A guide to Pitt’s COVID-19 situation

By Kendall Swift, Staff Writer

This upcoming year will mark the fourth consecutive school year affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, communities have rapidly adapted to changing recommendations. Over the past two and a half years, Pitt has restructured the learning environment, leaving many students questioning how next semester will look. The Pitt News has compiled some important information for students regarding the University’s current COVID-19 policies

Class Format

One of an incoming student’s biggest questions is likely about where they will be attending class — whether it will be in-person or in a dorm room. Pitt is hopeful that the upcoming school year will take place fully in-person, though plans may change as case numbers rise or fall, according to a University spokesperson.

We are planning to have a fully in-person campus experience for both classroom and other activities this fall and are hopeful that conditions remain steady so that we do not have to deviate from that plan,” a University spokesperson said.

Masks

Mask requirements will remain consistent with CDC guidelines, according to an April 25 release updated by the University. As of Aug 1, masks are not required indoors, though the choice to wear a mask is up to individuals. 

“Anyone should feel comfortable wearing a mask at any time while optional,” a university spokesperson said.

Pitt’s COVID-19 Medical Response Office still recommends masks, even for fully vaccinated students. They are recommended “especially for individuals who are immunocompromised and those close to them, and in settings where you are in close contact with a number of people,” the CMRO said. “Masking plus staying up to date on vaccinations offers the best protection for everyone.”

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are offered by the university at the PItt CoVax Vaccination Center, which is located beside the University Pharmacy on Fifth Avenue. CoVax offers COVID-19 vaccinations, boosters and flu shots.

All students are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 unless they have an approved exemption. Information about vaccination exemptions are available on Pitt’s website

Testing

COVID-19 testing is required weekly for non-vaccinated students. For vaccinated students, symptoms or exposure may lead to necessary testing. Pitt will also require a negative test from unvaccinated students moving into on-campus housing. 

Pitt offers free COVID-19 tests to all students through Quest Diagnostics, according to their testing page.

On-Campus Resources

The CMRO not only offers vaccinations, but also sends regular updates to the Pitt community regarding COVID-19 data. Weekly updates are sent to students’ Pitt emails, which include information regarding all campuses. According to the CMRO, the office collects data for these updates from various campus sources.

We collect data from [email protected] and Student Health Service, and require people to report positive tests. We also rely on people to upload their vaccination and booster status [online],” the CMRO said. 

Fall Expectations

As previously mentioned, Pitt aims to have a fully in-person, mask-optional learning environment for the fall semester. But this could change as the summer progresses. Based on these guidelines, students should be flexible to change.

The CMRO expects a slight increase in positive cases once students return to campus, but hopes it will balance out shortly after the term begins.

“As the campus population increases, we expect an increase in positive cases — and we expect cases to continue to be mild, thanks to a highly vaccinated community. Numbers generally stabilize a few weeks after move-in, but our health and safety experts continue to monitor data and respond accordingly,” the CMRO said.