Undergraduate FAQs

Listed below are answers to frequently asked questions to the office of the Dean of Undergraduates surrounding the university's COVID-19 response and reopening of campus. The questions are sorted in the following categories:

  • Health and Safety Protocols
  • Undergraduate Housing
  • Campus Dining
  • Academics, Tuition, Room and Board and Financial Aid
  • O-Week and New Families' Orientation
  • International Students
  • Campus Life, Student Activities and Events
  • Next Steps, Resources and Information

For more information, please refer to Dean Gorman's Town Hall.

Health and Safety Protocol

Information and Campus Policies

Q: How can I receive the latest information regarding COVID-19 and the campus?

A: The latest campus messages related to COVID-19 and the campus can be found on this website


Q: What sources are informing the Rice response to COVID?

A: The Crisis Management Team (CMT) is utilizing many sources to inform their Rice response including the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control, National Institutes of Health, and State and Local Health Departments. Additionally, Rice consults with officials in the Texas Medical Center, peer institutions as well as our own campus medical experts.


Q: What are the rules around facial coverings, physical distancing, maximum attendance at gatherings, and maximum occupancy of spaces on campus as determined by physical distancing?

A: Rules around facial coverings, physical distancing, and maximum attendance at gatherings have been shared via messages sent by Dr. Kevin Kirby, Vice President for Administration, each of which can be found at this website. Maximum occupancy of various spaces on campus will be clearly indicated for users of the space (for example, with posted signs).


Q: If I have questions about the rules, where can I go for clarification?

A: The latest notifications and policy updates can be found at this website.


Q: What will happen if public health and safety measures are violated?

A: Rice is taking public health and safety measures incredibly seriously, so education of all community members is paramount, and full compliance is expected. All community members should feel a collective responsibility for others and hold each other accountable with constant reminders. Violators should respond to reminders with immediate compliance. In cases where individuals clearly disregard health measures, repeat violations, and/or ignore reminders from other community members, violations will be handled by the appropriate supervising individual(s). Consequences for violations of public health measures are still being determined but will be scaled based on frequency and severity so as to facilitate immediate correction for the sake of community health.


Q: What kind of assurance do I have that my peers and others in the community will adhere to safety precautions to keep me and everyone else safe?

A: The best systems of compliance are those in which all members of the community assume a shared obligation and responsibility for one another. For most spaces on campus, it should be relatively easy to monitor behavior with public health and safety measures. Due to the enormity of the residential college spaces, Core Teams (magisters, RAs, college coordinators) will work very closely with student leadership, Student Judicial Programs, and Wellbeing to ensure adherence to policies. Prior to arriving on campus, all students will be required to review and sign a Culture of Care Agreement, which outlines specific behaviors expected of those who are on campus (including regular and thorough hand washing, consistent use of facial coverings in required indoor and outdoor areas, adherence to rules on physical distancing and size of gatherings, cleaning protocols, etc.). Rice is also developing a health education program and materials to increase awareness of the risks that can spread the disease, and awareness of indicators of illness. Two new student positions will be implemented to facilitate the goal of 100 percent compliance as well. COVID-19 Public Health Ambassadors will be recruited, selected, trained, and empowered to educate, constantly remind, and ensure cooperation from each residential college member. The full cohort of COVID-19 Public Health Ambassadors will be scaled as necessary to the population and geographies of each college. In addition, a COVID-19 Community Court, with one student representative from each residential college, will work closely with Student Judicial Programs to hear cases of lower-level violations of public health and safety measures by their peers. For more severe violations, our Student Judicial Programs office will take quick and decisive action to protect our community. Reports of violations of health and safety measures at the residential college level can be reported by any member of the community using a well-publicized electronic link on the SJP Website.


Q: When will the Culture of Care agreement be ready?

A: We plan to have it finalized and shared with students by mid-July. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: How will mask-wearing and social distancing be enforced on campus?

A: Through the COVID Community Court and other avenues already in place at Rice (e.g., college magisters, Student Judicial Programs). Any student who shows they are unwilling to follow rules around masks and social distancing will face disciplinary action, including being removed from on-campus housing. Faculty and staff enforcement will route through deans, supervisors, and Humans Resources. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will students be penalized for leaving Houston on overnight trips and risking bringing the virus back?

A: No, they will not. Students can come and go from campus -- as will nearly all of our faculty and staff each day as they go from home to work. All students will sign a Culture of Care Agreement on arrival, and we expect that they will maintain excellent health behaviors wherever they go during the semester. Should we find out they are not, we can intervene, although we are working closely with student leadership so that there is collective understanding on why making good decisions around public health is needed and required this fall. (UPDATED 07.10.20)

Health and Wellness

Q: How and how often will students be tested for COVID-19?

A: The intention is to test all students upon return with a rapid test that provides results within a few minutes, and after that to use an additional test that provides a result within a few days but provides greater accuracy in testing. Following this initial testing, students will be tested if they become symptomatic, if they have come into contact with someone who has tested positive, and in scheduled waves for asymptomatic screening. Additional information regarding appointments will be provided via email prior to classes beginning.


Q: Will faculty and staff be tested for COVID-19?

A: The intention is to test all employees returning to campus. Following initial testing, testing for employees will happen in a systemic order with employees with a higher risk tested first. However, ill and symptomatic employees will not be offered testing on campus. They should see their primary care physicians privately. At this time, there is not a mechanism for employees to request testing. (UPDATED 07.27.20)


Q: What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

A: If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they will be moved to an isolation room in Sid Richardson college and will be monitored by our physicians and staff in our Student Health Services and Wellbeing offices. Student Health Services will do daily tele-visits with each student and wellbeing staff will be available for check-ins via the students preferred method of communication. Housing and Dining (H&D) will provide food delivery to these students; three meals daily. Students may leave isolation according to CDC guidelines which presently are three days without fever and symptoms, 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. These guidelines may change, but Rice will continue to stay in accordance with CDC guidelines. Student Health Services will review a plan with each student. (UPDATED 07.02.20)


Q: What happens if a faculty member for a class I am enrolled in tests positive for COVID-19?

A: School Deans and Department chairs are working with faculty to prepare for a back-up instructor, should the need arise.


Q: What proportion of the campus population will be tested weekly?

A: It will be a substantial portion, but we are still working through the details of how many will be tested. Students who are symptomatic/exposed to COVID will be tested as needed, and our screening process for the remainder of our population will cluster based on level of contact with others in our community (that is, those with higher levels of contact will be eligible for screening tests at a higher rate than those with less contact). Employees who are ill or symptomatic should see their primary care physician privately, as they will not be offered testing on campus. More information on our testing process will be provided before the fall semester starts. (UPDATED 07.27.20)


Q: Can a student request and get tested (over and above the regular scheduled testing) on demand, even if there are no symptoms?

A: We are still working this out. Right now, we plan to do a two-step testing process for students on arrival, along with testing for those who are symptomatic or exposed, and then a stratified random screening process with a proportion of our community each week. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If another student that I have been in contact with tests positive for COVID-19, will I be notified?

A: The Crisis Management Team has established a contact tracing team to do follow up on any positive or presumptive positive cases to determine which individuals they may have been in contact with, and will notify those individuals to begin quarantine and/or isolation as appropriate.


Q: What happens if my roommate/suitemate tests positive or is presumptive positive for COVID-19?

A: Should a student test positive or presumptively positive for COVID-19, all roommates and/or suitemates will be required to quarantine in their room according to CDC guidelines. Students under quarantine are not permitted to leave their room, except in the case of common hallway bathroom use. Delivered meal service will be provided, and students will switch to remote coursework for the duration of the quarantine. Students will be tested, but a negative test does not necessarily remove one from quarantine.


Q: How are faculty being cared for and protected?

A: Faculty are being provided training so that they are aware of health risks and best practices for safely conducting their work. Classroom spaces are being adjusted to allow for physical distancing, and classes over 25 students are being shifted into an online-only format, with some exemptions based on instructor request and with appropriate safeguards in place. In alignment with campus expectations, all faculty members will wear face coverings at all times unless they are alone in their own office.


Q: How are Housing and Dining workers being cared for and protected?

A: Housing and Dining staff are being provided training so that they are aware of health risks and best practices for safely conducting their work. They are working in shifts to decrease exposure, and they are also being provided with PPE for additional protection. Temperatures of employees will be checked before clocking in each day, and as with all members of campus they will wear face coverings and encourage physical distancing at all times on campus.


Q: How are staff being cared for and protected?

A: Staff are being provided training so that they are aware of health risks and best practices for safely conducting their work. They are working in shifts to decrease exposure while maintaining services. In alignment with campus expectations, all staff members will wear face coverings at all times unless in the privacy of their own office and will maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from other persons.


Q: What housing options will be available for immunocompromised students?

A: The normal procedure for housing accommodations requests are routed through the Disability Resource Center; however, our ability to provide individual rooms is extremely limited. Please review all related FAQs and information shared via email so that you and your family can make the best decision regarding your unique health concerns and whether going fully remote or returning to campus within the parameters of the health protocols that have been established is the best fit for you.


Q: What are the specific provisions of that Aetna policy (if any) with respect to Covid-19? What are the costs related to medical care that are covered by the standard Aetna insurance policy?

A: If you have SAS:

  • Wellfleet covers all member costs for all necessary COVID testing at in-network facilities, including emergency room, urgent care, and office visits.
  • Wellfleet also covers treatment based on the members specific plan benefits.
  • More information about the Coronavirus can be found at https://wellfleetstudent.com/covid-19/.

