Category Archives: Health and Safety

SMU Recommends Flu Shots and Other Preventive Measures

With the arrival of flu season across the country and in North Texas, SMU health officials are urging students, faculty and staff to take preventive measures to protect their health. Because flu can spread by contact with people who are ill, SMU health officials recommend getting a flu shot if you have not yet done so. Know the symptoms. Be prepared. Learn more . . . 

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Update on Ebola Situation in Dallas

Updated October 24:

We are providing updates to you and the campus community on developments related to the Ebola situation in Dallas, as we receive new information. Toward that end, we have informed the University community that two SMU graduate students have told University officials that they were passengers on the October 10 Frontier Airlines flight from Dallas to Cleveland that included a Presbyterian Hospital nurse who later tested positive for the Ebola virus.  Neither SMU student was a passenger on the return flight to Dallas, when the nurse was reportedly showing symptoms. Both students are considered at extremely low risk, but out of sensitivity to the University community, both have volunteered to remain off campus at their homes in Dallas for the 21-day monitoring period, going above and beyond CDC requirements or recommendations. Along with other passengers on the flights taken by the nurse, they are being monitored as a precaution.

The two unrelated graduate students, both of whom live alone, are working closely with CDC and county officials. They are monitoring and reporting their temperatures and keeping in daily touch with health officials. They are working with their professors on arrangements to continue their studies, and SMU is providing assistance to facilitate their remaining home-bound.

If any other members of the campus community were on the flights in question between Dallas and Cleveland, they should contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-232-4636 or the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141 to determine if they should be monitored as a precaution. Information from the CDC about the two flights is posted online here.

At the same time, there is little risk to the University community from this situation, according to medical experts. As a reminder, the disease is developed only after close contact with the bodily fluids of a person who has developed symptoms.

On October 24 the National Institutes of Health announced that one of the two Dallas nurses diagnosed with Ebola, Nina Pham, has been successfully treated and is now free of the virus. The other nurse, Amber Vinson, is reportedly doing well at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. In Dallas, 66 individuals who were being quarantined because of close contact with the first Ebola patient have been cleared to resume their normal activities; none has developed the disease. Most of the individuals still being monitored are health care workers who had contact with the first patient. In addition, medical experts are urging against overreactions based on fear, rather than science. On Oct. 17, the 7,000-member Dallas County Medical Society said that “keeping all schools open, including schools that have children of parents who are being monitored, presents no risk to students or teachers and sends an important message of allaying fears in the community.”

Please see the University’s health information on the home page at www.smu.edu and related links to external health information sources. We are in close touch with health officials and are monitoring best practices. The SMU site also includes University health and counseling services available to all students.

Parents with questions may call 214-768-7501 or 1-866-768-1012 (toll free).

Parents who have not received updates by email are asked to update their contact information; instructions are provided online here.

We appreciate your patience and support, and we will do our best to keep you informed of any further developments on this matter.

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Oct. 18: Update on Ebola Situation

Updated October 18, 2014:

SMU understands the interest in developments related to the Ebola situation in Dallas. We want you to know that SMU is monitoring the situation, is sharing updated information with the campus community, and has protocols in place to deal with any threat of illness.

First, it is important to be aware of how the disease is spread — NOT through casual contact, but only through close contact with the body fluids of someone who is actively exhibiting symptoms of the illness. For this reason, the risk is low for members of the general population who have not had such close contact. We are aware that some SMU students live in the neighborhood of one of the nurses affected, but geographic proximity alone is not enough to put a person at risk. We encourage you to consult the information sources listed on SMU’s Health and Safety homepage or through the SMU Parents blog.

Because both Ebola patients have been transferred to hospitals outside Texas, there is currently no active case of Ebola in Texas, though some Dallas individuals who had previous close contact with those patients are being monitored as a precaution.

A core group of SMU officials — experts in health, security, and crisis management — is meeting daily and is in contact every day with local, state and federal health officials to guide SMU actions. Even though the risk of Ebola is low, SMU is taking some extra actions, most of which would normally be implemented at this time to prevent the flu, which is much more likely to affect our community.

