Keeping up with Pitt’s coronavirus-related response

The news for Pitt faculty, staff and students related to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic continued to come at a fast pace over the past two weeks.

As always, check for the latest news from the University. Here are some of the highlights, in case you missed them:


There are 328 students remaining in University housing in Oakland at this time. On March 22, one student living in Holland Hall was reported to have a confirmed case of coronavirus disease. That student subsequently returned to his permanent home and all his close contacts were informed. There have been no additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the group still on campus, according to the University.

“Moving forward, for any additional cases we will continue to follow the guidance of health officials, communicate directly with any close contacts and follow the appropriate processes, including sharing information to advance public and health safety of the broader Pitt community,” the University said in a statement.

The students who remained have been moved into separated living spaces, which were cleaned and sanitized prior to their relocation, where they each have their own room and bathroom.


There is a list of buildings on the Pitt Emergency website that are now open to essential personnel. All other buildings are closed.

But some members of Faculty Assembly on April 1 said they have been able to get into their offices to retrieve items with the help of their department heads.

If you need to request building access, you can do so by contacting the Facilities Management team at 412-624-9500 or

To retrieve essential items, Facilities Management will assist in arranging a Pitt Police escort for one-time access. For multiple visit access requests to support essential services, a designated Facilities Building Manager will work with you or your authorized representative to review and approve these individuals.


Talks are ongoing on what to do about spring commencement, which has been postponed.

“I believe we’ll do something virtually right at the end of the semester, and I know deans are starting to think about probably at the same time doing something virtually for their particular students,” Provost Ann Cudd said. “Then I would imagine that we’ll also try to do something in person at some point. … I’m sure we won’t forget them or act like this was not a big deal. It is a big deal. And I do want to celebrate our students who’ve worked so hard to achieve their dreams of a college education and graduate school degrees.”


Provost Cudd announced on March 27 that all summer classes would be conducted online, although there might be some exceptions later in the summer.

In an interview, Cudd said she wanted to make sure everyone, students and faculty, had time to plan appropriately for how the classes would be delivered.

The spring semester will end as originally scheduled at the end of April and summer classes start May 4.


The Pitt emergency site on March 27 added guidance for supervisors if an employee or student has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Find the guidelines here.


Rachel Sackrowitz, chief medical officer of UPMC’s intensive care unit service center, said on March 27 that Pitt had offered some of its spaces that could be quickly transformed into patient-care units if needed.  

Pitt has already opened Lothrop Hall for the use of medical staff working long shifts.

"We are identifying other University of Pittsburgh sites that could help serve our community during this challenging time," Pitt spokesman Kevin Zwick told the Pittsburgh Business Times.


The Student Emergency Assistance Fund is a new joint venture led by the Office of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement, Student Government Board, the Graduate & Professional Student Government, and the Division of Student Affairs to help students who are facing an insurmountable financial hurdle as a result of the global pandemic.

The Fund, to be administered at the direction of the Provost, will be used to provide financial support for degree-seeking students at Pitt with unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to emergency situations. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may apply.

— Susan Jones