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Winter Break Access at a Glance

A panther statue in front of the Cathedral of Learning, covered in snow

The University’s 2020-21 winter recess is set for Monday, Dec. 21 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

As Pitt’s fall term comes to a close in an academic year like no other, here’s a handy guide to important dates and updates for Pittsburgh campus students and employees.

Amid changing operational postures due to COVID-19, the need for flexibility has been the rule; check the links below for updates.

Building access

Most campus buildings will be closed and locked from Saturday, Dec. 12 to Sunday, Jan. 10, with access available only to employees with valid ID card access and authorized approval, or Authority to Operate (ATO) authorization. Employees must continue to follow campus safety protocols, including daily health attestation (available by logging into my.pitt.edu), use of face coverings and physical distancing.

Security guards will be present inside University buildings, but will not be posted at building entrances.

Buildings are scheduled to reopen Monday, Jan. 11, with safety concierge stations staffed.

For updated campus building access information, including how to request authorized access through your RC head or designated departmental administrator, visit Facilities Management’s website.

Some facilities, including School of Medicine facilities and athletics buildings, will operate under alternate schedules during winter break:

  • School of Medicine: Classes and clinicals remain in session Monday through Friday from Monday, Nov. 30 to Friday, Dec. 18. Alan Magee Scaife Hall will remain open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays from Friday, Dec. 18 to Monday, Jan. 4 for faculty and staff with ATO authorization.
  • Health Sciences Research Facilities: Scaife Hall, Biomedical Science Tower-South, Biomedical Science Tower, Biomedical Science Tower-3 and leased facilities to remain open through the break for research operations for faculty and staff with ATO authorization.
  • School of Dental Medicine: Salk Hall and Dental Clinic will be closed Wednesday, Dec. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 3.
  • Libraries: University Library System libraries will be closed to patrons beginning Saturday, Dec. 12, through Sunday, Jan. 10. Library staff will be on site from Tuesday, Dec.1 to Sunday, Dec. 20 and Thursday, Jan. 7 to Sunday, Jan. 10. View updated hours of operation for all Pitt libraries on its daily calendar.
  • William Pitt Union: Closed Thursday, Nov. 26, through Saturday, Jan. 9.
  • O’Hara Student Center: Closed Monday, Nov. 23, through Sunday, Jan. 10.


Residence halls close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. University apartments will remain open over break for those student residents whose contracts extend through the spring term, as well as a limited number approved to remain on campus during the break.

Access to parking, Panther Central and more 

View the latest winter recess plans for campus mail, parking and transportation, Panther Central, University Stores, University Club and more on the Business and Auxiliary Services winter break updates page. 

  • Forbes Street Market will remain open during winter break, with all remaining campus dining locations closed.
  • Panther Central will operate on a reduced schedule from Monday, Nov. 30 through Wednesday, Dec. 23 and will be closed Thursday, Dec. 24 through Sunday, Jan. 3.

Safety at the forefront

Building cleaning and sanitizing protocols continue during the break, and Business and Operations teams will complete thorough deep-cleanings of all academic and non-academic buildings.