How will SMU be impacted by President Biden’s executive orders regarding COVID-19 vaccine/testing mandates?

SMU is studying the latest executive orders from the White House regarding COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements.

Specifics have not yet been provided, but some of the provisions could impact the University, such as:

  • Vaccination or weekly testing for employers with over 100 employees – No firm timeline has been set by OSHA on developing a rule that will guide the implementation of this requirement. It remains to be determined how or when it might affect SMU.  
  • Vaccination of Federal Government Contractors – The Safer Workforce Task Force will provide additional information on this initiative by September 24, 2021.

As details on these items and others that could affect the University become available, SMU will evaluate and determine the best way forward for the campus community.

What should I do if I feel symptomatic or test positive and the Health Center is closed?

For COVID-19 emergencies such as trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips, or face, call 911.

Students who need a test or consultation when the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center is closed can receive treatment through one of the local urgent care center listed here. The closest such facility to SMU is the Sanai Urgent Care Center (3414 Milton Ave., Dallas, TX 75205 // 469-522-3995).

If you test positive at an urgent care facility, or have come into close contact with a known positive case when the Health Center is closed, first fill out the CCC Form. A contact tracer will provide more guidance.

In the event a contact tracer does not reach out to you immediately upon filling out the form, follow CDC guidelines and isolate.

What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

The University uses the definitions as provided by the CDCIsolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease and monitors for symptoms. Students living on campus will quarantine in their room and watch for the development of any symptoms.

An individual does not have to quarantine if they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who provides medical care if I test positive for COVID-19 and am in University isolation?

Our medical professionals at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center will be available to evaluate students in isolation in-person or virtually. If a student experiences progressively worse symptoms, our medical professionals will determine if a higher level of medical care is warranted. If a student needs a higher level of medical attention, our physicians will arrange for the student to be transferred to a local hospital for advanced medical care. If an isolated student is transferred to a hospital, a member of the Dean of Students Office will notify the student’s emergency contact to alert them of the situation and provide the hospital’s contact information.

I am an SMU parent and am not receiving SMU communication such as email. How do I sign up?

To receive all university updates, your student needs to go into their my.smu account and grant permission for you to receive updates. To receive notifications from SMU alerts, please text SMUParent to 888777. Also, please follow COVID-19 updates at smu.edu/coronavirus.

I don’t answer calls from numbers I don’t know. How will I know if a contact tracer calls?

Contact tracers will make three attempts via phone and then send an email within 24 hours if an individual is not responsive. They will leave a message with follow-up instructions. All contact tracers are employees of the University, if “768” is in the number, that is a call from a University phone.

Can I self-quarantine or self-isolate at home versus staying in my dorm room?

The Student Care and Isolation Process will be used to determine the best option for the student. If the student lives on campus, the student will be asked through the contact tracing process whether they are able to return to their home off campus to isolate.

If the student is not able to return to their home off campus to isolate, the Case Investigator will notify SMU’s Student Contact Tracing Team Lead who will assign the student a temporary isolation location through RLSH’s student housing (StarRez) portal and will inform the Case Investigator of this location. 

What if I test positive for COVID-19?

Students who have tested positive, or have come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive, should stay home and submit a CCC form. They will receive a phone call from a member of the SMU contact tracing team to discuss symptoms, current living situation, isolation procedures, close contacts and academic support.

Employees who test positive should complete the SMU Health Reporting Form and remain at home. If a dependent tests positive, employees should contact their supervisor for additional instructions.

How much does a COVID-19 test cost?

If you are a student enrolled in the University insurance, costs are fully covered without additional paperwork at the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center. If you are enrolled in a non-University insurance plan, costs are typically fully covered with a claim. Learn more.

SMU employees and families can receive no-cost, rapid testing at Virtual Care for Families clinic locations in the DFW area. It is available to those who have symptoms or may have been exposed to the virus. Clinic and testing hours vary by location so call ahead to confirm availability. Learn more.


I am a student and I need to get a test for COVID-19. Where do I go?

  • Students experiencing symptoms should stay home and contact the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at 214-768-2141 for a screening interview by trained medical staff and possible testing and referral for treatment. 
  • If the Health Center is closed, students can receive treatment through one of the local urgent care center listed here. The closest such facility to SMU is the Sinai Urgent Care Center (3414 Milton Ave., Dallas, TX 75205 // 469-522-3995).
  • Students who test positive must complete a Caring Community Connections Form to report their status. The University contact tracing team will follow up with information about isolation and quarantine procedures, if needed.

How does contact tracing work in identifying people who may have been exposed?

All individuals testing positive for COVID-19 are contacted and confidentially interviewed to identify people who came into close contact with the infected individual. University employees are trained on contact tracing by Johns Hopkins University and follow county, state, and federal guidelines. The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. An individual is not considered a close contact if they’ve been fully vaccinated

This trace assesses the class schedule, living situation, activities, work locations including offices and job sites, face-to-face meetings and any other situations that may have resulted in close contact from 2 days before the onset of symptoms or testing (if asymptomatic).

This process will evolve as we add technology to further support these efforts.

I’m a student who is struggling financially due to COVID-19-related circumstances, can I get assistance from SMU?

SMU is providing support to continuing students in need.

Students experiencing financial hardship or food insecurity may request support from the Student Emergency Fund. To initiate the application process, please complete a Caring Community Connections form for yourself and select “economic hardship” at the very bottom. An application for support from the Student Emergency Fund will then be sent to you. 

After it is submitted, your application will be reviewed and a decision made on support that can be provided in 3-5 business days. 

I was possibly exposed to Coronavirus (COVID-19). What do I do?

If you are a student or are concerned about a student, please contact a healthcare provider or the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center to determine what steps to take to protect your health. They will make recommendations whether you should self-quarantine or self-isolate. Please also submit a CCC form so SMU can reach out and offer resources and support. 

If you are a staff or faculty member, please contact your health care provider, and whether working from campus or from home, please report the information to the University through this form.  

Your information will be kept confidential and your privacy will be respected. 

What if I test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

SMU will follow the guidance of local and national health organizations in deciding the next steps for someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Will my university health benefits cover testing or treatment for COVID-19?

When medically necessary and consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, testing to diagnose COVID-19 will be covered at 100% regardless of the SMU medical plan you and your family may be covered under. Testing will not be subject to copays or the deductible or co-insurance, and no prior authorization is needed.
 
Treatment cost-sharing related to COVID-19 has also been waived. Treatment related to COVID-19 includes deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. The waiver applies to costs associated with COVID-19 treatment at in-network facilities and treatment for out-of-network emergencies.
 
Click here for more information. Additional questions can be directed to benefitsu@smu.edu.

How do I sign up to receive SMU alerts by text?

Parents may register for SMU Alert by texting SMUParent to 888777. Visitors may register for SMU Alert by texting SMUVisitor to 888777. Check out the Office of Risk Management site for more information.

SMU students, faculty, and staff should already be signed up, but may login to my.smu.edu to add/update their SMU Alert contact information.