COVID-19 response important updates: May 17

COVID-19 response weekly update

Dear colleagues,

With the conclusion of the academic year and the wonderful graduation ceremonies this past weekend, we have some very important updates.

About 80% of our 11,000 students, faculty, and staff have indicated through our voluntary survey that they’ve received either one or two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Under current Texas regulations, we must rely on voluntary disclosures to determine vaccination levels, so 80% is a conservative estimate and that’s very good news. While we need to do even better, this high vaccination rate allows us to continue relaxing some of the COVID-19 policies that have been in place for a long time.

Change to Indoor Mask Policy. A few weeks ago, we stopped requiring everyone on campus to wear a mask while they’re outdoors. Now, effective immediately, we’re making the following changes to the indoor mask policy:

  • If you have been fully vaccinated, you are no longer required to wear a mask indoors.
  • If you are not fully vaccinated, you must wear a mask indoors at all times.

These guidelines are consistent with the most recent CDC guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do.

Valhalla. Valhalla will reopen later this month. Details will be announced later.

Pavilion and Faculty Club. Indoor dining and events will resume later this month, although at reduced capacity. Again, more details will be forthcoming.

Testing. Our testing program continues over the summer but on a much smaller scale.

  • Only people who have not completed the vaccine survey or who have not been vaccinated must schedule weekly tests when coming to campus regularly.
  • Testing in the East Gym has ceased. Only the LAMP test, administered in a new location in Space Science Rm. 106, is available on campus. If you receive a “presumptive positive” LAMP test, you should do the following:
    • Students should call Student Health Services to schedule a confirmation test with a coordinating testing provider.
    • Employees should schedule a PCR test with a medical provider of their choosing.
  • The LAMP test may not satisfy the requirements imposed by countries and airlines with travel-related testing regulations. If you need a test for that purpose, you will need to schedule a PCR test off-campus.
  • Symptomatic testing is no longer offered on campus. Students who are still on campus and are experiencing COVID-like symptoms should contact Student Health Services to schedule an appointment. Employees should contact their primary care physician.
  • Contact tracing for on-campus students with positive results after May 21 will be conducted by Student Health Services. Employees with positive results may be contacted by the local public health department in the city or county where they live.

Testing Results. Over the past seven days, we administered approximately 500 tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the Rice campus. One person tested positive through the university’s testing program. You can see Rice’s testing statistics, along with isolation and quarantine data, on the COVID-19 website.

Kevin E. Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee

Vice President for Administration