Category Archives: Health and Safety

Taking Precautions Against Mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus

Mosquito spraying update, August 20: As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, there will be a second aerial spraying today, August 20, of University Park – including SMU – to kill mosquito larvae that have hatched since the first spraying last week.  Aerial spraying is expected to begin about 8:30 p.m. and could continue into the early morning hours, depending on weather conditions. As a precaution, the city recommends that you avoid being outside during spraying, close windows and keep pets inside Read more from SMU News.

Because mosquitoes are common in North Texas this time of year, the City of University Park has been spraying for mosquitoes to diminish the threat of West Nile virus. SMU is working with area authorities in addressing the mosquito problem.

beware of mosquitoesThe SMU Health Center is prepared to test and provide immediate care for anyone in the SMU community who suspects he or she is infected with West Nile. The SMU Health Center also has the recommended DEET insect repellent available while supplies last.

To protect yourself against West Nile and other diseases carried by mosquitoes, the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you:

  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET or any other EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Wear long sleeves/pants, loose and light-colored clothing when outdoors.
  • Protect yourself especially if you go outside during dusk and dawn hours.
  • Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. SMU monitors the campus daily for standing water, removes it and treats the area. Avoid stagnant water. If you see stagnant water on campus, please report it to SMU Facility Services at 214-768-3494.

Those with questions about the West Nile virus should contact the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141.

Click to read more about health considerations during the dog days of summer:

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Flu Shot Clinics Scheduled for Fall 2011

SMU’s Memorial Health Center has scheduled several Fall 2011 flu shot clinics for September and October.

This year, the Health Center will offer both the new needle-free flu shot and the conventional needle shot. The cost is $25; students who have SMU Aetna health insurance pay $5. Students may charge their SMU account, or the Health Center accepts cash (exact change) and checks.

Flu shot clinics are scheduled for:

• 2-4:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, at the Health Center
• 1:30-3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Health Center
• 9-11 a.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Health Center
• 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Hughes-Trigg Student Center
• 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, in Building 3 at SMU-in-Plano

> Visit the SMU Health Center online

To shorten your wait at the flu clinic, take these steps:

Keep up with the latest flu information, including upcoming clinic schedules, at

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2011 Clery Act Report Available Online

SMU is committed to fostering a safe learning and working environment for our campus community. 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 by Oct. 1 each year in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. Under this federal law, colleges and universities must disclose specific information about campus crime and security policies.

The SMU reports contain three calendar years of crime statistics, including incidents occurring on campus, at public areas adjacent to campus 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 other University officials who have significant responsibility for students and campus activities.

The report is available online at the SMU Police Department website.

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and its accompanying regulations (HEOA) established new requirements for colleges and universities in the areas of personal safety and crime reporting, and also require for the first time that institutions issue an Annual Fire Report, similar to the crime and incident reporting in the Clery Annual Security Report.

To request a paper copy of the University’s annual security report, call the SMU Police Department at 214-768-1348 or e-mail Officer Linda Perez.

> Read SMU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report online

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Spring Break Travel Alert Issued for Mexico

The Texas Department of Public Safety is urging all Texas spring breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico.

The U.S. State Department website lists several travel alerts related to violence in Mexico. Travelers should always check that website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico. Read the official notice and learn more from SMU News.

The Texas Department of Public Safety acknowledges that many travel to Mexico without incident, but the risks cannot be ignored. Travelers are encouraged to carefully research any planned trips. U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico are urged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Other spring break safety tips from Texas DPS:

• Don’t text while driving.
• Wear your seat belt.
• Don’t drink and drive.
• Find a sober friend to do the driving.
• Don’t leave your drink unattended, and don’t accept drinks from strangers.
• Keep a fresh driver behind the wheel, or stop every couple of hours to rest and walk around.
• Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
• Keep your friends close.

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Monitoring the Flu: SMU Urges Preventive Measures

Cases of influenza have been reported at SMU and are expected to rise during the flu season. SMU’s Health Center encourages students, faculty and staff to remember these important precautions:

Stock shot of single-use syringeGet vaccinated. Flu shots are available at Health Center immunization clinics Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3 p.m. and Wednesdays 9 to 11 a.m. and 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for $25; for students insured with SMU Aetna, the cost is $5. No appointment is necessary during clinic hours; shots also are available by appointment during other Health Center hours. Flu shots also are available at many local pharmacies and physician’s offices.
Wash hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after touching common surfaces (door handles, railings, etc.). Cover the mouth when coughing or sneezing with either a disposable tissue or a sleeve. Avoid contact with people who are sick. Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system working at its best.
Know the flu symptoms: fever with cough or sore throat, and sometimes runny nose, body aches, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.
Students, faculty and staff with flu symptoms should stay home. Ill students should limit contact with others who are not sick. Those with flu-like symptoms should not return to class until they have not had fever (temp < 100.5 degrees F) for 24 hours without taking ibuprofen or Tylenol.

