As of May 15, 2022, SMU has sunset most pandemic protocols. The following are archived messages that are not reflective of the current campus COVID-19 policy. Visit the Mustang Strong website for the latest information on testing, masking, vaccinations and more.
I hope you are enjoying a safe and healthy winter break and that the time off from studies and work is providing a much-needed respite. I want to assure you that we are continuing to monitor the current surge in cases of COVID-19 brought on by the new omicron variant. We remain in consultation with our local health officials and are updating University operations in response to the recent changes in guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As we enter a new year, COVID-19 continues to evolve and become even more of a regular part of our lives. This week, the CDC recognized this development and shortened the recommended time for isolation for asymptomatic individuals from 10 days to five days, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others. The CDC stated that this change “is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1–2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2–3 days after.”
SMU will follow these new guidelines along with the CDC’s other isolation and quarantine recommendations as we return to work on Monday, January 3, and begin Jan Term. Classes will proceed in person as scheduled for both Jan Term and spring 2022. Remember that masks are optional for everyone, but they may be required by faculty members in their instructional areas.
I want to thank each of you for your continuing commitment to our educational mission during these extraordinary times. Our staff and faculty have worked diligently to provide a safe environment and excellent instruction for our students to thrive. While our vaccination numbers climbed and our campus cases dropped to very low levels in December, experience tells us to prepare for another surge in cases at the beginning of this semester. We have been through this cycle several times now and will rely on many of the responses that have worked for us so far while continuing to stress healthy behaviors. Please check your email and the Mustang Strong website regularly for the latest information.
I look forward to welcoming you back to the Hilltop in 2022.
A federal judge in Georgia has entered a nationwide injunction that temporarily stops the enforcement of Executive Order (EO 14042). Consequently, SMU is pausing the requirement that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January 18, 2022, unless and until the courts instruct otherwise.
I want to thank you for your remarkable response to our request to upload your vaccination information. So far, 92% of our full-time faculty and 88% of our staff members have verified that they are fully vaccinated. While students were not required to get the vaccine, we know that at least 70% are vaccinated. Many more are likely vaccinated but have yet to report it. The high vaccination rate coupled with the low number of COVID-19 cases on campus in recent weeks is reassuring as we face the latest virus variant, Omicron.
SMU recognizes the value of vaccinations in maintaining a healthy and safe campus. We encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center or wherever is convenient for you. We will monitor all court cases affecting EO 14042 as they move forward and will remain prepared to comply.
Thank you for your commitment to staying Mustang Strong through the second year of this challenging pandemic. It has been a long haul, and it is not over yet. As we head into the holiday season, I wish everyone a restful, rejuvenating break and a wonderful time filled with family and loved ones.
If you remain unvaccinated, tomorrow, December 7, is the last day to receive the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and still meet the federal requirement to be fully vaccinated by January 18, 2022.
You can make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on campus at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center through the health center portal.