The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Pitt’s COVID-19 response, explained

This story was last updated Aug. 16 at 3:30 p.m.

Pitt is in the process of implementing its reopening plans for the fall semester, in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Consult this explainer for the latest information about what the plans are and how they will affect you. If you have a question about Pitt’s COVID-19 response, email [email protected].

[Read: Full COVID-19 coverage]

Case data

Data collected by The Pitt News. Original data collection by Ryan Yang, Online Visual Editor. Archival data by Spotlight PA and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Graph by Jon Moss, Editor-in-Chief.


  • The fall semester will begin on Aug. 27 with classes taking place in person.
  • There will be a day off for Labor Day on Sept. 6, and another for fall break on Oct. 15.
  • Homecoming will take place Sept. 23-26 and Family Weekend will happen Oct. 29-31.
  • Classes will end on Nov. 19 for Thanksgiving break. Students will return to campus after Thanksgiving on Nov. 29 and take final exams the week of Dec. 13.
  • The University will not use its Flex@Pitt teaching model this year, which allowed students during the 2020-21 academic year to attend class “in person, remotely, synchronously or asynchronously.” This worked by installing new technology, such as cameras and microphones, in classrooms across campus. Since students were able to access classes remotely, students were not required to return to campus if they did not feel safe doing so.
  • Faculty are generally required to be physically present in the classroom, and can request additional equipment, such as a personal voice amplifier, from the University Center for Teaching and Learning.


  • Students experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should call the Student Health Service at 412-383-1800 to arrange for testing. There will be no charge to students for any test obtained through the University.
  • Pitt released updated health guidelines this summer, which say that all students, faculty and staff on all campuses, regardless of vaccination status — must wear masks indoors, unless in “your enclosed private office or dwelling.” Individuals who are not fully vaccinated or live with someone who is immunocompromised, must wear masks both indoors and outdoors, if unable to social distance.
  • University community members who do not provide proof of vaccination are required to participate in regular COVID-19 testing, and everyone is recommended to get tested if exposed and experiencing symptoms.
  • Pitt had set aside 179 isolation beds for students who have either a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, with the ability to add 20 more. These students will receive care from a dedicated team, who will coordinate food, medical care and other needs.


  • Full dine-in seating will be available at the two campus dining halls — Market Central and The Perch.
  • Pitt will operate a dining facility out of the Residence Inn Pittsburgh University/Medical Center on Bigelow Boulevard, a hotel where first-year students will live this fall.

Move-in and housing

  • Students will move into on-campus housing between Aug. 19 and Aug. 26. Move-in dates are staggered to space out arrivals.
  • Unvaccinated students will not be permitted to move into their on-campus residence without a negative test result.
  • Pitt will lease one hotel this year to house first-year students. The University said the hotel housing will operate in the same way as on-campus housing, with 24-hour security, as well as resident assistant and resident director staff to provide supervision and support. Shuttle routes will also be updated to provide service to these locations.

Committees, advisory groups and offices

  • The chancellor’s Healthcare Advisory Group — chaired by Anantha Shekhar, the senior vice chancellor for health sciences — is charged with advising the chancellor on health-related matters and when to switch between different levels of the three-tiered fall reopening system.
  • The COVID-19 Medical Response Office will oversee testing, run contact tracing, manage reporting procedures and create isolation and quarantine protocols.
  • A resilience steering committee with students, faculty and administrators will coordinate the fall response across the University.

Student activities

  • The annual fall activities fair will take place on the Cathedral lawn on Aug. 28 from noon to 3 p.m.