Maintaining a Healthy Campus

Working in conjunction with local health and public policy officials, SMU has developed a comprehensive plan to enhance the safety of everyone on campus and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

This plan includes, but is not limited to, enhanced cleaning protocols, changes to the academic calendar and contact tracing procedures.

While the University has undergone a sweeping review of its procedures, every member of the SMU community has a responsibility to take care of each other by engaging in responsible behavior while adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Face Coverings

  • SMU is requiring that everyone on the SMU campus wear a face covering 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, in private spaces such as inside an office or partitioned cubicle for employees, or inside an individual residence hall room for students
  • The CDC does not recommend using face coverings if they have an exhalation valve or vent.
  • 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.
  • 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

Enhancements to SMU’s cleaning protocols include:

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

Adjusted Academic Semesters

The University will end in-person classes before Thanksgiving and make additional adjustments to the academic semester as follows:

  • The Sept. 7 Labor Day holiday will be suspended
  • Fall Break, slated to take place Oct. 12-13, will also be suspended
  • Students whose on-campus housing agreement ends in the fall will be expected to move out of their residence halls prior to Thanksgiving Break (exemptions can be made for students who do not have access to alternate living arrangements)
  • All class instruction will shift to remote and online-only for the few remaining class days following Thanksgiving 

If You Feel Sick

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

If you are experiencing symptoms:

  • Stay home
  • If you are a student, 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. Employees should contact their primary physician or get a no cost rapid COVID-19 test through virtualcarefamilies.com/smu.
    • In some cases, test results may be available within the hour. If the testing sample needs to be sent to a commercial lab, however, results may not be available for up to 48 hours or more.
  • Students must complete a Caring Community Connections Form. You will be contacted by the University contact tracing team in order to work through isolation and quarantine procedures if needed.
  • SMU employees (both 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 paperwork.
  • If you are enrolled in a non-University insurance plan: Costs are typically fully covered with a claim.
    • You may receive a charge for testing services, which most private insurers will fully reimburse if you file a claim.
    • In the event your insurance does not cover COVID-19 testing costs after filing a claim, contact the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center to discuss what options are available. 

Contact Tracing

  • Students who have tested positive, or have 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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 should they contract COVID-19. 
  • Students living off campus will isolate in their own residence.  
  • Additional protocols are in place—and available to read in the Fall Operations Plan—should demand for isolation quarters exceed capacity. 
  • Students in isolation can expect periodic check-ins via their phone from a member of the Health Center staff and regular communication from the contact tracing team to discuss symptoms, provide further resources and answer questions. 
  • Students will stay in isolation for a minimum of 10 days and will be instructed about when they can leave by a member of the Dr. Bob Smith 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 or through the online portal
  • Students in crisis who need immediate help should call 214-768-2277 to reach a counselor on call 24/7