If you have Aetna::

  • COVID-19 is covered by Aetna insurance. The standard deductible is $250 and out of pocket maximums, copays, etc would still apply.
  • Aetna will waive co-pays for all diagnostic testing related to COVID-19.
  • Aetna is also waiving early refill limits on 30-day prescription maintenance medications for all members.
  • Beginning immediately, CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications. With the CDC encouraging people at higher risk for COVID-19 complications to stay at home as much as possible, this is a convenient option to avoid coming to the pharmacy for refills or new prescriptions.
  • Through Aetna’s Healing Better program, members who are diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive a care package containing CVS items to help relieve symptoms. The package will also include personal and household cleaning supplies to help keep others in the home protected from potential exposure.
  • You are encouraged to use Teledoc for non-emergency care, available at any hour of the day (24/7/365).
  • Aetna Student Health is an excellent insurance option with many providers in the Medical Center.
  • If you have questions about the details on charges, they are best answered here for the upcoming school year. https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/schools/rice/sbc2021.pdf If you need to access your insurance ID card or details of your plan, visit Aetna Student Health.
  • Here is the Aetna Student Health page regarding COVID. You can see all of the additional resources they are giving their members during this time. https://www.aetna.com/individuals-families/member-rights-resources/need-to-know-coronavirus.html
  • The Aetna plan information is here: https://www.aetnastudenthealth.com/en/school/890436/members.html

Please note that your coverage terminates on 7/31/2020; and plans do not automatically roll-over. If you are registering for Fall 2020 classes, you will be required to take action to enroll or waive the insurance plan during Open Enrollment. If you have any questions, please contact studentinsurance@rice.edu and include your Student ID. Their website is https://studenthealthinsurance.rice.edu. Their direct phone number is 713-348-5544. Make sure to keep yourself covered! (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: What is the administration’s plan if health authorities mandate the closing of Colleges and Universities in Texas? How does the University intend to help students not residing in Texas in such a situation?

A: If this happens, we will help them much the same way as we did in March -- that decision to send students home came with little warning for our students. We gave them as much as time as possible to leave, we let them leave the contents of their room behind to ease their departure, and we granted petitions to several hundred students who needed to stay on campus because transitioning away from Rice included undue burdens. Going forward, in the broadest sense we would do the same thing again: we will be there to help them, no matter what happens. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will there be additional filtration or air purification in the buildings and residences?

A: You can read about modifications to Rice's buildings in this announcement: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/news/covid-19-response-weekly-update-modifications-university-built-environment (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Which buildings will be open as study spaces? I'm specifically interested in the following: Rayzor Hall, Fondren library, Brochstein, the RMC, and Jones Business School library. To what extent will these buildings be open?

A: All buildings will be open as usual. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Does your current plan with physical distancing in terms of classes, housing, dining and events depend on a given percentage of students deciding to take a gap year? Do you have alternate plans if 90% of students decide they want to return to campus?"

A: No, our plan is not dependent on how many students take a gap year. We are setting room capacities based on what the spaces hold based on spacing required (min six ft distance), not the number who return. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: How much transparency will there be in reporting case counts on campus? For example, will students be notified if there is a new case on their floor, in their college, and on campus?"

A: We are still working out the exact details of this, since we must adhere to both FERPA and HIPPA regulations around student privacy rights, including medical information. As always, we will need to balance privacy rights with the importance of providing our community as much information as we can -- but we will be sharing out as much information as possible on case counts during the fall semester. (UPDATED 07.10.20


Q: How will accountability for students living or visiting off campus look like? How do you prevent things like OC parties becoming major routes of transmission? What about students that work off campus in potentially high-risk environments?"

A: These are all good questions. The Culture of Care Agreement is something all students, on and off campus, must read and sign prior to returning to Rice. Regardless of where they go, we expect everyone to follow appropriate health behaviors. Should we find that someone is not, we might limit their access to campus spaces (e.g., the residential colleges), but the exact reaction and mechanism to respond will depend on what has happened. Magisters, the Dean of Undergraduates, Student Judicial Programs, and the COVID Community Court -- all will play a role in enforcement.

Also, keep in mind that a very large proportion of our population will move off and on campus every day - including faculty and staff, and most of our graduate student population. So, communicating around good behaviors when away from Rice, and on campus, will be part of our messaging and behavioral expectations going forward. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will thermometers be provided for students to take their temperatures every morning or are we expected to bring our own?"

A: Please bring your own if you can. We'll be sending out a back to school list, with instructions on how to request one if you need one. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: What exactly counts as ""significant contact"" with a COVID positive person?"

A: It depends, as determined by our contact tracing team. It's more than just walking by someone a few feet away. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If in a community bathroom, would wipes be available to wipe down surfaces before/after use?"

A: Yes (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will a nasal or hypoallergenic flu vaccine be offered on campus?"

A: See the "health and wellness" section in the FAQ for information on flu vaccine on campus this fall: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/dean-undergraduate-frequently-asked-questions (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Could you specify “collapsible chair”? for example, would a foldable lawnchair work with the outside tents?"

A: Yes, a foldable lawnchair would work -- just make sure it is lightweight and easy to carry (e.g., it has a shoulder strap). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If large classes will be held outside, how will you accommodate students who may experience heatstroke?"

A: Please read this message, describing the "tents" (semi-permanent structures is a better description), which will be cooled/heated as needed while in use as classroom space: https://coronavirus.rice.edu/news/covid-19-response-weekly-update-physical-distancing-requirements-and-its-impact-campus (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will there be a packing list for COVID specific suggested supplies? Will students be able to buy these items when they arrive?

A: Yes, we are preparing a back to school list with suggested COVID supplies -- we will be sending that out to students soon. Some are items you could buy from stores here in Houston, but we advise that you try and secure them prior to arrival, if possible. We will have a request form for students who need assistance in purchasing items on the list. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will students be required to receive a flu vaccine?

A: All students who will be returning to campus will need to get an influenza vaccine by October 30. To assist with this, Rice will be providing multiple opportunities for students to get their flu shot on campus. Flu season lasts through April, therefore, students who are currently attending classes remotely who plan to return to the campus in the Spring semester, are required to get flu shots. (UPDATED 09.04.20)


Q: Where can I get the flu vaccine in the fall?

A: There will be two options on campus:

  • We have arranged with Walgreens to provide flu shots on multiple dates in August and September in the Kyle Morrow Room in Fondren Library. They will be able to process student insurance so for most students the vaccine will be free.
  • Student Health services will also have appointments and will offer the vaccine for an $18 fee via credit card. Coded receipts will be provided for reimbursement to private insurers where applicable (Aetna Student Health does reimburse).

Q: How do I submit proof of my flu vaccine or obtain an exemption?

A: All students will have a flu vaccine hold placed on their accounts. They will submit proof of their flu vaccine to our Student Health services Office and this hold will be cleared. This hold will have the effect of preventing spring course registration which begins October 30. Proof of the vaccine with student ID included may be faxed to 713-348-5427 or uploaded to the Health Services box folder.

Students wishing to seek a religious, ethical, or medical exemption should submit a waiver by utilizing the State of Texas waiver form or directly from Student Health Services by meeting with a nurse or physician to discuss exemption requests.


Q: I would like to know more about why students would be allowed off campus considering the circumstances in Houston.

A: We cannot require students to stay on campus if they live here. And please remember, most of our community (faculty and staff) will be moving off and on campus every day. Our Culture of Care Agreement states our expectations for all students, and those on and off campus are required to sign it. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: I want to know more about how it is deemed safe to bring students back to campus when the virus appears out of control in Houston and local hospitals appear to be at capacity. The situation appears far worse in Houston now than when the school closed in March.

A: For various reasons, and including feedback we are receiving from students and families (many of whom very much want us to be open and with on campus offerings this fall), we are trying our best to reconstruct how our campus operates, and to provide students (and faculty and staff) choice and flexibility in how they engage with our campus. Students may come to campus, or they may take classes in a fully remote format, from whatever location they feel most comfortable. This is an option that has never previously existed at Rice, but it is an important one since we aim to support our students in whatever manner is best for them. And while this is less visible to parents, please know that we are being thoughtful in our plans around campus work and safety for both faculty and staff. Our faculty may choose between in person vs online-only engagement with students, and we are working with all staff on reopening plans that provide opportunity to work from home while also maintaining an on campus presence in student-facing offices and a continuation of all supports and opportunities we provided prior to COVID.

And, as we have done since this situation began, we have been continuously monitoring the situation in Houston and beyond, and have been altering our plans as we go in response. That will continue in the time ahead. We care about the wellbeing of everyone in our community, and all of us at Rice are working very hard to find our way through this situation in as best a manner as possible.

The best I can say now is that your family should make the decision you feel most comfortable with. Remote study remains an option, and if that is not preferred taking a gap year/leave of absence is also an option. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: If I delay moving to Houston until mid-semester, can I enroll in Aetna Student Health insurance when I move?

A: Yes, for those students who do not have coverage in Houston, they will need to enroll in the plan when they arrive, which will be a life event if it is before 1/1/2021. Those students still need to submit a waiver now and the Office of Student Health Benefits will manually process it when they receive confirmation from the Dean's office that the student is not in Houston. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: Will family members be tested?


A: Due to the limited amounts of tests in Houston, accompanying family members/friends will not be tested for COVID-19. This means that they will not be allowed inside college spaces including student rooms to help unpack. We know this is not ideal and may be upsetting. Unfortunately, these are the rules we have to follow to ensure safe practices for move in. If new students would like help moving their belongings, their assigned Advisors will be there to help transport their belongings. (UPDATED 07.15.20)

Quarantine and Isolation Procedures

Q: What is the difference between quarantine and isolation?

