Message to campus on confirmed COVID-19 cases

Dear SMU Community,

Last spring, SMU sent an emergency notification to all students, faculty and staff about the first confirmed COVID-19 cases involving our campus community. This was an important step in informing our campus about this rapidly evolving situation.

As we begin to identify additional cases, we wanted to be sure the campus community is fully informed about the process that will be followed as well as the communications that can be expected. Going forward, as we are informed, SMU will update the campus community by listing all confirmed cases on our COVID-19 site. The identification of positive cases on campus occurs through several mechanisms, including:

  • Testing through the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center
  • Local county health department notification
  • Self-disclosure by employees or students

Students or employees experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms should contact either their personal physician or the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at 214-768-2277 for a screening interview by trained medical staff. Based on the results, testing may be required. If the test is positive:

It is the responsibility of an employee or student testing positive to immediately notify the University through the avenues presented above.

Following county, state and federal guidelines, SMU uses the University’s contact tracing protocol to identify and notify individuals who may have been exposed among the University community. All individuals testing positive for COVID-19 cases are contacted and CONFIDENTIALLY interviewed by trained University staff to identify close contacts. The tracing is based on class schedule, living situation, student activities, employee work locations including offices and job sites, face-to-face meetings and any other situations that may have resulted in close contact from two days before the onset of symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to testing). Close contact is described by the Centers for Disease Control as within six feet for more than 15 minutes (without direct respiratory droplet exposure).

Those in the SMU community who may have come into close contact with the positive case are notified directly and given further instructions to prevent the spread. If you are not directly contacted, it was determined you did not have close contact with anyone who has tested positive. Medical confidentiality will be maintained for everyone. Employees and students who learn of positive cases should respect this important privacy concern by not commenting on any information that could identify the person and/or posting about a case on social media. Supervisors, including deans and vice presidents, will be notified when one of their faculty or staff is positive. The communication from the University is the official communication on these matters, so please refrain from sending any additional emails or messages about the case. It is important for all of us to act responsibly. If you have any questions on how to respond to a situation, please reach out directly to Human Resources for assistance.

When a positive case is confirmed, SMU custodial workers also deep clean and sanitize the area in which the person worked or lived, as well as adjacent rooms and public spaces in the building. This enhanced cleaning is performed by an expanded crew within four to eight hours of the case confirmation.

Along with communications within the affected campus location and to campus individuals who were determined to have been in close contact, the University will keep a running list of confirmed cases on the SMU COVID-19 site. Again, SMU will not give out the person’s name, and we ask that you respect this individual’s privacy as well. If you would like to be updated when a positive case is added to the campus list, please email to receive notifications.