Message from the DOU (July 14): Updating fall enrollment/residence status, PODS and items left in rooms

Message from the DOU (July 14): Updating fall enrollment/residence status, PODS and items left in rooms

July 14, 2020 12:59 pm

Dear students –

As you know, the upcoming semester will be the most exceptional in our history at Rice. My July 1 message included a lot of information about the semester ahead, and in it I told you that Rice would be communicating more regularly as we approached the start of classes – because there is a lot you need to know and plan for as you move closer to our fall semester.

Today I am writing to discuss (1) a process by which you must officially log your fall enrollment and residence status by July 24, and (2) an update on how we are handling items that some of you may have left behind last spring (either in your room or in a PODS container).

First, I want to thank you for completing the survey we sent immediately after my July 1 message – 99% of you completed it, which let us plan appropriately around the redo of housing and room draw in each residential college. Since completing the survey, some of you have written to me, letting me know that you want to change your answer regarding your enrollment and/or residence status for fall. As I previously communicated, your answer on the July 1 survey was not binding, and we recognize that some of you still haven’t settled on your plans for fall. In order to streamline the process for providing an “official” answer on your fall enrollment/residence status, we created an updated survey link for you to officially record your enrollment and housing status for fall. The survey will be sent to you via a separate email following this message.

Some important things to know about this new survey link:

  1. It will contain your previous answer to the July 1 survey regarding your fall enrollment and residence intentions. You do not need to fill out the survey if you have not changed your mind on this, but we encourage you to log in and confirm your decision. After doing so, you will receive an email, for your records, confirming your selection. As a reminder, you must select one of the following choices regarding your enrollment and residence decision for fall semester:
  • Option 1: Enroll at Rice, and live on campus in a residential college.
  • Option 2: Enroll at Rice and live off campus, but close enough so you can come to campus for classes and other activities.
  • Option 3: Enroll at Rice, but take all classes remotely and not come to campus at all during the Fall semester.
  • Option 4: Not enroll at Rice and instead take a gap year (an option for new students).
  • Option 5: Not enroll at Rice and take a leave of absence (an option for returning and continuing students).
  1. Please be thoughtful in choosing between Option 2 and 3.
    • If you select Option 2, you are letting us know that you will be present on campus this fall – and like students who will live on campus, you will be tested for COVID-19 when you first come to campus, and you will be eligible for selection into random screening testing for COVID-19 that will occur throughout the semester. (Please note: more details on testing and move-in will be communicated next week).
    • If you select Option 3, you are letting us know that you will be fully remote during fall semester – meaning that at no point will you be physically on campus. Choosing this option means that you will be excluded from our COVID-19 testing protocols for fall semester. Should you change your mind and decide to return to campus in the fall, you will need to change your response via the survey link we will send you shortly.
  1. If at any point you want to change your enrollment/residence selection, you can log back into the survey and change your answer. This provides a simple way for you to officially update your information. However, we would ask that you do your best to finalize your decision regarding your fall enrollment and residence status by Friday, July 24. This information is important for our planning around move-in and testing, which begins on July 27 with the return to campus of student presidents and Orientation Week coordinators.

If you have any questions about the survey, please email

Second, I want to address possessions that some students left at Rice when they moved off campus in March. A few hundred of you left items in your room when you departed campus last March, while others packed possessions into a PODS container with others members of your college.

For students who left items behind in your room: My office has partnered with Housing and Dining to pack all items that remained in rooms. If you are planning to live on campus in the fall, the items you left behind will be moved to your new room once it has been cleaned and prepared for your return. All other items will be moved to a central location on campus, where they can be retrieved by students who are returning to Houston for fall semester but not living on campus. If you are not planning to return to Houston for the fall semester, email your college magister to make alternate arrangements.

For students who packed items into a PODS container: PODS will be returned to campus in late July. The task of unpacking the PODS and distributing belongings will be managed by the leadership team at each college. Your college will communicate additional details, including plans for possessions belonging to students not returning for the fall semester. If you have any questions about items lefts behind in rooms or PODS, please email your college magister or college coordinator for assistance.

I want to end by letting you know that you can expect a series of email updates from me over the next two weeks. The next message, scheduled for later this week, will come from me and Dr. Jessica McKelvey, Director of Student Health Services. It will discuss pre-arrival health behaviors, safe travel recommendations for your trip to Rice and a recommended supply list for fall semester. Several other messages will be sent out next week (including our Cultural of Care Agreement, move-in and COVID-19 testing details, and other important information).


Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates