Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

Piper Logo
March 25, 2020

Staying Connected at a Distance

By Beth Kotarski, Executive Director of University Health Services

Scotty Dog on ZoomEven Scotty is taking to Zoom to connect with friends and colleagues.

At this point, we know what we need to do to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We need to practice good personal hygiene by washing our hands thoroughly with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds. We need to cover our sneezes with tissues or the crooks of our arms. We need to replace in-person gatherings with remote gatherings and we need to remain six feet or more away from each other. 

Physical distancing is hard work. It goes against the core of who we are as close-knit university community. But, as we are innovators and leaders, we are finding alternative ways to connect and come together as a community. In addition to remote learning and advising, here’s some other ways to connect. 

  • Take The Piper, for example. We are all reading this – students, faculty and staff – from a shared communication space. Keep looking for new information here each week.
  • Every single Student Affairs department is working remotely with ways for students to connect and engage with us.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) hosted its first virtual well-being workshop on Monday. There will be more of these opportunities soon.
  • The Office of Student Leadership, Involvement and Civic Engagement offers a full webpage dedicated to virtual events, activities and ideas both on and off campus.

  • For students who are still living on campus, Dining Services is taking orders for pick-up.
  • For any CMU student who needs it, the CMU Pantry is taking online orders for pick-up.

While we are practicing our physical distancing and engaging remotely, let’s make it a point to keep the social in social media! We want to see your faces and hear your stories. Tell us how you are physically distancing and why it’s important to you. Share some of the silver linings of taking a step back from the norm. Tell us what you think are the worst parts. We want to hear from you! Share with us by tagging @lifeatcmu on Instagram and by using #lifeatcmu and #cmusocial. You can also send us a note, story or idea to

We know the days of physical distancing will come to an end, but for now we can all make a difference in stopping the spread of the covid virus.  Stay tuned for more ways to engage with one another in these new virtual spaces.

Beth Kotarski is executive director of University Health Services.