Frequently Asked Questions

To link to the list of on-campus testing locations, click here.

The COVID Community Call Center - this line is answered 24-hours a day, seven days a week. 281-324-8355

CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/quarantine-isolation.html

If you don't see your question answered here, reach out to one of the groups listed below:


Campus-Wide Policy Questions

Q. What is the university's face covering policy?

A. This policy can be found here: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/policies. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Q. What COVID policies apply to campus visitors? Do they need to be tested or vaccinated to come to campus?

A. Visitors to campus must follow all campus COVID policies in place at the time, which are listed here: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/policies.

COVID Vaccination Questions

Q. How can I update my booster status?

A. Follow the following instructions:

  1. Go to the appropriate vaccine form link:
    1. Faculty Staff Link: https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/eqj4du9x5g
    2. Student Link: https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/62ghgt6ywb

  2. Complete the Rice SSO login information

  3. Instead of starting a new form, scroll down to your previous entry and click on it

  4. From there, please find an edit button in the bottom right-hand corner

  5. The booster section should be at the very bottom

  6. Enter the date of the booster

  7. Upload a new version of your card with the booster noted

  8. After loading booster information and a new card image click the bottom right hand submit button

If these instructions do not work, please email covid@rice.edu to let us know when you have time this week or next and someone from our team will try to connect with you via Zoom to walk through the upload process with you directly.

Q. Where can students update their vaccine status?

A. Students should complete/edit this student form to indicate vaccine status. An instruction sheet is available here.

Q. Where can I find the faculty staff form to update my vaccine status?

A. Faculty Staff Vaccine Link: https://veoci.com/v/p/dashboard/eqj4du9x5g

Q. Where can faculty and staff find the religious accommodation or medical exemption forms?

A. These items can be found here:

Q. Who do faculty and staff reach out with questions regarding the university vaccine mandate?

A. The following resources are available:

  • General questions about the vaccination policy should be addressed to Human Resources or HRBP/Supervisor (people@rice.edu).
  • Religious accommodations or questions should be sent to the office of Access, Equity and Equal Opportunity, Richard Baker, 713-348-6405 aeeo@rice.edu.
  • Medical exemptions or questions should be addressed by the Disability Resource Center, Alan Russell - 713-348-5841 adarice@rice.edu.
  • Questions related to the VEOCI survey should be directed to helpdesk@rice.edu.

Q. Can I be exempted from the Rice COVID testing program if I receive an international vaccine? Should people who received vaccines not approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) be revaccinated?

A. International vaccines approved by the CDC or the WHO will be accepted on campus. Both organizations update vaccine approvals regularly, and the university will continue to monitor information related to all vaccines for any updates on recommendations or changes. Please review this link to see if the vaccine you have received is approved by the WHO.

Rice is not recommending new vaccinations for people who received a vaccine that does not meet the WHO requirements. If you are considering getting a second round of vaccines, please consult with your physician about whether counter-interactions may occur. Persons who are vaccinated with a vaccine not approved by the WHO must take a COVID test when they first arrive on campus and continue to test weekly until either their vaccine has been approved or their medical doctor clears them to receive an approved vaccine.

Isolation and Quarantine

Q. Has Rice Contact Tracing updated its isolation process to align with CDC updates?

A. Yes. The Rice Crisis Management Team, Contact Tracing group updated the isolation and quarantine process the same day that the CDC released their revised guidance.

Q. Where can I find the CDC guidelines for isolation and quarantine?

A. The updated CDC guidelines are available here.

Q. How has the isolation/quarantine guidance for students living on campus changed?

A. As the dean’s message communicated, on-campus isolation housing is limited. We have a limited set of rooms for immunocompromised students and will move students who test positive as space allows. Students who have been exposed to a positive case and are eligible for and have not received a vaccine booster will be asked to quarantine in their assigned rooms. We will not be moving individuals who have been exposed but have not yet tested positive. Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and that Omicron is moving very quickly. Due to the highly contagious nature of this variant, individuals should expect that by the time they test positive they have likely exposed all of those that they live with so isolating together may be the best way to slow the spread.

Q. How will on-campus students receive meals while in isolation or quarantine?

A. Students who have been asked to quarantine in their room will be instructed to pick up their food from the servery, wearing a KN95 mask and sanitizing hands at the cashier stations. Once a meal has been picked up, they must then return directly to their rooms. While in the serveries, these students should move quickly through the lines and stay physically distanced where possible. Students who have been instructed to isolate will have food delivered to their rooms by H&D so long as the numbers remain within their support capacity. H&D will reach out to colleges for additional support regarding delivery should the numbers expand past their delivery capabilities. If you have been instructed to isolate and a meal is not delivered to you, please contact H&D during regular business hours at 713-348-5445 or using HDcovid@rice.edu (after hours and weekends).

COVID Testing Questions

Q. What do I do if I was exposed to someone with symptoms of or confirmed COVID-19?

A. Please note that the following instructions are updated in accordance with current CDC recommendations and guidelines:

If you have already filled out a health reporting form, please do not create an additional form.

If you have been boosted, have received your second dose of vaccine in the last six months, or have received the J&J vaccine in the last two months:

  1. You must schedule a PCR test from Baylor Genetics of Houston Methodist, on campus, five days from the initial exposure if you remain with no symptoms. To schedule a test, use this link: /schedule-test.
  2. You must wear a mask in public for 10 days following the exposure or until your test is negative.
  3. If you develop symptoms within five days of the initial exposure, please complete a health reporting form found here: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/, and do not go to the testing site, even if scheduled.

If you are eligible to receive a booster but have not done so (more than six months past the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or two months past J&J) or are unvaccinated:

  1. Stay home for five days.
  2. If you cannot quarantine, you must wear a mask for 10 days.
  3. You must schedule a PCR test from Baylor Genetics or Houston Methodist, on campus, five days from the initial exposure, if you remain with no symptoms. To schedule a test, use this link: /schedule-test.

Q.What do I do if I felt sick or tested positive over the break but feel better now?

A. Everyone returning to campus should complete return-to-campus testing (unless you’ve been instructed by contact tracing to not test). Prior infections may be reflected in a positive test with symptoms that have resolved. You should tell your contact tracer when you were ill over the break as part of your contact tracing interview.


Q. If I sign up for a symptomatic test does it still count toward my Rice testing requirements?

A. Yes, any of the testing through the test scheduler including

Q. I’ve tried to sign up for the free government tests but my on-campus address is not working what should I do?

A. We have followed up on this issue and advocated for the residential colleges to be considered residences instead of business locations, but there has been no update at this time. We will update this when we have more information but would encourage you to continue to monitor.


Q. What do I do if I have a positive test?

A. Stay home and isolate. Rice contact tracers will be in touch with you - you should expect a phone call from this team and answer when they call. The contact tracers will gather information about your health status and will guide you through setting an isolation period which will be 5 days after the first day of symptom onset or positive test. If isolation space is available, positive cases will be moved, however, there may be a time when isolation space is not available and roommates/suitemates will be asked to isolate in place together. Contact a physician if you need help managing symptoms.

Q. What do I do if I feel sick?

A. Please fill out a Health Report Form. Stay home and isolate. DO NOT schedule or keep a previously scheduled test through the Rice testing locations. Rice contact tracers will be in touch with you - you should expect a phone call from this team. They will assist you in scheduling a symptomatic test (the following question explains this in more detail). Wear a mask if you have to be around other people in your household. Contact your physician for help managing symptoms.

Q. How do I get a symptomatic test?

A. Currently, symptomatic tests must be ordered by the Contact Tracing team. If you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms, please fill out a Health Report Form. We are working on the capability for individuals to sign up for their own symptomatic tests in the coming weeks.

Q. Do I need a negative test to return to campus after testing positive for COVID?

A. Once you have tested positive through Rice testing, you should not test again on campus for 90 days. This is because the PCR test will continue to be positive long after an individual recovers from illness and is no longer infectious. If you were COVID positive over the break and then test positive upon return, please explain this to your contact tracer when you are contacted about your test results.

Q. Is return-to-campus testing required?

A. Students returning to campus should test upon arrival and again three to five days following their “on arrival” test. Tests can be scheduled at this link: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/schedule-test. Please note that testing dates are posted for scheduling at least two weeks in advance.

