Friday, Jan. 8, 2021
Dear undergraduate students –
Earlier today, President Leebron sent a message to our community outlining some changes to how we will start the Spring 2021 semester. It is regrettable that the situation with COVID necessitates a more cautious posture, but I remain optimistic that as we move through the semester circumstances will improve.
The message today announced that nearly all classes will start as scheduled in an online format and that move-in for most of those living on campus is delayed and will now begin the week of Feb. 15. While we expect that most students will delay their arrival to campus, we know that for some students, for various reasons, it is best to permit on time arrival (that is, allowing move in during the week prior to the start of classes). Students may petition to arrive as scheduled during the week of Jan. 19 if they meet any of the criteria listed below:
- International students who don’t have living arrangements elsewhere in the United States.
- Students who face housing insecurity or a living situation that would make online learning unduly difficult.
- Varsity student-athletes.
- Students enrolled in a course that is exempted to allow an in-person start. Please note that these courses are still being determined and more information should be available over the coming days.
- Students with on-campus commitments that require their presence (e.g., work in campus laboratories, EMS, college leadership).
- Students for whom it would be very burdensome to make alternative living arrangements, or they would be required ultimately to move twice.
If you meet one of these criteria, you may petition here to return to campus as scheduled during the week of Jan. 19. If you do not meet any of the above criteria but have special circumstances or reasons you would like us to consider, you may also fill out the petition - but recognize that we will be more cautious in granting exceptions to the criteria listed above, depending on the number of requests we receive. We ask all students who intend to petition to please do so by 12 noon on Monday, Jan. 11. We will notify you of approval by Wednesday, Jan. 13. Please note: students who are currently living on campus or scheduled to arrive prior to Jan. 18 do not need to petition to remain on campus between now and Feb. 15.
All move-in testing appointments currently scheduled for Jan. 19 and beyond have been canceled. All arrival testing will be rescheduled using our regular scheduling platform, located here: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/testing-resources. Appointments through the end of January will be released by Jan. 13. February appointments will be available for scheduling by Friday, Jan. 22
For students living off-campus and arriving prior to Feb. 15: If you are already in Houston or intend to move back to your off-campus residence prior to Feb. 15, you may sign up for an arrival appointment as early as Thursday, Jan. 21. On Jan. 13, the test scheduler will open (linked above) with appointment slots for the week of Jan. 19. After you schedule your arrival test, please immediately schedule your follow up test for three or four days after your arrival test appointment.
For students living on campus and arriving prior to Feb. 15: If you submit a petition to move in prior to Feb. 15 and it is accepted, you should then schedule your arrival testing appointment, using the link above. On January 13, the test scheduler will open (linked above) with appointment slots for the week of Jan. 19. Please remember, your arrival testing appointment is also your move-in date, please align your arrival to campus so it aligns with your initial testing appointment. In addition, once you have scheduled your arrival testing appointment, please immediately schedule your follow up test for three or four days after your arrival test appointment.
For students arriving during the week of February 15: Arrival testing scheduling for the week of February 15 will open on January 22. Students living both on and off-campus will be eligible to sign up for their arrival and day 3-4 day follow up tests at that time.
For those students who had planned to be on campus at the beginning of the semester and won’t be moving in until Feb. 15, we will be pro-rating room and board charges and adjusting financial aid packages. Beginning the week of Jan. 25, based on approved petitions, these adjustments and refunds will be issued to those who have delayed their return to campus until Feb. 15. If you have questions about your bill, please contact Tru Francois in the Cashier’s Office at 713-348-2687 (email@example.com). If you have questions about financial aid, please call the Office of Financial Aid at 713-348-4958.
Regarding student fees, last semester we announced reduced pricing for on-campus parking, clarification on the health insurance requirement, Student Activity fee, and Health and Wellness Center fee, and provided the option to opt-out of the recreation center fee for the semester. Our policies on fees is the same this semester, so please reread the linked message for more information – but please note, the deadline for opting out of the rec center fee ($54 per semester) is Friday, Jan. 22. Please click for here for a comprehensive overview of all the additional measures that have been put into place to keep the Rice community safe in the rec center and to access the form. Please note, students who choose to opt-out will not have access to any rec center services, including virtual offerings or on-campus facilities.
In closing, if you have any questions about the petition process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions about signing up for your arrival or follow up COVID testing, please check the online testing FAQ https://coronavirus.rice.edu/frequently-asked-testing-questions that we will continue to update. If your answer is not there, email email@example.com.
I hope you and your family are well, and look forward to seeing you on campus soon.
Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates