COVID-19 response weekly update: Week of February 22

COVID-19 response weekly update

Dear colleagues,

The past week was a hard-hitting time in an already tough year. And for some people, the effects of the storm are not over, even with power largely restored and the City of Houston lifting its boil water notice yesterday. If you need a little extra help this week, please let us, Human Resources, or your supervisor or magister know. The university has a variety of counseling services for both students and employees. We recognize that some of you may need help with some of life’s basic amenities, such as water or a shower. Please let us know what you need here.

The winter storm caused Rice to reduce SARS-CoV-2 testing on campus last week. This week we resume our normal testing services. If you are coming to campus this week, go to this website to schedule your test. Even if you have received the vaccination, you should continue to test regularly if you’re on campus every week and you have contact with others.

The COVID-19 environment continues to improve in Houston. At Rice during the last seven days, nine people tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the university’s testing program. You can see Rice’s testing statistics, along with isolation and quarantine data, on the COVID-19 website.

That said, please don’t let your guard down. We may see a spike in cases this week because people gathered too close to each other during last week’s storm. If you had close exposure to others more than usual in the past week, please get tested through Rice this week.

Masks. Updated CDC Guidance on Masks. The CDC has issued updated guidance that is consistent with the current Rice guidelines. If you need to request additional filter inserts or disposable surgical masks, please do so by clicking here.

Vaccines. We continue working with the state of Texas for our requested allotment of vaccines. We are able to help people who are in the Phase 1A or Phase 1B priority categories with limited vaccine access through our Texas Medical Center partners at off-campus locations.

If you were vaccinated on campus last Monday, Feb. 15, the university is working with Harris County to make sure you’re scheduled for your second dose. You should receive a confirmation email from the Rice Crisis Management team by tomorrow. If you do not, please email immediately so that we can update our records with your correct contact information. If you received your vaccine from Houston Methodist, expect an email sometime this week.

If you’re eligible for the vaccine under the state-developed priorities and you can get it from any provider in the Houston area, don’t wait until we are able to offer vaccines on campus. You can find designated vaccination hubs listed by county at this website.

If you have questions about the vaccination process at Rice, please visit the Rice vaccine FAQ website for answers to frequently asked questions.

Kevin E. Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee

Vice President for Administration