Q. Is on-campus testing for COVID-19 required?

A. Yes. Any unvaccinated student must schedule an “on arrival” COVID test to coincide with their arrival at Rice as well as a follow-up test for three to four days after the “on arrival” test. (Tests can be scheduled at this link: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/schedule-test. Please note that testing dates are posted for scheduling about one month in advance.

Fully vaccinated people coming to campus coming into routine contact with others must schedule a test once every two weeks. Unvaccinated people coming to campus must test twice per week, regardless of whether they come into contact with other people.

Q. How do I schedule a COVID-19 test?

A. Schedule a test here. Appointment availability for scheduling tests is typically released about a month in advance. If you have any problems logging into the Veoci system, please see this instruction sheet first; after that, if you are still having trouble, email helpdesk@rice.edu.

Q. May I schedule a same-day COVID-19 test at Rice?

A. Testing at Rice must be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance. Please note that test scheduling is available Sunday through Thursday over the summer. Appointment availability for test scheduling is typically released about a month in advance.

Q. What type of COVID-19 test does Rice administer?

A. On campus, Baylor Genetics and Houston Methodist administer traditional qRT-PCR based testing. PCR tests have one main goal – amplifying viral RNA to detectable levels. Typical results are expected within 12 hours, but they could take up to 48 hours.

Q. When and where is COVID-19 testing available at Rice?

A. The university has three different testing partners that manage the different testing locations:

  1. Baylor Genetics runs the PCF Tent #1 location (Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, daily lunch break closure noon until 12:30 pm). Baylor Genetics testing site is a self-administered nasal swab. Email: HELP@BAYLORGENETICS.COM
  2. Methodist operates the McNair Hall 140/145 location (Monday through Thursday from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, daily lunch break closure from noon until 12:30 pm). Methodist gathers patient information on-site and Methodist staff administers these tests. METHODIST: MYCHART RESULTS INFORMATION

If you have filled out a health reporting form due to a known exposure to COVID-19, you must only test using Baylor Genetics (PCF#1) or Methodist (McNair Hall Room 140).

Testing appointment times are typically released a month in advance.

Q. What should I bring to my test?

A. Bring a copy of your appointment, either printed or electronically displayed with the appropriate QR code. Additionally, please bring a Government-issued ID, along with a student, faculty or staff ID card. If one has not yet received their Rice ID, they should be sure to note their Rice netID. At Methodist testing, you must bring a Government-issued ID.

Q. What is a QR code and how do I get it for my test?

A. A QR code is a scalable matrix barcode that contains data, such as a link to a website address, in this case, information for one's testing appointment. Please bring a printed or electronic version of the QR code to the testing appointment. One may access this in the schedule a test page found here: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/testing-resources.

Q. I did not receive my test results or I'm having trouble accessing my test results message. What should I do?

A. Please check your Proofpoint spam filter to see if your results email was captured there. If not, please suggestions for how to contact each provider below:

If you tested with Methodist:


If you tested with Baylor (PCF1):

Q. When traveling, how can I get additional information added to my test results for Visa or other purposes?

A. Our testing providers provide travel-related documentation. We highly recommend that you plan ahead and know what your destination and air carrier will require and how that aligns with the documentation received through Rice testing.

Test documentation through our Baylor Genetics Location can be edited with needed documentation items- PCF Tent #1 (Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, daily lunch break closure noon until 12:30 pm). Baylor Genetics testing site is a self-administered nasal swab. After you schedule your test please email HELP@BAYLORGENETICS.COM with the QR code number found on your test reservation email. Let them know your testing date and what you need on your report for travel.

If you are testing at Methodist at the McNair Hall location (staff administered nasal swab, Monday-Thursday 8:00 am-4:30 pm, daily lunch break closure noon until 12:30 pm, these results are not customizable, but when you receive your results, see the print view (see printer icon in the top right corner) most of the basic travel information is on this view and can be printed as documentation.

