Pitt’s COVID-19 Response Resource Guide 

This *UNOFFICIAL* document is crowdsourced with contributions from students and student orgs, working as the Pitt Mutual Aid. It provides information about Pitt policies RE: COVID-19, resources for displaced and disrupted students and community members, mutual aid resources, and other relevant information about the situation.

Please share this guide to the community so we may be able to help our neighbors during this difficult and surprising time: Tinyurl.com/PittMutualAidGuide

Table of Contents:

I: Official University Announcements and Information

II: City Updates

III: Pitt Mutual Aid team Contact, Disclaimer

IV: Mutual Aid

V: Local Resources for Displaced Students        

  1. Trans and non-binary people
  2. Restaurant workers
  3. Community Support & Solidarity
  4. Mental Health
  5. Storage
  6. Food
  7. Internet Access and technology
  8. Transportation
  9. Reproductive Health
  10. General Health
  11. COVID-19 Testing
  12. Financial Support and information
  13. Housing

VI: COVID-19 Reliable Information

VII: Civil Rights and Advocacy Resources

VIII: General Knowledge

IX. Other Guides

X. Arts Resources

  1. Official University Announcements and Information
  1. University of Pittsburgh’s emergency response website: this website contains a large amount of information pertaining to work, dining, housing, and general infrastructure changes at the university
  1. Chancellor Gallagher’s message on major changes (3/11/20)
  2. About paid leave
  3. About moving out, prorating university housing and meal plans
  4. About modified dining schedule
  1. About international students/immigration
  2. University of Pittsburgh Student Government Board’s Questions and Concerns about the University’s response
  3. Additional Reductions in Operating Status (3/15 - 3/18)
  1. Closed: Nationality Rooms (CL), Indoor Fitness and Recreation Facilities, University Club, Heinz Chapel, Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
  2. Reduced: Hillman Library, Community Engagement Centers
  3. Commencement ceremonies and activities have been postponed
  1. Flexibility in Course Grading (3/20/20)
  1. After conclusion of term, all undergraduate/graduate students will be permitted to convert any of their grades of the spring term from a letter grade basis to a satisfactory/no credit (S/NC) basis.
  2. All courses awarded S grades will count toward graduation/degree requirements and satisfy future course prerequisites
  3. All courses awarded NC grades will not negatively impact a student’s GPA
  1. University Library System Resource Guide: Pitt and Community Assistance Resources
  2. Student Emergency Assistance Fund
  1. “To be administered at the direction of the Provost, the fund 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.”
  2. “If you have any questions about the fund, please contact Breanne Donohue, interim director of new student programs and chair of the Student Emergency Assistance Fund committee, at bcaution@pitt.edu.”

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  1. CITY/STATE UPDATES
  1. OFFICIAL CITY PRESS RELEASES: https://pittsburghpa.gov/mayor/covid-updates 
  1. Gatherings of 50 or more people are banned in the City of Pittsburgh
  2. The following facilities and operations closed until further notice…
  1. Information on senior and recreation centers, homelessness
  1. COMMONWEALTH UPDATES
  1. Receive health/safety text alerts
  2. Learn about PA school closures here
  3. 3/23/20: “Stay-at-home” order issued to Allegheny County and other counties
  1. 3/31/20: Additional counties added to stay-at-home order
  2. Stay at home order guidance 
  1. 4/09/20: All PA schools closed for remainder of academic year
  1. UTILITIES, RENT
  1. PSWA has suspended utility shut-offs until May 31
  1. PWSA Board Meeting Friday, March 27th, at 10:00 am: Listen in on the conference call. Instructions here (scroll to bottom of page)
  1. Duquesne Light has ceased shut-offs
  2. FirstEnergy has temporarily suspended shutoffs and offer payment options to ease difficulties during this time
  3. PAS has placed a moratorium and discontinued shutoffs to customers
  4. Evictions In Allegheny County Are Halted Through April 14
  5. URA Partners with City and Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh to Provide Short Term Rent/Mortgage/Utility Financial Assistance to City Residents
  1. Households in need of rental, mortgage payment, and/or utility assistance, specifically because their work hours were cut due to COVID-19, may call the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh at 412.227.4163 to be screened for assistance.
  1. PRESS CONFERENCES
  1. Allegheny County Press Conference (3/14/20) (Summarized by Owen on the Pitt Mutual Aid Discord)
  1. Two adults positive for COVID-19, acquired from out-of-state travel
  2. Both cases are not linked to senior living facilities
  3. No evidence of person-to-person spread in the county yet
  4. 26 pending tests at the state laboratory
  5. UPMC approximates testing of 20/day, anticipates increase with time
  6. County does not yet have accurate test count info from private/commercial labs
  7. Recommendation to social distancing, self-hygiene, etc
  8. Turn-around for lab test is 4-6 hours (in-house) and 24-48 hours (shipping)
  9. Refer to Allegheny County Health Department website (linked below) for up-to-date information and resources.
  1. Video statement from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitgerald and Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen (3/16/20):
  1. The following businesses are recommended to close or implement alternative work strategies for at least 14 days: child care centers, senior centers, community and recreation centers, gyms, salons (hair, nail, spa), casinos, bars, concert venues, theaters, sporting event facilities, golf clubs, social clubs, nonessential retail facilities (including malls)
  2. This does NOT impact supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations
  3. There are four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allegheny County
  4. Emphasis on social distancing, carry-out/delivery for restaurants, smaller religious gatherings, tact in travel, semi-isolation of people who are ill
  1. UNEMPLOYMENT UPDATES
  1. Unemployment compensation waiting week is suspended. Eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed. Apply here.

