COVID-19 Response weekly update: September 27

COVID-19 response weekly update

Dear colleagues,

The COVID-19 situation in Houston continues to improve and I’m happy to report we’re seeing the same positive trend on campus. Over the past seven days we’ve run about 7,400 tests for the SARS-CoV-2 virus through Rice testing and there were 16 positive results. Our positivity rate over the past three weeks was about the same as last academic year. The testing dashboard can be found on the COVID-19 website.

Testing. You should be scheduling your regular test here. If you have any COVID-like symptoms at all, do not schedule a test through our on-line portal. Instead, you must fill out a health reporting form and the Rice contact tracing team will be in touch to schedule a symptomatic test.

Masks. We’ve made a clarification to our indoor face mask policy. Just to be clear, you can remove your mask indoors while you’re actively eating or drinking.

Alternative Work Arrangements. President Leebron is extending the flexible policy for work arrangements that was set to expire on Sept. 30. He will announce and implement a new university policy in mid-October – “Flexible Work Policy for Benefits-Eligible Staff Employees.”

Flu Shots. Getting your annual flu shot is more important than ever. Influenza and COVID-19 are both potentially serious, contagious respiratory illnesses that share many of the same symptoms.

The last on-campus seasonal flu shot clinic, organized by Student Health and Human Resources in partnership with Walgreens, will be offered on Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the first floor of the Cambridge Office Building. No appointment is necessary. Students should bring their insurance and credit cards. The flu vaccine will be billed to insurance, and if it’s not covered, it will be charged to the credit card. Employees should bring their Rice ID cards. Students can also get a flu vaccine at Student Health Services by calling (713) 348-4966 for an appointment. The $18 cost is fully reimbursable by Aetna Student Health.

The flu shot is required for all graduate and undergraduate students. Students should submit proof of vaccination here no later than Oct. 15, 2021. If a student would like to opt-out for religious or medical reasons, that should be noted on the form.

Kevin E. Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee

Vice President for Administration