Housing and Dining Questions

Q. Can I eat inside campus buildings if I am not vaccinated?

A. Yes. The Face Mask Policy is linked here and face masks are not required when actively eating or drinking.

Q. How has the isolation/quarantine guidance for students living on campus changed?

A. As the dean’s message communicated, on-campus isolation housing is limited. We have a limited set of rooms for immunocompromised students and will move students who test positive as space allows. Students who have been exposed to a positive case and are eligible for and have not received a vaccine booster will be asked to quarantine in their assigned rooms. We will not be moving individuals who have been exposed but have not yet tested positive. Please keep in mind that this is a fluid situation and that Omicron is moving very quickly. Due to the highly contagious nature of this variant, individuals should expect that by the time they test positive they have likely exposed all of those that they live with so isolating together may be the best way to slow the spread.

Q. How will on-campus students receive meals while in isolation or quarantine?

A. Students who have been asked to quarantine in their room will be instructed to pick up their food from the servery, wearing a KN95 mask and sanitizing hands at the cashier stations. Once a meal has been picked up, they must then return directly to their rooms. While in the serveries, these students should move quickly through the lines and stay physically distanced where possible. Students who have been instructed to isolate will have food delivered to their rooms by H&D so long as the numbers remain within their support capacity. H&D will reach out to colleges for additional support regarding delivery should the numbers expand past their delivery capabilities. If you have been instructed to isolate and a meal is not delivered to you, please contact H&D during regular business hours at 713-348-5445 or using HDcovid@rice.edu (after hours and weekends).

Q. What will the process be to request room changes if students have concerns with the vaccination status of their assigned roommate?

A. Students with these concerns should discuss it with their roommate(s), and decide whether they are comfortable with their current room assignment for the fall semester. Students who would like to switch rooms should contact their residential college magisters to discuss options. That said, please be advised that bed capacity is fully assigned for the fall semester, meaning that open rooms and beds may not be available. Graduate students with these concerns should talk with the housing manager. Students who are uncomfortable with the possibility of living with an unvaccinated student may choose to live off-campus, and they will not be charged for breaking their lease should they decide against living on campus before the fall semester begins.

Q. What is the status of indoor dining?

A. There are no capacity controls related to indoor dining on campus, including in residential college dining facilities. All spaces can have tables and seating that are standard to that space, and there are no longer restrictions on table occupancy (in other words, people sitting at tables can use the normal number of seats). The masking requirement remains in place – you can remove your mask indoors while you’re actively eating or drinking, but you should keep it on at all other times.

International Student Questions

Q. How late in the semester can an international student arrive on campus?

A. For continuing (returning) students, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with Customs and Border Protection (CBP, at the port-of-entry), allow you to arrive 30 days after the first day of classes. That said, the issue of your courses being online while you are abroad also needs prior approval from the Dean of Undergraduates (for undergraduates), or the academic department (for graduate students). In addition, to do this you must be in active SEVIS F-1 or J-1 visa status. For details on your immigration status, please reach out to the Office of International Students and Scholars (oiss.rice.edu).

Q. Who will write a letter verifying physical presence in the US for international vaccines?

A. The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) will write letters stating that Rice University will be offering on-campus classes.

Q. Do I need to take a COVID test in order to fly to the United States?

A. Different countries have different documentation and testing requirements. Please check with your home country and airline provider. Also, visit the CDC website before leaving your home country for any updated instructions about entering the United States.

Q. When traveling, how can I get additional information added to my test results for Visa or other purposes?

A. Our testing providers provide travel-related documentation. We highly recommend that you plan ahead and know what your destination and air carrier will require and how that aligns with the documentation received through Rice testing.

Test documentation through our Baylor Genetics Location can be edited with needed documentation items- PCF Tent #1 (Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm, daily lunch break closure noon until 12:30 pm). Baylor Genetics testing site is a self-administered nasal swab. After you schedule your test please email HELP@BAYLORGENETICS.COM with the QR code number found on your test reservation email. Let them know your testing date and what you need on your report for travel.

If you are testing at Methodist at the McNair Hall location (staff administered nasal swab, Monday-Thursday 8:00 am-4:30 pm, daily lunch break closure noon until 12:30 pm, these results are not customizable, but when you receive your results, see the print view (see printer icon in the top right corner) most of the basic travel information is on this view and can be printed as documentation.

Who to contact if you still have questions

If you have additional questions not answered here, here is the contact information for the office that may be able to help.