A: Quarantine refers to separation and monitoring of students exposed to but not (yet) diagnosed with COVID-19, for a 14-day period. Isolation refers to separation and monitoring of students who test positive for COVID-19 (even if they show no symptoms) until determined they can re-enter the Rice community by physicians in Student Health Services.


Q: What happens if a student tests positive for COVID-19?

A: If a student tests positive for COVID-19 they will be moved to an isolation room in Sid Richardson College and will be monitored by physicians and staff in our Student Health Services and Wellbeing offices. Student Health Services will do daily tele-visits with each student and wellbeing staff will be available for check-ins via the student’s preferred method of communication. Housing and Dining will provide food delivery. Students may leave isolation according to CDC guidelines which presently are three days without fever and symptoms, 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. These guidelines may change, but Rice will continue to stay in accordance with CDC guidelines. Student Health Services will review a plan with each student. (UPDATED 07.02.20)


Q: What happens if my roommate/suitemate tests positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19?

A: Should a student test positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19, all roommates and/or suitemates will be required to quarantine in their room according to CDC guidelines. Students under quarantine are not permitted to leave their room, except in the case of common hallway bathrooms. Delivered meal service will be provided, and students will switch to remote coursework for the duration of the quarantine. Students will be tested, but a negative test does not remove one from quarantine if they meet the other requirements for quarantine.


Q: What quarantine and isolation procedures will be in place for off-campus students?

A: Off campus students who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to set up a tele-visit with Health Services. If an off-campus undergraduate student has roommates and tests positive, the positive student may choose to move into isolation housing at Sid Richardson college. If a student does not have roommates, they should isolate themselves at their off-campus residence. Student Health Services will do daily tele-visits with each student and wellbeing staff will be available for check ins via the student’s preferred method of communication. Students may leave isolation according to CDC guidelines which presently are three days without fever and symptoms, 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. These guidelines may change, but Rice will continue to stay in accordance with CDC guidelines. Student Health Services will review a plan with each student. (UPDATED 07.02.20)

Off-campus students exposed will need to quarantine in their off-campus residence according to CDC guidelines. If off-campus students need support to continue their studies virtually while in quarantine, they should contact Academic Advising at 713-348-4060; for athletes 713-348-6096.


Q: If I test positive for COVID-19, how will I move to isolation housing at Sid Richardson?

A: We will provide information on how this happens closer to your return to campus. Our medical response and Housing and Dining teams will oversee this process.


Q: If I test positive for COVID-19, what are the procedures after my symptoms have resolved to return to my original campus housing assignment? How long will I be assigned to live in isolation housing at Sid Richardson if I have no symptoms after a positive test?

A: Students may leave isolation according to CDC guidelines which presently are three days without fever and symptoms, 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. These guidelines may change, but Rice will continue to stay in accordance with CDC guidelines. Student Health Services will review a plan with each student. (UPDATED 07.02.20)


Q: How will Rice handle colleges with hallway bathrooms?

A: Everyone must take care and actively engage in their living environment, especially around schedules for cleaning and use of shared spaces. Students with in-suite bathrooms will be provided with cleaning supplies to wipe down surfaces before and after use. Each day, common bathrooms will receive repeated and frequent cleaning of high-touch surfaces by our Housing and Dining staff, including fogging twice per day. Students on floors with common bathrooms will develop daily schedules for bathroom use that limit the number of students in common bathrooms at one time.

Students who have been exposed to COVID-19 will be required to quarantine in their dorm room or apartment (off campus or on campus) for up to 14 days. For students living on common bathroom floors, if any room on a floor is designated to quarantine, all non-quarantining students on that floor will temporarily move into a hotel adjacent to campus until the quarantine ends for those on their floor. Rice will pay for the hotel lodging expense. In addition, on selected common bathroom floors at Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Jones, Rice is reducing the number of students who will live on those floors in order to reduce the number of students who use a single bathroom.


Q: Why do students living on common bathroom floors have to temporarily move to a hotel if a room on their floor is quarantining?

A: Because students on these floors will rely on a common bathroom, Rice is moving non-exposed students so they will not come in direct contact with quarantining students in bathrooms. Rice has many comfortable hotels that are located very close to campus (e.g. Hilton on Travis Ave, next to the BioSciences Research Collaborative building). In addition, keeping quarantining students on campus is important because it will facilitate the delivery of needed services (e.g. meal delivery).


Q: If I have to move off my common bathroom floor because students in another room are quarantining, where will I go?

A: To a hotel adjacent to campus. For example, the Hilton Houston Plaza/Medical Center is a potential destination, and it is adjacent to Rice’s BioSciences Research Collaborative (BRC) building.


Q: Do I have to pay for my hotel room or other accommodations if I am moved off my common bathroom floor because another student is quarantining?

A: No, the university will pay all lodging costs for the hotel room.


Q: How will students moving to hotels be transported back and forth to campus?

A: We will be working out the details on this over the next few weeks - but likely with some type of shuttle service (Rice owns several shuttle buses). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: What is the capacity of Sid Richardson College and what happens if this is not sufficient to house all COVID 19 infected students? Where will the overflow students be placed?

A: If needed, we could fill Sid Richardson to full capacity, which is 231 beds (including the RA apartments, who are moving out). We hope this is not necessary, but part of the reason we selected Sid Richardson is because of its size, location, and separation from the other colleges (e.g., it is not connected to a servery, it has its own kitchen). We might consider other spaces as overflow if needed, and we'll be monitoring the situation daily as we move through fall. If we start to approach capacity as Sid it is likely that we would add additional restrictions on how students and members of our population can move about (e.g., restricting college access even further), but these are plans we are still working through on our end. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If I become COVID positive, may I return home for treatment and isolation if my parents drive to pick me up.

A: Yes, if you wish to go home, you can do so. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If international students are still required to be quarantined in a third country for 14 days before entering the United States, which third countries does Rice recommend?

A: Rice follows CDC guidelines for travel and quarantine. Visit: coronavirus.rice.edu. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: I heard ICU beds are short in Houston now. Can the students who have severe symptoms, go to Texas Medical Center?
A: For students who are diagnosed with COVID-19, they will isolate in Sid Richardson college and will have daily check-ins with our medical personnel (physicians who work in our Student Health Services). Should any student have more severe conditions and need medical attention at a hospital, yes, we would arrange for them to be transferred to a nearby hospital (quite likely in the medical center, but Houston is a large area and there are hospitals in and around Houston that are not part of the TMC we could access, should that be necessary). (UPDATED 07.15.20)

Undergraduate Housing

On-Campus Housing

Q: If I have on-campus housing for fall, could I be required to move off-campus?

A: Potentially, yes. Once we get the results from the mandatory student survey referenced at the bottom of the July 1 message from the Dean of Undergraduates, we will know how many returning students want to be considered for Housing Jack. (Please note: first-year matriculants and incoming transfer students are guaranteed on campus housing during their first year; that guarantee holds for these students regardless of college assignment.) We will communicate the details of this as soon as possible.


Q: Where will displaced Sid Richardson students live?

A: As announced by Dean Gorman, we will be redoing both our housing and room jack draws at all 11 residential colleges. Upperclass Sid Richardson students who previously had a room assignment in Sid Richardson for fall semester will be allocated a new college assignment for the purpose of fall housing only, and will enter the housing and room draw at that college. First-year Sid Richardson students (including incoming transfer students) are guaranteed on campus housing, and will be assigned a room for fall semester only at another college. In January, when the new Sid Richardson building opens, all Sid Richardson students will move into the new building.


Q: Will there be incoming, new students assigned to Sid Richardson?

A: Yes, Sid Richardson will have a freshman class - they will just live at another college for fall semester.


Q: If I am an incoming, new student and get assigned to Sid Richardson, am I still guaranteed on-campus housing?

A: Yes. All first-year students and incoming transfer students are guaranteed on campus housing -- however, for fall semester, new students assigned to Sid Richardson will live at another college.


Q: How will housing jack be redone to ensure fairness to all on-campus students?

A: A committee of magisters and college presidents has been formed to work through the details of this process. They will be messaging out to students at each college soon.


Q: If I am a Sid Richardson student, how will I communicate with my magisters and other members of my college’s core team?

A: Don’t worry, they will be reaching out to you with information on how Sid Richardson will function during fall semester. We are giving Sid Richardson preferential access to one of the semi-permanent structures we are installing in the open field next to Hanszen College. These structures will be used during the day for classes, but in the evenings and on the weekends, Sid will have standing times, each week, that they will have scheduled access to the space so the college can come together for activities and events.


Q: What will move-in look like for returning students?

A: For those students who will be returning to their residential colleges, the move-in process will be staggered, occurring throughout the month of August. Before moving items into their residential college, students must first report to a designated location on campus for COVID-19 testing (details to be provided closer to move in). While students can have a family member or friend with them to help unload their car, they cannot enter the residential college building. Returning students must limit their help with move-in to one family member or friend, and each person must wear a face mask and follow posted guidelines concerning physical distancing in shared areas including elevators and bathrooms. In order to make move-iIn as safe as possible the accompanying family member must be 18 years of age or older, not immunocompromised, and not exhibiting any COVID related symptoms.

To reduce density during move-in, arrival will be staggered, and below is a summary of key dates for move-in:

  • During July 27-31 or August 3-7: Greater Houston Area returning students (including those associated with O-Week) are required to place their belongings in their rooms (no unpacking or setting up).
  • July 27: O-Week Coordinators and Presidents move in
  • August 3: Athletes
  • August 10-11: O-Week advisors and affiliates move in
  • August 12-14: Greater Houston area new students move in

Returning students will receive a designated time slot to come to campus to move their belongings into their room. This process will be coordinated by their residential college and additional details will be communicated over the coming weeks. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: I am unable to secure off campus housing at this point. What are my options to stay on campus this semester?

A: Students can still elect to live on campus by changing their answer on the survey link that was sent on July 15. That link will allow you to edit your response. If you plan to change your response to living on campus, you need to contact your magisters to discuss availability of housing.

  • August 15-16: Out of town new students move in
  • August 22-23: Out of town returning students move in, greater Houston area returning students arrival. (UPDATED 07.15.20)

Q: What housing options will be available for immunocompromised students?

A: The normal procedure for housing accommodations requests are routed through the Disability Resource Center, however our ability to provide individual rooms is extremely limited. Please review all related FAQs and information shared via email so that you and your family can make the best decision regarding your unique health concerns and whether going fully remote or returning to campus within the parameters of the health protocols that have been established is the best fit for you.


Q: What are the campus rules related to face coverings? Do I have to wear one in my residential college room?

A: Consistent with campus wide policy, facial coverings are required at all times while on Rice campus, whether indoors or outdoors, unless a student is in their private residential room or residential suite. When outdoors, students must wear a facial covering or have one immediately available to put one when within six feet of another individual.


Q: Can students have guests in the residential colleges?

A: Access to residential college spaces will be restricted to current students and selected Rice personnel. However, on the floors where student rooms are located, no visitors are allowed (even fellow students). Floors are restricted to only those who live there, no visitors or overnight guests are permitted.


Q: Will students be able to visit friends in other residential colleges?

A: While observing campus protocols and safety measures, students are encouraged to still create community while on campus and to visit and connect with faculty, staff, and students across campus. Undergraduate students may go into any college common spaces, but in each college floor access is restricted to floor residents only.


Q: What happens if my roommate/suitemate tests positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19?

A: Should a student test positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19, all roommates and/or suitemates will be required to quarantine in their room according to CDC guidelines. Students under quarantine are not permitted to leave their room, except in the case of common hallway bathrooms. Delivered meal service will be provided, and students will switch to remote coursework for the duration of the quarantine. Students will be tested, but a negative test does not remove one from quarantine.


Q: Considering the new immigration requirements, will international students be guaranteed campus housing during the summer housing draw?

A: No, that is not a request the Dean of Undergraduates can grant. After room jack, international students are encouraged to reach out to OISS for support, and H&D (as discussed in the Town Hall) has identified several apartment complexes that are close to campus with relatively short-term leases available - they can provide assistance if students have questions. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Since room draw is for the Fall, will there be another room draw in the Spring for those students returning to campus?

A: Perhaps. If we have more beds than returning students, we wouldn't do a housing draw, just a room draw. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If students are allowed to take classes remotely for the whole year as a sophomore, will they be guaranteed on-campus housing for the following two years at Rice?

A: Our students and college leadership are only now starting to discuss this issue. It will be a bit longer before we'll have an answer on this question. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will students be given rooms in their residential college if they enter the housing jack or be placed in other colleges (other than Sid).

A: Housing jack will be aimed at their own college, followed by room jack at their own college. However, if one college is full and we have open beds at another, a student can request and be given that bed - this is normal practice. But our expectation is that the vast majority will end up living at their own college or choose to live off campus (per usual). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will students enter the room jack with their friends or could they wind up with random people?

A: Students will still get the choice to select who they want to room with. The exact procedures for this differ a bit at each college, but the general principles are the same as in a typical semester. If, however, someone doesn't have a roommate, the students and staff who oversee the housing process can match them up with others who are looking for a roommate -- also something that happens every year. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will the campus be prepared for Athletes to move-in for preseason on Aug 3?

A: Yes, our testing procedures will be running by then, our isolation space will be operating, and we can enact contact tracing and quarantine procedures as well. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Does moving in on the Saturday prior to O-week incur the extra day fee?

A: No, the price is the same regardless of day of move in. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will students need to clean their own room and bathroom? No cleaning staff as it was last year?

A: Yes, students will be responsible for cleaning their en-suite bathroom (with supplies provided by our H&D staff). This is meant to reduce contact between persons within student rooms, and so we can focus our attention on more frequent and intense cleaning with common hallway bathrooms (and public use bathrooms more generally). Please contact H&D with more questions. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: With the last day of class the day before Thanksgiving, do students need to leave campus immediately? If not, how long can they stay on campus and which of the COVID-specific services (boxed meals, testing, etc.) will continue to be available? In an extreme case, can the students stay on campus all the way through the start of Spring semester, to avoid unnecessary exposure during winter travel?

A: No, students do not need to leave immediately. All students may stay through the end of final exams, as usual, and meal service will continue during that time. In terms of the semester break, we likely will allow a small proportion to stay if they cannot return home (a deviation from past years, when we have closed them completely), although it will be a petition based system and not automatic. As we move through fall semester we will provide more details on this to all students. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: When will be the last day to break the housing contract for incoming freshmen?

A: Incoming students can change their mind all the way up until the start of Orientation Week. We would appreciate an answer sooner than that, but we understand that this is an uncertain time. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will Rice only allow single occupancy in rooms? Will rooms be maxed at two students? Still many double occupancy?

A: No, rooms are not capped at two students -- many are doubles, and we will have more singles due to the reduction of beds in some colleges, but as discussed in my letter on July 1st we are treating rooms as "families", and some of those will includes spaces larger than doubles (e.g., suites). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Are you losing common areas to accommodate the additional students from Sid Rich?

A: We are not converting any common spaces in other buildings due to the switch of Sid Richardson to isolation housing. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: How will washing machines the student laundry facility be sanitized between student uses?

A: Our laundry rooms will be cleaned daily by our Housing & Dining staff, following CDC protocols for cleaning. We will also be posting signs next to each washing machine reminding students of the proper way to wash their clothing - doing laundry on the warmest water possible and drying clothes completely (see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/disinfecting-your-home.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fprepare%2Fdisinfecting-your-home.html). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Is it possible to change my answer and enter room draw even if I didn't have a room on campus secured for me last spring?

A: Only students that had a room on campus for Fall 2020 are eligible to participate in room draw. You can ask to be on the waiting list at your college to be considered for a bed, should one become available. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If a student indicates on survey response that she will return and seek on campus housing, but then gets a very high number for the jack and decides to move off campus, is there a penalty? If so, at what point does the penalty apply.

A: If a student indicates they intend to return to Rice and live on campus, a fee for breaking the housing agreement would only be applicable if the student accepts the bed, should they be offered one.

  • If a student does not get a bed during housing jack, there is not a penalty.
  • If a student participates in the jack, gets offered a bed and does not accept the bed, there is no penalty.
  • If a student participates in the jack, accepts a bed, and then later decides to move off campus, they would have to pay the fee for breaking the housing contract. (UPDATED 07.10.20)

Q: How will study spaces inside academic halls and residential colleges be modified? For example, I am from Baker College; will Baker library be available for student use?

A: All spaces will be reconfigured for new occupancy limits, and will be labeled to let you know what that is. Furniture will be rearranged accordingly. Rooms will hold fewer students, none will be closed. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: I’m a freshman. Will my decision to attend remotely this Fall impact my roommate selection process for when I live on campus Spring 2021?

A: Yes, it will. Roommate pairings are made prior to the start of fall semester, based on the full population of incoming students at your assigned college. For spring semester, this pairing process will be more limited, since fewer students will likely move onto campus for the first time. (UPDATED 07.10.20)

Off-Campus Housing

Q: If I’m interested in trying to find an off-campus apartment, does the university have any knowledge of what may be open and available and near to campus?

A: The university has researched and evaluated several off-campus housing opportunities within a three-mile radius of the campus for students. A compiled listing of available off-campus apartments can be found at http://offcampus.rice.edu/housing. The properties listed have expressed an interest in supporting our student community members this fall. All properties listed offer short-term leases and many other amenities. Rental rates fluctuate based on market conditions, and we would ask those considering living off-campus to please take this into consideration when viewing options listed. Students are also encouraged to take transportation needs into consideration when selecting an apartment. Housing staff is also available to assist and can be reached at ricehousing@rice.edu.


Q: Will off-campus students have access to the residential college?

A: While observing campus protocols and safety measures, off-campus students are encouraged to still create community while on campus and to visit and connect with faculty, staff, and students across campus. Undergraduate students may go into any college common spaces, but in each college floor access is restricted to floor residents only.


Q: What quarantine and isolation procedures will be in place for off-campus students?

A: Off campus students who are experiencing symptoms are encouraged to set up a tele-visit with Health Services. If an off-campus undergraduate student has roommates and tests positive, the positive student may choose to move into isolation housing at Sid Richardson college. If a student does not have roommates, they should isolate themselves at their off-campus residence. Student Health Services will do daily tele-visits with each student and wellbeing staff will be available for check ins via the student’s preferred method of communication. Students may leave isolation according to CDC guidelines which presently are three days without fever and symptoms, 10 days since symptoms first appeared, or two negative test results in a row, at least 24 hours apart. These guidelines may change, but Rice will continue to stay in accordance with CDC guidelines. Student Health Services will review a plan with each student. (UPDATED 07.02.20)

Off-campus students exposed will need to quarantine in their off-campus residence according to CDC guidelines. If off-campus students need support to continue their studies virtually while in quarantine, they should contact Academic Advising at 713-348-4060; for athletes 713-348-6096.


Q: If a student chooses to stay home in the Fall, will they have to find off-campus housing in the Spring when they return?

A: It depends; first year students are guaranteed on campus housing, other students may be able to get a room, it will just depend on availability. Our first priority for spring housing for students who don't live on campus in fall will be first year students (since we guarantee housing for first year students) - but after that, all the colleges prioritize seniors next. Since we will have Sid Richardson students living in all the colleges this fall, it means that many beds will open up when those students move into their new building in January. Our best advice is that students communicate their on campus preference early in fall semester to their college, so they will be eligible to get a room in spring. Come September, we'll have a much better sense of the odds of that, for all students who don't live on campus in the fall but want to do so in the spring. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: I’m writing you to suggest that Rice establish some sort of Off- campus Housing assistance team or something along those lines. Many students are scrambling to figure out what their housing situations will be for this coming fall and obviously many are considering living in off campus apartments. This is an extremely stressful process (for obvious reasons) especially for those who were not even thinking about living off campus this coming semester.

A: H&D has identified a variety of apartments close to campus, with short term lease options since we know many students value that. Please contact Beth Leaver (bleaver@rice.edu) if you'd like to discuss this and other questions you might have around finding housing off campus. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Are freshman still going to be assigned a roommate? When will they find out who their roommate is? Will they be allowed to live together as part of a family first semester?

A: Yes, all incoming freshmen will be paired with a roommate. After notification of college assignments on July 10th, there will be a short delay before this information is shared out with all new students - expect that information later in July. They will live together as a "family" during the fall semester. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will Rice be able to provide any information about the possibility of campus closing and classes going fully online in the spring semester (or at least if Rice has any plans for that currently)? I'm concerned about leasing agreements with off-campus housing that would hold students accountable to continue paying for rent through the spring semester even if campus closes.

A: We do not have plans to close and go fully online at this time, but there are uncertainties in this situation. The H&D/Off Campus page provides a list of nearby apartments with flexible lease options (some as low as 2 months). If you have questions or need assistance, please email Beth Leaver (bleaver@rice.edu), she works in Housing & Dining and is the point person at Rice to assist students. (UPDATED 07.10.20)

Campus Dining

Campus Dining Information

Q: Will students be allowed to eat in dining halls? If so, what precautions and physical distance protocols will dining halls follow?

A: Yes, students will be allowed to eat in their college’s commons in a moderated capacity. Spaces will be reconfigured to ensure physical distancing with clear signage to manage flow and seating. All students, without exception, will be required to use the servery affiliated with their own residential college, menus will be consistent across campus, meals will be available pre-packaged, or students may indicate which items they would like included in their meal and a staff member will fill a to-go container and will give it to the student sealed. Other items such as pre-made salads, fruit, and salad dressings will be pre-packed and available for pickup within the servery.


Q: If I live off campus, but have a meal plan for the fall 2020 semester, am I able to eat in any of the serveries on campus?

A: All students, including those with an off-campus meal plan, will be required to use the servery affiliated with their own residential college, menus will be consistent across campus, menus will be consistent across campus, meals will be available pre-packaged, or students may indicate which items they would like included in their meal and a staff member will fill a to-go container and will give it to the student sealed. Other items such as pre-made salads, fruit, and salad dressings will be pre-packed and available for pickup within the servery.


Q: How will meal times be scheduled within the serveries?

A: Breakfast will be offered at all serveries from 7:00 am until 10:30 am to allow for staggered entry at the student's home servery. For lunch and dinner, students will be assigned a specific dining window (through their college) at their assigned servery. These dining windows include three options for each meal service:

Lunch
  • 11:00 am until 12:00 pm
  • 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm
  • 1:00 pm until 2:00 pm
Dinner
  • 4:30 pm until 5:30 pm
  • 5:30 pm until 6:30 pm
  • 6:30 pm until 7:30 pm

Q: Who will be allowed to eat at the Sid Richardson servery?

A: The Sid Richardson servery will only serve those students who have been moved there due to a diagnosis of COVID-19. Sid Richardson students who spend fall semester living in another college will use the servery attached to that college.


Q: Beyond dining options in the residential college serveries, will students be able to access other on-campus food options such as Sammy’s, Coffeehouse, and Brochstein Pavilion? If so, will health and safety protocols be followed?

A: Yes. Campus dining facilities will be available during the fall semester in a modified capacity. Spaces will be reconfigured to ensure physical distancing with clear signage to manage flow and seating. Offerings will be in a grab and go style, and facial coverings are still required while not eating. Dining staff will all be wearing PPE and additional cleaning protocols will be implemented.


Q: Will dining staff in the RMC and the residential colleges be protected?

A: Housing and Dining staff are being provided training so that they are aware of health risks and best practices for safely conducting their work. They are working in shifts to decrease exposure, and they are also being provided with PPE for additional protection. Temperatures of employees will be checked before coming to campus (self-check), and before clocking in to work. As with all members of campus, they will wear face coverings and encourage physical distancing at all times on campus.

Academics, Tuition, Room and Board, and Financial Aid

Classes/Dual Delivery

Q: What does academic dual delivery mean?

A: Dual delivery is a model of course instruction that requires that courses are developed in a manner that allows for delivery both on campus in a classroom, lab, or studio, as well as through remote delivery. This type of course design is intended to be flexible in order to allow for students to have access regardless of their location. Additional information regarding fall delivery can be found on the Registrar’s Website, and pay particular attention to the “Dual Delivery for Fall 2020” document.


Q: Is it certain that students will be able to live and attend classes on campus in the fall?

A: An announcement will be made in mid-July, with a formal decision on class format (dual delivery vs. all online classes), and confirming students’ ability to return and live on campus for fall semester.


Q: Will there be any changes to course registration, grading policies, or other academic regulations during the fall semester?

A: The Office of the Registrar has been prominently posting all updates related to the Academic Restart Committee including the academic calendar, course schedule, and other academic rules and regulations for the fall semester on the front page of their website at: https://registrar.rice.edu.


Q: Will students' academic schedules be changed?

A: In some cases, course start and end times have been modified to accommodate adjustments to the academic calendar and necessary shifts due to classroom occupancies. The Office of the Registrar (OTR) has contacted all instructors and undergraduate students regarding potential changes in their schedules, but changes will likely continue to be made over the next few weeks. Students are encouraged to frequently check their course schedule in ESTHER. For more information, please visit the OTR website at: https://registrar.rice.edu.


Q: What changes have been made to the academic calendar for the Fall semester?

A: The first day of classes will remain August 24, 2020. Mid-term recess initially scheduled for October 12-13 has been canceled. There will still be class on election day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020) but materials must be covered asynchronously and no assignments may be due. Friday, November 20 will be the last day of formal instruction. There will be an “independent study” week the week of November 30-December 4 for completion of various papers and assignments due the last week of classes, but no classes will meet that week. The official “last day of class” will remain December 4, 2020. Study days will remain scheduled for Saturday, December 5th-Tuesday, December 8. Final exams will be conducted in a remote format Wednesday, December 9 - Wednesday, December 16. For a full FAQ and more details on the Academic Calendar, please visit the Registrar’s website.


Q: Will students be able to study abroad in the fall?

A: No, Study Abroad programs have been cancelled for the Fall semester, and all undergraduates who intended to Study Abroad in the fall have been notified. Primary considerations were related to health and safety, but other considerations included program cancellations by most Study Abroad program providers or partner institutions, travel concerns, and uncertainties regarding transferrable Rice equivalent course offerings.


Q: If students are asked to go remote mid-semester, will students with extenuating circumstances be allowed to remain on campus?

A: Similar to spring semester 2020, if students are asked to return home mid-semester, Rice will again allow students to petition for permission to remain on campus if they have truly extenuating circumstances.


Q: What will courses under 25 people look like, vs. larger courses that are fully online?

A: Most courses under 25 students will have an in-person classroom component and an online component (dual delivery) for students who do not return to campus. We anticipate that most classroom meetings will take place with the instructor in the room as well, though in some cases, the instructor may be projected into the classroom due to the particular health vulnerability of that instructor. As is typical, instructors will have significant flexibility in their style of teaching, but instructors are aware of the expectation of dual delivery. Rice Online and the Center for Teaching Excellence are providing significant guidance for instructors in preparation for the Fall semester.

All instructors are preparing for an immersive online experience, and to give you a sense of what that may look like, please take a few minutes to watch this showcase on the fall experience.


Q: How will large classes manage to physically distance?

A: The majority of classes will be available in an online format, although a small number that do not translate well to an online format will be canceled until spring, or offered in-person only. Since some of our students will be in residence while others are remote, faculty are busily preparing to teach in a dual delivery format (i.e., teaching simultaneously in-person and online). A dual delivery model of instruction allows students maximum flexibility in meeting academic requirements, and enables students who enroll remotely to access the same high-quality education from our faculty. Please note, however, that in order to facilitate physical distancing, classes with actual or projected enrollments greater than 25 will be offered only online, although an instructor can ask for an exemption and teach a larger class in a dual delivery format if an appropriately spaced room is available.


Q: What if my time-zone does not align with online class offerings and makes it difficult to participate in class discussions?

A: Time-zone differences present a unique challenge for classroom discussions and interactive exercises, but instructors are being provided considerable guidance for developing and executing active learning techniques to accommodate the time-zone differences for students. Students with time-zone differences should be proactive in communicating with their instructors regarding this potential hurdle.


Q: Is attendance for on-campus classes required?

A: Under normal circumstances, Rice General Announcements notes that attendance is expected for all courses at Rice. Instructors of courses are expected to set and clearly articulate expectations for attendance, Due to COVID-19 measures, modifications may be necessary and both students and instructors should be prepared for potential changes based on the evolving nature of the pandemic.


Q: How will exams work, given that some students will be online while others will be in person?

A: Instructors should clearly articulate expectations for all examinations and any other form of assessment while considering equity and fairness. Students should be proactive in approaching their instructors if they anticipate obstacles to completion of any form of assessment.


Q: Why were course time-offerings adjusted? Was the decision made based on available classrooms or based on density of students passing one another during passing periods between classes?

A: Both of these factors were taken into consideration, but physical distancing in classrooms was a primary concern, because classroom occupancies are fixed. Some courses were necessarily shifted to alternate times. Density during passing periods was also an important consideration, but there is more individual control over physical distancing. In addition, Rice rules and our accreditation require a specified number of formal contact minutes between instructors and students. In order to end instruction before Thanksgiving, class meeting times had to be expanded which also required adjusting course times. Patience and diligence will still be important during passing periods.


Q: With added precautions and physical distancing, will it be possible for freshmen with limited lab experience to find positions in on and off campus laboratories?

A: Yes, faculty research continues, as does student involvement in these projects. Our advice is that you contact the undergraduate advisor in the departments you're interested in finding a research opportunity, and ask for their input on in person and remote opportunities. In addition, our upperclass students are excellent sources of information on how to make these connections as well. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If all of my classes are delivered online except for one, can I live remotely and commute to campus for that one in-person class?

A: Yes. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will dual delivery of classes continue through the Spring semester?

A: Maybe, it's too soon to tell at this point. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If a student gets sick and falls behind academically will there be accommodations to allow them to catch up?

A: Absolutely. Our physicians and wellness staff will be coordinating between students and faculty on this. Please know that our orientation since this started has been around helping students manage what is happening while remaining academically successful. Our priorities have not shifted. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: I am registered in an experimental laboratory class with a maximum capacity is only 12 students. Since this class is usually a wet lab with experiential learning, will this class (and other lab classes) be offered in a dual delivery format, or solely as an in-person class? How do we see which classes are offered online only, are dual-delivery, in-person only, or have been canceled?

A: To find out the format for a course, please go to courses.rice.edu, search on the course you are interested in, and look for "method of instruction", which is now listed for all courses. However, please know that decisions on this are still being worked out by departments and instructors, so it will be later in July before all information on this is settled. Another option would be to reach out to the instructor for your course of interest, to confirm how the course will be taught. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Do students (domestic) have the choice of whether to return to campus or attend 100% remote? I believe that they do, but didn't see this called out specifically.

A: Yes, all students have the option to enroll in a 100% remote format for the fall semester; if they choose this option (which is an included question on the July 1 survey we sent out to students) there is no fee for breaking the housing contract. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will there be any class work after November 20?

A: Yes, the regular semester still extends to December 4 (with assignments potentially due), with a finals period following. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: How will online labs work? Would there be any difference in credit for an online vs in person lab?

A: You should email the undergraduate advisor for the department these labs are located in to ask this question - or even email the professor directly. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Can you switch from remote to in person in the middle of the semester should the situation improve?

A: Yes, it’s likely that you can, although international students can start taking classes in online only, however only remotely from abroad. Then upon arrival to the USA, international students will need to take the coursework in person. International students on F-1 visas, must arrive by September 20, 2020 after which arrival mid-semester is not possible. If at any point you want to change your enrollment/residence selection, you can log back into the personalized survey link and change your answer. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: If I decide to study in a remote format this fall, can I still come to campus?

A: You can, but all students who live off campus but intend to come to campus for classes and/or other activities must change their intention via personalize survey link. Any undergraduate student who will come to campus after the semester officially starts (Orientation Week for new students, first day of classes for returning students) must change their response via the personalize survey link ten days before their arrival date prior to coming to campus so they can be included in screening tests for COVID-19. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: Considering time difference, is it possible to have classes recorded, so that international students can view the lectures at more convenient time? Is it possible to schedule more classes in the morning before 11:00 a.m. (this will be before mid-night in China)?

A: This is a question to refer to the faculty members teaching the course. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If students are taking classes online, will this delay their graduation?

A: Whether students are taking courses online or in person, they should be making normal progress toward their degrees and graduate on time. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Are most undergrad students going back to Rice and taking in-person classes?

A: Yes, most students are returning to Rice. About 80% are indicating they will come to Houston and live on campus, or off campus but will come to campus for classes and activities. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: Are undergraduate students able to do in-person research in the Fall?

A: Yes, in person students will still have research opportunities on campus; how that will work will vary by professor and department, so a conversation early on with anyone that your student is interested in working with is advisable. (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: What type of computer do I need for fall semester, and does Rice offer any free or discounted software to students?

A: Please visit https://oit.rice.edu/get-started/students for information on computer requirements for undergraduate students, as well as software products that students can use free or at a discounted rate. (UPDATED 07.15.20)

Finances and Fees

Q: Since Rice is shifting at least some classes to fully online for the fall, will tuition be decreased?

A: Regardless of the mode of instruction, the tuition rate for fall semester is the same since all Rice students will have access to faculty, student services and academic facilities.


Q: If I decide to enroll in Rice but stay fully remote (that is, I take all my classes online and do not come to campus), will tuition be decreased?

A: As Rice is still working to deliver full content and student services, tuition will remain the same.


Q: Will recreation fees be decreased?

A: There is no specific plan to reduce recreation center fees at this time, but discussions will continue depending on the evolving pandemic and the availability of services.


Q: If I say I’m going to be on campus at what point could I decide to change my mind and stay home without financial penalty?

A: Housing and Dining is waiving the penalty for breaking the housing agreement until July 24 for any student who signed the agreement but wishes to move off campus. Any student that is required to move off campus as a result of the new housing jack process will not be expected to pay the fee. Students that accept a bed in the summer housing jack and then decide to live off campus will be subjected to the agreement cancellation fee. Due to the uncertainty that many of you are facing regarding your fall housing plans, we are decreasing the fee from $1,000 to $500 for this semester only. For incoming first-year students, the deadline to opt-in to on campus housing remains July 30. Changes and cancellations after that date will also be subject to penalties. Please update your response on the personalized survey link to confirm your change. Questions regarding the housing agreement can be sent to David McDonald at dm7@rice.edu. (UPDATED 07.06.20)

Tuition refund deadlines can be found in the academic calendar.


Q: Are there any financial aid implications to the dual delivery methods anticipated for the fall?

A: Dual delivery methods planned for the fall will not impact financial aid packages. If your family has had a loss of income you are encouraged to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid to file an appeal of your financial aid package based on a change in family economic circumstances.


Q: What if I need to remain remote but do not have access to resources to make this feasible?

A: Rice works to make sure that our community is open and accessible to all undergraduate students. If there are resources you need in order to access remote content and engage remotely, please consider applying to the Rice Access and Opportunity Portal.


Q: Can I get my fall financial aid package re-evaluated if my ability to pay has changed due to COVID-19?

A: We understand that COVID-19 may have caused a loss of income for some families. If this has happened, we encourage you to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid to file an appeal of your financial aid package based on a change in family economic circumstances. Appeals are reviewed by a committee on a case by case basis and filing an appeal does not guarantee a new financial aid package.


Q: Aside from access to faculty, student services, and facilities, what will tuition cover?

A: We are spending a lot of money to get ready for a unique fall semester, and will be providing additional supports and resources that are costly to us to implement but that will not result in additional fees to students (e.g., campuswide testing for COVID, expanded outdoor seating), including supports that directly benefit online students (e.g. technology upgrades in classrooms across campus). (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will parking still be the same rate this fall semester?

A: We have no plans to change the parking rate this fall. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If students take all courses online remotely, will students still be charged room and board?

A: No, if students are studying in a fully remote format, they will not be charged for room and board. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will continuing students be allowed to register for less than 12 hours remotely and pay the part-time tuition rate? This would be for a student not returning to Houston in the Fall.

A: Students that elect to take remote courses can request a reduced course load just like those taking classes in person. Students approved for a reduced course load that make the appropriate changes to their registration prior to the end of the second week of classes, are charged as a part-time student.

Information about requesting a reduced course load can be found at: https://dou.rice.edu/reduced-course-load-requests. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: What costs, if any, will we be charged for housing moving our student to the isolation housing, for the student to stay in isolation housing, delivery of meals to the student in quarantine or isolation, or daily tele-visits with student health while isolated/quarantined? What about costs for COVID testing *after* the free initial free rapid test?

A: None. Rice is providing these services to students at no additional cost. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If the situation gets worse and a student decides to go home during the middle of the semester, can they get a partial refund for room and board?
A: If Rice were to send students home mid-semester, yes, it's quite likely we would issue a pro-rated refund on room and board (it's what we did last spring when this happened). (UPDATED 07.15.20)

O-Week and New Families' Orientation

O-Week/New Student Orientation

Q: What will Orientation Week (O-Week) look like if I’m on-campus for the fall semester?

A: O-Week 2020 will be presented in both an on-line and in-person format for those new students who are residing on campus. Although the schedule is still being finalized and subject to change, new students living on campus can expect to have the opportunity to engage with their residential college leadership, meet other new students and upperclassmen, learn more about Rice’s robust curricular offerings, and register for fall courses. A more detailed schedule will be available later in the summer.


Q: What will Orientation Week look like if I’m remote for the fall semester?

