FAQ

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We are receiving a high volume of inquiries and request your patience as we provide information. For fastest answers to your questions, we recommend you check the FAQs or contact the Call Center at 888-378-1933. Still have a question? Send it by email to news@smu.edu and we will address it in the FAQs as quickly as we can.

  • 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.

  • How do I request to take a leave of absence (cancellation/withdrawal) for the semester?

    Undergrad students who are considering a leave of absence (Cancellation/Withdrawal) should email the Office of Student Success and Retention ssr@smu.edu

  • How do I switch from being an SMUFlex student to being fully remote? (and vice versa)

    Undergrad students who wish to switch from SMUFlex (Red/Blue) format to fully remote format – or vice versa – should email academicsuccess@smu.edu

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • I’m on campus and I’m seeing a party or large crowd gathering. How can I report?

    Contact SMU PD at 214-768-3388


  • I’m in quarantine and need (food, medicine, other items). How can I get that?

    The Division of Student Affairs in collaboration with Campus Services will coordinate the meal delivery process provide food for three meals, delivered once per day. The Case Investigator will upload any dietary restrictions into the student’s case in Maxient. These lists will be merged and shared daily with SMU Dining Services in order for meals to be prepared for all students in isolation.

    ABM, the University’s contracted custodial service, will be responsible for trash removal from the facility twice per week.

    Laundry services will not be provided while a student is in isolation for 10 days or less. In Martin Hall, Dyer House and Perkins Hall, they will be able to utilize the laundry services located within the facilities if needed. If a student must remain in isolation for more than 10 days in the wellness pod, laundry services will be arranged through Mustang Laundry.

  • 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. 

  • Will I be made aware of any COVID-19 cases within dorms or campus departments?

    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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • How do I request a more flexible work arrangement?

    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.  

  • 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.

  • Am I required to work Labor Day (Sept. 7)

    In order to accommodate revisions to the fall semester, SMU offices will remain open and staffed on Monday, Sept. 7, Labor Day. The University will offer employees a floating holiday to replace the traditional Labor Day holiday. More information about the floating holiday is available by visiting the SMU HR website.  

  • What should I do if I have symptoms?
    • Stay home.
    • Contact your physician or the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center at 214-768-2277 for a screening interview by trained medical staff.
  • How is the campus being alerted about new cases?

    The COVID-19 website will be updated as positive cases are identified. Additionally, anyone can sign up to receive alerts when the site is updated by sending an email to subscribe-covidcasenotifications@list.smu.edu.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What will happen with study abroad programs?

    Due to the uncertainties and travel restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SMU does not anticipate offering any in-person programs abroad in the Spring or Summer of 2021. The SMU Abroad office is developing a number of virtual internships/courses abroad that will be available this upcoming summer.

  • 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.

  • Will SMU offer Hilltop Sports Camps this summer?

    No. Because of concerns related to COVID-19, SMU’s Dedman Recreation Center has decided not to hold its Hilltop Sports Campus this summer.

    All parents who have signed up their child for Hilltop Sports Camp should have received an email about the decision to cancel. Full refunds will be issued for each registered camper.

    Please don’t confuse Hilltop Sports Camps with other similar sports camps offered at SMU.

  • I got a letter saying that I am receiving CARES Act funding to help with COVID-19 financial concerns, how do I verify that it is authentic?

    SMU sent out letters to more than 1,650 students who qualified for this funding under the CARES Act. You may contact the Division of Enrollment Services at enrol_serv@smu.edu or 214-768-3417 for help in verifying if your letter is legitimate.

  • What if I have a health issue and am worried about contracting the virus?

    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.

  • I have children at home but no child care available, what are my options?

    SMU Child Care reopened June 1.

    If you require additional assistance with child care issues, please contact SMU Human Resources at returntowork@smu.edu for resources that may be helpful.

  • 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.

  • How is SMU ensuring social distancing in shared office spaces?

    Before returning to your office, you should work with your supervisors to evaluate how your departments and offices are physically arranged to ensure that is a  socially distant working environment.

  • 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.

  • How can I volunteer to help students whose senior year, admissions process or internships have been disrupted due to the spread of COVID-19?

    Volunteer opportunities exist for alumni who want to provide summer internships for students displaced by travel restrictions. Alumni can also help create a virtual Hilltop environment that further encourages graduating seniors during their final semester and gives admitted students an extraordinary welcome to the SMU family. Email smualum@smu.edu for more information on how to submit your video or send your well wishes.

  • 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.

  • What is SMU doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) on campus?

    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.

  • 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. 

  • Are weddings still taking place at Perkins Chapel?

    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.