Essential personnel status extended through April 30

Dear SMU Faculty and Staff, 

Following the guidance of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s latest executive order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, SMU will extend its “essential personnel only” status through April 30, allowing most of our faculty and staff to continue working remotely.

We miss seeing all of you on campus, but I am very proud of the way you have responded to the shift to remote working and teaching. Thank you to everyone for all you are doing to keep the mission of SMU front and center during this dynamic situation. It bears repeating that all of the strategic measures that we’ve taken to move classes online for the rest of the semester, support a remote working environment, and to cancel or postpone campus events have been designed to keep the SMU community healthy as we meet our academic mission.

Here are some reminders as we extend “essential personnel only” status:

  • You will be directed by your appropriate vice president or athletics director on how your unit will continue to operate.
  • All faculty and staff, whether salaried or hourly, will continue to be paid during this extension, but please make sure you report your time as you normally would.
  • Please continue to watch for emails and updates to our COVID-19 blog for other changes prompted by new guidelines or continued restrictions.

I understand that there are questions regarding continued employment and pay. I have always placed a priority on the wellbeing of SMU employees and will continue to do so through these uncertain times. As you can imagine, when the data changes daily it is hard to make definitive decisions about the future. We are modeling scenarios for a variety of outcomes to ensure the long-term health of the University. Our goal is to preserve the staff positions within our SMU community until we can return to full campus operations, recognizing that no institution, including SMU, can predict today the impact of this crisis on its future budget.

I want to thank you all for your flexibility, cooperation and resilience during this time, whether you are still working on the Hilltop or from your home. And I look forward to the day when our entire Mustang family is back together and we can bring our now too quiet campus back to life.


R. Gerald Turner President

SMU keeps going volume 3

Dear SMU Faculty, Staff and Students,After six weeks of online classes and stay-at-home orders, I continue to be proud of the many ways the SMU community is demonstrating innovation amid dramatic changes brought by COVID-19. By now you may have seen our plans to continue to have a majority of campus employees remain working from home until May 18 and returning to campus by June 1. We also intend to be open this fall. To that end, I have appointed a Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020, charged with the important mission of bringing our students, faculty and staff back to campus safely while ensuring high-quality instruction, academic rigor, meaningful research and campus engagement – all of which exemplify the SMU experience. Here are a few more examples of how the SMU community continues to embody our World Changing spirit. You can find these and other stories on this site.When an Italian piano company invited Fazioli-owners to submit videos of performances, Meadows’ Carol Leone, professor and chair of piano studies, responded with this inspiring performance of Scarlatti’s Sonata in G Major, K14.

More than 200 people signed in for the free webinar targeted to small business owners offered by Cox’s Caruth Institute of Entrepreneurship, “The Realities of the SBA Assistance Program.”

SMU Libraries had 196 chats, 677 email consultations and 187 zoom or phone calls from March 16 to April 16. They are here to assist you.

George Finney, OIT chief security officer, created this imaginative cybersecurity guide to working at home.

Religious studies associate professor Jill DeTemple is on research leave this semester, but she invited former students to join a weekly COVID-19 Zoom chat. She discussed the importance of courage and care to create community in an online classroom in this op-ed she co-wrote for Inside Higher Ed.

Simmons reading specialists have developed resources to help the youngest readers, and those who are teaching them at home.

SMU alum Hubert Zajicek, M.B.A. ’06, a doctor and founder and CEO of Health Wildcatters incubator, helped create the Health Hacking Crisis Network to find quick solutions to problems like the face mask shortage among healthcare workers.

Yoga, Zumba, Pilates? Find recorded and online fitness classes offered by Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports.

 We’ve had welcome glimpses on campus of students and their families moving belongings out of the Residential Commons, carefully choreographed by RLSH to maintain social distancing. But our focus is on the future, and we are evaluating various scenarios to return our community to campus in a safe and effective way. Meanwhile, keep up the wonderful work. Each of you is an inspiration to me. Please continue to share your stories with

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

We intend to be open in fall 2020

Dear SMU Community,

It’s time to look to the future.

I am pleased to announce that SMU intends to safely open our University for on-campus teaching, learning and student living for the fall semester. We are looking forward to delivering the unique academic experience that defines SMU, and to rekindling the energy our students bring to campus.

Clearly, we will work within the boundaries of governmental guidelines as we plan for the beginning of fall classes. Be assured, every phase of our return to campus will launch with the health and safety of our campus population in mind. Your University is committed to managing this process aggressively and efficiently, using data and verifiable research to make good decisions.

It is important that we move toward the goal of an open campus with confidence, understanding that the path forward will take creativity and patience as the pandemic and our response to it continue to evolve. If you could see, as I have, the extraordinary work and innovation that have carried our University through the past few months, you would understand the source of my confidence.

Our most obvious challenges in preparing for the return of students to campus are physical. We are examining how we will safely gather and learn together in the age of social distancing. The President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020 is mapping out plans for managing the density of our campus population, from the classrooms to the residence halls.

I would encourage all of you – our current SMU family and those of you we look forward to welcoming in the fall – to embrace the pragmatic optimism that is fueling SMU’s plans for fall 2020. The start of this new academic year will be different in some ways, but what makes us SMU will stay the same. We will learn from each other, and we will take care of each other. It is what Mustangs do.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020

SMU is committed to reopening the campus as quickly as possible, while protecting the health of our University community and allowing for safe learning, working, living and socializing. To that end, SMU must have data-informed policies and procedures in place as early as midsummer that leverage the best available testing and/or screening for COVID-19, along with continued health practices such as social distancing, use of protective face coverings and other necessary measures. SMU also must plan for the unpredictable progression of the pandemic and its financial impact while preparing for related government-mandated restrictions on how we work, live and assemble.

Effective immediately, I am appointing the SMU President’s Task Force For a Healthy Opening Fall 2020, co-chaired by K.C. Mmeje, vice president for Student Affairs, and Peter K. Moore, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost ad interim. This cross-functional task force will report to me through the President’s Executive Council (PEC) and is charged with the important mission of bringing our students, faculty and staff back to campus safely while ensuring high-quality instruction, academic rigor, meaningful research and campus engagement – all of which exemplify the SMU experience.

The task force shall:

  • Create subcommittees to address Academic Continuity, Research Continuity, Business Continuity, Campus Health and Wellness, Student Continuity and Communications with specific charges assigned to each;
  • Meet regularly to analyze and take action on reports from subcommittees which will meet weekly or more, depending on need;
  • Examine existing SMU policies and procedures and propose new practices/policies to meet the needs of the University in a changeable environment;
  • Study best practices from other higher education leaders and institutions while remaining focused on approaches that meet SMU’s unique needs;
  • Remain cognizant of the financial strains and limits imposed upon the University by the pandemic;
  • Adhere to deadlines that enable communications with our campus community by:
    • May 15 for July session;
    • June 1 for Study Abroad programs;
    • June 1 for August Commencement and the beginning of the fall semester.

The task force members include:

  • Thomas DiPiero, dean of Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences
  • Michael Hites, chief information officer
  • Alison Tweedy, associate vice president of Campus Services
  • Leigh Ann Moffett, director of Emergency Management, Office of Risk Management
  • Regina Moldovan, assistant vice president of Marketing and Communications, DEA
  • Melinda Sutton Noss, associate vice president and dean of Students, Student Affairs
  • Melinda Carlson, assistant vice president and dean of Residence Life and Student Housing, Student Affairs
  • Aurelie Thiele, associate professor of Engineering Management, Information, and Systems, Faculty Senate
  • Joseph Monroy, registrar and director of Academic Services (Perkins), SMU Staff Association president
  • Molly Patrick, student body president

Charges for Subcommittees

Academic Continuity – Michael Tumeo

  • Develop plans to support educational continuity through a variety of instructional modes, including in-class, online-only and a hybrid of both. Address situations where students, faculty and staff must remain away from campus for a brief or extended period of time, or must adapt to other limitations on normal academic progress due to COVID-19. Plan and develop resources to support continuing classes, strategies for maintaining graduate student research and guidance for academic events of all sizes. Assess implications for student travel for internships and global experiences, including all activities at SMU-in-Taos. Define criteria and procedures for altering academic policies, including the Academic Calendar. Assess and develop options to mitigate the financial impacts that graduate and undergraduate students may face.

Research Continuity James Quick, Brandon Chance

  • Create a protocol for expanding the opening of lab facilities, including art studios and performance practice facilities. Identify ways to protect critical research in the event of a brief or extended disruption to normal operations. Compile an inventory of sensitive research that requires continued support during the summer and fall semesters. Prepare a plan to provide that support with limited staff, resources and vendor provisions. Review existing plans for the continued care of sensitive research specimens. Develop criteria for the safe opening and operation of SMU Libraries and the Meadows Museum.

Business Continuity Michael Molina, Alison Tweedy

  • Assess and evaluate SMU’s essential operational functions, determine strategies for maintaining critical campus utilities and infrastructure and continue to evaluate procedures to enable a hybrid work model for SMU faculty and staff. Consider implications and procedures for contract staff and plans for stockpiling supplies in the event of a supply-chain disruption. Additionally, work to recover expenses associated with COVID-19 and develop a plan/brief for long-term initiatives such as capital projects, staffing, etc.

Campus Health and Wellness – Melinda Sutton Noss, Peter Davis

  • Develop comprehensive recommendations and plans for testing, contact tracing, social distancing, regulation of visitors, size of nonacademic events, frequent deep cleanings of facilities and other strategies to keep the campus safe, including facilities and activities at SMU-in-Taos. Create wellness information tools and resources to share broadly with the campus community.

Student Continuity Melinda Carlson, Sheri Kunovich (input from Athletics – Lauren Adee)

  • Explore student life issues, such as providing safe access to essentials such as campus dining services and student support and well-being programs. Continue to develop plans for disruptions to traditional student life programming, including student and athletic events and travel. Examine occupancy standards for residential communities that reinforce social distancing and refine residential communities’ guest policies, consider single occupancy options, etc. Planning and considerations should include classes and activities at SMU-in-Taos.

Communications – Kim Cobb, Dianne Anderson

  • Gather perspective from and coordinate with communications representatives from campus schools and units on frequency, consistency, accuracy and effectiveness of messaging concerning SMU’s plans in response to COVID-19. Create multipronged communications plans for different planning scenarios for summer and fall semesters and identify ways to bolster existing communications methods.

I want to thank Dr. Mmeje and Dr. Moore for leading this important effort, and the committee and subcommittee members for offering their time and expertise as we carefully coordinate the best approach to a healthy reopening this fall.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

SMU adapts to challenges created by COVID-19

Dear Campus Community,

Anyone walking across our beautiful campus is struck by how quiet it is. What is not visible is the increased activity behind the scenes as we work to educate our students online while adapting to the serious challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the country, many families and individuals are facing personal financial challenges which will have an impact on future enrollment at all universities – particularly at a private university like ours, heavily dependent on tuition income for operational expenses. Due to these financial stressors, the American Council on Education (ACE) recently predicted an estimated 15% drop in undergraduate fall enrollment and a 25% decrease in international students – especially within graduate programs. SMU also must plan for the unpredictable progression of the pandemic, along with related government-mandated restrictions on how we teach, work and assemble. Nevertheless, we intend to be prepared for a thoroughly researched, health-guided opening of the SMU campus for the fall semester, should this be possible.

In our current fiscal year, we have identified a budget gap of more than $13 million, which includes the $7.7 million we are refunding or crediting to our students for interrupted spring semester charges for housing, dining and parking. We plan to deal with these current fiscal-year impacts through expense reductions directly related to services we are no longer offering, budget reserves, and hopefully some federal CARES funding.

The financial issues are likely to become more serious as we move toward FY 21. We are modelling several enrollment scenarios for the fall semester that assume in-person classes, online classes only, and a hybrid model including both. Each scenario comes with factors that cannot be fully quantified, but we will need to be prepared for more lost revenue at a time when we also have a significant increase in demand for need-based student financial aid. Obviously, these dramatic changes will call for difficult financial decisions.

Effective immediately, SMU will impose a hiring delay through at least December 2020 on open faculty and staff positions funded by unrestricted dollars, and will reduce expenses through attrition by not filling positions that become vacant during this period. SMU also will delay implementation of most new or increased budget items for the 2021 fiscal year that begins June 1.

Nevertheless, since it was approved in January, the University intends to support the 2% pool of funds used for increases in base salaries. These continuing and one-time raises for faculty and staff for FY 21 will still be awarded beginning June 1 for staff and August 1 for faculty. However, our deans, University vice presidents, the athletic director and I will not at this time receive any compensation adjustments for the next fiscal year.

To further meet financial challenges for the FY 21 budget, additional reductions will occur in:

  • Supply, expense and travel budgets;
  • Center and institute budgets;
  • Operating expenses for SMU Professional and Online Education.

If on-campus instruction, housing and public events are not permitted this fall, as a last resort, we also may need to consider furloughs of current operational and athletics staff and faculty. University reserves will be used for temporary relief, as possible, during this period of increased financial pressure, but as I am sure you understand, such one-time funds cannot fill recurring budget gaps with no definable end in sight.

We face difficult choices, but as I wrote earlier this month, our goal is to preserve, to the extent possible, the faculty and staff positions within our SMU community until we can return to full campus operations. Of course, we have to recognize that no institution, including SMU, can predict today the impact of this crisis on its future enrollments and resulting budget implications.

First and foremost, SMU must continue to protect the health and safety of the campus community. As we look to reopen the campus, I have asked Peter K. Moore, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, ad interim, and K.C. Mmeje, vice president for Student Affairs, to co-chair an oversight group, the SMU President’s Task Force for Healthy Opening Fall 2020. This group will develop a plan based on established protocols for a safe reopening of SMU in the fall, should that be possible. Sub-groups will be formed as well to facilitate a smooth transition to reopening. We’ll share more about this initiative later.

The positive, can-do spirit reflected in our faculty and staff will help us endure – and ultimately prevail – through these tough times. Thank you for the talent and dedication you bring to your work, much of which is now being accomplished from dining-room tables and home offices, with children and household demands competing for your attention. And here on our too-quiet campus, I salute those of you who are coming in to do the essential work to support online instruction and the tasks that keep us operating.

Please remember to take care of yourselves, both physically and emotionally. What we do as a University is important for the future of humanity. The work you do is valued, and our students depend on us to help them achieve their dreams ­– perhaps now more than ever, as they navigate this challenging time. We are grateful to have this opportunity at SMU in Dallas to work through this together.

I will share more information with you after the May 8 Board of Trustees meeting.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

A message from R. Gerald Turner to alumni and friends

Dear Mustang Family:

The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us – the way we learn, live, work and play. I wanted to update you on how we continue to approach this situation at SMU. 

First, we hope that you and your families remain safe and healthy. Our hearts go out to those who have been impacted by the virus. We extend our warmest wishes for a swift recovery to those who are sick. And we are inspired by the many SMU alumni on the front lines working tirelessly to care for others. 

Since our last update in March, we have extended online learning through June and postponed SMU’s spring Commencement to August 15. Now we are turning our attention to assessing the financial impact this pandemic will have on our SMU community. We are evaluating various scenarios coming out of the stay-at-home restrictions and the financial implications thereof to share with our governing board in early May. We are exploring every aspect of our operations to reduce expenses while mitigating impacts to the extent possible on our students, staff and faculty. 

In particular, our students are the most vulnerable. Some have experienced loss of income and are having to consider if they are able to return to the Hilltop. And many of our recently admitted students are also having to re-examine their plans to go to college. We are planning an appeal in the coming weeks to help these students pursue their goals of graduating from SMU.

Amid this disruptive environment, we find numerous examples of creative and generous ways our community is responding. Here are just a few:

 On a more personal note, I miss the vibrancy and energy of having our community together, so I dropped in on a few online classes this past week. We continue to engage and meet with our committees, volunteer groups and the Board of Trustees through video and audio conference calls.  

Thank you for your warm prayers and kind words of encouragement. Feel free to reach out to any of us if you have any questions or needs. We are a resource for you during this stressful time, and we will get through this challenge together. We are moving ahead with plans for the fall and look forward to welcoming back our alumni and friends to our beautiful campus. Until then, please stay safe and healthy. 

With deepest gratitude,
R. Gerald Turner
SMU President 

SMU keeps going – volume 2

Dear SMU Faculty, Staff and Students,

Thank you again for working so hard to maintain SMU’s vibrancy and operations during this unique time. Members of our SMU community continue to show creativity and innovation in their teaching, learning and working as we face the challenges of COVID-19. In addition to making the most of online instruction, our faculty members are sharing their expertise as thought leaders. Law students have found creative ways to support fellow students seeking internships at nonprofits, and staff continue to support all of us in our endeavors. I commend each of you for the ways that you are demonstrating resilience during this crisis.

Here are a few examples that you might find of interest:

We are turning our attention to assessing the financial impact this pandemic will have on our SMU community. We are evaluating various scenarios coming out of the stay-at-home restrictions and the financial implications thereof to share with our governing board in early May. We are exploring every aspect of our operations to reduce expenses while mitigating impacts to the extent possible on our students, staff and faculty.

In particular, our students are the most vulnerable. Many have experienced loss of income and are having to consider if they are able to return to the Hilltop. Many of our recently admitted students are also having to reexamine their plans to go to college. We are planning an appeal in the coming weeks to help these students pursue their goals of graduating from SMU.

Thank you for all you do for SMU and for sharing examples of the resourceful ways the SMU community is supporting the North Texas community, SMU students and colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please continue to share your stories with And keep up the important work you do on a daily basis. 


R. Gerald Turner

Credit adjustments for housing, dining and parking

Dear student,

We miss you and the buzz of activity you bring to our beautiful campus. I hope you and your family are staying healthy and your studies are going well during this time. The resilience and flexibility you are showing during the COVID-19 pandemic reflect the strength and character of our student body. Thank you for your patience as we worked through a plan to resolve student expenses for the remainder of the spring semester.

SMU will offer credit adjustments for housing, dining and parking expenses in light of this extraordinary situation. The adjustments will vary by student, as charges are dependent upon individual room and board plans, financial aid packages, dining options and other variables. The credit applied to these expenses must take into consideration costs that the University incurs regardless of occupancy, such as year-round staff, utilities, building operations and maintenance. As a result, the credit will range from about 36% to 37.5% of the total semester’s charges for housing, meal plans and student parking.

All parking expenses will be calculated at the same rate regardless of whether a vehicle remained on campus beyond March 23 when all spring classes shifted online. However, students must arrange to move their vehicles from campus before May 18. For dining, the unused balance of any additional flex funds purchased during the spring semester will be included in the credit adjustments.

Credit Applied to Outstanding Balances

It’s important to understand that all credit adjustments will be applied first to outstanding balances on student accounts, including registration for May, summer or fall terms if already registered. For graduating seniors with no outstanding balances on student accounts, any credit balance will be automatically refunded.

As academic instruction is continuing, instructional costs such as tuition, lab or technology fees will not be credited to the student account. SMU’s online courses still reflect the same academic rigor and objectives as when they are delivered on campus. The effort and resources required are equivalent – and in some cases greater – than when the coursework is delivered in person. Other services covered by general student fees also remain available, including SMU libraries, and both telemedicine and in-person appointments at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center.

Given the number of students and the complexity of these plans, packages and options, please allow time for accounts to be individually reviewed to make sure they are accurate and reflect your financial situation. The Office of the University Bursar expects to post individual credit amounts by Tuesday, April 21. Any credit balance that remains after all unpaid charges are satisfied may be refunded based on federal, state and University guidelines. All refunds should be processed by May 15.

This is a difficult time, and we understand that financial issues are sensitive and deeply personal. With that in mind, this outcome was a collaboration between the staff and leadership of Student Affairs and Business and Finance to arrive at the credit adjustments in a fair and equitable manner. For those who may be struggling to cover unexpected costs in these unforeseen circumstances, we have an SMU Student Emergency Fund. Students may complete a Caring Community Connections (CCC) form and check “Economic Hardship” to apply for assistance.

For more information about the credit adjustments, please see the Bursar’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) or contact SMU’s Enrollment Services at 214-768-3417. We look forward to the time when we can once again welcome you and your fellow Mustangs back to campus.

University Bursar

SMU keeps going – volume 1

Dear SMU Community,

Thank you for your flexibility, patience and commitment to the mission of SMU during this time. This is the first of regular updates to help connect the SMU community in a time of social distancing. I hope everyone has seen the recent announcements: the postponement of Commencement ceremonies to August 15, a temporary spring grading policy and the decision to move May and June term classes online. These, and other changes are updated regularly on the COVID-19 website.

We can all be inspired by the creative and generous ways in which our community is responding to this challenging time. Here are just a few examples:

I have missed the vibrancy and energy of having our community together so I dropped in on a few online classes this past week. I look forward to welcoming everyone back soon.

If you have a story about the creative ways the SMU community is supporting the North Texas community, SMU students and colleagues during the COVID-19 pandemic, please share with And keep up the wonderful work.

