Pandemic Safety Ambassadors will help encourage compliance


Pitt is recruiting Pandemic Safety Ambassadors and Building Safety Concierges to help monitor, but not police, compliance with the University’s health and safety rules.

Jay Frerotte, assistant vice chancellor and director of Environmental Health and Safety, held the first informational meeting on the two new roles on Aug. 10.

He said more than 200 people responded to calls for ambassadors — a word he said was chosen carefully to indicate these are people who will answer questions, keep track of cleaning supplies and try to solve problems, but not dole out discipline for violations.

Not everyone on the Zoom call was a volunteer; some units have appointed people to be their Pandemic Safety Ambassadors.

Stefanie Coburn, hazard assessment specialist in Environmental Health and Safety, outlined some of the duties of the ambassadors.

“We're asking that you serve as a resource for your unit, stay up to date on all the current guidelines, and … we’re asking you to assist with maintaining the inventory of necessary supplies,” she said. This includes cleaning supplies, hand sanitizers and more.

Frerotte said they have a stockpile of supplies, but it’s sometimes difficult to get those to units quickly when they don’t know the needs.

If you see someone in your unit not wearing a mask, “start a nice conversation, like ‘Hey, do you need a mask? Did you forget your mask today?’ This way it will keep everything friendly and help to promote the use of face coverings and keeping your safe distance.”

The ambassadors also will be educating people about what they need to clean and sanitize in their units and what the cleaning crews will handle, as well as establishing who will do the cleaning.

You’ll also be asked to complete surveys on how well people are following the pandemic mitigation guidelines.  “If you take a walk around your area and you see out of 10 people, seven people are wearing masks, OK, that's 70 percent of people, so that's decent,” Coburn said. “We would like to work on getting that 30 percent up to par.”

The ambassadors also will help supervisors if someone in the unit tests positive for COVID-19 to facilitate contact tracing and figure out what areas need deep cleaning.

Employees who are coming to campus are required to do a health attestation every day that can be completed through Pitt’s mobile app or through

Other duties of the Pandemic Safety Ambassadors can be found on the website. Those interested can contact

Building Safety Concierges

Laura Zullo, director of administration for Business & Operations, said they will need lots of volunteers to act as Building Safety Concierges once Pitt moves to the Guarded posture.

These people will be stationed outside of 25 to 28 key buildings as students, faculty and staff enter to convey the requirements for coming into a building, such as wearing masks, and direct people to supplies like hand sanitizer. They also will be asking people to swipe their Pitt IDs to monitor who and how many people are in each building and letting non-Pitt affiliates that the building is off limits to them.

“We want this to be a visible, positive safety resource for students, faculty and staff,” Zullo said. “We're not security personnel. We're really there to make sure that everybody understands the procedures and to promote a positive experience.”

They also will be making sure that the building entrance process isn’t causing long lines of people to congregate.

The concierges will work in two-hour shifts from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with 250 shifts available each day. They plan to use student works and contract security workers, in addition to staff volunteers.

The ambassadors are encouraged to also be concierges, but not required. The roles are complementary but distinct, Frerotte said.

Anyone interested in becoming a concierge can contact Zullo at

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.


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