SMU Calls Back All Abroad Program Participants, Suspends Travel Amid Coronavirus Concerns
SMU officials have suspended all international travel indefinitely due to health and safety concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19). All participants currently abroad are requested to return and “self-isolate” at their homes for 14 days, as stated in an email sent to the SMU community on Monday afternoon.
SMU has decided to follow recommendations by the Center for Disease Control, the State Department, and the Department of Education while taking these preventive measures.
SMU notified students that, “any member of the SMU community who chooses to disregard University recommendations for international travel must understand they will do so at their own risk and may face difficulties in return travel to the U.S. and/or possible restricted access to the SMU campus,” in an official statement sent out campus-wide.
“Our primary concern at this point is our students,” said Professor Dayna Oscherwitz, Senior International Officer at SMU. “We are devoting every moment that we have to assessing the current situation, looking after our students who are currently abroad, and evaluating options for those students whose programs were canceled.”
These recommendations to suspend travel include, but are, “not limited to spring break trips, summer study abroad programs, conferences, and research trips.”
SMU will be providing updates regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) on a blog, that they intend to update as more information becomes available.
SMU has also prepared health and safety protocol if news of a confirmed case in North Texas should break, according to a statement sent out Thursday. The email laid out the following precautions for prevention of the flu or similar respiratory illnesses:
• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with others until you have no fever.
The statement reassured that “the Texas Department of Health advises that the risk for all Texans remains low,” and “no reported cases of the illness have any known connection to SMU.”