HPISD, SMU Offer Travel Guidance Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Highland Park ISD and SMU issued spring break travel guidance amid growing concerns about COVID-19.

HPISD Superintendent Dr. Tom Trigg shared a letter encouraging families in the district to follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines for travelers. Trigg noted that there are no confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases in the district or immediate area as of March 4.

However, travel outside the U.S., to or through any impacted regions has the potential to cause delayed entry back into the U.S. and to school based on the CDC guidelines, he said in his letter. Spring break for HPISD is March 13-20.

“HPISD has many procedures in place to protect our students and teachers, and, we want you to know that we have been having conversations to properly prepare us for any situation,” Trigg said. “Our maintenance staff disinfects classrooms and buildings thoroughly, and over spring break, campuses are scheduled to receive deep cleanings.”

He encouraged students, staff, and the community to wash hands, cover their coughs or sneezes, and stay home if they’re sick.

SMU, which March 2 suspended university-sponsored or sanctioned international travel and asked students studying or working abroad to return to the U.S., noted in a letter that while the university won’t attempt to monitor or regulate student, faculty, or staff personal travel, those who do travel may face unpredictable circumstances, travel restrictions, or challenges in returning home and/or accessing health care in a foreign country.

Federal, state and local health organizations are recommending that all travelers returning from international destinations that are an alert level 3 or 4 follow self-monitoring guidelines for 14 days to watch for symptoms of the illness.

The university is maintaining a blog to keep the campus community updated and established an information line dedicated to the novel coronavirus, 888-378-1933.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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