Dear SMU Community,
Each day we evaluate the challenging issues created by COVID-19 and work diligently to make the best possible decisions for all of us. To align with declarations from federal, state and Dallas County health authorities, SMU is moving all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester.
We also are reducing even further the number of people working on campus. Effective Monday, March 23, the University moves to essential personnel only status until April 3. Employees will be contacted directly by their appropriate vice president or athletics director with guidance on their individual units’ operating plans. All faculty and staff, whether salaried or hourly, will continue to be paid during this period. Please remember to report your time as you normally would.
Obviously, there will be multiple ripple effects from this decision, and they cannot all be addressed in this letter. Watch the COVID-19 blog for updates on this and other concerns. We also will continue to share important announcements via email.
Students who had planned to return to their residence halls by April 6 will now need to make arrangements for retrieving and/or storing their possessions. We must manage this check-out process very deliberately to comply with health restrictions. Students will receive detailed information from Residence Life and Student Housing by Friday, March 27. Please do not come to campus to retrieve your belongings until you receive guidance from RLSH.
SMU is currently determining the best approach for prorating refunds for certain charges such as residence halls and dining. The refund process is currently under development and will be resolved by no later than the end of the semester.
For those who left town, laws and ordinances have changed dramatically in Dallas County over Spring Break:
- All restaurants and bars in Dallas are permitted to serve food only through take-out, delivery, or drive-through services.
- All gyms are closed.
- Community gatherings of 50 or more individuals (indoors or outdoors) are prohibited – which includes worship services, meetings and conferences.
- Recreational gatherings (indoors or outdoors) of 10 or more individuals are also prohibited – which includes parties, backyard barbecues and sporting events.
The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will be open during normal business hours. Students who feel ill should contact the center by phone first at 214-768-2141.
The scheduled May 16 Commencement is very important to all of us. We are carefully weighing the options and will make a decision at a later date.
I ask for your continued patience and understanding as we work through the many details and questions that I know you need answered. Your health is of utmost importance during this time, so we all need to take seriously precautions about social distancing, hand washing and other preventive and protective measures. We must look out for each other – not just ourselves.
The campus has a very different look and feel right now, but this is still SMU and we are committed to continuing our mission. Let’s all look forward to the time when we can return to life as usual on our beautiful campus.
R. Gerald Turner