2021 Covid-19 Operations Plan

The 2021 Covid-19 Operations Plan for the University has been released.  More information is available on the Mustang Strong blog.

Fall 2021 Information

Starting in summer 2021, a phased re-opening will occur on campus with the goal of students meeting fully in-person starting in the fall. A chart (published April 29, 2021) details this timeline below.

Fall 2020 Information

Simmons Graduate Students

Health and Safety

What are the expectations for on-campus attendance?

SMU requires all students to complete training on safety and sign a Pledge to keep the SMU community safe. The training addresses health screening, face coverings, and social distancing expectations on campus. If you work in a Lab on campus, please check with your Supervisor for COVID-19 operating procedures.

Course Formats

What are the options for courses in the fall?

SMU Cox School of Business Senior Lecturer Charles Besio teaches during his course, Marketing Principles, one July afternoon. Besio is lecturing for an SMUFlex class, in which some students learn in person and others remotely (virtually) at the same time.SMU courses are being offered in two formats this fall: Virtual / Remote / Online or SMUFlex. Virtual courses are fully online with synchronous and asynchronous learning components. You may be expected to participate online during part of your assigned class time so please check with your instructor. SMUFlex courses are designed to offer flexibility in attending on campus or online. You will be asked to select your preferred mode of attendance by August 7th so instructors can plan for their fall classes and ensure social distancing in the classrooms. All courses will meet online after the Thanksgiving holidays.


Is the attendance policy different for fall SMUFlex courses?

No. All students are expected to attend all classes in the SMUFlex mode they select in August (online or on campus). If you are ill and cannot attend class on campus, please notify your instructor as soon as possible via Canvas email communication. You may ask the instructor to attend online while you are waiting to determine if you will need to change your attendance mode longer term due to illness. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, please notify your instructor and work with them on plans to complete assignments. Longer term, you will need to contact Associate Dean Tony Petrosino to request a change of attendance mode to ensure that we can accommodate all students in the available classrooms and plan for appropriate interactions between students on campus and online.

SMUFlex On-Campus Classroom Limits

What happens if more students plan to attend on campus than can safely fit in the available classroom?

SMU is implementing a Red/Blue option for SMUFlex courses with more students than can fit safely in the classroom. Students will be assigned to a Red or Blue group and attend approximately half of the class sessions on campus and half online, alternating with the other group. SMUFlex students who attend online will follow that mode throughout the semester.

SMUFlex Recordings

Will SMUFlex courses be recorded?

Yes, instructors will record their Zoom sessions and provide links to videos within 24 hours after the end of each class session. Some instructors may choose not to record portions of the class where sensitive or personal topics are discussed, but all tested or graded instruction should be recorded.

SMUFlex Exams

How will exams, tests and quizzes be handled for SMUFlex courses?

All exams and tests will be conducted online for SMUFlex courses. You may be required to install and use Lockdown Browser for exams so please check with your instructor.

Grading Policy

Is the grading policy the same as last semester?

No. SMU is following our standard grading policy for all fall courses. You are expected to participate in all class sessions and submit assignments on time according to the syllabus. Please contact your instructor if you become ill with COVID-19 to work out an adjusted assignment schedule if needed.

Testing and Contact Tracing

What testing and contact tracing procedures are available at SMU?

Testing is available at the SMU Health Center. It is prioritized for people with symptoms and generally available in 24-48 hours. Please contact the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center for details. SMU is implementing Contact Tracing protocols outlined by Johns Hopkins that include tracing for "close contact" defined as being in contact for more than 15 minutes less than 6 feet away from another person. SMU expects people who test positive to remain in isolation for 10 days with online access to your courses. Please follow the SMU Reporting protocol for symptoms, exposure and positive cases.

Simmons Undergraduate Students

Visit Mustang Strong Student Information to learn about SMU’s innovative approaches to delivering instruction this Fall 2020.

Watch President Turner’s and Provost Laboa’s Virtual Town Hall for Parents and Students about Fall 2020 safety, health precautions, and academics.

Simmons Telehealth Counseling Services

It’s important for all of us in the Simmons community to take care of ourselves during this time, so the School is offering special support resources through its M.S. in Counseling program. Community members can receive free telehealth counseling services via zoom at the Center for Family Counseling by calling 214-768-6789. Students can reach-out to SMU’s Counseling Services for assistance in locating virtual or community-based counseling services. Crisis services for students are available 24/7 by calling 214-768-2277 and selecting the ‘speaking with a crisis counselor option’ for assistance. Additional assistance with referrals or other services for students can be obtained by calling 214-768-2277 and selecting the option to speak with a clinical case manager.