Faculty and staff should contact their primary physician, or get a no cost rapid COVID-19 test through virtualcarefamilies.com/smu at the on-campus test site at Expressway Towers or one of their other locations in the DFW area.
There are three steps:
Step 1: Pre-Screening
In order to be tested for active COVID-19, SMU faculty and staff (and your spouses and dependents) may book a visit at the Expressway Tower testing location or one of the DFW clinics ahead of time through a virtual visit.
Step 2: The Screening Process
Through the virtual screening process, a physician will triage you and based on your symptoms and exposure, determine if you are a “low COVID-19 risk” or a “potential COVID-19 risk.”
If you are confirmed to get a test, you will be booked on campus at Expressway Tower for your rapid COVID-19 test, or at a DFW Urgent Care for Kids clinic of your choice
Step 3: Find a Testing Site
Expressway Tower on SMU’s campus is available for rapid COVID-19 testing.
If you are unable to make it to the Expressway Tower location, there are 9 Urgent Care for Kids clinics, throughout the DFW area, open 7 days a week for rapid COVID-19 testing.
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.
The University uses the definitions as provided by the CDC. Isolation 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.
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.
A member of the contact tracing team will reach out to you if you’ve come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive. Close contact is defined by the CDC as being within 6 feet of another person for 15 minutes or more.
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.
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.
SMU remains committed to adjusting campus operations, as needed, to meet the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and to best support our community. To reflect the most current guidance from the CDC and the State of Texas, the University has established a set of guidelines for flexible work arrangements. To learn more, please visit the Flexible Work Arrangements Guidelines.
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.
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you believe you may be at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 due to underlying health conditions as defined by CDC guidelines, consult your physician about steps to take to protect your health, then work with your supervisor to discuss the possibility of alternate work arrangements for a specific period of time.
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
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
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.
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.
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.
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:
Our focus is currently on prevention of the virus through a campus-wide educational campaign and advisories. Messages, such as the ones on this blog, are being shared through email, text, social media, flyers, and signs on campus.
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.
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.
faculty, and staff should already be signed up, but may login to my.smu.edu to add/update their SMU Alert contact information.
Perkins Chapel resumed weddings in June under the current state and local guidelines. To reserve the chapel, call 214-768-3035, or visit the reservations office from 10 a.m. to noon and 2 to 4 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at 101-B Kirby Hall. More detailed information is available by visiting the Perkins Chapel website.