Healthy Practices and COVID-19 Concerns: April Update

A blue sign that reads "Pitt COVID Concern Connection" with a photo of a telephone next to itAs part of the shared commitment to keep everyone safe, the University is providing ongoing updates about reports made to the Pitt COVID Concern Connection. These updates will complement the medical information in the ongoing COVID-19 Medical Response Office (CMRO) updates.

Reporting statistics: March-April 2021

During the period of Feb. 28 to April 14, 190 questions and concerns related to COVID-19 were submitted: 128 in March and 61 so far in April. Reporting has slightly increased since earlier in the term.

  • Between Feb. 28 and April 14, the top four concerns in order of prevalence were: off-campus gatherings (70); failure to mask or physically distance (24); questions or concerns around testing and quarantine, mostly related to travel (23); and access to the vaccine (23).
  • Reports of off-campus gatherings spiked on March 13 in association with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and on March 24, coinciding with the self-care holiday.

Healthy practices: reminders

Warmer weather has invited more opportunities for gatherings; at the same time, local and state governments have loosened some pandemic restrictions. For the safety of our community, Pitt people are still expected to follow the University’s health standards and guidelines, which are often more conservative than state and local government recommendations.

As a reminder, all Pitt campuses are now under shelter in place. This is to reduce the risk of viral spread and protect students and their families at the end of spring term. Students are permitted to leave their residences only for essential activities. Face coverings should be worn over the mouth and nose at all times, indoors and out, unless you are with your pod or household.

Recently, there has been low turnout for COVID-19 testing on the Pittsburgh campus. The CMRO continues to strongly encourage students to get tested, especially before the end of the term. If you are asymptomatic when you move out, you may want to order a test to be sent to your permanent address as an extra safety measure following travel. Tests can be ordered through Quest and should be taken three to five days after travel, in addition to a full seven days of quarantining, per CDC guidance. Any Pitt student, faculty or staff member can order an at-home Quest test.

Learn more about the spring move out process.

How to report a concern

Use the Pitt COVID Concern Connection tool to ask a question or report a COVID-related concern. This confidential resource can also be used via phone (800-468-5768) or text (412-903-3456). The COVID Concern Connection line is not a real-time safety monitoring tool, but  the team reviews and follows up on every report. For urgent concerns, call the Pitt Police (412-624-2121).

All submitted concerns are accessible by the COVID Compliance Team, which includes representatives from the CMRO; Student Affairs; Panther Central; regional campuses; Community and Governmental Relations; Athletics; and the Office of Compliance, Investigations and Ethics. The committee meets several times a week.

Laurel Gift, assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Compliance, Investigations and Ethics, reviews all reported concerns daily and ensures that they are properly assigned to the correct department and COVID Compliance Team member. People reporting a concern can expect an immediate response from the system acknowledging receipt and a follow up from one of the COVID Compliance Team members.

Learn more about the reporting process.

If a report has enough information to identify an individual and behavior that violates the Student Code of Conduct, the matter will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. Any alleged violations of the University’s COVID-19 standards and guidelines by staff or faculty are similarly reviewed, investigated and referred to the appropriate department or supervisor for educational outreach or disciplinary action if necessary.

When filing a report, be as descriptive as possible to help the team identify potential areas of interest, such as providing a house number or apartment number, including dates and times of events or uploading photos. Reports may be made anonymously, and any identifying information is kept confidential to the COVID Compliance Team.

We hope the Pitt COVID Concern Connection allows our campus communities to ask questions and elevate concerns. Expect the next update from the COVID Compliance Team through Pittwire in May.