SMU on Monday notified the campus community that it is suspending all university-related international travel in keeping with federal and local guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, known as the coronavirus.
Students, both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty and staff members studying or working abroad are asked to return to the U.S. In addition, the university is requesting that those returning from international travel self-isolate for 14 days within their homes before returning to campus.
SMU Abroad has cancelled all summer abroad programs and is not authorizing university-related international travel by students, faculty or staff for the immediate future.
New guidelines issued March 1 by the Centers for Disease Control and amplified by Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) encourage higher education institutions to consider these measures given the speed of spread and number of countries experiencing human-to-human transmission.
Those who disregard the university recommendations for international travel reportedly may face difficulties returning to the U.S. and/or possible restricted access to the SMU campus.
Undergraduate students already abroad and the provider companies that support them have been notified of the international travel suspension. SMU is evaluating alternative ways for students to complete their courses and educational requirements. SMU deans and their staffs are reportedly working to inform graduate students of this international travel notification.
The university is also in the early stages of notifying undergraduate students signed up for summer programs about the changes. The SMU Abroad office is reportedly working with SMU Intersessions, SMU-in-Taos, and other entities to offer alternative summer options to meet student degree requirements.
SMU has developed a campus-wide plan to address potential challenges created by the coronavirus and established a blog to update the campus community and share tips to prevent the spread of the virus.