R. Gerald Turner
SMU President

SMU May and June classes move online

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff:

As the continuation of health and travel restrictions related to COVID-19 remains uncertain for the coming months, SMU has decided to move May and June term classes online. Enrollment for May and June classes for current SMU students opens Monday, April 13, and the priority enrollment deadline is Friday, April 24. 

The University has not yet decided how classes scheduled to start in July will be offered. Courses that start in July are currently listed in the Schedule of Classes as taking place on campus, but this is under review. Enrollment opens on April 13th for all summer courses including those that start in July. Students enrolling in a summer course that starts in July need to be aware that the delivery of the course may change. An announcement will be made later.

Many of the courses previously listed for May term at SMU-in-Taos will be offered online, while others that are site-dependent, such as “Photography in Taos,” will not.  None of the field school classes previously scheduled for June at SMU-in-Taos will be available. Students with questions about SMU-in Taos courses may contact Rumanda Young at or Lashanda Phillips at

More than fifty percent of our SMU students who graduate in four years take advantage of the Intersession courses offered during breaks between semesters and over the summer. We understand that the availability of these courses is key to timely progress toward your degree and hope you will take full advantage of what is being offered online. May and June courses can provide opportunities for students whose internships have been cancelled or shortened due to COVID-19, and it’s not too late for students to request specific May/summer courses through the SMU Intersession “Wish List” or the SMU-in-Taos “Wish List.”

Thank you for your patience as we continue to adapt to the changing health needs of our SMU community and neighbors.

Peter K. Moore
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ad interim

SMU Alert: An important message regarding a COVID-19 case.

SMU Alert: COVID-19

April 2, 2020

SMU has been notified that an employee of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on the University campus has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was tested Tuesday, April 1, received the positive results today, April 2, and will self-isolate for the next two weeks.

The potential for contact between the affected employee and other people on campus is minimal as all teaching is occurring online and the University is operating with essential staff only. A limited number of students have physically visited the Health Center in the past 14 days, and the center’s medical director is reaching out to each of these students to inform them of what is perceived to be limited risk of exposure. The University will also contact any other employees, such as health center, custodial, and facilities staff as well as any vendors who may have been in the building during the last two weeks.

No student has tested positive for the coronavirus at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. Only three other health center employees worked in close proximity with the staff member who has tested positive. These three health center employees will self-monitor at their homes for the next two weeks. 

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is currently closed and will undergo a thorough, medical-grade disinfection over the next few days. Under advice of the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department, the health center will re-open after this deep cleaning on Monday, April 6, as usual.

This notification serves as a timely warning to the SMU campus in compliance with the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act.)

Letter to Undergraduate Students on Spring 2020 Temporary Grading Policy

Dear SMU Undergraduate Students:

I hope you are adjusting to your studies online in response to efforts to keep our campus community as safe as possible during the COVID outbreak. We received many emails and calls from you requesting that we modify our grading policies because of this unusual semester. After carefully consulting with faculty, deans and records administration, we developed a Temporary Grading Policy for Spring 2020, which has been endorsed by the Faculty and Student Senates.

The policy is designed to provide flexibility for individual students’ circumstances and encourage you to finish your courses. Basically, the way it will work is professors will report letter grades as normal. Then, students will have the option to keep that grade or choose Satisfactory (S), Satisfactory Minus (S-) and No Credit (NC) based on the guidelines in the policy. Students may make this selection course-by-course after the letter grade is posted at the end of the term. Seniors must act promptly as the deadline will be quick – May 19, 2020, at 5:00 pm CST. This temporary grading policy should relieve anxiety and uncertainty about course grades and GPAs.

Please carefully review the policy specifics to learn more about the grade options and how these detailed scenarios may apply to you. I hope these accommodations will help you successfully navigate this challenging time.

Thank you.
Peter K. Moore
Provost and Vice President for
Academic Affairs ad interim

Will my university health benefits cover testing or treatment for COVID-19?

When medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, testing to diagnose COVID-19 will be covered at 100% regardless of the SMU medical plan you and your family may be covered under. Testing will not be subject to copays or the deductible or co-insurance, and no prior authorization is needed.
Treatment cost-sharing related to COVID-19 has also been waived. Treatment related to COVID-19 includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. The waiver applies to costs associated with COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities and treatment for out-of-network emergencies.
Click here for more information. Additional questions can be directed to