Three students at Southern Methodist University have tested positive for COVID-19, university officials said Wednesday.
The students tested positive for the disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus, after leaving the area for spring break, SMU President R. Gerald Turner said in a letter to students and faculty Thursday afternoon. None of the students are on campus.
One of the students, a graduate student in the Cox School of Business, attended a class March 11 after returning from an international study trip. The student tested positive for the disease at a Dallas-area hospital March 15. The student lives off campus.
Two undergraduates in the Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences tested positive after going home for spring break. Neither student has been on campus since March 13. One of the students lives in Lloyd Common, an on-campus dormitory, with no roommate. The other lives off campus.
"In all three of these instances, the time between the student’s last presence on campus and their confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 were within the estimated 14-day incubation period for the virus," Turner said. "All three students who have reported positive tests are recovering at home under the care of their personal physicians."
As the virus began to spread in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, SMU announced earlier this month that it was moving all classes online through the end of the semester and closing down its campus. Dorms and dining halls remain open, but Turner encouraged "as many students as possible" to stay home and not return to campus.
In Wednesday's letter, Turner said the university's decision to shift classes online and require only essential personnel to come to campus has "dramatically reduced its campus population to support social distancing and slow the spread of COVID-19."
Turner encouraged students and faculty to comply with the local, state and federal laws that are in effect wherever they are.
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