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  1. PITT MUTUAL AID
  1. Contact and Socials:
  1. Email: pittmutualaid@gmail.com
  2. Website: https://pittmutualaid.wixsite.com/pitt 
  3. IG: @pittmutualaid
  1. For easy-access posts, graphics, and information pertaining to our efforts
  1. Discord: https://discord.gg/KTCU7M3
  1. For community building, on-topic and off-topic discussions, and engagement/social platform
  1. Directors (contact via Facebook Messenger):
  1. Neerja Garikipati - Project Lead (Floater)
  2. Michael Nguyen - COVID-19 Response Resource Guide, Monetary Mutual Aid
  3. Albert Tanjaya - Mutual Aid for Housing, Storage, Transportation
  4. Anaïs Peterson - Mutual Aid for Emotional and Spiritual Support, Student Government Board Liaison
  5. Natasha Kamtekar - Social Media and Community Outreach
  1. Resources: See Section IV for the Mutual Aid forms for Housing/Transportation/Storage, Emotional/Spiritual needs, and Monetary needs
  2. Disclaimer:
  1. We are trying to keep this as up-to-date as possible. This is a fast-moving situation and things might change before we are able to update this unofficial document. Please refer to the latest university guidance before making big decisions.

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  1. INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT FOR DISPLACED STUDENTS (MUTUAL AID)
  1. Ability to Request Housing off-campus/Host/Store Belongings for Displaced Pitt Students Form
  1. If you are able to provide help/aid to those displaced or disrupted by the institutional changes which have occurred, please fill out this form!
  2. If you are in need of help/aid in housing, transportation, or storage, please fill out this form so that you can be matched with a volunteer!
  1. Mutual Aid for Emotional and Spiritual Support
  1. Resource for community members to connect with others for emotional and spiritual support! Please fill out this form so that you may be matched!
  1. Monetary Mutual Aid
  1. Donation pool for individuals that have been severely disrupted due to institutional and business responses to COVID-19.
  2. This form is for DONATIONS and REQUESTS
  3. Record-keeping

