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.

I am an SMU faculty or staff member. How do I get a COVID-19 test?

Convenient no-cost COVID-19 testing is available for SMU faculty, staff and benefits eligible spouses and dependents at 9 DFW Virtual Care for Families locations. The closest testing center to the SMU campus is minutes away on the corner of Preston Rd. and Forest Ln. (see below). Other locations in Arlington, Frisco, Garland, McKinney and Plano may be convenient to your home or along your commute to and from work. They are open 7-days a week. Locations and maps are listed at the bottom of the appointment page. Results are typically available same day.

When you book, enter “SMU – COVID-19 test” in the reason for visit box and click on the “self pay” button. Screening and testing costs are completely covered by SMU. Note that virtual telemedicine appointments indicate Round Rock, Texas, as the location. Once the patient is in the visit with the provider, the provider will schedule a curbside visit to a clinic at a location of the patient’s preference in the DFW metro area if any tests are needed.  

Virtual care Families closest location to SMU:

Testing is also available free of cost to you and your benefits-eligible dependents through your SMU benefits at pharmacies, health care providers and testing sites off campus. Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services, State of Texas and Dallas County offer resources of where to find COVID-19 tests.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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 to add/update their SMU Alert contact information.