I'm writing today with three updates relevant to undergraduate students.
First, earlier today an update on fall course instruction was sent out to the Rice community. If you haven't read it yet, I'd recommend that you do since it provides details regarding the resumption of in-person instruction next week.
You'll see that classes with the enrollments of 50-and-under are generally expected to be in-person, while those 51-and-up are expected to be online (see here for a list of courses with 51+ students). Note that 92% of undergraduate courses enroll under 50 students per class, although as stated in the message sent earlier today, instructors can petition for an exemption to teach online if their class is under size 50, or to teach in person if their class size is over 50. For the list of classes being taught online, please see this page from the Course Schedule, maintained by the Registrar's Office. Please note: Instructors have until end-of-day tomorrow (Sept. 3) to petition the Provost for an exemption to the under/over size 50-class policy, so the list of online classes, linked above, is still in development and will not be finalized until Monday, Sept. 13.
Note as well that our academic calendar has been updated to reflect the extension of the last day to add a class (Friday, Sept. 10), with rules regarding the last to drop a class following the typical schedule: end of week 7 (Oct. 8) for continuing students, and the last day of class (Dec. 3) for Fall 2021 matriculants.
Please remember that the Office of Academic Advising remains a helpful resource if you have questions or need assistance with course planning, as are Peer Academic Advisors, major/minor advisors, and your college magisters.
Second, regarding the return to campus for any students schedule to arrive in the days ahead. As previously announced, all students are required to take a COVID test at Rice as close to their arrival on campus as possible. Today I am announcing an additional requirement: Until you receive a negative COVID test result, you are prohibited from attending indoor social events or eating indoors (unless in your room). You may go to the severies to pick up meals, but you may not eat in the college commons or other public indoor spaces until you receive a negative result. Please plan ahead and schedule a test if you haven't done so already. If you are coming back this weekend, which is a holiday, please note our testing team has made an effort to ensure appointment slots are available on Sunday and Monday, but there is not testing availability on Saturday, please plan accordingly.
Early next week, additional announcements regarding procedures for students exposed to COVID will be announced, so please keep an eye out for that message.
Third, on Monday evening I met with the college magisters, presidents, and chief justices at each college to discuss alcohol use on campus. Due to the increasing number of positive COVID tests among undergraduates over the last two weeks, and the clear connection of a substantial portion of these cases to indoor drinking, alcohol use in any indoor spaces is prohibited. Outdoors events with alcohol are permitted when publicly registered and approved through our event risk management process.
In closing, please remember that our success in providing a safe, healthy, and functional campus environment depends on the responsible and thoughtful behavior of everyone. I am grateful for your dedication to your fellow students and commitment to caring for one another. Our Rice community is strong and we have already done so much this year the we can be proud of and that we can celebrate.
Welcome back to those returning to campus, and I hope everyone enjoys the holiday weekend.
Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates