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