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SMU President R. Gerald Turner's letter to parents

Update (09/10/2009): Since this letter was sent to parents, Dallas County Health and Human Services has changed its advice regarding giving prophylaxis (antivirals) to well students of sick roommates. It no longer recommends providing the antivirals in such cases because most students recover quickly without treatment and because of concern about the potential for developing drug resistance. Roommates may call the Health Center for medical advice at 214-768-2141.



September 3, 2009

Dear Parents,

As we strive to advance the well-being of our students, we are taking steps to minimize the spread of flu, which has been reported throughout Texas and around the country, as well as on our campus.

In accordance with Dallas County Health and Human Services guidelines, SMU is treating all cases of flu or flu-like symptoms as if they were Novel H1N1 influenza. Most reported cases have been mild, and most of those afflicted have recovered within a few days of onset.

We are urging students to be proactive regarding their health: to assess how they are feeling, see a doctor if they have complications and not attend class or other activities if they are ill. Students can call the SMU Health Center at 214-768-2141 for appointments or 24-hour medical advice. Roommates who have been exposed may call the Health Center or see an off-campus health care provider to obtain medication to reduce their risk of contracting the flu.

If students are ill, they should notify their professors as soon as possible by e-mail, or they may call the Office of the Dean of Students for assistance at 214-768-4564. SMUís Provost has issued procedures for faculty that encourage flexibility on make-up assignments and exams for students who are ill. Under recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, students should be fever-free for 24 hours without the assistance of fever-reducing medication before attending classes or associating with others. If students have a meal plan, they may contact their residence hall assistant for information about ordering and delivery of meals from the dining hall.

SMU has preordered both seasonal and Novel H1N1 vaccine. The vaccines will be distributed at campus clinics as soon as they become available; times and locations will be announced by campus e-mail. Students who can obtain flu shots through off-campus sources should do so.

Current information and updates about flu conditions at SMU are posted on our website, The site also contains information about health care options for students and procedures for preventing and treating the flu.

Among the steps being taken, SMU is participating in all briefings with state and county health officials, and is monitoring advisories from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. We are relying on the medical and scientific guidance shared through these forums to direct our actions.

As this flu season progresses, please stay informed about these and other issues by checking our flu website and communications on the SMU Parents site, In addition, the Parent Info Line Ė 214-SMU-PARENTS (214-768-7273 or toll free 1-888-768-7273) Ė will contain updates as needed.

If you have questions, feel free to contact SMUís parent liaison, Deanie Kepler, at or 214-768-4797. You also may contact Troy Behrens, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, at or by calling 214-768-2288.

We know that you share our concerns about the flu and will support our efforts to prevent its spread. Please know that we are doing everything possible to help our students enjoy a healthy, productive fall term.


R. Gerald Turner