Maintaining a Healthy Campus

Developed in conjunction with local health and public policy officials, SMU’s comprehensive plan – implemented during the fall 2020 and updated for spring 2021 – is designed to enhance the campus community’s safety and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

This plan builds on the success of fall University operations and includes vaccine information, changes to the spring calendar and updated contact tracing procedures.

COVID-19 Vaccination

  • Planning for SMU’s vaccine distribution is still underway and has no set timelines; More information will be posted on the Mustang Strong website and sent in a newsletter as it becomes available.

If You Need a COVID-19 Test

All students, faculty and staff are expected to conduct a daily self-screen for COVID-19 before coming to campus.

  • 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 Sanai Urgent Care Center (3414 Milton Ave., Dallas, TX 75205 // 469-522-3995).
  • Students who test positive outside the University’s Health Center 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.
  • 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.
  • SMU faculty and staff should report to their supervisor and complete the SMU Health Reporting Form.

Student COVID-19 Testing Costs

  • If you are enrolled in the University insurance: Costs are fully covered without additional steps.
  • If you are enrolled in a non-University insurance plan: Costs are typically fully covered after filing a claim.
    • You may receive a charge for testing services on your student portal, which most private insurers will fully reimburse if you file a claim.
    • In the event your insurance denies your claim, contact the Health Center and ask for assistance on testing costs.

Face Coverings

  • SMU requires that everyone on the SMU campus wear a face covering over the mouth and nose in all public indoor spaces.
  • This requirement includes classrooms; building entrances and exits; lobbies and lounges; as well as in hallways, stairwells, restrooms and elevators.
  • Face coverings are not required outdoors, 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.
  • If additional accommodations, such as a face shield, are needed students should work with SMU’s Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies for available options.
  • 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.

Enhanced Cleaning

COVID-19 enhancements to SMU’s cleaning protocols include:

  • A substantial increase in hand sanitizer availability throughout campus.
  • Additional custodial staff.
  • An increased emphasis on disinfecting high-touch areas like light switches and door knobs.
  • Additional sanitation measures, including the use of hospital-grade disinfectants and electrostatic spraying when buildings are unoccupied (such as nights or weekends).
  • Learn more about all of SMU’s enhanced cleaning protocols.

Contact Tracing

  • Contact tracing is an effort to identify and inform anyone who has come in close contact with an infected individual. The CDC defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. SMU contact tracing standards includes individuals who were wearing a face covering at the time of exposure. 
  • Individuals who have tested positive, or come into close contact with an individual who has tested positive, 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. 
  • It is imperative that you answer SMU's contact tracing team truthfully should you receive a phone call. Your honest answers will play an important role in slowing the spread of the virus. 

Student Wellness Pods, Isolation and Quarantine

 
  • The University is providing 15 campus wellness pods, 44 bed spaces within Martin Hall, 16 bed spaces within Dyer House, 20 off campus apartment spaces and 52 beds within Perkins Hall for a total of 147 isolation quarters for students living on campus who contract COVID-19. In many instances, students may opt to isolate at their permanent residence.
  • Students living off campus will isolate in their residence.  
  • Additional protocols are in place—and available to read in the COVID 2021 Operations Planshould demand for isolation quarters near or exceed capacity. 
  • Students in isolation can expect periodic check-ins from a member of the Health Center staff, as well as regular communication from the contact tracing team to discuss symptoms, provide further resources and answer questions. 
  • Students should stay in isolation for a minimum of 10 days and will be instructed about when they can leave by a member of the Health Center. 
  • Students will be able to continue their studies while in isolation, as possible, by taking their courses virtually. 

Supporting Your Mental Health

  • Students experiencing mental distress should book an appointment with Counseling Services by calling 214-768-2277  between 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Students in crisis who need immediate help should call 214-768-2277 and press 2 to reach a counselor on call 24/7.