Category Archives: Health and Safety

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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New Annual Security and Fire Safety Report Now Online

Students on campus with bikes, fallSMU 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.

“As you know, safety awareness and practices are a major focus of student orientation programs each year, complementing ongoing educational programming throughout the year. We encourage students, faculty and staff to be partners with us in enhancing security on campus and to share responsibility for their safety by heeding laws and regulations, taking safety precautions and avoiding behavior that puts them at risk,” wrote SMU President R. Gerald Turner in an e-mail dated Oct. 1, 2010. “We must remain mindful, for example, that while SMU’s campus engenders a comfort level one would expect of a collegiate setting, our location in a major metropolitan area brings with it challenges as well as opportunities.”

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 more about SMU’s campus security and safety programs, as well as highlights of the new requirements under the HEOA, after the jump.

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Reminder: Health Insurance ‘Appeal’ Due September 22

In its commitment to students’ health and well-being, the University requires all domestic students taking nine credit hours or more to maintain health insurance through either an individual/family plan or the plan offered by SMU. In addition, all international students taking one or more credit hours must enroll in the University-offered plan unless they have a waiver granted by SMU’s Memorial Health Center.

SMU’s mandatory health insurance policy requires students to either provide documentation of private insurance coverage or to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each term.

Students who missed the fall 2010 deadline of August 27 to provide documentation were automatically enrolled into SHIP and had a $715 semiannual premium charge applied to their student accounts. These students may submit a “late waiver appeal” form to the Health Center before September 22 to be released from the charge if they can provide proof of private insurance. No changes can be made to student accounts after September 22.

The “late waiver appeal” form can be found online here; students should return the form and required documentation to the Health Center or fax it to 214-768-2151 (attention: Krista Pruitt).

For the spring term, students must again either elect or waive SHIP in Access.SMU after they have enrolled in courses and before the deadline of January 24, 2011. Documentation must be done in Access.SMU to be considered for a waiver. Parents do not have access to this process; it must be completed by students.

Learn more about how to waive or elect coverage each term through Access.SMU.
• Learn about health education programs offered by the Health Center.
• Learn about flu preparedness at SMU.

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Health requirements: Insurance, immunizations and meningitis vaccination

In its commitment to students’ health and well-being, the University requires all domestic students taking nine credit hours or more to maintain health insurance through either an individual/family plan or the plan offered by SMU. In addition, all international students taking one or more credit hours must enroll in the University-offered plan unless they have a waiver granted by SMU’s Memorial Health Center.

In addition, as of January 2010, all students must provide proof of meningitis vaccination at least 10 days before moving into campus housing. Read more about required immunizations and vaccinations below.

SMU’s mandatory health insurance policy requires students to either provide documentation of private insurance coverage or to enroll in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each term – for fall 2010, by August 27. After students enroll for 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. Documentation must be done in Access.SMU to be considered for a waiver.

If your student maintains private coverage, he or she must waive SHIP coverage for fall 2010 before August 27 in order to avoid automatic enrollment into SHIP and have a $715 semiannual premium charge applied to his or her student account.

Should your student miss the August 27 deadline and become auto-enrolled in SHIP, he or she may submit a “late appeal form” to the Health Center before September 22. No changes can be made to students accounts after September 22.

Learn more about how to waive or elect coverage.

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