Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science
January 06, 2022

Important Update About the Start of Spring Semester

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon University Community:

We hope you had a safe and relaxing break and were able to enjoy some well-deserved rest.

As we prepare for the spring term, we continue to monitor the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which medical experts forecast will reach its peak in mid-to-late January. While there is accumulating evidence that Omicron causes less severe illness, its extreme transmissibility remains concerning. Today, we announce our decision to shift to a Modified Campus Posture for the start of the spring semester. This means that the first two weeks of most courses for undergraduate and graduate students will be taught via synchronous remote instruction (January 18 – 30). While the majority of courses will be delivered remotely, courses designated in SIO as in-person only (IPO) will continue as planned with proper mitigation procedures in place. Instructions on how to view course delivery modalities may be found on The HUB website. We anticipate a return to in-person classes on January 31.

In addition, as previously announced, we are requiring all CMU community members to complete a baseline test during the month of January regardless of vaccination status. Testing can be completed via Tartan Testing, at-home testing kits, or testing at other locations. We are also requiring all community members to receive a COVID-19 booster shot. More information on deadlines for entering your booster documentation or requesting an exemption will be shared in the coming days.

A few additional points on the transition to a Modified Posture are outlined below:


  • For STUDENTS: We welcome students to return to Pittsburgh as scheduled or if they wish, they can stay in their current location (if they have no IPO courses) until in-person instruction resumes. Residence halls and on-campus dining will be open. The most important thing is to avoid travel if you are experiencing any symptoms or have tested positive. Please be advised that in-person gatherings on campus will be limited during the temporary Modified Posture period, although services to support student success and well-being will remain available both in-person and virtually.
  • For FACULTY AND INSTRUCTORS: As you prepare for a primarily remote beginning to the spring semester, we remind you to utilize the Eberly Center for instructional resources. We also ask faculty to be flexible with their students during this period and to consider recording their lectures. Instructors for courses designated as in-person only will receive additional guidance, however no faculty should change the modality of their course without approval from academic leadership.
  • For STAFF: Staff supervisors should consider allowing staff to work remotely where practicable, but individual units and supervisors will determine and communicate changes regarding in-person work based on their business needs.
  • For RESEARCHERS: On-site research can continue as-is provided activities remain in compliance with any relevant university requirements; however, principal investigators may choose to temporarily transition to remote activities as they see fit.


As the spring semester approaches, university leadership will continue to share information through email as well as through the COVID-19 website. Thank you in advance for paying careful attention to these communications.

We wish to emphasize that our pandemic mitigation protocols are most effective when layered together — both on and off campus. While testing is one way to monitor and prevent the spread of infection, we also urge all community members to complete the daily self-assessment; wear well-fitted, high-quality facial coverings; maintain physical distancing; and isolate if you are symptomatic, test positive or have been in close contact with those who have tested positive. Because of the highly vaccinated nature of our community, we are seeing very little severe illness, but following these protocols will help us all avoid unnecessary exposure.

After such a successful fall semester, we know this stage of the pandemic may feel disheartening, but we have continued confidence in our ability to weather this current surge by working together and using the many tools at our disposal. We have come a long way in our ability to fight this virus, and your diligence over the past two years has been remarkable. With your continued dedication, we are optimistic that we will be able to return to our preferred mode of in-person instruction and bustling campus life in the coming weeks.


Farnam Jahanian
President and Henry L. Hillman President’s Chair

Jim Garrett
Provost and Chief Academic Officer