Carnegie Mellon University
March 13, 2020

Mar. 13, 2020 Update: How Osher at CMU is taking action to manage the COVID-19 downtime

As guests on the CMU campus, we will be following the university's recommendations on how to take preventative measures to protect our community.

We will post updates from the university about the coronavirus to our website as they become availible to us. With the help of the university, we contininue to monitor the situation and will make changes to our schedule as necessary.

March 13, 2020 Update: 

Dear Osher at Carnegie Mellon University Members.

What an unbelievable time this is for us all.  Who would have thought we would ever be in this situation!

Not only have we had to shut down everything but most of the other 122 Osher's across the country have too.  Hour by hour I am receiving messages from our sister organizations as to what they are doing to cope.  As of right now, everyone is in the early stages of trying to figure out how to move forward.  We are in the same boat.

So far we have set up a small task group to determine how we can encourage and support our study leaders to finish their courses with you.  If one of your study leaders are able to do this, you will receive an email from them with instructions.  Please give them a little time to figure this out.

Because some classes will continue, we will not close off any of our remaining winter courses.  On account of this delay, if any refunds are due, they will not be made until the end of April.

We are looking into providing links to “outside” courses and a way for everyone to talk about them.  I expect this to be ready by this time next week or sooner.

We have transitioned most, if not all, of our meetings to Zoom, an online meeting platform.  While it isn’t supper intuitive, it is being figured out and working quite well.  Some of our study leaders have reported that they will try and use Zoom to continue their course.  You as a student will be able to join by accepting the Zoom invitation from the Study Leader.  You can do this either on your computer or by phone. 

The office staff has continued to work on campus, but we are prepared to move home.  With this move our major request is that if you need anything, you send an email and that you don’t call the office.  Please use the email.  This situation is a far cry from the four of us working from one room at the Hunt Library, to three separate offices in Wean Hall, to four at-home offices.  Needless to say these changes are a challenge!

Please check our website and that of CMU for updates.  Listed below is a part of their most recent communication.

Warm regards to each of you,

Lyn Decker / Executive Director

Updated Self-Isolation Requirements:

We expect all students who in the last two weeks have traveled to Seattle, Washington; Santa Clara, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What will happen to Winter 2020 courses?
A: The Study Leader Support Group Task Group is working with our Study Leaders to offer Winter 2020 courses remotely through Zoom, or other online platforms. Some Study Leaders have already found ways to continue classes. Please keep an eye on your emails for updates about courses as they become availible.

Q: Will I get a refund for the Winter 2020 term?
A: Over the next few weeks, we will be evaluating who is eligible for a refund. If you are eligible for a refund, you will receive an electronic voucher or credit.  Once the voucher is in your account, it can be used to offset future registration, building, or material fees, or you can donate it back to the organization, or you can request a refund check.  Because we don’t know how soon we can get back to school, we are not removing anyone from their winter term classes or making refunds at this time.

Q: Will the Summer 2020 term still happen? What about registration?
A: At this time, we are still planning on having Summer 2020 registration at the end of the month, and still hold the Summer term as planned. We will continue to monitor the situation and will update all members and prospects if this changes.

Q: I'm part of a committee and we had a meeting scheduled. Is the meeting cancelled?
A: We are encouraging meetings to be held remotely via Zoom, conference call, or other online platform.


Past updates:

Please review updates below that were provided by the university.

Dear Osher at CMU members.

Providing an abundance of caution for our members and community, the decision has been made to suspend all classes, events, lectures, and special interest groups starting today until further notice.  This decision is based on the CDC recommendations for people in our age bracket and the recommendation of Carnegie Mellon University.

While this is a huge disappointment for everyone, it is a prudent and necessary step given the unknown and potentially deadly spread of the Coronavirus.  Hopefully everyone will all be able to stay well and that this will pass soon so our classes and social activities can resume.

If you have yet to receive your summer catalog, you will soon.  We do, as of now, plan to hold registration later this month and to hold classes starting in May.  In the meantime, we are working with the Osher National Resource Center and other Osher’s around the country to try and offer at home activities to keep everyone engaged.  We would welcome your suggestions; there is a suggestion box on our web site that I encourage you to submit your ideas. 

Our website has suggested guidelines from both the CDC and the university.  Please take a moment to review this important information.  As you know, we are a close knit community and we each should help to keep each other safe.

Warm regards,


A message from CMU Provost, Jim Garrett, about COVID-19 and what we can do to help the CMU community:

To: CMU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
From: Jim Garrett, Provost
Date: March 6, 2020
Subject: University Health and Travel Protocols

Dear Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at CMU:

We are writing to inform you of the travel restrictions that apply to anyone within the CMU community, including our Osher at CMU members. If you have recently traveled to a country that has a Centers for Disease Control Level 3 Travel Notice, you are required to self-isolate for 14-days before coming to campus. Current Level 3 Travel Notice countries include China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

We are also asking you to notify the university of your self-isolation, so we can provide support and answer any questions during your time away from campus. Your personal information will be treated sensitively and with appropriate confidentiality. Please notify us of your self-isolation by contacting Maureen Dasey-Morales, associate vice president for community health and well-being. 

As a community, we need to look out for and care for one another. We encourage everyone to observe good personal health practices and contact your primary health care provider should you have physical concerns. Please take the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often. This is the best defense against the spread of all viruses.
  • Stay home when you are ill.
  • Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue or the crook of your arm, and then promptly wash your hands or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available.
  • Get plenty of rest/sleep.

In an effort to reduce misinformation, we ask that you refer to CMU’s coronavirus website, which will continue to be updated with the latest official university information and guidance. A direct link to that information has also been added to the CMU homepage.

Jim Garrett, Provost