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.

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 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.

Why is SMU not mandating required testing for everyone to return to campus?

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. 

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 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 need to get a test for COVID-19. Where do I go?

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.

Learn more.

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.

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.

Why can’t I get more specific information about cases that might be near the area where I work or live on campus?

 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.

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.

Did SMU require safety training before employees returned to campus?

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