Can my department host an off-campus dinner or meeting that includes students, faculty and/or staff along with alumni, business leaders or other groups?

At this time, off-campus gatherings, including department dinners or meetings to encourage community connections with students, are discouraged in an effort prevent the spread of the virus and maintain a healthy campus.

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. If a student is required to quarantine, their roommate will also be required to do so.

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 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 drive-through testing for COVID-19 at Expressway Tower, 6116 North Central Expressway, on the East Campus. The University covers 100% of the cost and no insurance paperwork is needed for those who have SMU health benefits.

The SMU curbside testing site is in addition to existing Virtual Care for Families clinic locations in the DFW area that can provide rapid COVID-19 antigen testing to SMU employees and their dependents. 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.


If they go to an urgent care (as in after hours and the health center is not open), they would probably be billed and then they insurance would reimburse, but may need to check on that.

Where can I report individuals not adhering to the Pledge to Protect?

Everyone in the SMU community plays an important role in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the Community Action Network’s Pledge to Protect. Individuals who choose to put the community at risk will be subject to the Code of Conduct. To report Pledge violations, fill out this form.

Will SMU reduce the Room and Board charges this fall due to the shortened in-person component of the fall semester?

Due to the length of services provided, and costs associated with delivering them, there will not be a reduction in room and board charges this fall. The residence halls and dining facilities will be available to all students from Monday, Aug. 17, through the Wednesday, Nov. 25, and after Thanksgiving depending on student circumstances. The room and board availability is similar to prior years with meal availability on Labor Day and Fall Break. In addition, the University has incurred added costs related to the COVID-19 health and safety measures necessary to deliver these services following the advice of our health professionals as well as local, state and CDC guidelines.

I am traveling from another country into Dallas. Am I required to self-quarantine?

Students or staff preparing to travel to SMU from outside the country are not required to self-quarantine at this time. All students, however, are expected to conduct a daily self-screen for COVID-19 when they return to campus. Visit the SMU International Student and Scholar Services office for more information on the latest guidelines.

Will SMU reduce tuition and fees to account for decreased in-person instruction due to COVID-19?

SMU’s distinguished faculty will deliver instruction using SMUFlex and Virtual formats. The academic experience will be challenging and rigorous, consistent with the University’s high academic standards regardless of the delivery mode. As a result, the University’s tuition and fees for the fall semester will not change or be reduced. If your family is experiencing a loss of income, or change in financial circumstances we encourage you to reach out to our Financial Aid office to request a review of your financial aid package. 

Will I be required to wear a face covering?

Face coverings are required to be worn over the mouth and nose in all public indoor spaces.  This requirement – in accordance with the latest local ordinance – includes classrooms; building entrances and exits; lobbies and lounges; as well as in hallways, stairwells, restrooms and elevators. Face coverings are not required outdoors when adequate physical distancing is possible; in private spaces such as inside an office or partitioned cubicle for employees; or inside an individual residence hall room for students.

Face shields do not offer the equivalent protection of face coverings over the mouth and nose.  However, due to the vocal aspects of classroom instruction, a face shield is an acceptable substitute for faculty members to wear while teaching as long as the instructor also adheres to the other required safety standards. SMU has added plexiglass barriers to podiums, provided face shields and coverings, and distanced desks and lecterns to accommodate faculty in conducting their instructional duties. Faculty can also wear a face mask instead or in addition to a face shield, for added protection.

Students are required to wear face coverings in classrooms. If additional accommodations such as a face shield are needed, students should work with SMU’s Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies for available options.

Understanding multi-ply face masks provide the best protection, SMU strongly encourages the use of multi-ply masks instead of other types of face coverings. Faculty can require students in the classroom to wear face masks versus other types of face coverings.

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.

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.

What requirements has the University set to hold an event?

Any event or other activity of University and non-University individuals and organizations scheduled in a venue. Events include but are not limited to meetings, conferences, study groups, rehearsals, practices, receptions, catered meals, screenings, ceremonies, performances, athletic games, and lectures. Events are further categorized by SMU’s Public Safety Standards.  Credit and non-credit academic classes are not “Events.”

  1. In-person meetings of SMU students, staff, faculty can occur as long as the most current county and state guidelines can be followed within the meeting space. There must be a way for attendees to participate remotely via Zoom, conference call, etc.
  1. No events (other than meetings as noted above) will take place on campus. Instability of sanitization supplies and the ability to adhere to cleanliness protocols is a leading factor. Exceptions to this recommendation may be requested by an Event Organizer/Sponsor.

Exceptions must be sent to the Events Group no later than 10 business days prior to the event for consideration. A recommendation to approve/disapprove will be made by the Group. If further discussion is required, the exception request will be brought forth to the EOC for determination. If PEC review is required, they will make the final determination. Find the event exception request online form here.

How is the location cleaned after a positive case is identified?

When a positive case is confirmed, within four to eight hours, SMU custodial workers deep clean and sanitize the area in which the person worked or lived, as well as adjacent rooms and public spaces in the building.

In addition to routine enhanced frequent high-touch cleaning protocol, a broad disinfection of the identified and unoccupied areas will take place via electrostatic spraying. All known touch points will be disinfected in the generally used public spaces such as all entrances, elevators, stairwells, door handles, restrooms, hallways, related break areas, conference rooms and common areas. The zone-disinfecting spraying will follow all paths of entry and exit points for the specific space.

The entire three-step process is outlined in this handbook.

SMU Employees: What to expect when you get back

Dear SMU faculty and staff,

You have received quite a few messages from me over the past few months, but this is one I have been eager to deliver: I am delighted to welcome our full University workforce back to campus on Monday, June 1.

I know how hard you have worked from home, and I do not underestimate the productivity we have maintained. Thank you! We have had to reinvent the way we work, teach and learn over the past 11 weeks. However, it’s important to remember that SMU is a university that delivers a unique residential experience for our students. It requires us to be on campus to prepare for delivering that opportunity to our students.

Many of you have asked, “Why June 1? Why is it important that we come back now?” The basic answer is to prepare for the imminent return of our students.

SMU will resume in-person instruction on campus for several hundred of the 1,600 students enrolled for the Summer II term that begins July 6. We expect about 100 of these students, along with over 100 student-athletes, will join the approximately 30 students (out of the original 300) who remained in our Residential Commons through the spring.  It will take extra effort from our schools and administrative offices to be ready to serve these on-campus students. This also provides us with an important opportunity to preview issues we might face when the larger community returns in August.

Obviously, this fall is going to be a monumental challenge. The superior education that we always deliver is at stake, as is the financial health of the University. SMU is in a stronger position than many universities but our responses to the pandemic created a budget gap of more than $13 million for the fiscal year ending on May 31 – and from national projections we expect more losses in the fall. To meet these challenges, as I know we will, all of us must pull together to prepare successfully for July term, followed by the return of all students in the fall.

Our plan is to move forward with both caution and confidence. We will inform our decisions based on the best information available from government and health authorities, and also rely on your commitment to our workplace guidelines to help keep each other safe.  Should the COVID-19 pandemic shift, we will respond in kind, because health and safety are important for all of us.

As you return to campus, some things will be different. These changes have been put in place to help keep you and your co-workers healthy. I hope you will take a moment to watch this short video, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.

Please remember that the “Welcome Back to Campus” packet describes many of the processes the University has developed to support a healthy workplace and also provides important training for you. The special guide for supervisors will help everyone work through the individual employee issues inherent in this transition. 

We must all take extra steps to protect our health, and we will take them. You have my gratitude for outstanding work and flexibility over the last few months, and I look forward to seeing you back on campus soon. Welcome back, Mustangs.

Sincerely, 


R. Gerald Turner
President

Is SMU changing its fall schedule?

SMU is revising our semester schedule to reduce the number of students returning to campus after holiday travel and lessen the chance of contagion.

Fall classes will start on campus Monday, August 24, as originally scheduled.

However, we will not break for the September 7 Labor Day holiday and October 12-13 Fall Break; they will be in-class instruction days.

This change allows students to complete their on-campus studies and leave campus housing prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Classes will shift to online-only for the remaining class days after Thanksgiving, and all final exams for the fall 2020 semester will be administered online.

What will classes be like on campus this fall?

Most SMU courses will be offered in-person, on campus, but some classes will follow a hybrid model, providing a virtual, off-site component and staggered attendance schedules. They’ll be taught in-person as well as online simultaneously to accommodate international students facing travel restrictions or students with health conditions that may keep them from class. The classes will also be recorded to offer greater flexibility for online students who may live in dramatically different time zones, or so students can re-watch if it’s helpful.

For classes where students are participating online, all tests will be administered online so that every student’s progress is measured under the same circumstances.

A few courses, such as large lecture classes, may be online-only. Other small classes will be offered in-person, only, in spaces adequate to health and safety guidelines. Special accommodations will be made for students in the performing arts.

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. 

Does SMU plan to have football games and other athletic team events this fall?

We are planning for athletics on campus this fall. The health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is our highest priority. Athletics is following the guidance from SMU officials, the NCAA, the American Athletic Conference, state and local public health departments and medical experts to establish appropriate safety measures for practice and competition sites.

Should I self-screen before coming in to work?

All employees are required to conduct a daily self-screening to ensure you are symptom-free. The screening includes taking their temperature and assessing for the following symptoms:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If these symptoms are present, the employee must stay at home, report to their supervisor, and complete the SMU Health Reporting Form. If you are sick and cannot work, you will need to use sick leave until you return to work.

What is SMU doing to make sure my work and education environment is safe?

In addition to health and safety measures by employees of social distancing, face coverings and daily self-screenings, SMU put in place enhanced cleaning protocols designed to keep University students, faculty and staff healthy while on campus. Enhancements include a 94% increase in hand sanitizer availability, a 10% surge in custodial staff hiring, and an increased emphasis on disinfecting high-touch areas like light switches and door knobs. Additional measures, including the use of hospital-grade disinfectants, are outlined in the custodial response guide.

Has SMU stopped hiring because of COVID-19?

Because of financial concerns created by the pandemic, SMU is delaying the hiring of vacant positions through at least December, 2020. The hiring delay applies to full and part-time faculty, staff, temporaries, consultants, and independent contractor positions funded from unrestricted resources (fund 10 or 12). Existing temporary positions will not be extended once the current commitment has been met. Grant or restricted-fund positions are not impacted by delayed hiring.  

For more information visit SMU HR’s Hiring Delay: Guidance for Managers.

What is the SMU alumni community doing during this time?

The alumni community continues to be a source of information and inspiration. If you’re looking to stay connected with the SMU community, visit the SMU Network, an online social space by Mustangs for Mustangs. There you will be able to add value while you connect with other alumni and current students, find Mustang businesses to support or promote your own, identify yourself as a mentor or find one and much more.

How are graduate classes being handled?

Each school will responsible for the rollout of online instruction to their graduate students. If you are ever in doubt please reach out to your faculty directly or program director. Here are the website instances we have so far:

For Cox graduate students, click here.

For Perkins graduate students, click here.

For Dedman graduate students, please consult with the departmental Director of Graduate Studies.

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.