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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SMU follows CDC guidelines, which state: “Testing of all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 before allowing campus entry (entry testing) has not been systematically studied. It is unknown if entry testing in IHEs provides any additional reduction in person-to-person transmission of the virus beyond what would be expected with implementation of other infection preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, masks, hand washing, enhanced cleaning and disinfection). Therefore, CDC does not recommend entry testing of all returning students, faculty, and staff. “
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.
If you are a student, contact the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center by calling 214-768-2141 for a screening interview by trained medical staff and possible testing and referral for treatment.
Employees can get an initial COVID-19 test screening via telemedicine at virtualcarefamilies.com/smu. Based on the screening, an appointment for testing can be scheduled at one of the Urgent Care for Kids clinic locations.
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.
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.
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.
SMU Air Quality Improvement Strategy
SMU Facilities Planning and Management is upgrading all air filters in air handler units across campus, as a strategy to improve air quality in all University buildings. All air filters will be updated from the current MERV 10 level to the highest rated filtration level effective for SMU’s air handler system – MERV 13. This diagram details the filtration ratings, and the types and amounts of particles captured.
COVID-19 Facilities Custodial Response Guide
The Office of Facilities Planning & Management is committed to informing students, faculty and staff of steps and measures taken to protect the SMU community, as we prepare for the fall semester. This guide communicates the cleaning protocols and strategic communication plan developed specifically with regard to prevention of the spread of COVID-19 on our campus.
More resources links:
Enhanced Cleaning Protocol
Enhanced cleaning coverage for all buildings
Facilities Communication Plan and Custodial Response Guide PDF
- Stay home.
- Contact your physician or the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at 214-768-2277 for a screening interview by trained medical staff.
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. Close contact is described by the Centers for Disease Control as within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes without direct respiratory droplet exposure.)
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.
Medical confidentiality must be maintained for everyone. Managers, supervisors and others who learn of positive cases must – by law – respect privacy by not commenting on any information that could identify the person with COVID-19. Refrain from social media posts about the case.
There are three main ways that SMU learns of positive cases of the virus on campus.
- Testing through the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center
- Notification by the local county health department
- Self-disclosure by faculty, staff, or student
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.
All employees returning to work completed a “COVID-19 Return-to-Work Training” before returning to campus. The required training can be accessed on Canvas here. The training covers the following topics:
- COVID-19 Basics
- Social Distancing and Face Coverings
- Cleaning and Disinfection
- Proper Hand Hygiene
- Respiratory Etiquette
- Medical Self-Screening and Reporting
- Human Resources Elements
- Meeting and Meal Etiquette
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.