COVID-19 Response weekly update: Oct. 11

COVID-19 response weekly update

Dear colleagues,

Over the past seven days we’ve run about 6,500 tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus through Rice testing and there was one positive result for a positivity rate of less than 0.02%. The testing dashboard can be found on the COVID-19 website.

Given the improving conditions in Houston, the very low positivity rate on campus over the past 30 days and a vaccination rate well over 90% for the overall Rice community, I write today with some additional changes to our COVID-19 policies.

Indoor Masks. Effective today, masks are required indoors only for gatherings of more than 10 people.

· This policy does not apply to classrooms, where masks are still required at all times, except for instructors while they are lecturing.

· If you have not yet been fully vaccinated, you must wear a mask indoors at all times.

If you encounter a situation that makes you uncomfortable, use your best judgment whether to wear a mask. We recommend that you carry a mask with you at all times for these situations. You can see the full policy on masks here.

Gathering Size. There are no longer any COVID-related restrictions on gathering size on campus. However, plans for gatherings over 100 must be reviewed before the event by the Crisis Management Team for COVID-related measures to ensure it is as safe as possible.

Vaccine Clinics. Rice and the Houston Health Department will offer Pfizer vaccines on Oct. 13, 14 and 15 in the East Gym of Tudor Fieldhouse. About 400 vaccines will be available each day for first or second doses, and booster shots for those who are eligible as defined by the CDC and who previously received the Pfizer vaccine. The clinics are open to all Rice community members and their families. You can register here and follow the instructions to create an account. (Leave the access code field blank and when you’re prompted, enter the Invite Code: RiceU-Pfizer.) If you have questions, please email covid@rice.edu.

Annual Flu Shot Clinic. As a reminder, there is one last on-campus flu shot clinic for all active faculty, staff, and students, this Wednesday, Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on the first floor of the Cambridge Office Building. No appointment is necessary.

Kevin E. Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee