SMU Plans to Reopen in Fall 2020 Semester

SMU plans to reopen campus in the fall 2020 semester according to an email announcement from President Turner on Thursday April 30.

“It’s time to look to the future,” the announcement reads. “SMU intends to safely open our University for on-campus teaching, learning and student living for the fall semester.”

The SMU President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020, composed of six subcommittees, will be responsible for “bringing our students, faculty and staff back to campus safely while ensuring high-quality instruction, academic rigor, meaningful research and campus engagement,” according to a Monday email announcement.

The six subcommittees and their directors are:

· Academic Continuity; Michael Tumeo (Director of Institutional Research)

· Research Continuity; James Quick (Associate Vice President for Research), Brandon Chance (Office of Risk Management- Director of Environmental Health and Safety)

· Business Continuity; Michael Molina (Associate Vice President of Facilities Planning and Management), Alison Tweedy (Associate Vice President of Campus Services)

· Campus Health and Wellness; Melinda Sutton Noss (Associate Vice President and Dean of Students), Peter Davis (Staff Physician and Co-Medical Director)

· Student Continuity; Melinda Carlson (Dean of Residence Life & Student Housing), Sheri Kunovich (Associate Provost for Student Academic Engagement and Success)

· Communications; Kim Cobb (Director of Media and Community Relations), Dianne Anderson (Director for Strategic Communications)

These announcements follow Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to continue easing restrictions on many businesses and allowing the statewide stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday April 30. Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson will also begin reopening public golf courses, tennis centers, and shooting ranges on Friday May 1, while plans to reopen Dallas’s public libraries, the Dallas Zoo, and the Arboretum are still pending. The Dallas shelter-in-place order is set to expire May 15.

“Clearly, we will work within the boundaries of governmental guidelines as we plan for the beginning of fall classes,” the Thursday announcement said. “[E]very phase of our return to campus will launch with the health and safety of our campus population in mind.”

Dallas County reported 5 deaths and 179 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, the “highest number of daily reported COVID-19 positive cases thus far” according to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Dallas County currently has 3,531 total cases of COVID-19 and 104 total deaths as of April 30 according to the Dallas County COVID-19 blog.