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  1. SECTION I: LOCAL RESOURCES FOR DISPLACED STUDENTS
  1. Trans and non-binary people:
  1. SisTersPGH is a black, trans-led organization which help trans and non-binary people in Allegheny County find the resources they need to thrive.
  1. Contact: Website | Instagram | Facebook
  1. Aude Giglietti Cell: (412) 584 - 2679 (For prompt and immediate communication)
  1. Relevant resources:
  1. Resource request form link
  2. Housing, rent, clothing, food, employment, toiletries, support groups, etc
  1. RESTAURANT WORKERS
  1. The Greater Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Mutual Aid works to provide mutual aid resources for restaurant workers in the greater Pittsburgh area during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  1. COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY
  1. Pitt Mutual Aid (us!) has prepared a Google Sheet for Pitt student, faculty, and staff to find mutual aid where social isolation may be taxing and difficult mentally and spiritually
  1. Pitt Mutual Aid Discord: Please join to have conversation! Let’s continue to hang out, socialize, and share information with one another.
  1. Virtual Senior Academy provides weekly online classes for Pittsburgh residents ages 50+ on various topics, taught by volunteer facilitators of all ages.
  1. Sign up for the Academy
  2. Apply to be a facilitator
  1. MENTAL HEALTH
  1. Pitt Active Minds will host weekly online mental health check-in meetings on Tuesdays at 7 PM, beginning 3/17/20.
  1. https://pitt.zoom.us/j/585943997
  1. Resolve Crisis Services is a 24-hour, 365-day crisis service free to all residents of Allegheny County
  1. Contact:
  1. Cell: +1 (888) 796 - 8226
  1. Relevant resources:
  1. 24-hour Hotline (see Cell number above) with a trained clinician
  2. Walk-in center for talk, connections, and stress-free activity
  1. 333 North Braddock Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208
  1. PA mental health line: text PA to 741-741
  1. STORAGE
  1. U-HAUL is offering a free 30 days for COLLEGE students being affected by COVID-19
  1. Steps:
  1. Explicitly mention you are a college student being affected
  2. If you call any Pittsburgh location and they deny you, tell them you called National UHAUL and they said it was being offered at this location
  1. FOOD
  1. Uber Eats is temporarily, significantly reducing delivery fees to closer to $0 during the duration of this event.
  2. The Pitt Pantry is dedicated to providing students with regular access to a balanced and nutritious diet.
  1. March 23 Afternoon Update: As of 5:00 PM, we are no longer able to distribute prepackaged bags, but will continue providing emergency food assistance to members of the Pitt Community via meal passes, which can be used to purchase meals at the Quick Zone in Litchfield Towers. You may request ten meal passes using this form. If you are experiencing any symptoms, including, but not limited to- fever, cough and shortness of breath- please do not fill out the form. Instead, please email pantry@pitt.edu to arrange for resources.
  2. Pantry Hours -- Adjusted Spring Semester 2020 Hours: Until further notice, we will not be holding regular Pantry Hours. Please see instructions above if you are in need of food assistance.
  1. Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is offering responses to community needs in light of COVID-19, informational flyer here. Flyer includes a schedule of events and locations.
  1. Some food distribution events have been cancelled. Check here for updates 
  1. United Presbyterian Church in New Kensington (602 Fifth Ave) is providing a bag of food to grade and college students from 9-10a and 12-1p. No sign-up required, ring the doorbell at the entrance marked No.3
  2. Albie’s Kitchen, run by Pitt Student Albert Tanjaya, is offering a Meals Relief Aid Program. This program is for those in need of meals or culinary advice with ingredients.
  3. People’s Indian Restaurant is offering a free lunch (Chicken Curry, Chick Peas, and Rice) to those in need, especially children. Minimal-contact pick up available 11:30am-2:30pm Monday to Saturday. Please call ahead at 412-661-3160.
  4. Free Food Distribution Sites Map
  5. Apply for SNAP (PA State Site)
  1. INTERNET ACCESS AND TECHNOLOGY
  1. Internet Essentials from Comcast is offering two free months of internet service effective March 16th for low income families.
  1. Comcast Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone: https://wifi.xfinity.com/ 
  1. AT&T is offering free public access at its hotspots for 60 days, no late fees, and unlimited data to customers for at least 60 days
  1. For hotspot locations, search your device app store for a hotspot locator
  1. Sprint is offering expanded roaming access to the T-Mobile network, free international calling, no late fees, and unlimited data
  2. Verizon ensures of no disconnects or late fees
  3. Charter Communications is offering two free months of Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access to households with students effective March 16th. Installation fees waived for new student households.
  1. Call (844) 488-8395 to enroll
  1. T-Mobile is giving unlimited smartphone data (excluding roaming) to all current T-Mobile/Metro by T-Mobile customers for the next 60 days. Also an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot, free international calling for all current customers to Level 3 impacted countries (Iran, S Korea, China, and various European countries).
  2. Pitt technology: Pitt has iPhones and Chromebooks available for distribution. Students who lack a device or connectivity should register a request with the 24/7 IT Help Desk by calling 412-624-HELP (4357).
  1. TRANSPORTATION
  1. Enterprise Rent-A-Car has lowered the age that drivers can rent their cars from 21 to 18 years old. They have also waived their young driver fee that typically applies to drivers under the age of 25.
  2. Port Authority COVID-19 Info
  3. Pitt Shuttles Updates
  1. REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
  1. The local Planned Parenthood is willing to write additional refills to delay renewal visits for existing prescriptions at the PP provider.
  1. Source
  1. Local user @Clozilla on Twitter has 80 packets of emergency contraception (Plan B) which she is willing to deliver within the Pittsburgh area.
  1. Source
  1. The app Planned Parenthood Direct is available for new birth control prescriptions. Copay waived and you can have birth control and UTI prescriptions shipped to your house.
  1. Source
  1. GENERAL HEALTH
  1. iHealth Clinic in East Liberty reduced their flat fee for visits to $20 to help those affected by the pandemic
  1. No insurance necessary!
  1. Apply for Medicaid (PA State site)
  1. COVID-19 TESTING:
  1. Central Outreach Wellness Center:
  1. Drive through testing available at:
  1. 127 Anderson Street, Pittsburgh PA 15212
  2. 95 Leonard Ave., Washington, PA 15301
  3. 2360 Hospital Drive, Aliquippa, PA 15001
  1. Testing is free but only those displaying relevant symptoms (shortness of breath, fever, coughing) are being tested
  2. Photo ID and insurance card are required!
  1. FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND INFORMATION
  1. File for unemployment compensation (PA website guide)
  2. Hebrew Free Loan Association of Pittsburgh Coronavirus Financial Bridge Loan Program provides interest-free loans on a nonsectarian basis for up to $5,000 to residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington, and Armstrong counties who are facing financial challenges caused by the Coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. Some restrictions apply, click the link to read more.
  3. Federal student loan payments suspended through Sept. 30
  4. Tax filing day moved from April 15 to July 15
  5. Get answers to tax questions (PA)
  1. HOUSING
  1. Get help with home heating (PA)

