Culture of Care Agreement

RICE CULTURE OF CARE AGREEMENT 2020-2021

I understand, as a member of the Rice community during the 2020-2021 academic year, that I play a vital role in upholding and promoting Rice’s Culture of Care in all of the various ways that students interact not only with each other but also with faculty and staff at the university. I especially understand that my participation is essential to protecting the health and safety of others during a global pandemic. I agree to abide by all federal, state, city, and university mandates, policies, protocols, and procedures related to COVID-19, and I agree to participate in any required training, testing and contact tracing.

I understand that violations of this Culture of Care Agreement will be handled by the COVID-19 Community Court, in conjunction with Student Judicial Programs, whose process is described below. I agree that, should the COVID-19 Community Court determine that my behavior jeopardized the health and safety of others in the Rice community, I may be required to participate in an educational training or program related to public health, or be subject to restrictions on student privileges and campus access. I further agree that violations of the expectations for behavior contained in this Culture of Care Agreement may also be referred for other disciplinary action by Student Judicial Programs.

Health and Wellness

I AGREE:

  • To participate, as part of my obligation to protect my fellow Rice community members, in any daily wellness checks required by Rice, and to self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. I also agree to take part in COVID-19 testing as recommended by health professionals or required by Rice University, and to assist in the tracking of my contacts should I test positive.
  • To immediately contact Student Health Services if I have any symptoms or known exposures related to COVID-19, as soon as they are discovered, and to schedule an appointment for testing as directed by their staff.
  • To report as instructed, if I am selected, for COVID-19 screening testing that will occur for a random sample of Rice community members each week or based on an assessment of risk.
  • To maintain appropriate (at least six feet) physical distance from others whenever possible.
  • To wear a facial covering when I am in any indoor space other than my own residential room.
  • To wear a facial covering when I am outdoors, or carry a facial covering on my person whenever I am outdoors and immediately put it on whenever I may come within six feet of other individuals.
  • To wash my hands frequently for at least 20 seconds throughout each day and before and after interactions with others.
  • To use alcohol-based disinfectant wipes provided throughout campus buildings to clean surfaces with which I come into contact, including but not limited to desks and seats in classrooms.
  • To use the cleaning supplies provided to me to clean and disinfect the shared bathroom spaces that I use in my residential college.
  • To receive an influenza vaccine by October 30, 2020.
  • To comply to with all public health orders issued by the City of Houston and Harris County, Texas.

Campus Movement (including residential colleges)

I AGREE:

  • To congregate only in designated outdoor and indoor areas of campus, wearing a facial covering, maintaining adequate physical distance, and complying with all signage and posted COVID-19 occupancy limits.
  • To not visit or be present on the residential floor of any college (including in my own college) unless I am a resident of that floor.
  • To sit only in seats designated and clearly marked as available in classrooms and other campus buildings, including college commons.
  • To follow procedures for entering and exiting classrooms and for entering and exiting rows of seating in classrooms, which will be clearly marked on signs in and around classrooms.
  • To follow procedures for entering and exiting campus buildings, which will be visible on signs near the entrances and exits of campus buildings.

Off Campus Movement

I UNDERSTAND THAT:

  • Engaging in activities off campus that are not in accordance with physical distancing and public health guidelines endangers all individuals at that event, as well as all individuals that I come in contact with following the event.
  • Engaging off campus in activities not in accordance with physical distancing and public health guidelines, and then later coming to campus and interacting with peers and other community members, puts the health and safety of the Rice community at risk -- including potentially spreading COVID-19 to those who live and work at Rice.
  • If my off campus behavior poses a serious threat to the health and safety of the community, it is possible that I will be removed from the campus community indefinitely and required to continue my course work in a fully remote campus.
  • The Code of Student Conduct and other relevant policies apply to my behavior even when I am off campus.

Travel and Guests

I AGREE:

  • To refrain from having guests, including family members, in my residential college.
  • To limit all unnecessary personal travel and adhere to the University’s most current guidance on Rice-affiliated travel, found here:
  • To comply, if I must travel, with quarantine and testing requirements based on guidance of the state and local health departments in Houston and the travel destination.

