Reports: SMU Employees Test Positive For COVID-19

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect a second letter to SMU faculty and staff).

SMU officials sent letters to faculty and staff informing them two employees tested positive for COVID-19 to date since the beginning of June.

The university sent a letter to faculty and staff June 9 informing them an employee who works in the Annette Simmons building tested positive for COVID-19. The employee last worked on campus June 2 and is now self isolating, the letter, signed by SMU associate vice president and chief human resources officer Sheri Starkey, read.

“The employee reported they did not have close contact with any individuals while on campus,” the letter continued. “If you had been a close contact, we would have notified you. SMU has taken appropriate steps to clean and sanitize the area in which the employee was located. We will not be sharing the employee’s name, and we ask that you respect this individual’s privacy as well.”

University officials sent another letter to faculty and staff June 14 informing them an employee who works in the Blanton building also tested positive for COVID-19. That employee last worked on campus June 12, and is now self isolating, according to the letter.

“The employee reported they did not have close contact with any individuals while on campus. If you had been a close contact, we would have notified you,” the letter read. “SMU has taken appropriate steps to clean and sanitize the area in which the employee was located as well as public spaces in the building. We will not be sharing the employee’s name, and we ask that you respect this individual’s privacy as well.”

The university posted on its website that employees were expected to return to work June 1. Employees were required to complete “COVID-19 Return-to-Work Training” before coming back to work, conduct a daily self screening for symptoms, and employees are asked to wear face coverings “to the greatest extent possible” in public spaces on campus, among other health guidelines.

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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