Steps include:

  • Increased posting of information on campus about personal hygiene and health measures, such as careful hand washing and covering of coughs and sneezes.
  • Heightened sanitization measures across campus, such as frequent cleansing of buses and golf carts serving the campus, as well as high-touch surfaces in facilities; food-handling guidelines; immediate clean-up of spills using protective measures; availability of sanitizer dispensers in buildings.
  • More frequent cleaning of campus residential facilities.
  • Continuous training to address emerging needs.
  • Oversight of foreign travel involving SMU students, faculty and staff.  SMU also supports CDC travel advisories for universities. Currently the CDC has a Level 3 Warning urging all U.S. citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone because of the Ebola outbreak.

We appreciate the questions regarding SMU procedures for assisting students who are feeling ill. As always, SMU students experiencing symptoms of any illness are urged to seek assistance from the SMU Health Center or other nearby medical providers and to stay home from school or work.  In case of a health emergency, students should call SMU Police at 214-768-3333 or 911. Dallas Emergency Medical Services directs ambulances to area hospitals based on the circumstances of each case. At this time, there are no emergency transports to Presbyterian Hospital.

All students who contact the Health Center are screened through a series of questions related to risk factors, such as travel and other recent activities. If a student calls ahead for an appointment, and the phone screening indicates a possible risk of Ebola-like symptoms, the student will be instructed to isolate himself or herself and immediately call 911.  If a student goes in person to the Health Center and is thought to be at risk for Ebola, measures are in place to isolate the student immediately and contact 911. Safeguards and appropriate protective equipment, as needed, will be utilized during the patient encounter. If the screening shows no history of possible exposure to an Ebola patient, and the student shows symptoms of the flu, a nurse will take vitals, a physician will examine and treat the student, and the student will be advised to stay home until symptoms subside.

For students who would like to discuss this situation with professional counselors and other staff, several resources are available:

  • For health questions or concerns, please contact the SMU Health Center, 214-768-2141.
  • For confidential counseling, contact Counseling and Psychiatric Services, 214-768-2277, or the Chaplain’s Office, 214-768-4502.
  • Faculty or staff with concerns about students may contact the Office of the Dean of Student Life, 214-768-4564, or visit Caring Community Connections.

We are committed to helping our students, faculty and staff to continue their studies and work uninterrupted, while we monitor the situation and act on the basis of factual information.

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Annual Security and Fire Safety Report for the SMU Campuses

The following message from SMU President R. Gerald Turner was sent to students, faculty and staff on October 1, 2014:

Dear members of the SMU community:

SMU is committed to fostering a learning and working environment that supports health and safety. As part of that commitment, the SMU Police Department prepares and distributes an annual security report for the University’s main campus, the SMU-in-Plano campus and the SMU-in-Taos campus. This report is published in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations also require that institutions issue an annual fire report, which is included in the security report.

The SMU report covers three calendar years, including incidents occurring on its campuses, at public areas adjacent to campuses and at certain non-campus facilities, including Greek houses and remote classrooms. Information also is gathered from the University Park Police Department, Highland Park Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Plano Police Department, Taos County Sheriff’s Department in New Mexico and University officials with significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

The report is available online at smu.edu/CleryReport. If you would like a paper copy of the University’s annual security and fire safety report, please contact the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail lindaperez@smu.edu.

In addition to security policies and crime statistics, the report contains information about programs and procedures for enhancing campus security and individual safety. These resources include emergency response plans and notification systems, blue-light emergency phones across campus that connect directly to SMU Police, campus-wide crime alerts, the Silent Witness Program for anonymous crime tips, and the SMU Police Security Escort Program, Giddy-Up and SMU Rides.

Many campus officials who support campus security are highlighted in this report. I urge you to know how to reach these officials and to participate in the education and training they provide throughout the year, including crime prevention programs offered by SMU Police and emergency drills coordinated by the Office of Risk Management.