A: O-Week 2020 will be presented in an on-line format for those students who will not physically be on Rice’s campus in the fall 2020 semester. New students can expect to engage with their peers in small groups, learn more about Rice’s curriculum, register for fall courses, and engage with members of their residential college community. More information about the schedule for remote students will be available later in the summer.


Q: Do I need access to any technology to participate in Orientation Week?

A: Whether remote or on-campus for O-Week, students will need access to a computer with a webcam to participate in some of the sessions.


Q: Who should I contact if I need accommodations during Orientation Week?

A: Whether remote or on-campus, contact the Disability Resource Center for information about requesting arrangements. Consultations can occur via phone or email.


Q: What will new student move-in look like?

A: Move-In will occur over multiple days depending on whether you are an in-state or out-of-state student.

  • August 12-14: Houston-area new students drop off their belongings, and then return to campus the morning of Sunday, August 16 to begin Orientation Week.
  • August 15-16: Out of town new students move-in.

Students will be asked to make an appointment for a move-in timeslot and must closely adhere to their assigned time. More specifics, including instructions for signing up for a move-in time, will be communicated by your residential college.


Q: Can families help new students move in?

A: Unfortunately, they cannot help with move in. While new students can have family members or friends with them to help unload their car, they cannot enter the residential college building. No more than two family members may accompany their new student during Move-In. In order to make Move-In as safe as possible for all new students and their families, the accompanying family members must be 18 years of age or older, not immunocompromised, and not exhibiting any COVID related symptoms. Before moving items into their residential college, students must first report to a designated location on campus for COVID-19 testing (details to be provided closer to move in). (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: Will I need to wear a mask during move-in?

A: Yes, new students and their families will be expected to follow campus wide guidelines regarding facial coverings, and all community members must wear facial coverings when on campus whether indoors or outdoors. While indoors, the only exceptions are when a student is in their individual room or residential suite. While outdoors, all community members should wear a facial covering, or have one readily available to put on if they come within six feet of another individual. More specifics regarding move-in protocol requirements will be communicated by the residential colleges shortly.


Q: Where will my family and I be able to park while moving in?

A: Families will be able to leave their cars in the designated parking located in close proximity to their student’s residential college while moving items into their student’s room.


Q: After move-in, can my family come back to campus to drop off items for my room?

A: We would like to restrict campus traffic as much as possible after move-in, so we can execute our plan for staggered move-in for the purpose of health and safety. Students should consult directly with their magisters if they anticipate any visitors and/or deliveries after move-in to ensure keeping with the spirit of the staggered move-in.


Q: If I am coming to Texas from outside the United States for O-Week, will I be expected to quarantine? If so, where and for how long?

A: On first arrival to Rice, all students (free of charge) will immediately be given a test for COVID-19, and we are providing isolation housing for those who test positive. Students with negative test results upon arrival will not be required to quarantine.


Q: Is there any type of orientation for my family?

A: Yes, we encourage your families to participate in New Families Orientation. Through a series of online webinars, which will be available beginning early August, families of incoming Rice students can learn more about Rice’s academic offerings, student support services, and leadership and co-curricular activities. Additionally, updates from Health Services regarding COVID-19 will also be shared during the New Families Orientation webinars.


Q: Where can I find updated information about O-Week and New Student Move-In?

A: Visit Student Success Initiatives for up to date information about orientation and move-in for new students.


Q: When will parents start receiving emails directly?
A: Undergraduate parents receive messages through my office, out of courtesy given the situation. We communicate directly with your student (and all students), as well as our faculty and staff. (UPDATED 07.15.20)

International Students

International Students Information

Q: Where do I find the most up-to-date information on how my F-1 or J-1 status will be affected by COVID-19?

A: For the most updated information on immigration status/COVID-19, please see: https://oiss.rice.edu/covid19

If you have additional questions regarding your immigration status that are not covered in the above FAQs, please mail oiss@rice.edu and an OISS staff member will respond to your question(s). (UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: What is the last date that international students can get to Rice and still take in person classes and reside on campus?

A: For immigration purposes, the latest date that we can put on the I-20 for the F-1 students to arrive is October 22. Students with additional questions may refer to the OISS FAQ or set up an appointment with an OISS advisor.


Q: Will any students be required to quarantine upon their return to campus? If so, will they quarantine on Rice’s campus or are they responsible for making their own off-campus arrangements?

A: On first arrival to Rice, all students (free of charge) will immediately be given a test for COVID-19, and we are providing isolation housing for those who test positive. Students with negative test results upon arrival will not be required to quarantine.


Q: When must international students be on campus to accord with their F-1 visa status?

A: International students are expected to arrive as soon as their visa allows. Students should take a full-course load (minimum 12 credit hours) and can do this while abroad. Immigration laws allow us to extend the I-20 up until October 22, 2020 for the Fall 2020 semester. Otherwise, you would need to request a deferral to Spring 2021 or Fall 2021 to begin in the USA. Students with additional questions may refer to the OISS FAQ or set up an appointment with an OISS advisor.


Q: As an international student, what if I can’t manage to return to the U.S. for classes?

A: Rice is intentionally planning for a dual-delivery method of class content delivery knowing that some students will not be able to return to campus in the fall. Time-zone differences will likely present a unique challenge for classroom discussions and interactive exercises, but instructors are being offered considerable guidance for developing and executing active learning techniques to accommodate the time-zone differences for students. Students with time-zone differences should be proactive in communicating with their instructors regarding this potential hurdle.


Q: As an international student, can I take some of my classes remotely while attending others in person?

A: International undergrads on F and J visas must register for at least 12 credits here in the U.S. (unless it is their last semester or they have a medical reason). Currently for Fall 2020, there have been no changes to immigration regulations in regard to remote classes. Only three credits of the 12 credits can be online (unless they go over 12 credits, then more can be online). Students with additional questions may refer to the OISS FAQ or set up an appointment with an OISS advisor.


Q: If students are asked to go remote mid-semester, will international students be allowed to remain on campus?

A: Similar to spring semester 2020, if students are asked to return home mid-semester, Rice will again allow students to petition for permission to remain on campus if they have truly extenuating circumstances.


Q: Will ICE allow students who stay overseas and whose colleges are teaching entirely online to take a full course load online?

A: Yes, that is correct. Students can take online courses overseas. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If a school has a hybrid approach (like Rice), can international students just take all of their classes online from their home countries?

A: Not exactly. On an academic level, they can take as many courses as they want online while outside of the USA. However, on the immigration level, we will close their records, and their immigration status will have to start again when they come to the USA to study. This affects other immigration benefits, and something that will distress them. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will international students be allowed to enter the country if they are attending a school with courses that are only being taught online?

A: Unfortunately, they will not be allowed to enter the country. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If students are already in the US and classes are taught online only, will they need to transfer to another school with face-to-face instruction or leave the country?

A: Unfortunately, that is correct, but this one of the reasons Rice is offering dual instruction. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: When schools are offering a dual instruction (like Rice), will international students on visas be required to be on-site at the US campus to take a full course load which can be a mix of online and in-person with a minimum of at least one in-person class?

A: Almost. They don’t have to do as many in-person courses as the previous regulations require (minimum 9 for UG/ 6 for GR), however, they need to take the “minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree program”. Could be one class, but we need to review this in more depth. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Is it possible for Rice to have a "study-away" plan for international students (like some other schools https://global.cornell.edu/study-away). Basically, it lets international students be enrolled in their local university (for one or two courses) while still keeping on track at their home institution (with 12-15 credits online).

A: We are currently discussing options on this, our best advice is to keep in touch with OISS. At this point, we do not have an agreement in place but OISS will inform students if this does get established. I'm hoping we'll be able to provide some additional options for you soon, but we need a bit more time to work out what is possible. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If international students can’t arrive on campus by October 22, 2020, their F-1 visa will become invalid. How does Rice handle this situation?

A: New immigration regulations have come out as of July 6, 2020. For what we know now, for students who are unable to arrive by September 20, 2020, we will close their immigration records and they can defer to the Spring 2021 semester to begin. HOWEVER, they can take Rice courses fully online. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Will Rice consider contacting other universities in Texas to charter a plane to bring the students from China to the United States?

A: The Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) will not be able to help with this. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If all classes will be offered on line, will students be able to keep their F-1 status?

A: We are working as a dual delivery / “hybrid” model. Please refer to the new immigration regulations that were published on July 6, 2020. Visit: https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/ (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: Is it possible for Rice to contact the US government requesting the policy for Spring be extended, allowing international students to take classes on line and keep F-1 status valid?

A: We have done this a lot. Now we must comply with the current guidance: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcm2007-01.pdf (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: What if I am back for classes in the fall but I am unable to return to my home country in November?

A: Rice will not be closing the residential colleges during the winter break so that students unable to return home can remain on-campus. The Dean of Undergraduates will communicate details for requesting permission to remain on campus through the break later in the semester

Campus Life, Student Activities, and Events

Campus Life

Q: Will the Gibbs Recreation Center be open and under what conditions?

A: Yes, the Gibbs Recreation Center is planning to be open under enhanced cleaning and operational protocols. Opening plans include physical distancing in a manner that supports the health and wellness of students. As the beginning of the semester approaches, check the Gibbs Recreation website for updated services and offerings.


Q: Will there be intramural and club sports?

A: The Gibbs Recreation Center staff is working on creative opportunities to offer intramural sports for the fall that align with CDC guidelines while promoting a healthy and engaging experience. The club sports governing body is working with the Gibbs Recreation Center staff to determine what opportunities may be available for the fall. Check the Gibbs Recreation website for updated information.