Students should seek medical attention if they have acute symptoms such as body aches, cough or a fever of more than 100.5. They must bring their health insurance cards to Health Center appointments; otherwise, they will be charged full price for any prescriptions.

Read more recommendations for students who have the flu below.

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Winter Weather: What to Do

It is the goal of SMU to remain open and hold classes as scheduled. However, if conditions warrant closing, the President in consultation with the SMU Police and the Provost will make that decision.

As soon as a decision is made, the following steps are taken to notify the University community:

• An e-mail message will be sent to all students, faculty and staff.
• A recorded message will be available at 214-SMU-INFO (214-768-4636). Please do not call the SMU Police Department.
• Closing announcements will be posted on the SMU website and via SMU’s Twitter feed.

Learn more at the University’s Weather Policy page.

• Watch a video from SMU News on Snow Days 2011. video

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Deadline for mandatory student health insurance: January 24

In its commitment to students’ health and well-being, the University requires all domestic students taking nine credit hours or more and all international students taking one credit hour or more to maintain health insurance as a condition of enrollment.

SMU’s mandatory health insurance policy requires undergraduate and graduate students to either provide documentation of private insurance coverage or to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each term. For spring 2011, the deadline to provide documentation or to enroll is January 24.

If your student maintains private coverage in Access.SMU, he or she must waive SHIP coverage for spring 2011 before January 24 in order to avoid automatic enrollment into SHIP and have a $715 semiannual premium charge applied to his or her student account.

When students have enrolled for spring courses, a “Health Insurance” button will appear in their Student Center in Access.SMU. Clicking on this button will start the process by which students will be able to either elect or waive SHIP.

The waiver process must be done in Access.SMU and must be completed by the student; parents do not have access to this process.

Learn more from Memorial Health Center.

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Seasonal Flu Shots Available on Campus for Students

Seasonal flu vaccinations will be available for students through the SMU Memorial Health Center October 27 and November 3 and 10, 2010.

Shots will be offered at the SMU-in-Plano campus in Building 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. October 27. They also will be offered at the Health Center from 2 to 4:30 p.m. November 3 and from 2 to 4:30 p.m. November 10.

More clinics will be scheduled for students, as well as faculty and staff. The 2010-11 vaccine provides protection against A/H1N1 (pandemic) influenza and two other viruses, A/H3N2 and Influenza B. It will not prevent illnesses caused by other viruses.

Students will be charged $25 for flu shots. Students with Aetna Student Health Insurance will be charged $5.

• Students should complete the flu vaccine form and bring it with them, along with their SMU ID or ID number.
Read more from SMU News.

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State Department Urges Caution for Travelers to Mexico and Europe

The Bureau of Consular Affairs for the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert for Europe because of heightened concerns about potential terrorist attacks and a travel warning for Mexico because of drug-related violence, particularly in the northern border regions.

SMU students participating in programs in Europe have been informed of the alert and asked to take appropriate precautions. SMU Abroad is not operating programs in Mexico this fall.

“SMU Abroad and the Office of Risk Management continue to monitor the situation,” says Susan Kress, director of SMU Abroad. “Should additional actions become necessary, students will be notified by their program directors.”

If your student is planning to travel to Europe, or is currently in Europe, he or she should consult the travel alert, the regularly updated Worldwide Caution and the country-specific information found through the State Department.

If your student is planning to travel to Mexico, or is currently in Mexico, he or she should consult the travel warning and the U.S. Embassy’s Mexico security update.

• Members of the SMU community, including parents, may call 214-768-4475 for more information.
• Find State Department tips and contacts below.

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Annual Campus Night-Lighting Tour Scheduled for October 5

Dallas Hall at nightSMU’s 2010 tour of its nighttime lighting will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the flagpole on the Main Quad. All interested faculty, staff and students are invited to attend.

The University sponsors the tour each year to help educate campus community members about the best after-dark travel paths, as well as to look for lighting deficiencies.

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