OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Dear SMU Community,
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.
It is critical that you consider receiving the vaccine and the booster shot to help ease the spread and possibly lessen the symptoms of COVID-19. Also, please carefully monitor your health and stay home if you are ill. Get tested if you feel symptomatic and make sure to report it if you do contract the virus. (Information on testing, vaccinations and reporting positive cases or close contacts, as well as the new CDC isolation and quarantine guidance, can be found on the Mustang Strong website.)
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.
R. Gerald Turner