Q: Will the library be operational?

A: Yes, Fondren Library will be open with modified hours. Possible changes in access to study rooms/areas and enhanced cleaning and operational protocols are being considered to ensure the health and safety of the community. Opening plans include campus building occupancy limits, physical distancing utilizing floor and table reminders, maintaining hand sanitizer stations and wipes at various service stations for patron use. Signs will be posted to remind community members to observe campus health protocols while in the building. For the most current information regarding services, resources, and building operations, visit the Fondren Services webpage.


Q: Will the shuttle service be operational?

A: Rice’s campus shuttle service will be available and operating at 50 percent capacity during the fall 2020 semester. Sanitation of the shuttle buses will occur each evening. Parking and Transportation will have more specific information regarding routes and their frequency.


Q: Will student services such as Student Success Initiatives, the Office of Academic Advising, Wellbeing and Counseling, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and others still be available?

A: Yes, all offices in the Dean of Undergraduates’ division are planning on having virtual service offerings while still having a campus presence. Individual one-on-one meetings are encouraged to still remain in a virtual format, but office spaces will still be staffed and open during normal business hours to support students.


Q: Will students be allowed to go off-campus if living on-campus in the fall?

A: Yes, we are hoping that students will still enjoy on and off campus experiences. We encourage students who do go off campus, to engage in healthy practices such as continuing to wear masks, physically distance, wash hands often, and try to avoid large crowds. If possible avoid interacting with individuals who are sick or exhibiting symptoms.


Q: What will Division I athletics look like?

A: Rice athletics is currently monitoring NCAA guidelines and regulations that are being developed to determine what athletics will look like in the fall.


Q: What will student social life look like?

A: One of the guiding principles of planning for the fall has been to create as vibrant a campus life as possible within the bounds of health and safety. To this end, much creative thought is going into reimagining events, understanding that new occupancy guidelines are being issued for indoor and outdoor spaces, the largest venues can host no more than 50 people, and facial coverings are still required.


Q: What opportunities will remote students have to engage in campus social life?

A: Remote students will be encouraged to connect with peers and events in a virtual format. Events such as Owls After Dark and many residential college programs are looking at modified dual-delivery formats for some events to try to encourage students who are not on campus to still engage with the community. While we recognize that this may be challenging in terms of time-zones, the hope is to still have connection opportunities for students who are away. Club and college opportunities are encouraged to register their events through OwlNest so that information is available for how to connect online.


Q: What precautions will be taken to ensure student safety during on-campus events?

A: To encourage healthy practices at events, the campus is taking a number of actions. Room occupancy numbers are being adjusted to reflect physical distancing practices. Events in spaces must adjust attendance numbers to no more than the maximum number of individuals reflected in the new occupancy numbers with an upper limit of 50 in the largest spaces. All events will follow the campus physical distancing and facial covering policies. Food will need to be individually packaged for grab and go style pick up at events. Other healthy practices such as having hand sanitizer at events, avoiding lines and promoting an RSVP process to manage event attendance are encouraged. The Crisis Management Team is finalizing guidance documents for events as well as for venue managers to support safe event planning and will be available by the end of July.


Q: Can students have guests on campus?

A: Access to residential college spaces will be restricted to current students and selected Rice personnel. No visitors or overnight guests are permitted.


Q: Will students be able to visit friends in other residential colleges?

A: While observing campus protocols and safety measures, students are encouraged to still create community while on campus and to visit and connect with faculty, staff, and students across campus. Undergraduate students may go into any college common spaces, but in each college floor access is restricted to floor residents only.


Q: What are the building cleaning protocols?

A: Across campus a set of increased cleaning protocols have been implemented. Hand sanitizing stations have been placed at designated building entrances. Frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, toilets and signs are being cleaned frequently and with greater intensity. Sanitizing wipes have been deployed for use in common spaces and the frequency of cleaning schedules for these spaces has been increased. Bathrooms will be fogged and sanitized every night. Additionally, custodial staff have been trained on the Center for Disease and Control and Prevention’s guidance for cleaning and disinfection as well as on how to stay safe while doing their jobs with EPA approved disinfectants for cleaning. Facilities staff are also taking steps to increase outside air ventilation by reprogramming systems, enhancing air filtration systems, cleaning HVAC systems, and flushing water systems.

Residential College Life

Q: Will students be allowed to eat in dining halls? If so, what precautions and physical distance protocols will dining halls follow?

A: Yes, students will be allowed to eat in their college’s commons in a moderated capacity. Spaces will be reconfigured to ensure physical distancing with clear signage to manage flow and seating. All students, without exception, will be required to use the servery affiliated with their own residential college, menus will be consistent across campus, and all meals will be pre-packaged.


Q: If I live off campus, but have a meal plan for the fall 2020 semester, am I able to eat in any of the serveries on campus?

A: All students, including those with an off-campus meal plan, will be required to use the servery affiliated with their own residential college, menus will be consistent across campus, and all meals will be pre-packaged.


Q: What areas within the residential colleges will Housing and Dining be responsible for cleaning?

A: Students with in-suite bathrooms will be responsible for cleaning their bathroom following use, with supplies provided by Housing and Dining. Housing and Dining will continue to clean high-touch surfaces in college common areas (for example doorknobs, elevators (including buttons), light switches, handrails, kitchens, public use bathrooms, laundry rooms) in accordance with Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines.


Q: What are the campus rules related to face coverings? Do I have to wear one in my residential college room?

A: Consistent with campus wide policy, facial coverings are required at all times while on Rice campus, whether indoors or outdoors, unless a student is in their private residential room or residential suite. When outdoors, students must wear a facial covering or have one immediately available for when within 6ft of another individual.


Q: Who can I contact with college specific COVID-19 Questions?

A: This depends on the nature of the COVID-19-related question. Students can always approach their Core Team members (magisters, RAs, college coordinator) or other student leaders who will answer their questions, or point them to the appropriate resource to answer their questions.

Next Steps, Resources, and Information

Return to Campus

Q: Are there any forms that I need to complete before the fall semester?

A: All undergraduate students, incoming and returning, must complete the Dean of Undergraduates’ survey sent to students on July 1. The survey is due by 5:00pm (central time) on Monday, July 6. The survey is brief and requests your enrollment and housing intentions regarding the Fall semester. Please know that your answer is not binding, but will allow us to better understand your plans and prepare accordingly.


Q: If I say I’m going to be on campus at what point could I decide to change my mind and stay home without financial penalty?

A: Housing and Dining is waiving the penalty for breaking the housing agreement until July 24 for any student who signed the agreement but wishes to move off campus. Any student that is required to move off campus as a result of the new housing jack process will not be expected to pay the fee. Students that accept a bed in the summer housing jack and then decide to live off campus will be subjected to the agreement cancellation fee. Due to the uncertainty that many of you are facing regarding your fall housing plans, we are decreasing the fee from $1,000 to $500 for this semester only. For incoming first-year students, the deadline to opt-in to on campus housing remains July 30. Changes and cancellations after that date will also be subject to penalties. Please update your response on the personalized survey link to confirm your change. Questions regarding the housing agreement can be sent to David McDonald at dm7@rice.edu.

Tuition refund deadlines can be found in the academic calendar.(UPDATED 07.15.20)


Q: Will students be allowed to go remote mid-semester if they no longer feel safe?

A: Yes, Rice understands that the pandemic continues to evolve, and student sentiment towards risk can also change. Students will be allowed to change from in-person to remote mid-semester if they so choose.


Q: What is the process for an incoming student to request a gap semester/year? What is the deadline to make the request?

A: Admitted freshmen who wish to request a gap year or semester should submit a detailed plan in writing describing exactly how they plan to spend their time away and confirm their understanding that they do not intend to enroll or apply to any other college or university during their gap year or semester. Successful proposals demonstrate clear intent with goals and a plan that will make the candidate a better student when they arrive on campus. Students are encouraged, but not required, to submit their gap year or semester request to the Office of Admission by July 6 in conjunction with the mandatory enrollment survey requested by the Dean of Undergraduates. For more information visit gap year or semester procedures.


Q: Can incoming students taking a gap semester/year take courses elsewhere during that time?

A: Admitted freshmen approved for a gap year or semester may take courses as part of their learning and self-discovery while on a gap year or semester, but not for college credit. They may not enroll as a matriculated student at another institution.


Q: What is the process for a returning student to request a leave of absence? What is the deadline to make the request?

A: Returning students wishing to request a leave of absence must submit the undergraduate separation form. You are encouraged to submit the request as soon as possible, but the deadline for requesting a leave of absence is Sunday, August 23.


Q: Can returning students taking a leave of absence take courses elsewhere during that time?

A: Students taking a leave of absence are permitted to take coursework elsewhere during their time away, but they are subject to the policies regarding transfer credit as outlined in the general announcements.


Q: How can I receive the latest information regarding COVID-19 and the campus?

A: The latest campus messages related to COVID-19 and the campus can be found on this website.


Q: For incoming freshman students taking a gap semester (no classes on or off campus), how would orientation, housing, and roommates work?

A: If you do take a gap semester in the fall, and join us in spring, we will be preparing a mini-Oweek for spring semester matriculants (we'll share out information on that around October). At that time we'd be in touch about roommate pairings as well. Even if you take a gap semester, you'll still be getting your college assignment on July 10th. (UPDATED 07.10.20)


Q: If students choose to stay home in the Fall, are they required to return in the Spring?

A: It depends; continuing students will not be required to return in the spring, the process would be different for first year students (gap year/semester vs. leave of absence). (UPDATED 07.10.20)