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SMU Suspends University-Related International Travel Due To Coronavirus; TCU Calls On Students In Italy To Return Home

DALLAS and FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - A pair of North Texas universities announced new efforts Monday to keep students, faculty and staff from contracting COVID-19.

TCU said it is calling on all students currently in Italy to return to the U.S.

The University released the following statement on the matter:

With the recent elevations to the U.S. State Department and CDC travel advisories, TCU has asked all students traveling in Italy to return to the United States. We are working directly with our students to ensure they have academic support and to minimize the impact on their academic process.

TCU has also created a "frequently asked questions" section on its website specifically about coronavirus.

Meantime, SMU is suspending all university-related international travel and has cancelled all summer abroad programs.

SMU has also established a blog about its handling of coronavirus.

Here is the full letter from the SMU Associate VP and Chief Risk Officer:

Dear SMU Community,

Following federal and local guidelines recommended to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), SMU is suspending all university-related international travel. Students (undergraduates and graduate students) as well as faculty and staff members currently studying or working abroad are requested to return to the U.S. In addition, the University requests that those returning from international travel self-isolate for 14 days within their homes before returning to campus.

SMU Abroad has cancelled all summer abroad programs and is not authorizing university-related international travel by students, faculty or staff for the immediate future.

New guidelines issued March 1 by the Centers for Disease Control and amplified by Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) encourage higher education institutions to consider these measures given the speed of spread and number of countries experiencing human-to-human transmission. We understand the inconvenience this creates and ask for your patience as we work through challenges
related to this request.

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.

Undergraduate students currently abroad and the provider companies that support them have all been notified of the international travel suspension. SMU is evaluating alternative ways for students to complete their courses and educational requirements. SMU Deans and their staffs are working to inform graduate students of this international travel notification.

We are also in the early stages of notifying undergraduate students signed up for summer programs of these changes. Our SMU Abroad office is committed to providing alternatives by working with SMU Intersessions, SMU-in-Taos and other entities to offer alternative summer options to meet student degree requirements.

SMU has developed a campus-wide plan to address potential challenges created by the Coronavirus. We have established a blog at that will be updated regularly. Please see the post from last week on tips to preventing the spread of the virus.

Please understand that people across the SMU campus are diligently working to address this rapidly changing situation surrounding the Coronavirus, its potential impacts on our campus, and alternative curriculum options to allow students to continue and complete their studies. Thank you for your understanding as we work through these challenges together.

Warren A. Ricks, CRM
SMU Associate Vice President and Chief Risk Officer

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