Social Life and Recreation

I AGREE:

  • To model behavior for my peers that embodies my commitment to upholding the Culture of Care at Rice and my priority for protecting the members of our community.
  • To observe physical distancing guidelines and other COVID-19-related safety protocols adopted by the University when participating in student organizations, extra-curricular groups, and any other Rice affiliated activities.
  • To comply with all posted COVID-19 occupancy limitations in public spaces around campus and in the residential colleges.
  • To limit my participation in non-essential off-campus activities.
  • To refrain from organizing, hosting, or attending events, parties, or other social gatherings off-campus that may cause safety risks to me and other members of the community.
  • To maintain physical distancing and wear face coverings when engaging in activities off-campus in order to reduce the risk of bringing infection onto campus.

ALCOHOL RELATED PROVISIONS - I UNDERSTAND THAT:

  • Drinking alcohol and using other drugs may increase my risk of engaging in behavior that is contrary to public health measures and may increase the need for medical treatment if that behavior results in higher-risk contact with others.
  • Alcohol consumption and recreational drug use will not be considered an excuse for behavior inconsistent with Rice’s COVID-19 public health related restrictions and guidance.
  • The Rice University Alcohol Policy remains in effect, but new health and safety regulations related to COVID-19 (e.g., physical distancing, space occupancy limits, max gathering size) supersede any such references in the Alcohol Policy.
  • Large public parties on campus, as Rice students have typically used that term, are not permitted. For smaller public events (below 50 people), consumption of alcohol in any public or shared space in the residential colleges (indoors or outdoors) must be registered through the same risk management process as in the past, including the event registration process facilitated by Student Activities.
  • All private gatherings in residential rooms that include students who do not reside on that floor are not permitted. This includes “crawls” in the residential colleges or other spaces on campus.
  • When students who live on the same floor of a residential college gather together on that floor, they must wear a face covering and follow rules for physical distancing (i.e., at least six feet separation). For this reason, students may not eat or drink beverages when in another student’s room.
  • The ban on serving, possessing and consuming “hard alcohol” as stated in the Alcohol Policy remains in effect at all times and for all events.
  • Student Judicial Programs will address any possible violations of the rules involving alcohol as it relates to these COVID-19 health and safety measures, and the sanctions associated with violations will likely result in a student’s removal from the residential colleges, as well as potentially other disciplinary actions.

Rice Core Values

The expectations for Rice students in this Agreement are guided by the values essential to every member of the Rice community in the 2020-21 academic year. The values we cherish at Rice are embodied in the Culture of Care, and these values are more important to uphold now than ever before. Rice University’s value statement includes: “Rice faculty, staff and students share values that are essential to our success as a healthy community. Those values guide our decisions and behaviors and shape Rice’s culture. They come through in the way we treat each other and the welcome we extend to our visitors.”

We recognize that these difficult and unparalleled times call for changes in how we conduct both our University operations and our own lives in order to uphold those values that we have always held dear. Rice’s values remain constant, but these values call for temporary adjustments to our way of being together, which are necessary to protect everyone—our students, faculty, staff, visitors, and the greater Houston community—to the best of our abilities. To provide everyone on campus with a reasonable, equitable environment to enhance safety, we must all agree —and have assurance that everyone else on campus has consented — to abide by certain behavioral guidelines. Please note that these guidelines may be changed or further specified at any time as changes in public health guidance or our experience require. Rice students agree to monitor their own behavior to conform and comply with these expectations, and will comply with directions from the University for the safety of the community. In addition, by embracing the Culture of Care, Rice students should recognize that all members of our community have a shared responsibility to care for one another. This extends to holding one another accountable, including students holding other students accountable for their behavior.

Rice is committed to the health, safety and well-being of our students, staff, faculty, and surrounding community. Therefore, all members of the Rice community and visitors will wear facial coverings and will maintain appropriate physical distance in campus buildings and outdoors, and in the broader Houston community. These spaces include: administrative, academic, and recreational buildings; and common spaces in residential colleges and serveries. This also includes outside green spaces and quadrangles, spaces between and around residential colleges, graduate student housing, the “outer loop” surrounding campus, and the Bioscience Research Collaborative (BRC). Individuals experiencing symptoms of illness (fever, coughing, shortness of breath, etc.) will be required to follow recommendations of Student Health Services or other health professionals.