Two serious health and safety issue at colleges and universities nationwide, including at SMU, are substance abuse and sexual misconduct. This report contains information about policies, reporting procedures, education and prevention initiatives, and resources available to help, including the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, SMU Police, the SMU Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, the Coordinator of Psychological Services for Women and Gender Issues, and the Women & LGBT Center. Information also is available online at smu.edu/LiveResponsibly.

All students, faculty and staff members play an important role in their own and our community’s well-being. Each of us is asked to be informed and aware, to respect all community members and to uphold high standards of behavior. Thank you for supporting our collective efforts to provide an exceptional academic environment in which all of us can do our best work.

Sincerely,

President R. Gerald Turner

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A Health and Safety Message from President Turner

SMU President R. Gerald Turner sent the following message to students, faculty and staff on August 25, 2014:

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff,

Welcome to the start of what promises to be a memorable Centennial year on the Hilltop. I wish each of you success as you pursue your academic, professional and personal goals.

Toward that end, it’s imperative that every member of our community play a role in maintaining a healthy and caring campus environment. All of us must be familiar with SMU policies, procedures and resources supporting that environment.

For this reason, I ask every student, faculty and staff member to read the online booklet “Live Responsibly,” which you can access on the SMU Live Responsibly website, smu.edu/LiveResponsibly. It addresses sexual misconduct and alcohol and substance abuse, which are serious health and safety issues at universities across the country, including SMU. Undergraduates also will be receiving a printed copy of this booklet in the mail to review and keep during their time at SMU.

Please carefully read the information provided about SMU’s Title IX (Sexual Misconduct) policy, and contact Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the Office of Institutional Access and Equity with any questions at 214-768-3601. It should be understood that SMU will vigorously pursue its policies and support state and federal laws. The federal law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault. Sexual assault also is a crime under Texas law punishable by imprisonment. SMU will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form.

In the event of an emergency, including sexual assault or a medical emergency due to alcohol or drugs, SMU community members are urged to immediately call police and seek medical care for themselves and others. Please find more information about SMU and community resources available to help students in the Live Responsibly booklet and online.
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SMU Health Center Moves to 3014 Daniel Avenue

The SMU Health Center has moved to 3014 Daniel Avenue in preparation for the construction of the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

The Health Center will maintain normal operating hours of 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at its new location. Appointments will be available from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call 214-768-2141 for more information. Designated parking spaces are available in the lot at 3014 Daniel. Students in need of on-campus transportation to the Health Center during operating hours can call 214-274-9909 to be picked up by golf cart.

Most medical services, including consultations with physicians, immunizations and treatment of illnesses, will continue to be offered at the new location. Other services offered at 3014 Daniel include:

SMU again will offer flu shots at no charge to students and benefit-eligible faculty, staff, retirees and retiree spouses. Please watch your email beginning in September for announcements of fall flu clinics.

In case of an emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals and emergency resources are listed on the Health Center website. Students also may visit area clinics.

For more information, please contact Assistant Director of Health Education Lisa Joyner at 214-768-2393 or ljoyner@smu.edu.

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Welcoming Traditions for New Students and Parents

SMU helps incoming students and their families transition from high school to college with Academic Advising, Registration and Orientation (AARO). The two-day orientation sessions run from July 7 to August 4, and will be followed August 21-23 by Mustang Corral, a three-day off-campus retreat.

At AARO, first-year and transfer students and their families learn about campus resources and academic expectations, while connecting with faculty, staff and current and incoming students. During their AARO sessions, students:

  • Meet faculty members and other new students
  • Meet and have one-on-one meetings with their academic adviser
  • Register for fall classes
 in enrollment labs with their adviser
  • Receive their SMU ID
  • Meet their AARO leaders, who are current SMU students
  • Spend the night in Boaz, one of SMU’s Residential Commons
  • Learn about campus involvement opportunities
 and employment

Along with their students, parents will learn about SMU academics and resources, and are encouraged to attend special parent and family programming.

mustangcorral-01

At Mustang Corral in August, during the second step of the orientation process, incoming students will participate in group discussions, an introduction to the Residential Commons, diversity activities and self-assessments. They will learn about University traditions and interact with faculty, staff and students.

