SMU Staff Return to Campus Monday

All SMU employees expect to return to work starting Monday, June 1 according to the SMU Human Resources website.

The university reduced their operations in March following a letter from SMU staff requesting a remote work option. Monday will be the first time all SMU employees will be expected back on campus since the transition, though some SMU employees have been returning since May 18.

“Given that the campus is relatively quiet in June, [it is] an ideal time for staff to return,” reads an email to SMU employees from Provost Peter Moore and Vice President of Business and Finance Chris Regis.

Returning employees are required to complete a “COVID-19 Return to Work Training” course on Canvas. The course consists of a 10-minute video, three single-question multiple choice quizzes about coronavirus symptoms, hand washing and quarantine protocol, as well as links to additional COVID-19 resources.

Initially, SMU employees who had recovered from a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus had to test negative for the virus before returning to work. However, a May 20 Dallas County Order now states that employers cannot “implement any rules making a negative COVID-19 test or a note from a healthcare provider a requirement before a COVID-19 recovered employee can return to work.”

Employees who return to campus are expected to self-screen daily for symptoms, wear face masks as much as possible and uphold social-distancing guidelines within their workspace and on campus, according to the “Welcome Back to Campus” packet.

SMU is also working with their custodial services provider, the nationwide facility services giant ABM, to add extra cleaning presence on campus when SMU employees return on Monday.

The return to campus arrives as Gov. Greg Abbott moves forward with his plans to Open Texas. Bars, rodeos, bowling alleys and other businesses were allowed to re-open at limited capacity, while restaurants were allowed to increase their seating capacity from 25% to 50% last Friday.

SMU’s buildings will remain closed to the general public, but will also begin to reopen in June. Perkins Chapel “will begin hosting weddings June 6, 2020 under the current state and local guidance provided for churches,” while campus tours are expected to resume June 8 according to the packet. The University also plans to resume summer camps and conferences June 15, before phasing in on-campus classes from July to the beginning of the fall semester.