Rice is committed to excellence in higher education.Enrolled students will certainly be challenged and experience academic growth in all of the ways that Rice University has offered since its beginnings. Faculty will remain available for support, engaging in academic dialogue, and consultation related to coursework. Some of our faculty will be able to offer in-person instruction in classrooms and academic buildings. Rice will provide supplies for disinfecting the chairs, desks and tables in each classroom and students participating in classroom instruction will be responsible for sanitizing and cleaning their workspaces upon entry and departure of the classroom. Everyone using classroom spaces will do their part to maintain a clean and safe educational environment. For more information related to coursework delivery logistics and scheduling, please visit the websites of the Academic Restart Committee, or the Office of the Registrar.

Rice recognizes the importance of extra-curricular, social, and recreational activities as part of our educational experience, as long as these activities can be conducted safely both for their participants and for those with whom they may come into contact during and after those activities. In order to be as safe as possible, these activities must follow Rice safety protocols, including guidelines for physical distancing. All campus buildings will have signage with further information for students, faculty and staff, including occupancy limits in the rooms in academic and public buildings and residential colleges. Outdoor furniture in the residential colleges will be designed and arranged to maximize social connectivity while maintaining physical distance. Rice students have the responsibility to follow the directions provided in these and any modified guidelines, and to seek clarity if confusion arises.

COVID Public Health Ambassadors

Students from each residential college will serve as COVID-19 Public Health Ambassadors for their college. These ambassadors will be trained to educate their college community about the expectations of students related to COVID-19 and will be the points of contact in the colleges for disseminating information related to the importance of public health and each person’s role in protecting our peers and colleagues. The COVID-19 Public Health Ambassadors will work with their college Core Teams (magisters, RAs, college coordinators) and other student leaders in each college to help ensure the health and safety of the community.

The COVID-19 Community Court will consist of one student from each residential college who will be trained in public health matters and disciplinary proceedings. Any member of the Rice community may bring an alleged violation of the Culture of Care Agreement to the COVID-19 Community Court for its review. The Community Court will gather the information it needs to assess whether a violation of the Culture of Care Agreement has occurred, the seriousness of the violation, whether prior violations have taken place, and other relevant circumstances to determine the appropriate public health response in the form of an educational measure and/or sanction. As part of this information-gathering process, one or more members of the Community Court may interview the student whose behavior is a concern, as well as any witnesses, and may also review relevant documents and other available information. The student in COVID-19 Community Court proceedings will have the opportunity to ask questions and seek more information about the process.

The COVID-19 Community Court will review information quickly and will come to a conclusion about whether a response is necessary. The Court will communicate directly with the student about its response and whether any educational measures or sanctions will apply. The findings and response of the COVID-19 Community Court are not considered to be a part of the student’s disciplinary record at Rice and function similarly to a sanction issued by the college courts. A student who is found to be in violation of the expectations in the Culture of Care Agreement may also be referred to Student Judicial Programs for possible University disciplinary action pursuant to the Rice’s Code of Student Conduct. Educational measures and sanctions will be tailored to respond to the specific behavior being addressed, with the goal of improving the safety and educational experience of the Rice community.

MY PLEDGE TO UPHOLD THE CULTURE OF CARE AND AFFIRMATION OF COMPLIANCE

I affirm that I have read the entirety of this Culture of Care Agreement and pledge to comply with the expectations detailed above in order to keep our community safe and healthy.

I understand that taking these measures is intended to reduce the risk to my health and the health of others, but I also understand that Rice cannot completely eliminate my risk of contracting COVID-19.

I also understand that noncompliance with the expectations listed above may result in penalties or sanctions, including my removal from campus without delay.

Signed: ___________________ Date: ____________________

DOWNLOAD THE AGREEMENT HERE