all students, faculty and staff and is vital to our planning for the fall, including our campus posture.

In addition, all faculty and staff who do not participate in the vaccine database must continue to comply with COVID-19 mitigation protocols while in the office or on campus, including wearing facial coverings, completing the daily self-assessment and participating in weekly Tartan Testing. If you have not yet been vaccinated, the university is offering free clinics this month and next month so you can receive the vaccine at your convenience. We appreciate your continuing commitment and dedication to the health and well-being of our community.

Here are a few additional updates as we prepare for the start of the new academic year.

In-Person Course Preparations

We continue to plan on delivering the majority of fall semester courses in person while closely monitoring the Delta variant and the recent uptick in regional, national and international cases. Recently, the university announced that beginning Sunday, August 15, out of an abundance of caution, we are reinstating the requirement for everyone to wear facial coverings, informed by updated CDC guidelines. This includes faculty lecturing in their classrooms. We anticipate this to be a temporary measure as part of plans for a safe return to campus. For the most up-to-date information, visit the COVID-19 Updates website, including the newly created faculty-specific FAQ section where answers to many questions we receive are posted on a frequent basis.

Any faculty or staff who wish to request medically-related accommodations for the Fall 2021 semester should follow the guidance on the Human Resources COVID-19 Medical Requests for Accommodations page to request such an accommodation. Any other work adjustments should be discussed directly with supervisors.


Earlier in the summer, we shared information for how faculty could prepare to make course adjustments as part of their planning for the 14-week semester pilot program this academic year.

As a reminder, you have access to resources and guidance to adjust your course. The Eberly Center has compiled a set of strategies to help instructors streamline and/or repackage course content and activities to fit the new 14-week calendar. You may register here to attend the remaining August 11 workshop Eberly is offering on how to approach course adjustments, or as usual, reach out for one-on-one consultation by emailing

Throughout the academic year, the Calendar Innovation Committee will be conducting an assessment of the 14-week semester pilot program. They will launch a website soon with more information on their work, including assessment plans and community engagement efforts.


The Eberly Center created a webpage with suggested updates to your syllabus, including sections designed to set the stage for an inclusive learning environment and excellent educational experience. Please adopt or adapt the sample language provided to best fit your course context. In addition, if you or your students have questions about how to request accommodations, please email I would also like to remind you that syllabi for your courses should be added to the syllabus registry by the first day of class.

Recognizing and accommodating the many religious, secular and spiritual identities of our students can be a key part of your more general approach toward a more inclusive classroom climate. Please consider these important dates and religious observances when planning mandatory activities, and consult the full 2021-22 Academic Calendar for other key dates and deadlines. We also encourage you and your students to utilize NameCoach, a tool that gives students the ability to record the pronunciation and phonetic spelling of their name, and store their pronoun identification.

Finally, please limit undergraduate course activities during the moratorium hours of 4:30 - 6:50 p.m. ET each weekday to allow them time to interact in a variety of intellectual, cultural, social and recreational campus-affiliated activities. In order to hold regular class meetings in the free time period, requests for exception must be made to University Registrar John Papinchak for explicit approval. The basis for such an exception may include adjunct faculty availability, facilities restrictions, and/or student ability to attend an equivalent class or meeting at an alternative time.

Thank you again for all your efforts to ensure that our students receive the best educational experience possible during their time at Carnegie Mellon. I wish each of you a safe, successful in-person semester.

Jim Garrett
Provost and Chief Academic Officer