October 8, 2020
Dear SMU Faculty and Staff,
As we’ve settled into the semester and started to plan for our next one, it’s promising to see the numbers of COVID-19 cases on campus diminish. Thank you all for working tirelessly to make the fall semester as safe as it can be. We continue to respond to the challenges of the pandemic and, in that spirit, we want to highlight a new tool for monitoring the cases on campus, as well as provide our faculty and staff with an important reminder.
From the beginning of the pandemic, SMU committed to keeping our community well-informed on the virus’ impact on our campus. Many in our SMU community —over 2,300— signed up to receive an email notification as new cases were posted to our COVID-19 case list on the Mustang Strong website. As the semester progressed, we evolved the way we displayed information to increase transparency and clarity. Today, we’re excited to launch a refreshed COVID-19 dashboard, which accomplishes both of those goals.
Thanks to our OIT team, the new dashboard provides an automated, more interactive and seamless experience. Here are some of the more enhanced features:
- Follow daily positive cases, quarantine numbers and isolation capacity by hovering over the data on three distinct charts
- Change between different time periods to spot trends more easily
- Quickly isolate student or employee-specific information by toggling between the different populations on the drop-down menu
- Check out a new piece of information: the on-campus infection rate. This is calculated by taking the current number of active on-campus student cases and dividing it by the number of individuals who could potentially be on SMU’s campus on a given day.
Moving forward, we will phase out listing individual cases line-by-line as the new dashboard provides this same granular information in a more accessible, user-friendly and automated format. You will continue to receive an email linking you back to the dashboard when cases are added and we encourage you to bookmark this page for quick reference.
Even under the older version of the dashboard, it is easy to see the promising trend downward in the number of cases of COVID-19 on campus. It’s also encouraging that cases among faculty and staff have remained consistently low even when the on-campus student population saw a spike early in the semester.
After Thanksgiving break, most of our students will migrate to virtual instruction. We thank our faculty and staff in advance for continuing to come to campus for work as you normally would during this time. All of you will play a vital role as we come together to determine what worked well and consider what can be improved in preparing for another semester in the pandemic. Your individual and our collective efforts enable SMU to maintain a healthy campus and deliver the excellent educational experience for which SMU is known.
We hope you find the new dashboard to be a useful addition to the Mustang Strong website.
Chris Casey Regis
Vice President of Business and Finance and Treasurer