Pitt Public Health COVID-19 update (4/24)

Dear Pitt Public Health faculty, staff, and students, 

Congratulations to everyone for making it through the term. We know that some of you are still grading exams or finishing up essays, theses, and dissertations, but this is still a good time to pat ourselves on the back for the creativity, flexibility, and empathy that got us through the past five weeks. Congratulations especially to all of our new graduates who have completed the final parts of their education during this challenging time. The experiences that we have had together (apart) these past few weeks have had an enormous impact on all of us. We hope that your time at Pitt has given you the personal and professional tools to tackle the next set of challenges and play a significant role in improving health in your communities and beyond.

2020 Graduation Celebrations

Commencement and graduation ceremonies are important events celebrating the accomplishments of our students. While we all had hoped to honor your graduation in person, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic we had to transition to remote events.   

The University Celebration will now be a virtual event held on Sunday April 26th at 11:30.  Additional details are available here.   

The Pitt Public Health Convocation event will now be a virtual event held on May  9th from 3:00 – 5:00. Plans are coming together quickly and more details will be available soon at It will include a schoolwide ceremony and departmental celebrations.

Virtual Town Hall on Planning for the Fall and Beyond

It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic will have wide-ranging and long-term impact on our school and the university. Both the university and the school have started planning processes for what education and research will look like in the fall semester and beyond. Please join us for a Pitt Public Health Town Hall meeting to learn more about these planning structures and discuss some of the key issues. The tentative date is Monday, May 4th at 3:00. Further information and a link will be distributed next week.

Exemption process for in-person practice experiences (Summer 2020)

Because University educational activities are remote for this summer, practice experiences (e.g. internships, practicums and residencies) should be remote. Rare exceptions can be made after school-level review, prioritizing student safety including physical distancing. Each exemption request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.  Submit brief requests to Jessie Burke, associate dean for education (

S/NC Grading for Spring term

Spring term grades will be posted by May 4th and students will have a week after that to indicate if they want to convert the grading of their courses from a letter grade to a satisfactory (S)/no credit (NC) basis.  Pitt Public Health’s policy for of conversion letter grades to S/NC is the following: a C or above = S and that less than a C is NC. A grade of S does apply course credit(s) and a grade of NC does not award any credit(s) for courses.  Students interested in this option so should first consult with their program director/advisor and then contact the Pitt Public Health Office of Student Affairs (Mary Derkach ( to indicate which course(s) they want to convert.  Please include the following information in the requests: Student’s PeopleSoft ID#, Name, Subject Code, Catalog Number, Class Number, New Grade (S/NC).  Our Office of Student Affairs will then connect with the Registrar’s Office to ensure that the request is processed.

Student Emergency Assistance Fund

The health and safety of our Pitt community, particularly our students, is paramount. The Student Emergency Assistance Fund, to be administered at the direction of the Provost, will be used to provide financial support for degree-seeking students of the University of Pittsburgh with unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to emergency situations that may result in students facing financial hardship. Undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may apply for funds when they experience a financial barrier based on an emergency situation, and when they have exhausted all other available resources.

Creating Community Virtual Art Project

During the COVID-19 pandemic, how have you stayed connected and maintained community connections?  Using the art supplies you have and your imagination, spend some time creating projects that address this question and share your Creating Community art creations by May 4th. Meet the project creators, Sara Baumann, post-doctoral associate, and Jessie Burke, professor and Associate Dean for Education, both from the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.

GSPH Facilities Access 

Reminder: At this time only individuals who are on the “essential personnel” list may enter the building. Others who may need entry (for example to retrieve critical teaching materials) should contact your department administrator, who will request access for a specific entry time. All individuals in the building are required to wear masks and practice appropriate physical distancing.

Eleanor Feingold, Executive Associate Dean

Jessie Burke, Associate Dean for Education

Renae Brinza, Associate Dean for Administration and Finance


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