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  1. SECTION II: COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS CREDIBLE INFORMATION
  1. Blurb:
  1. COVID-19 is a betacoronavirus disease which causes respiratory illness and is now labelled as a pandemic by WHO. This disease is spread person-to-person. Some symptoms include coughing, fever, shortness of breath, tiredness, aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or diarrhea. Older people and people of all ages with severe underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, etc) are at higher risk of a more serious COVID-19 pathology. Risk of exposure is high for people where ongoing community spread has been reported, healthcare workers caring for patients with COVID-19, close contacts with persons of positive COVID-19, and travelers from affected areas.
  2. Prevention heavily includes social distancing, hand washing with soap for 20 seconds, avoiding public spaces and surfaces, avoiding non-essential travel, and avoiding touching the face area. Transmittance is via person-to-person contact via respiratory droplets from coughing and sneezing. The importance of prevention is, even if pathology is non-fatal, to #flattenthecurve; if a high number of people get sick at once, the number of severe hospital cases will increase, creating an enormous strain on the hospital/healthcare capacity.
  1. Reliable sources/references:
  1. CDC FAQ
  2. WHO FAQ
  3. WHO resources and updates
  4. John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center
  5. Pennsylvania Department of Health
  6. Allegheny County Health Department COVID-19 website
  7. COVID-19 Hotline: 888-856-2774 (24/7 hotline for questions and concerns about COVID-19 from Allegheny County Health Department and United Way 211.)
  1. Accessible Resources
  1. CDC ASL Video Series on COVID-19
  2. Plain Language COVID-19 Guide by Access Covid

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  1. CIVIL RIGHTS AND ADVOCACY RESOURCES
  1. Sign up to vote by mail ballot (PA)

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  1. GENERAL KNOWLEDGE  
  1. CDC Coronavirus Webpage
  2. Proper Handwashing & Hand Sanitizer Use Guide
  3. Coronavirus Timeline - ABC News
  4. The Coronavirus Outbreak in Washington State - The Daily podcast by The New York Times
  5. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public - World Health Organization
  6. Additional Resources
  1. East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU) Information Packet on COVID-19
  1. This document also currently has topics such as (but not limited to): General Info, Combating Xenophobia & Racism, Disability Justice, Institution Specific Resources, Geographic Specific Resources, How to Help

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  1. OTHER GUIDES
  1. COVID-19 Resources, by Ehrrin Keenan
  2. COVID-19 Resources for Undocumented Communities
  3. COVID-19 Local Resources by Jewish Family and Community Services
  4. How to get help in Pittsburgh during the coronavirus crisis

  1. ARTS RESOURCES
  1. Art at Home Resources (contests, virtual museum tours, games, and more!)