Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Next steps for our return to The Hilltop

Originally Posted: 

Plans unfolding for SMU’s fall semester 2020 will be guided by science, common-sense expectations, and the traditional Mustang spirit

At SMU, we intend to rise to the challenge of the fall 2020 academic semester in a way that fully embraces both the outstanding personalized education that is our hallmark, and our community’s health and safety. While the ongoing pandemic has prompted us to revise fall plans, SMU will work to ensure that students have the opportunity to receive face-to-face instruction from our excellent faculty as well as experience all the campus has to offer.

We all have a role to play in keeping the campus healthy. Therefore, our approach will be guided by science and common-sense expectations:

  • The University will take pragmatic, well-thought-out measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. SMU will employ contact tracing, and will respond quickly to individual incidents of COVID-19 exposure, should they occur.
  • Each member of the campus population will act responsibly to help protect everyone’s health and welfare by practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings, remaining vigilant to changes in individual health, and responding to temporary measures related to the pandemic – all with a spirit of cooperation.
  • SMU will be prepared to adapt as necessary in response to changing circumstances.

Our University is grateful to many dedicated people who have contributed extraordinary amounts of time and talent toward the following plan. The Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020 – whose members included faculty, staff and students – began meeting in April (with some of its subcommittees meeting daily) to provide research and analysis critical to the University’s fall plan. The Emergency Operations Center (EOC), a standing group of University administrators and staff members that mobilizes as necessary, has worked through the day-to-day operation of the campus while forwarding issues to leadership to be considered for the fall.  The framework that follows is informed by the Task Force, the EOC, state and county health guidelines, and benchmarking from other universities. Moving forward, specific plans will be formulated and executed through the EOC structure with review and approval by the President’s Executive Council as necessary and appropriate, under the oversight of the University president.

Students will receive more details over the coming weeks about their return to campus for both the July term and the fall semester, including specifics about residence halls, advising and move-in.

Faculty and staff will also receive more detailed communications with guidance on delivery of curriculum, topics pertaining to classroom management and technology support.