COVID-19 Update: May 4, 2022

COVID UPDATE

Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

Information on COVID-19 in Houston. The public data sets that we have relied upon to track the COVID-19 situation are becoming less informative as more people use self-administered antigen tests. These results go largely unreported to government entities, and as a result, the total number of positive tests and positivity rates are less reflective of prevalence in the community. The CDC launched a nation-wide program in 2020, the National Wastewater Surveillance System, as another way to track the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The City of Houston and several Rice faculty members are part of that program and you can see the Houston data here. This information has been a leading indicator of each wave in Houston and the latest data suggests we may be in the early stages of another wave, as seen in the green line in the chart below.

Masks. We continue to urge everyone to carry masks at all times and use their best judgment on when it’s appropriate to wear a mask. For people who have special health concerns or want a higher level of protection, a well-fitted KN95 mask offers good protection for the user and is significantly better than cloth and disposable surgical masks. We have a good supply of masks that you can order here.

Testing. We will be suspending the on-campus PCR testing with Baylor and Methodist over the course of the summer beginning on Friday, May 13. The last day for testing with Methodist will be Wednesday, May 11. We are grateful to our partners at these amazing institutions for helping our community work safely throughout the pandemic.

COVID home test kits are available to Rice students, faculty, and staff. These antigen kits can be ordered for pickup on campus. Each package contains two tests. To order a kit you must sign up using this link. You will be emailed a QR code that you will need to pick up your test package.

Here is information about offices to contact if necessary over the next couple of months.

  • Work-related illness or employment-related vaccine questions should be directed to Human Resources at 713-348-2514.
  • Student-related vaccine inquiries should be directed to Student Health Services at 713-348-4966.
  • For questions about ordering COVID antigen test kits or KN95 masks, contact Delivery Services at 713-348-3061.
  • Questions regarding COVID planning for campus events should be directed to Campus Events at 713-348-3306.
  • For information about contact tracing, disease reporting, isolation and quarantine, please go to coronavirus.rice.edu or FAQ’s.
  • Other COVID-related questions should be directed to the Rice Crisis Management at 713-348-6088.

We will continue to carefully monitor the COVID-19 situation over the summer and take whatever precautions are necessary to keep our campus as safe as possible while providing regular programs and activities. Have a safe summer.

Kevin E. Kirby

Chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee

Vice President for Administration