In helping to create a safer environment for learning and living at the University during the COVID-19 pandemic, most Student Computing Labs on the Pittsburgh campus will remain closed for the fall term. The Hillman Library location will be open, and software and services offered through the Virtual Computing Lab will remain available 24/7 from any location.
Lab Safety Considerations
A primary tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is physical distancing and de-densifying shared spaces. Shared computers are a particular risk due to the prolonged exposure between a user’s face and hands and a device’s keyboard, mouse, and monitor.
Virtual Computing Lab (pi.tt/virtuallab)
Pitt IT launched the Virtual Computing Lab in March to provide a remote experience that is identical to using a lab machine—with the same software, appearance, and compute power. By using Windows Virtual Desktop, any personal device with an internet connection can become a lab PC—regardless of the user’s location.
Hillman and Lab Classrooms Will Be Available
When circumstances such as the failure of your personal computing device arise, the Hillman Lab will be available during the library’s operating hours. In addition, the classroom spaces in the Cathedral and Bellefield Labs can still be reserved by faculty for academic classes. The number of computers will be adjusted to meet physical distancing guidelines. Visit technology.pitt.edu/labclassroom for more information.
Student Technology Recommendations
The University is aware that closing the physical labs will impact students on the Pittsburgh campus. To that end, here are suggestions for using technology effectively in the hybrid classroom model.
- Use the Virtual Computing Lab: Bookmark the Windows Virtual Desktop web client or download the desktop client so you can connect at any time.
- Keep your laptop with you: A laptop is a necessity for taking advantage of hybrid classroom options. Pitt IT recommends keeping your device with you on campus.
- Print at Pitt Print Stations: Most Pitt Print Station locations will remain accessible across campus. Please refer to this list for current availability.
- Download free software and apps: Office 365 and other free software, as well a wide variety of mobile apps, are available from Pitt IT.