November 2, 2020
Dear SMU Faculty and Staff,
We are heading into the home stretch of a successful fall semester, thanks to you and your tremendous dedication and support. I am grateful for your continued commitment and resilience in the face of this pandemic.
It was through research, planning and implementation of campuswide operational changes that our University avoided many of the difficulties that other institutions of higher education faced. You embraced learning new skills and changing many of the ways we do our work. Your ingenuity and perseverance are how we have been able to safely continue our educational mission – with students on campus and virtual – as well as many of our cherished traditions. It has required long hours under stressful circumstances with critical deadlines. And as many of you have expressed, we all need a break.
In recognition of your tireless efforts, SMU is adding two extra days to the University’s holiday break. This year, December 21 and 22 will be campus holidays, in addition to the time off scheduled for December 23 returning January 4. The hope is this will be a time for renewal that will energize us all to return with optimism and stamina for 2021.
As you plan for this holiday season, please remain diligent with safety protocols – wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding large gatherings – that help prevent spread of the virus. Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently changed their definition of close contact to within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more in 24 hours. You may want to alter some of your interactions accordingly to keep yourself and others healthy.
Knowing you will have extra days off should help with plans for the holidays and give us all an additional incentive as we wrap up this year and prepare for a new one. Please accept my heartfelt appreciation for all you do for SMU.
R. Gerald Turner