Students participating in Mustang Corral move into their residence halls August 20. They will be assigned a move-in time in August. The deadline to register for Mustang Corral is August 15.

Get ready for AARO: 

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Medical Services Offered at Loyd Center

As of June 6, the Health Center is temporarily offering medical services at the Loyd All-Sports Center, 5800 Ownby Drive. Medical services will be available from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. on the lower level, room L007.

For Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS), call 214-768-2277 or 214-768-2860.

For more information, call the Health Center at 214-768-2141 or the nurse hotline at 214-768-3194.

The SMU Pharmacy is available to transfer students’ prescriptions to the pharmacy of their choice. Pease call the pharmacy at 214-768-2149 and leave a message with the following information:

  • Your name and student ID;
  • The prescription number if available or the name of the medication;
  • The pharmacy name and number where you want the prescription transferred;
  • A phone number in case the SMU Pharmacy needs to contact you.

Please allow 24 hours for transfers. Any transfer request left after 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday will be handled the following Monday. Prescriptions can be transferred back to the SMU Pharmacy when it reopens.

In case of emergency, students are asked to call 911 or SMU Police at 214-768-3333. Local hospitals and emergency resources are listed on the Health Center website. Students also may visit area clinics, including QuestCare, 3414 Milton in Snider Plaza, which is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; call 214-368-4822.

The Health Center is preparing for the demolition of the Memorial Health Center and the subsequent construction of the new Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. Health Center staff members thank SMU students, faculty and staff for their support during this transition period.

Other changes during the transition include:

For more information, please contact Assistant Director of Health Education Lisa Joyner at 214-768-2393 or ljoyner@smu.edu.

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SMU Supports National Effort on Sexual Misconduct Prevention

The U.S. Department of Education announced May 1 that procedures regarding sexual misconduct and harassment are being examined at 55 higher education institutions. (Read the announcement.)

The University announced in a statement that:

“SMU applauds the U.S. Department of Education’s efforts to eradicate sexual violence on college campuses and to provide universities with additional tools to combat sexual assault. Our goals are the same.

“The matters under review by the Education Department have been investigated by SMU and predate our University task force review of sexual misconduct policies and procedures. The University has been aggressive in putting into practice wide-ranging new procedures to inform and protect our students, to provide prompt and effective resolution of complaints, and to hold violators accountable while treating all students fairly.

“SMU continually reviews and updates its programs in comparison with national benchmarks, and we are pleased that the White House also has made these matters a priority for all American universities. No issue is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

SMU provided additional information:

The Department of Education is reviewing three SMU cases that predate the University’s Task Force on Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures. One case involved a complaint of inappropriate language in a classroom; one involved an alleged sexual assault that was later dismissed by the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office; and the third case, which does not involve a sexual assault allegation, is currently the subject of litigation.

A year ago, SMU President R. Gerald Turner adopted the task force’s recommendations for new and revised policies and procedures, including programs promoting education and training. Students, faculty and staff members have implemented many of these recommendations and continue to develop others.

  • Read an op-ed about sexual misconduct prevention efforts from Vice President for Student Affairs Lori S. White and SMU Title IX Coordinator Samantha Thomas in the May 2 Daily Campus.

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Parents Asked to Be Aware of Potential Phone Scam

SMU parents and grandparents are asked to be aware that a nationwide phone and email scam has been targeting grandparents for several years. An SMU Mothers’ Club member has reported that her parents recently received a call seeking money, supposedly to help their grandson, a college student in Louisiana.

The FBI provides helpful information about this so-called “grandparent scam” online. The FBI recommends that anyone who receives a call seeking money should:

  • Resist the pressure to act quickly
  • Try to contact your grandchild or another family member to determine whether or not the call is legitimate.
  • Never wire money based on a request made over the phone or in an email, especially overseas. Wiring money is like giving cash, once you send it, you can’t get it back.

 

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