Pitt to give at least one mask to students, employees; establishes testing office


Image courtesy of Pitt Athletics

Every student and employee returning to campus this fall will receive a University-branded face covering, Pitt said in a Tuesday announcement.

By Ashton Crawley, Senior Staff Writer

Students and employees returning to campus this fall will receive a University-branded face covering, Pitt announced Tuesday afternoon.

University spokesperson Kevin Zwick said faculty, staff and students on all five of Pitt’s campuses will each receive at least one face covering.

“Face coverings are required on all of Pitt’s campuses, except while in private offices, private residential units or outdoors when 6 feet of distance from others can be consistently maintained,” Zwick said.

Mandatory masks are among the many new rules that Pitt has introduced to keep community members safe on campus, as students plan to move in for the fall semester in just under one month. Other actions include enhanced cleaning protocols across campus, rearranging furniture, installing barriers and posting signage.

Pitt has also established a new COVID-19 medical response office to monitor the virus across all campuses. Its responsibilities include overseeing testing, running contact tracing, managing reporting procedures and creating isolation and quarantine protocols. The group will report to Anantha Shekhar, the senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and chair of the chancellor’s Healthcare Advisory Group.

Dr. John Williams, the chief of the School of Medicine’s infectious diseases division, will run the office.

The office’s staff include:

  • Christopher O’Donnell, executive vice chair of academic affairs in the Department of Medicine, as the chief operating officer
  • Dr. Elise Martin, the associate medical director of infection prevention and hospital epidemiology for UPMC Presbyterian Hospital
  • Dr. Joe Suyama, the chief of emergency medicine services at Magee-Womens Hospital

“What we are doing, along with our teams, is taking the great work done by the Healthcare Advisory Group and others and translating it into practice across the University,” Williams said.