SMU To Offer Combination Of In-Person, Online Classes For ‘July Term’

SMU, including its campus in Taos, expects to offer a combination of in-person and online classes for Summer Session II, commonly referred to as July term. University officials say they will continue to monitor and adjust as evolving guidelines emerge from Dallas County and Gov. Greg Abbott.

The President’s Task Force for a Healthy Opening Fall 2020 was reportedly charged early on with evaluating the feasibility of an on-campus experience for the July term.

“The task force surveyed more than 1,000 students who enrolled in July term, as well as the faculty who signed up to teach,” SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in a letter to the campus community. “While most students replied that they would prefer to continue their summer learning online, many students expressed that they would like the on-campus experience, provided that safety and health protocols are in place. Faculty survey results mirrored the students’ responses, with most planning to teach online and many open to teaching in person.”

The task force recommended that a hybrid model combining some on-site classes with online classes would be feasible and most responsive to the student needs. 

“Welcoming a small community of students on campus in July will also enable SMU to fine-tune recommendations and protocols for the larger group of students returning in the fall,” the letter read.

 Employees are returning to campus June 1 after receiving training on safety and health practices, which will include daily health self-assessments, face coverings, enhanced cleaning protocols, social distancing guidelines in workspaces, restrooms, and elevators; as well as contact tracing. Those safety procedures will be in place for students as well.

“As we prepare for July, we are layering in plans to reduce the density of academic and residential facilities and dining halls, planning for distance-conscious transitions between classes, on-campus COVID-19 testing and more,” according to the letter.

The university will reportedly release more details closer to July.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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