Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science
August 20, 2021

Requiring Vaccinations for Faculty and Staff

Dear Members of the CMU Community,

We will soon begin a new academic year that promises to be one of hope and continued progress, as well as one of transition and resilience during this ongoing pandemic. With the start of classes a little more than a week away, and alongside concern about the delta variant, I write to inform you that Carnegie Mellon University will require all faculty and staff working in Pennsylvania, California, Washington, D.C., New York, and Virginia to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. These U.S.-based faculty and staff are expected to upload confirmation of vaccination status to CMU's COVID-19 Vaccine Database via HealthConnect no later than September 30, which means those who are not yet vaccinated will need to soon make plans to receive the vaccine.

With support of our Board of Trustees, the university’s academic and administrative leadership team has decided to take this step in order to protect the health of our campus and neighboring communities and to preserve the privilege of in-person activities. We are specifically keeping in mind the protection of the thousands of CMU students arriving to campus shortly, as well as those in our community who are immunocompromised or who have young children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine. We continue to be encouraged that, as of today, 75 percent of faculty and staff have already uploaded their vaccine documentation to CMU’s COVID-19 Vaccine Database.

This decision also reflects our strong commitment to science-driven and evidence-based approaches to this public health crisis. Medical experts and public health officials, including the consultants at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) with whom we have worked throughout the pandemic, strongly recommend vaccination as the best possible protection from this virus. Research confirms that fully vaccinated individuals are significantly less likely to contract or spread the virus, and if they are infected, their symptoms are likely to be less severe. In May, we announced that we will be requiring all undergraduate and graduate students in U.S.-based programs to be vaccinated for COVID-19. As of today, 85 percent of students have already uploaded their vaccine documentation and we are actively following up with each student who has not uploaded their information or requested an exemption to ensure 100% compliance.

As we announce this requirement, please keep in mind:

  • Consistent with federal and state law, CMU will consider medical or religious exemptions to any vaccine requirement for faculty and staff. Those requesting to be exempted can find and submit a vaccine exemption form on the Human Resources website.
  • Those who are granted an exemption must comply with additional mitigation requirements, including use of facial coverings, weekly testing and completion of the daily self-assessment. You may read about these and other policies on this FAQ page.
  • The university is also working with our vendors and contractors regarding implementation of this requirement for their employees who work on our campus.
  • CMU's global locations will communicate vaccine and mitigation requirements to their faculty and staff separately, consistent with regional contexts.
  • If you have not yet been vaccinated, we are offering free vaccine clinics in August and September; please visit this link to schedule an appointment, which is required. You can also visit Pennsylvania’s vaccine information page to access a list of providers near you.
  • As of this past Sunday, we have also reinstated the requirement for everyone to wear facial coverings on the Pittsburgh campus, regardless of vaccination status. We hope this will be a temporary measure as we resume in-person activities on campus.
  • In addition to baseline testing for all students, all members of our Pittsburgh campus community will continue to have free access to asymptomatic testing through our on-campus, high-capacity Tartan Testing program.

While we all wish that the pandemic was behind us, I remain extremely proud of the way our community has responded – with compassion, empathy and a shared understanding that protecting community health and well-being requires each one of us to do our part. I am grateful for the cooperation and resilience of this entire community that allowed us to get us to this point and I am confident that, with the help of science, we can continue to overcome these challenges together.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair