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.

  • Does SMU have any students, staff or faculty members who have tested positive for COVID-19?

    On April 2, SMU was notified that an employee of the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center on the University campus had tested positive for COVID-19.  Prior to that, on March 25, SMU learned that three of our students, none currently on campus, had tested positive for COVID-19.
     
    We have notified the campus community by email and posted details of the cases involving the students and the employee on the SMU COVID-19 blog. In addition, we have sent information to classmates, faculty, staff members, visitors, vendors and contractors who may have come in contact with the individuals who tested positive for coronavirus.

  • How will I know if I have been exposed to someone at SMU with COVID-19?

    If SMU is made aware of a student who tested positive for COVID-19 and may have exposed others on campus, the dean of students will send a direct notification to other students who were in a class, lived in the same residence hall, participated in a student organization or traveled with the student who tested positive. No names will be given to protect the medical and privacy rights of the student with COVID, but students who may have exposed will be notified of that possibility.

    Keep in mind, for students who left campus by March 13 for spring break, the 14-day incubation period for the virus has passed so exposure would not have occurred at SMU. We may not be made aware of every student who tests positive for COVID-19, but we will do our best to notify the community should we become aware of cases where other students, faculty or staff may have been exposed.

  • With the COVID-19 restrictions, how do I move out of my residential housing on campus?

    Residence Life and Student Housing has created a detailed process to help students move out of campus housing, and it carefully follows the guidelines of local, state and federal health officials to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

    The move-out process is specific to your individual situation and depends upon whether you want to move yourself or use a vendor to pack and ship or pack and store your belongings. The most detailed and up-to-date instructions can be found here.

    You may also reach out to Residence Life and Student Housing via email at housing@smu.edu  A staff member will respond to your questions within one business day.

  • What if there are travel restrictions affecting my move-out process?

    Residence Life & Student Housing continues to monitor changes to recommendations and requirements by local, state, and federal agencies. Students whose permanent home address is in an area with restricted travel and had not already contracted with an assigned, preferred vendor, unique instructions were provided to you via your SMU email address on April 1.
     
    Due to the travel restrictions, students are required to update their Move-Out Plans in the SMU Housing Portal by April 6 at 5pm CST.

  • When can I reserve a move-out time block/appointment?

    Four-hour time blocks and move out appointments are available between April 15 – May 15, 2020. Students will have the ability to update or change their appointment time within the SMU Housing Portal up until May 1.
     
    Students card access will only be active during the four-hour time blocks.

  • Is SMU moving to classes online only?

    Yes, SMU began moving students to online instruction for the remainder of the Spring Semester as of Monday, March 23, following Spring Break.

  • Will SMU offer May and June term classes?

    Yes. Due to the uncertainty in the continuation of health and travel restrictions, SMU is moving May and June term classes online. Enrollment for the May term opens Monday, April 13. The priority enrollment deadline is Friday, April 24, but the final date to enroll now set for May 14 may change. If you have questions about May or June terms, SMU Intersessions staff are available from 2-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Zoom or by scheduling an appointment by emailing intersessions@smu.edu.

  • Will SMU offer SMU-in-Taos classes this spring?

    Yes. Many of the courses previously listed for May term at SMU-in-Taos will be offered online, while others that are site-dependent, such as “Photography in Taos,” will not. None of the field school classes previously scheduled for June at SMU-in-Taos will be available. Students with questions about SMU-in Taos courses may contact Rumanda Young at rkyoung@smu.edu or Lashanda Phillips at lashandap@smu.edu.
     

  • Will SMU courses in July be online as well?

    The University has not yet decided how classes scheduled to start in July will be offered. That information, as well as the enrollment date for July classes, will be announced later.

  • Why should I take an intersession course online between semesters?

    May and June courses can provide opportunities for students whose internships have been cancelled or shortened due to COVID-19.  Students may request specific May/summer courses through the SMU Intersession “Wish List” or the SMU-in-Taos “Wish List.”

  • How does the decision to move to online instruction impact staff and faculty?
    We have reduced even further the number of people working on campus. Effective Monday, March 23, the University moves to essential personnel only status until April 3.  Employees were contacted directly by their appropriate vice president or athletics director with guidance on their individual units’ operating plans. Also, staff members have been asked to fill out the Essential Telecommuting Arrangement Form to work remotely. Please go to Keep Working Online and Keep Teaching Online for additional information.

  • 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.

  • Under the “essential personnel only” status, do I need to come to work?

    Following the guidance of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order on March 31 to slow the spread of COVID-19, SMU is extending its “essential personnel only” status through April 30, allowing most of our faculty and staff to continue working remotely.


    Employees identified as “essential personnel” by their supervisor and the emergency policy should come to campus, as will those employees identified by their vice president as needed to provide on-site services. Each staff member should have received instructions from their vice president and each faculty member should have received instructions from the provost. 


    All faculty and staff, whether salaried or hourly, will continue to be paid during this extension, but please make sure you report your time as you normally would.


    Anyone at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of age or a serious long-term health problem that compromises the immune system, or who is experiencing childcare issues, should still work with their supervisor to make alternative work arrangements. Go to the Human Resources site here, review the documentation and, if needed, work with your supervisor to fill out the Emergency Telecommuting Arrangement Form

  • What if I’m a student living on campus and can’t go home?

    International students who cannot return home or students who have extenuating circumstances that might prevent them from leaving campus, should contact the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing at housing@smu.edu to explain why and seek approval for an exception. Food services will be available but limited. 

  • Will I be reimbursed for room and board fees?

    SMU is currently determining the best approach for prorating refunds for certain charges such as residence halls and dining. The refund process is currently under development and will be resolved by no later than the end of the semester.

  • How can I help SMU students struggling with unexpected expenses related to the COVID-19 situation?

    The SMU Student Emergency Fund exists for situations such as these when we must come together as a community.

    While the situation around the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, we are taking additional proactive measures that will protect our SMU community, on and off campus. As Mustangs are vacating campus and transitioning from in-person to online classes, students, in particular, may be struggling to cover unexpected costs related to travel, technology, health and wellness and other unforeseen circumstances. The SMU Student Emergency Fund can help provide the resources for students facing difficult situations.

  • Is SMU canceling or postponing alumni events?

    Yes. In the interest of protecting everyone’s health and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations has canceled or postponed all events, in Dallas area and beyond, that are scheduled to take place through the end of April. We hope to announce potential new dates for events that have been postponed in the coming weeks. If you have questions, please email smualum@smu.edu or contact the event host for more information.

  • 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.

  • Will SMU Giving Day be rescheduled?

    While SMU Giving Day is primarily an online event, the University felt the need to address the community’s acute challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hopeful that we will be able to come together later this spring to support SMU Giving Day causes.

  • Are on-campus events canceled?

    SMU is canceling or postponing on-campus gatherings of more than 50 people through the end of April. We are establishing an appeal process to consider exceptions for some types of events.

  • Is SMU postponing Spring 2020 Commencement?

    Given the current global uncertainty about health and the ability to travel, as well as extended Dallas County restrictions on large gatherings, SMU is postponing spring commencement weekend to Saturday, August 15, 2020.
     
    Moving the ceremony will give our graduates the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of your friends, family and loved ones. Graduates will still receive their degrees on May 16th, which is important to allow them to start new jobs on time or continue their academic journey. Transcripts with their degrees will be available in early June and diplomas will be mailed to graduates.  

  • With online classes, are there changes in the academic calendar that I should know about?

    With classes moving online for the remainder of the spring semester, some important dates on the academic calendar have changed, while others remain in place.

    Here are some important ones to keep in mind.

    APRIL 13: Summer and fall enrollment starts
    APRIL 24: Last day to drop courses
    MAY 4: Last day of classes
    MAY 15: All grades reported
    MAY 19: Degree candidates’ deadline to convert assigned grades to a S/S-/NC
    MAY 25: Deadline to convert assigned grades to a S/S-/NC

    Please see this link for more information about the new grading policies. 

  • Will the April 7th drop deadline be changed?

    We have extended the undergraduate course drop date through April 24 to students, an opportunity to experience the new distance learning courses before making any enrollment decisions. We want to encourage students to stick with your courses and remain committed to academic success throughout this semester.

  • Will SMU be offering May Term and summer school? Will classes be online or in person?

    Yes. With the decision to extend online instruction through the end of spring semester, the Division of Enrollment Services will soon provide more information about enrollment appointments and open enrollment for May Term, Summer and Fall.  In addition, the Provost’s Office continues to consider options for instruction during May Term and Summer. We know that many students depend on Intersessions courses to complete their degree and will communicate information with students and faculty as soon as possible.

  • Is SMU offering a Pass/Fail grading option or something similar because of the move to online courses this semester?

    After carefully consulting with faculty, deans and records administration, SMU developed a Temporary Grading Policy for Spring 2020, which has been endorsed by the Faculty and Student Senates. Please carefully review the policy to determine how it applies to you and make sure to adhere to the required deadlines.
     
    The policy is designed to provide flexibility for individual students’ circumstances and encourage students to finish their courses. Professors will report letter grades as normal. Then, students will have the option to keep that grade or choose Satisfactory (S), Satisfactory Minus (S-) and No Credit (NC) based on the guidelines in the policy. Students may make this selection course-by-course after the letter grade is posted at the end of the term. Seniors must act promptly as the deadline will be quick, May 19 at 5pm CST. This temporary grading policy should relieve anxiety and uncertainty about course grades and GPAs.

  • As a faculty member, how are you helping me to deliver instruction?

    Students will be hearing directly from their course faculty. Should you have any questions, please reach out to your professors. Students needing assistance with technical or other issues related to their online classes, should go to the Keep Learning Online that has been developed for on line support. If you need further help, email the SMU Help Desk.

  • As an employee, will I get paid during the remote work period?

    Please be assured that SMU is committed to sustaining the pay continuity for our dedicated and talented workforce.  Staff pay and benefits during the remote work period will be preserved for all hourly and monthly paid employees.  

    o   People who continue working (remotely or on campus) will be paid as they are normally. 

    o   For those whom there are no alternate assignments or work available due to shifts in the campus population, the University will continue normal pay. 

    Details about how time should be recorded in my.SMU was sent to the campus in a letter on March 19, 2020 and will again be emailed to Time Access Approvers. 

  • I’m a student worker, will I get paid?

    Department managers are encouraged to allow students to work remotely if feasible. Students who are unable to work remotely may work on campus during this period. If a student cannot work remotely or work on campus, they will be compensated based on pre-existing work schedules.

    SMU has received guidance from the Department of Education concerning students employed by the University during any closure related to COVID-19.

    The University will continue providing compensation to student workers employed by the University, including those students who are performing Federal Work Study on a bi-weekly basis. The pay continuation provision will begin March 23.

    Guidance on how to complete student workers’ timesheets will be forthcoming from the Payroll Office next week.  If you have questions, that guidance will likely answer them and provide a contact for further information.

  • What if my class requires my physical attendance (i.e., performing arts, laboratory classes)?

    Each of these classes will be addressed individually. Our goal is to prevent interruption of anyone’s degree plan – particularly graduating seniors.

  • 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.

  • Will certificate programs be online as well?
    • SMU Global and Online: Non-credit certificate classes are going online with a few exceptions where rescheduling was more beneficial
    • Simmons: certificates are embedded in the coursework and will be online
    • Perkins: certification courses have been rescheduled and will not be conducted online
    • Cox Executive Education: contact Luigi Pecoraro Ed. D., Managing Director at 214.768.3549 or email Luigi Pecoraro lpecoraro@smu.edu.
  • What facilities will be open?

    University libraries will for the time being be staffed for virtual operations only and will not be open to the University community or the public. The Meadows Museum and Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will close. More information is available here.

  • What is the status of athletic events and practices?

    All athletic practices and games are suspended until further notice. This includes SMU student-athletes, sport clubs, and cheerleaders/pom members. 

  • Is the University suspending campus visits, tours or guests?

    All SMU Undergraduate Admission recruitment events including daily tours and information sessions are currently suspended. SMU continues to closely monitor developments related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). Learn more here and take a virtual tour.

  • What is the campus-wide effort to address potential challenges created by the coronavirus?

    SMU has activated its Emergency Operations Center team to coordinate the university-wide response to the rapidly changing coronavirus outbreak. Members of this team are continuously monitoring developments from local, state and federal health organizations, including daily advisory calls with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.

  • 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.

  • What adjustments is the University making to clean frequently touched surfaces?

    SMU is closely monitoring and following guidance from the CDC, Occupational Health & Safety Administration and other authoritative bodies.

    Our facilities team has upgraded the disinfectant used on campus. SMU now uses Hydrogen Peroxide based wipes and chemicals with a one minute kill time for all touch points in Academic, Athletic, Workout facilities, Health Center, Labs and Childcare locations on campus.

    Below are the primary touch points that staff has been instructed to focus on:

    • Tables
    • Desk (where accessible)
    • Door knobs
    • Showers
    • Doors
    • Counter top surfaces
    • Restroom fixtures
    • Restrooms walls
    • Restroom partitions 
    • Light switches
    • Daycare rugs
    • Daycare floors
    • Daycare mats
    • Athletic mats
    • Classroom desk and instructional podiums
    • Trash can lids
    • Interior hand rails
    • Kitchen/lounge fixtures
    • Elevator buttons
    • Door frames
    • Telephones
    • Dispensers
    • Soap tissue and towel dispensers
  • I saw a cleaning crew in dressed in gowns and masks. What does that mean?

    The hygiene of our campus is a top priority. In addition to enhanced cleaning that is already taking place in campus facilities, you may periodically notice custodial staff wearing personal protective equipment such as gowns. Please do not be alarmed. This is an additional safeguard for professional cleaning procedures under certain circumstances as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

  • 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).

  • If I am unable to teach, can a colleague cover my classes?

    A faculty member may ask a colleague to teach the course while the faculty member is in self-quarantine or self-isolation, but this plan requires department chair approval.

  • How many cases are there in Texas/Dallas County? How fast is it spreading?

    Please visit the SMU blog for continual updates on the COVID-19 Coronavirus as it relates to the SMU campus community.

  • Where can I get the most updated information regarding the COVID-19 Coronavirus?

    The most updated current information on the COVID-19 Coronavirus as it presents in the United States will come from the federal public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    Any specific local advisories for SMU or Dallas County would be issued by the state and/or county public health agencies and will be shared with the SMU community on this dedicated website.

  • 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. 

  • How will I get my mail?
    Student mail: 
    First class letter mail can be forwarded to a home address upon request. The student will need to send an email to postoffice@smu.edu and include their name, ID, PO box number and their home address to forward their mail. In order to forward a package(s) a method for billing must be provided. The student can make this request by emailing postoffice@smu.edu. Further instructions will then be provided. 

    For residential students remaining on campus, a personal mail pickup time must be scheduled either on Tuesday or Friday between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm. An appointment can be scheduled by emailing pcullen@smu.edu.  Students will need to include their name, PO Box number and the time their requesting to pick up their mail or packages.  

    Departmental and Faculty in Residence mail: 
    Mail is available for pickup on Tuesday and Friday on a very limited basis. The Post Office will hold mail until normal business operations resume. If a department would like to request pick up on Tuesday or Friday between the hours of 10am and 2pm, please contact Patrick Cullen at pcullen@smu.edu to schedule the time or if you have any other questions.  

  • How will I get my mail?

    Student mail:
    First class letter mail can be forwarded to a home address upon request. The student will need to send an email to postoffice@smu.edu and include their name, ID, PO box number and their home address to forward their mail. In order to forward a package(s) a method for billing must be provided. The student can make this request by emailing postoffice@smu.edu. Further instructions will then be provided. 

    For residential students remaining on campus, a personal mail pickup time must be scheduled either on Tuesday or Friday between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm. An appointment can be scheduled by emailing pcullen@smu.edu.  Students will need to include their name, PO Box number and the time their requesting to pick up their mail or packages.  

  • How will I get my mail?

    Departmental and Faculty in Residence mail: 
    Mail is available for pickup on Tuesday and Friday on a very limited basis. The Post Office will hold mail until normal business operations resume. If a department would like to request pick up on Tuesday or Friday between the hours of 10am and 2pm, please contact Patrick Cullen at pcullen@smu.edu to schedule the time or if you have any other questions.  

  • When will the University-sponsored and sanctioned travel restrictions be lifted?

    Travel restrictions will remain in place until further notice.

  • Who should comply with the University recommendation to suspend University-sponsored and/or sanctioned international travel?

    Under SMU Policy 11.4 , which addresses global travel, the suspension applies to any SMU faculty member, staff, invited official guest, or student traveling internationally as an individual or in a group for SMU-sponsored, SMU-administered, SMU-affiliated, or SMU-sanctioned activities. This policy does not apply to personal or vacation international travel that is unaffiliated with SMU or to non-official guests or dependents.

    Are there any exceptions to this?

    No, the University is not granting exceptions to this at this time.

  • Study abroad is part of some degree programs. How will students complete the requirement?

    SMU is looking into curriculum options and alternatives to allow students to complete the required coursework. Study Abroad is working individually with students on a case-by-case basis to meet their academic needs.

  • Is SMU compensating students for early return to the United States?

    Under most circumstances, travel arrangements are the responsibility of the student.

    The University is currently working with third-party providers supporting study abroad programs to determine if any additional assistance is warranted.

  • What happens if a student studying abroad decides not to comply with the University’s request to return home?

    Students choosing to remain abroad do so at their own risk, and students and their families assume all responsibility for that decision. By staying, students are risking illness, involuntary isolation and/or a prolonged stay in the country of study because of travel restrictions. Students must also be prepared to find medical facilities and other types of support should they become ill.

  • If a faculty or staff member must cancel their university-sponsored travel, will any fees or travel expenses be refunded? What needs to be done for a reimbursement?

    Based on the University’s decision to restrict all international travel, guidance is offered below to assist in addressing cancellation procedures and expense reporting.  The guiding principle is any expenses forfeited as a result of canceled travel will be reimbursed by SMU with supporting documentation.

    1. Anything booked through Concur can be canceled by emailing smutravel@cbt.com with a copy to travel@smu.edu.  Please include SMU COVID-19 in the e-mail subject line.  The email must have specific information related to services to be canceled (airfare, hotel, car) and include any record locator(s).  The remaining value of the tickets after change fees will be available for future travel on the ticketholder’s Concur profile.
      • Travelers that did not book via Concur/CBT will need to contact the various airlines and/or hotels to cancel and request supporting documentation, e.g., cancellation e-mail with detail of funds forfeited. 
      • Conference attendees should ask if the conference fee can be deferred to a future conference date.
    2. Submitting Expense Report Guidance
      • Please contact Millicent Grant for assistance in creating the report and include COVID19 in the report name.
      • For expenses paid on an SMU PCard the evidence of the funds forfeited will need to be attached to an expense report.
      • Any expenses already paid by the traveler will be reimbursed provided supporting documentation is provided.
      • The expectation is all cancellation expenses will be funded from the original departmental budget source.
      • Expenses for international travel booked after 3/2/2020 until the suspension is lifted will not be covered by SMU (personal reimbursement or SMU PCard expenses).
  • Is the University suspending University-sponsored and sanctioned travel domestically?

    As of March 13, all non-essential domestic travel that is University-sponsored and/or sanction is suspended.

  • Are events at McFarlin Auditorium canceled?

    Yes, all McFarlin events through April 30 of more than 50 people are either canceled or postponed.

  • I have tickets to the Brittany Howard concert at McFarlin. What do I do?

    The event promoter AEG Presents has rescheduled the Brittany Howard concert for September 30th and is honoring all tickets. For more information, see: www.facebook.com/smumcfarlin

  • Is the Tate Lecture event scheduled in March canceled?

    The Tate Lecture with Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist, has been canceled on Tuesday, March 31. As soon as new details are available, updated event information will be posted here.

  • Is the PwC SMU Athletic Forum canceled?

    The PwC SMU Athletic Forum program featuring Tony Gonzalez, originally scheduled for Monday, April 13, has been postponed. As soon as the event has been rescheduled, updated information will be available here. SMU appreciates your patience and understanding as we all work through this challenging time.

  • I have tickets to upcoming Meadows events that have been canceled, what are my options?

    The Meadows School of the Arts has canceled all of its events through the end of April as well as the Repertory Theatre plays that were scheduled to take place in early May. Please let Meadows know via email what you would like to do with your tickets.  You may donate your tickets; Meadows will provide you with a donation letter for tax purposes. You may exchange your tickets into an account bank and save them for use at future events. You may also ask for a refund. For questions, call (214) 768-2787.

  • I purchased my SMU Ring. Is there still a Ring Ceremony?

    The Ring Ceremony scheduled for April 18 is canceled. Rings will be mailed out. An email will be going out in the near future to confirm mailing address and estimated delivery date.

  • Is the SMU Child Care Center open?

    As Monday, March 23rd, the SMU Child Care Center is closed until further notice.