SMU COVID-19 cases update

September 30, 2021

Dear SMU community,

I would like to share another snapshot of our COVID-19 trends on campus as we head into October and toward fall break. We continue to see a steady decline in cases at SMU, Dallas County and other counties in the metro area. As members of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) monitoring this data each week, we recognize that continuing regular responsibilities while managing the challenges of the ongoing pandemic can be stressful and exhausting; we feel it as well. Through this message, it is my intent to bring perspective to our current situation. If you click through the various options on our Mustang Strong dashboard, you’ll find much of this information but I wanted to call your attention to some specifics.

Case Counts

The dashboard measures all known cases reported in the campus community including those from the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, Dallas County and other University reporting methods. As of our most recent posting, we have a total of 26 active cases (19 students, 7 employees) with two people in quarantine and zero students in on-campus isolation. That’s down from last Wednesday’s 67 active cases and the semester high of 140 cases earlier this month. The daily new cases remain in the single digits.

Since the pandemic began, our campus has seen this trend of an initial case increase during the first few weeks of a semester followed by a fairly rapid drop. It is worth noting that this semester, with a return to regular activities, we did not see a spike following heavily attended events such as football games or Family Weekend.

Dallas County

The number of positive cases in Dallas County is also declining. COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county have decreased by 21% over the past two weeks and according to the latest forecast from UT Southwestern Medical Center, they’re expected to fall steeply by mid-October.


The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center continues to offer vaccinations as well as consolidate and verify vaccine records for the campus community. While we believe the total numbers are higher, so far 70% of faculty, almost 62% of staff and more than 65% of on-campus residents have reported receiving the vaccine. Please consider uploading your vaccination card to the health portal so we have a complete picture of our total vaccination status.

COVID-19 testing

The health center also continues to provide COVID-19 testing for students. Of the 50 individuals tested this week, only one identified as positive. Our medical staff confirmed that some students coming to the health center with COVID-like symptoms actually have other respiratory illnesses. Please also keep in mind that some individuals may be using over-the-counter at-home tests and should continue to report any positive cases to the University. Students cases should be reported via the CCC form and employees should report via the faculty/staff reporting form.

Assessment tool/operational level

Most of you know the EOC uses an assessment tool to measure the virus’s impact on our population and operations. The assessment considers numerous factors including the infection rates for SMU and the county, COVID-19 hospitalizations and fatalities, vaccinations rates, isolation capacity and availability of testing and medical materials. The assessment tool informs leadership when determining the University’s pandemic responses. Our current operational level is well into the low range with a score similar to where we were in early summer.  

Armed with this information, it is my hope that you enjoy many of the activities planned for Homecoming this weekend. As our campus welcomes old friends, families and classmates from around the country, please remember to follow our COVID-19 safety protocols, including the temporary indoor mask requirement. Help keep our campus Mustang Strong.


Leigh Ann Moffett

Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer

COVID-19 Emergency Operations Center Leader

COVID-19 trends on campus

September 23, 2021

Dear SMU community,

As the leader of the SMU Emergency Operations Center (EOC) ­– the cross-sectional group of campus representatives which manages our COVID-19 response­­ – I wanted to share a bit of good news now that we are a month into the fall semester. We are seeing several promising trends on campus and in the broader community. If you follow the dashboard on the Mustang Strong webpage, you may have already noticed some of these.

COVID-19 case counts

After reaching a high of 140 active cases for the fall 2021 semester last week, we have now dropped to 67 active cases as of today (Thursday, September 23). We expect that number to remain low if the trend continues to follow a similar pattern as the previous two semesters.

There is also a significant drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases reported each day. From a high of 20 on August 31, the daily new case count is now in the low single digits. Throughout this semester the number of COVID-19 cases within the faculty and staff population has remained low. With more than 12,400 students and 2,500 employees on our campus, this data is encouraging.

Testing and vaccinations

The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center continues to offer COVID-19 testing for students, and we are seeing a decline in the requests for testing and the positivity rate. During the first week of September, 276 tests were performed at the health center resulting in 34 positive cases. The following week 354 tests netted 27 positive cases. That was the peak as last week’s 190 tests resulted in 4 positive cases; a 2% positivity rate.

The health center is also continuing to provide the vaccine. To date, 2,588 students, 320 employees and 437 members of our extended community have received the vaccine on campus along with many others at off-campus locations. We are asking everyone to take a few minutes to upload your vaccination card to the health portal so we have a complete picture of our total vaccination status.

Our EOC has been meeting twice a week this semester to review this data along with other information in SMU’s operations assessment tool such as area hospitalizations and any relevant county or state orders that are issued. We are expecting additional information from the federal government on pending COVID-19 requirements and will share how that may impact our campus. Please continue to check the Mustang Strong website frequently for the latest updates and answers to questions you may have about SMU’s response to the pandemic.


Leigh Ann Moffett

Associate Vice President & Chief Risk Officer

Labor Day testing available at health center

COVID-19 testing will be available to students, employees, and their families this holiday weekend at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on Sunday, September 5, and Monday, September 6, from noon to 2:30 p.m.  No appointment is necessary; an SMU ID is required (employees can use their own SMU ID for spouses and dependents). Tests will be administered at the white tent adjacent to the parking area on the north side of the Health Center.   Signs will be posted. 

Update on COVID-19 testing locations for SMU employees

With the return to in-person classes on campus this fall, the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is providing COVID-19 testing as needed for students and will be unable to accommodate testing for SMU employees beginning on Tuesday, September 7. As offered last year, SMU is still providing access to convenient COVID-19 testing for employees and their families through Virtual Care for Families locations around the DFW area. Click here to book an appointment. Please put “SMU – COVID-19 test” in the reason for visit and click on the “self pay” button. Screening & testing costs are completely covered by SMU.

The closest location to campus is on the corner of Preston Road and Forest Lane. Other locations in Arlington, Frisco, Garland, McKinney and Plano may be convenient to your home or along your commute to and from work. They are open 7-days a week. Locations and maps are listed at the bottom of the appointment page.

Testing is also available free of cost through your SMU benefits at pharmacies, health care providers and testing sites off campus. Testing locations are also listed on the Dallas County and State of Texas websites.

More information on how to get a COVID-19 test is available on the Mustang Strong website.