Two SMU graduate students were passengers aboard a Frontier Flight from Dallas to Cleveland that included Amber Joy Vinson, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse who later tested positive for Ebola, according to an announcement released by SMU this afternoon.
The two students were not on the return flight to Dallas where Vinson reported showing symptoms of Ebola.
“The CDC doesn’t inform anybody except the person [affected],” said President Turner at the Student Affairs Leadership Council luncheon Monday. “They were informed by the CDC that they were on a flight, but that there was very little probably at all – in fact they were saying little or no risk – that they would be involved with it.”
However, the students have volunteered to remain at home for 21 days to ensure that they did not contract the virus.
They are being monitored as a precaution and are following the CDC requirements and recommendations by remaining in isolation, monitoring their temperatures and keeping in contact with health officials.
“We don’t have any worry about it,” said President Turner. “CDC doesn’t have any worry about it. CDC is not making them stay away. County of Dallas I not making them stay away. The students literally agreed to do it just because they wanted the university to not have any worry about it.”
The two students will continue their schoolwork from home. According to the announcement, SMU professors and faculty are working with them to make this process easier.
“[SMU students] really don’t need to be concerned about this.” said President Turner about the growing fear of contracting Ebola. “There are people who are so irrational about this, and I know we’ll get some calls saying, ‘I want to take my son or daughter out.’ It’ll be safer for them to stay… I’m hoping that during family weekend, people will come and dispel the rumor aspects of it.”
If any other student, faculty or staff were also on the Frontier Airlines flights between Dallas and Cleveland, they are being asked to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-232-4636 or the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141.
The Daily Campus will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.