A Safer Start to College Life

In order to welcome students back as safely as possible, Pitt has adopted a phased arrival approach. This approach was developed by our COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO) in consultation with the Healthcare Advisory Group.

If you are uncomfortable with the University’s shelter-in-place protocols or the thought of being on campus during the pandemic, please remember that you have a choice. You are not required to attend in-person classes and can complete your courses remotely and from a setting of your choosing.

On-Campus Arrival

On Aug. 11, we began moving students into University housing on our Pittsburgh campus. Pitt will assign specific move-in windows to incoming residents and welcome approximately 1,500 students at a time.  During this time, the CMRO will be carefully monitoring students’ health and other criteria, and may pause arrivals at any given time based on conditions. If no pauses are required, all students will return to on-campus housing at the Pittsburgh campus by Aug 31.

The CMRO is working with leadership at the regional campuses to finalize similar cohort arrival planning to contain the virus as students return to campuses. 

Shelter-in-Place Guidance

If you plan to live on campus, you must shelter in place for seven days at your permanent residence, travel safely and then shelter in place for seven more days in University housing.

Students living in University-housing will be required to shelter in place in their homes for seven days prior to coming to campus and for seven days once on campus. For example, a student whose move-in date is Aug. 13 would need shelter-in-place at their permanent residence starting Aug 6., and would shelter in place on campus until Aug. 20. Depending on their arrival date and the current operational posture, some students may begin classes remotely during their shelter-in-place period and then transition to in-person classes when available.

While sheltering in place, you should:   

  • Only leave the house for medicines, food, or emergency situations.
  • Log your symptoms and exposure daily via a free, online screening tool, which will be made available in the near term    
  • Modify your exercise routines by maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet, when possible, or by wearing a face covering when 6 feet of separation is unlikely.       
  • Wear a face covering and maintain a safe physical distance around any household member who is not sheltering in place. 
  • Eat separately if members of your household are unable or unwilling to shelter in place.

Students living off campus must shelter in place for 14 days before coming onto campus and can determine if they prefer to do that all at their permanent residence, all at their off-campus residence or a combination of the two based on their situation. Students are encouraged to coordinate these plans with their room or housemates to align as closely as possible. 

If you cannot follow all of the shelter-in-place protocols, please stick to what is possible. And, if you have to work or be around others, aim to maintain six feet of physical distance between you and others, wear a face covering and wash your hands often.

Residence Life staff, in partnership with the CMRO, is planning activities for students to safely socialize during this time. 

After You Arrive at Pitt: Defining Your Pod

Students who return to campus will join a social household—what we’re calling a pod. Members of an on-campus pod live around one another and share bathroom facilities. Much like a family household, members of a pod can forgo some physical distancing restrictions. Most pods will have a small number of students (typically 4-6) who will move in at the same time; therefore, they can begin and end the second seven-day shelter-in-place requirement together.

If you live off campus, your pod consists of the permanent members within your off-campus residence. Ideally, all members of your pod should join you in sheltering in place for 14 days before your first in-person class on campus.    

Shortly after moving in, you should be able to relax certain shelter-in-place restrictions within your on-campus pod. It’s important to note that, due to our phased arrival approach, on-campus pods will finish sheltering in place (a period we are calling “pod week”) at different times. The infection risk on your campus—along with other factors—will help determine what protocols do and do not extend beyond your pod’s shelter-in-place period.

Testing, Screening and Monitoring 

Up to 400 students per day will be selected for testing to help us monitor the prevalence of the virus on our campuses before in-person classes even begin. In addition to testing students as they arrive on campus, 24-hour testing will also be available for any student who experiences symptoms of COVID-19. 

As part of our planning process, we have identified and prepared isolation facilities at each Pitt campus. Students who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms will be able to live in these facilities—separated from others—for an extended period of up to 14 days.

Daily COVID-19 Health Check app

Pitt's Daily COVID-19 Health Check app provides a quick and convenient way for Pitt students to monitor their health during their shelter-in-place periods. This daily health check is required for all students preparing to travel to campus. It is an essential part of how we work together to keep students and other members of the Pitt community safe.

Tuition and Fees

The Flex @ Pitt model allows students to choose the course delivery option that best fits their needs. No matter how we deliver our courses, the unparalleled value of a Pitt education and the expertise of our world-class faculty remain unchanged. Despite rising fixed costs, the University is holding tuition, as well as room and board rates, flat for the 2020-21 academic year. While most fees are also being held flat, at the recommendation of our student government boards—and recognizing many in-person activities are not able to take place this year—we are reducing the Student Activity fees this year across all five campuses by 20%.
Students can drop all of their courses and have their tuition and fees reversed through the end of the add/drop period, which has been extended due to COVID-19. Thereafter, their tuition and fee charges will be prorated in accordance with the University’s policy.