COVID-19 Update: December 6, 2021

COVID-19 response weekly update

Dear colleagues,

With just over a week before the end of fall exams and just over two weeks before the winter break, we plan no further changes to our COVID-19 policies between now and the beginning of the Spring semester in January – unless, of course, there are substantial pandemic-related public health developments or changes in government regulations or court orders concerning vaccination requirements. We’ll revisit our policies for the Spring semester during the first week of January.

Vaccination Requirements. We’ve had a number of questions about Rice’s announcement on vaccination requirements. Here are some of the most common queries.

  • Who can answer my questions about vaccination requirements? General questions about the vaccination policy for employees should be addressed to Human Resources at people@rice.edu. Religious accommodation requests or questions should be sent to the Office of Access, Equity and Equal Opportunity at aeeo@rice.edu. Medical exemption requests or questions should go to the Disability Resource Center at adarice@rice.edu. Questions related to the VEOCI survey should be directed to helpdesk@rice.edu.
  • Which vaccines are acceptable? The vaccines that are acceptable to fulfill our requirements are those authorized by the CDC and/or the WHO.
  • How do I prove I’ve been vaccinated? We need every person to make sure that your vaccination record is not only correct and up-to-date (including adding booster shot information), but also includes an image of your vaccination record. Check your Rice vaccination record at these links: Faculty/Staff or Students and please update your information no later than Jan. 4, 2022.

New Variants. We are closely tracking the omicron variant and related information that will help us understand its potential impact on the Rice community. Our external testing providers have verified that their assays can detect this new variant, but the testing process doesn’t distinguish omicron from other variants.

Vaccines. The CDC is now recommending booster shots for everyone 18 and older. We strongly urge you to get a booster shot if at least six months have passed since you completed your primary COVID-19 vaccination series with Moderna or Pfizer, or two months if you received the J&J vaccine.

We will offer another on-campus vaccine clinic in January after classes resume and one additional clinic in early February. We’ll have further details later.

Testing. Here’s the on-campus testing schedule through the start of the Spring semester.

  • Dec. 6—22: Regular testing hours at our regular testing locations.
    • Dec. 16 will be our last LAMP testing day and we will bid farewell to the testing team and capability led by Rice’s own faculty member, Rebecca Richards-Kortum. Please join us in thanking her team for their service to Rice and their help keeping our community safe over the past year.
  • Dec. 23—26: No testing available.
  • Dec. 27—29: Testing in PCF 1 will be available 8am-5pm.
  • Dec. 30—Jan. 2: No testing available.
  • Jan. 3: Regular testing hours resume.
    • Anyone traveling or experiencing increased exposure risk over the holiday break is encouraged to plan on getting tested as close as possible to their return date and again 3-5 days after arrival.
    • Extended testing availability for returning students will be provided over the weekend of Jan. 8—9.

The COVID hotline will be closed Dec. 22 through Jan. 4. Please refer to the COVID at Rice website for additional resources during this time.

Kevin E. Kirby
Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee
Vice President for Administration