Dear SMU community,
Due to rapidly changing issues related to the spread of Coronavirus, SMU will move students from classrooms to online instruction for the first two weeks following Spring Break, beginning Monday, March 23. The University is requesting that as many students as is possible leave the residence halls during Spring Break and remain home until April 5, as we expect normal operations to resume on April 6.
International and other students who need to remain living in the residence halls should formally request approval from the Office of Residence Life and Student Housing to stay on campus. RLSH will send a message directly to residents containing additional information outlining the process. The campus will remain open and operational. Limited food service will still be available, the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center, the Meadows Museum and the SMU Childcare Center will remain open, as will Fondren Library. However, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports will close during this period.
Faculty and staff should plan to report to campus as usual during this period. As a reminder, the University is providing training March 18-19 to upgrade faculty skills in delivering online instruction. We also recognize that some faculty or staff members may have medical vulnerability or childcare issues to consider moving forward, and we will direct you to the process for requesting special accommodations via this website.
Some types of instruction may not be fully deliverable online, as in the visual and performing arts and laboratory sciences, and these will be addressed individually. Our goal is to prevent interruption of anyone’s degree plan – particularly graduating seniors.
Student advising for May term, summer, August and fall classes will also be handled online during the two-week period following Spring Break.
In addition to moving classroom instruction online, SMU is canceling or postponing on-campus gatherings of more than 50 people through the end of April. We are establishing an appeals process to consider exceptions for some types of events. At this time, we still intend to hold Commencement Convocation on May 16.
These decisions raise questions for many of you, and we will continue to address them in coming days. Please continue to monitor this site and the FAQ section.
We do not make these decisions lightly, but out of an abundance of caution. As I noted previously, we are currently planning for normal classroom instruction to resume April 6, but everyone is asked to remain patient and flexible as we work through this challenging time. We are determined to deliver on our education mission while maintaining the priority of the health and well-being of our campus community. Please understand that if circumstances mandate further change, we will continue to adjust. SMU is a community of smart, motivated and compassionate people who will work through this.
Thank you all for your patience, and stay healthy.
R. Gerald Turner