Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021
Dear undergraduate students –
I am writing today with a few updates on the spring semester and move-in for those living on campus.
First, regarding the timing of move-in for students living on campus this semester. While some of you have already arrived or will be arriving at some point over the next two weeks, most are scheduled to arrive during the week of February 15. As President Leebron announced a few weeks ago, we delayed arrival for most on-campus students due to our concerns with COVID-19 nationally as well as at Rice and in Houston. Since then, the COVID-19 situation, both in Houston and nationally, has improved. In addition, “on arrival” testing has proceeded relatively well for undergraduates who have already moved on campus or are off campus but living nearby (between January 19 and 29, approximately two-thirds of off-campus and one-third of on-campus students participated in our testing program).
For this reason, we are adjusting restrictions around the move-in date to help ease the transition back for on-campus students. Earlier this week, residential college magisters and presidents communicated our decision to allow students to move in on February 13 or 14 without a petition (in order to minimize travel conflicts with classes during the week). Today I am writing to announce that we are also opening up next weekend (February 6 and 7) for move-in and testing appointments for on-campus students, if desired. A petition to move in the weekend of February 6 and 7 is not required.
Should you choose to change travel plan and arrive early, please note the following:
- While a petition is not needed for arrival on February 6/7 or 13/14, limited testing is available on these weekends, and return dates must align with testing availability. In other words, you must register for a COVID test on your move-in date. That registration will constitute approval to move in on that date. And, please note: If you are unable to secure a testing appointment on February 6/7, you may not move in prior to that date without approval from my office.
- Students who arrive early will see adjustments to room and board charges in their student bills to reflect the earlier arrival.
- If you already have a move-in appointment scheduled and decide to change your arrival date, it is important that you visit https://coronavirus.rice.edu/schedule-test and change or cancel your test accordingly. This allows another incoming student the opportunity to fill the appointment time. If you are unclear on how to change or cancel an appointment, please find information on this in the testing FAQ: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/frequently-asked-testing-questions.
- Off-campus students returning to Rice may not schedule tests during move-in weekends (February 6/7 and 13/14) for on-campus students. If you are an off-campus student and have a test scheduled during this time, please change it to a Monday-Friday testing time as soon as possible. This helps us to reduce the burden on Housing and Dining staff in supporting on-campus students needing to stay in and stay safe prior to receiving their testing results.
- As a reminder, if you have not done so, please sign up now for both of your two arrival testing appointments: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/schedule-test. Your first test should align with your return date. When you arrive on campus you should go straight to your test then remain in your room until you receive your results. Your second test should be scheduled three-to-four days after your return (or on the next available day of testing in the scheduler). All testing dates are now open through February and are offered on a first come first served basis so please book now to align with your arrival.
- If you have any testing related questions please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Second, when you arrive on campus you will notice several large, open-sided tents have been put up in the in the residential college spaces (two on the Northside, two on the Southside). These are designed to provide more options for outdoor eating and gathering. Please note that these are temporary tents; they will be replaced in mid-February by more permanent structures that will include lighting, heating, and furniture for seating.
Finally, crisis management continues to review and discuss campus policies around gathering sizes, masks, and other issues. Please take care to read the COVID-19 response weekly update, sent every Monday, by Kevin Kirby (chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee). These messages contain important information on our activities and response surrounding COVID-19, including updates to policies relating to living and learning on campus.
Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates