- Student and faculty international summer travel (April 3)
- Update on Spring 2020 Commencement (March 30)
- Housing and services update, and Houston "stay at home" order (March 25)
- Student Guidelines for Online Learning (March 19)
- Academic accommodations update (March 18)
- Refunds and Student Employment (March 16)
On behalf of everyone at Rice, know that the undergraduate students remain continually on our minds. We recognize the stress and disruption that this situation is causing, and my office is working collectively with faculty and staff across the university to ensure that everyone can complete this semester as successfully as possible. In the time ahead, please do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns that I can help you with (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates
Frequently Asked Questions
- Academic Disruptions
Regrettably, we know that some students will be unable to complete a spring 2020 class due to the cessation of their program or course (e.g., those in some study abroad programs). University leaders have encouraged the Senate to be generous in allowing accommodations to address these disruptions of students’ academic plans. Accordingly, on March 25 the Faculty Senate will also consider a resolution stating that no student should have their expected graduation negatively impacted by these spring 2020 course cancellations. The resolution will endorse allowing the Dean of Undergraduates, in collaboration with the Committee on Examinations and Standing (EX&S), to exercise flexibility and compassion in looking for ways to accommodate student needs. This includes making possible graduation requirement exemptions, if or when necessary.
- Aetna Student Health Insurance
Annual health insurance coverage for the 2019-2020 academic year continues until 7/31/20. All customer service inquiries, including provider network questions, should be directed to Aetna Student Health by calling 1-877-375-7908 or emailing Customer Service.
- Campus Dining Access
As the COVID-19 crisis impacts our campus community, Rice Dining has made changes to on-campus public dining operations moving forward based on the orders from Harris County to close restaurant dining rooms for the next 15 days. These implementations are subject to change as the situation is itself changing daily. Please check the Rice Dining page for the latest information.
- Classwork and Assignment Due Dates
No classwork that was due last week can be due until Friday, March 27. This also means that only work that was to be due the week of March 9 can be due on March 27. No new assignments can be due the week of March 23.
- Disability Resource Center
If you receive accommodations and support through the Disability Resource Center, please contact us for guidance on accommodations for online learning.
All campus events and gatherings are cancelled through April 30, including Beer Bike and Willy Week.
With any additional questions for events on campus, please email the Campus Events Manager Hollie Evans email@example.com.
- Financial Aid
Financial Aid will not be affected.If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Office of Financial Aid by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Guidelines for Remaining on Campus
All students must leave campus as soon as possible and remain living off campus for the remainder of the semester with the exception of those students granted approval from the Dean of Undergraduates to remain living on campus after March 25th.
- Immediate Student Concerns About Necessities
If you have immediate concerns about necessities (rent, utilities, food, etc) in the next month, please email email@example.com.
- Instructions for Exiting Campus
Removing Student Items
For those who are still on campus we expect you to move out as quickly as possible. We are giving all undergraduate students until March 25th at 5:00 p.m. to leave campus, unless you have submitted and received approval to live on campus (please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information). We are not closing campus, but after March 25, we are restricting access to our residential colleges only to those students who have explicit permission to be there.
Belongings that cannot be removed
If you departed campus prior to spring break and do not intend to return please make sure to contact your college coordinator or magister and let them know that your personal belongings will remain in your room. Please do not worry that you will be required to make a special trip to campus to remove your belongings in the near future. We realize you may have logistical questions about packing, retrieving, or storing your belongings; we will provide updated information as soon as possible, and ask for your understanding as we figure out these details in the days ahead.
We are not asking you to leave Houston. You are free to complete remote coursework at the location that best suits your needs. Please continue to take your classes remotely from your off-campus housing if that is the appropriate option for you.
Moving Check-Out Process
Rice has a formal move out process. If you are in Houston, you must return your room key to your college coordinator before leaving campus. If you are not returning to campus, please send your key to your college coordinator.
Student cars on campus
If the student has already left campus and his/her car is parked on campus, please notify the Parking Office at email@example.com and provide contact info with cell number and the color, make, model and license plate information for the car. Also complete an on-campus Tow Form in the event that the car has to be relocated to another space on campus.
If students are still in the process of leaving Rice and would like to leave cars on campus, students should park their vehicles in West Lot 5 along the hedges/University Blvd. side. Please also email the following information emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org: contact information with cell phone and the color, make, model and license plate information for your car. Also complete an on-campus Tow Form in the event that the car has to be relocated to another space on campus.
- International Students and Scholars
International students considering returning home for summer
University administrators are carefully monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. It is important to understand the impact taking time off from your studies may have on your immigration status. For this, you should contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at 713-348-6095.
Students nearing the end of their F-1/J-1 status
Please make an appointment with an advisor in the Office of International Students and Scholars to discuss your options by calling 713-348-6095.
- Issues Accessing Remote Classes
If you do not have the tools necessary to adequately take classes online, please contact your department chair, or contact the Dean of Undergraduates email@example.com or the Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral program firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visa Status for International Students
We ask international scholars to stay in close contact with the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) regarding your immigration status and other related issues to your stay in the USA. Please remember that by federal regulations, you must maintain a full-course load, and make normal progress toward completing your degree. You will receive follow-ups from the OISS, as the current situation evolves. During this Coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is allowing our international students to study full-time with online education. In addition, you may wish to visit their FAQ page on COVID-19 here. You may contact the OISS at: email@example.com.
- May Commencement
Due to the announcement that national social distancing guidelines would be extended to at least the end of April, May commencement ceremonies on campus are being postponed to provide families plenty of time to cancel travel arrangements. To emphasize, commencement is not being cancelled, but rather Rice is postponing the normal on campus ceremony until a later date.
Rice will hold an online commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, for all who will complete their degree requirements at the end of this semester where the names of all graduating students will be read. Event details will be shared over the next few weeks.
As soon as this public health crisis has passed, there will be an announcement and preparation for an on campus ceremony in our central quad to celebrate Spring 2020 graduates. While the exact dates are not yet known, ample notice will be provided.
- Remote Class Delivery for Remainder of Spring 2020
Effective March 23rd, all classes will shift to a remote learning format. Classes will be delivered by remote delivery at the same day and time of the week that they currently meet. Please check with your instructor of record for information about how to be ready to attend class remotely on March 23.
Rice will ensure that every student can meet their academic requirements remotely. Please note: Students who are granted permission to remain living in the residential colleges will also receive all course instruction remotely.
To help us ensure equitable and effective access to and participation in classes delivered remotely and other academic activities, we ask that you complete the technology needs assessment. The university will use the information provided to understand and help bridge any gaps in individual student’s access to learning technologies, through provision of university resources, for the duration of the spring semester.
- Spring 2020 Academic Accommodations
On March 25, the Senate will vote on the following:
- Allowing undergraduates to declare any or all of their spring classes as Pass/Fall. Courses designated as S/U and first half-of-term courses are not eligible for this. If approved, this temporary rule will also allow students to uncover the letter grade of any course so designated as per existing university rules. Moreover, spring 2020 courses that remain P/F will not count against the four P/F courses allowed under university rules. Additionally, an adjustment and provision will be made within the university’s degree audit system (Degree Works) to allow Spring 2020 courses with a grade of “P” to be eligible towards an undergraduate student’s major, minor or certificate’s course requirements. The deadline for designating a class/classes as P/F will be extended until the last day of classes -- Friday, April 24.
- Extending the spring 2020 course drop deadline for all undergraduates to Friday, April 24.
- Study Abroad Programs
Due to the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 situation -- including health risks associated with travel and studying abroad as well as current global travel restrictions and shelter-in-place directives around the world -- Rice has cancelled all undergraduate international programs scheduled before the first day of classes of the fall semester.
This cancellation includes Rice Study Abroad programs, faculty-led programs, CLIC in-country programs, and the travel components of other academic programs (such as those run by the Center for Civic Leadership). Rice is also not permitting student participation in third-party provider study abroad programs. Questions about the cancellation of summer session undergraduate international travel experiences should be directed to the dean of undergraduates (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Student Employment
Student Hourly Jobs at Rice including Work Study
Off-campus students remaining in Houston, and those approved to remain on campus, may carry out their on-campus job consistent with social distancing protocol and will be paid under normal procedures.
For students with current work study jobs who are leaving campus, Rice will pay a lump sum amount, anticipated to be in the April 3 payroll, based on an estimate of what the student would have earned through the rest of the semester up to the maximum stated in the financial aid package. The estimate is based on the average hours worked and hourly rate for each job for the period January 13 (first day of classes) through the pay period ending March 14.
For all other students who are leaving campus and who have Rice jobs that are not work study, supervisors are encouraged to assign remote work where possible, but in general these students will be paid only for work done based on documented hours of work and signed remote employment agreements.
Further clarifications are forthcoming from HR and Payroll. In the meantime, if you have any questions about employment, email email@example.com, and if you have questions about a work-study position, please contact Financial Aid at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Student Guidelines for Online Learning
As the international health crisis has required us all to adapt quickly to new conditions for working and learning, we want to offer you some guidance for online classes and meetings. Everyone is doing their best to ensure that the remainder of the semester is successful. We hope that you remain connected and in communication with your faculty and with each other throughout this difficult time. Online meetings and interactions can be an excellent way to stay engaged, get help if you need it, and feel supported.
Below are some suggestions and guidelines for participating in online course meetings. Please know that everyone recognizes the challenges of transitioning to a home work environment where many factors are beyond your control. We provide these suggestions to help you create a positive environment for your learning, and we expect you to communicate any challenges with your instructors and with technical support when needed.
Information about remote teaching resources available for students is available https://kb.rice.edu/98939. If you have additional questions about participation in online learning, please contact Rice Online at email@example.com. If you have technology concerns and challenges, please call the OIT Help Desk at 713-348-HELP (4357), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
General Rules for Zoom Meetings:
- Allow yourself enough time before the start of class to connect to the live session, both by audio and video. Please note that you do not need a Zoom Pro account because your professor has one.
- To join a Zoom meeting for your class, click on the link provided by your professor. You can also find this link in the Canvas page for your class.
- Try to position your computer so that the main source of light (window, ceiling light, lamp) is in front or above you so that you are not in shadow - this will allow your instructor and classmate to see you better and will facilitate better group interactions while using Zoom.
- If possible, use a headset or earbud style headphones as your computer speakers can cause static and/or an echo for other people in the room. If you need help finding a headset that will work with your computer, please contact email@example.com.
- We advise against the use of your smartphone for Zoom class sessions. You will need a larger screen to be able to see your peers and instructors, as well as materials (eg., powerpoint slides). If you have any issues or concerns with your laptop, please contact 713-348-HELP (4357), firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
- To avoid excessive feedback noises in online meetings, be sure to mute your microphone by clicking the microphone icon in the corner of the Zoom window when you join a meeting, and unmute it only when you want to speak.
- Speak as if you are face-to-face with your class, and look at the camera to create eye contact.
Setting the Stage for your Zoom class
- Please take steps to remove distractions like social media or texting during live meetings so you can be fully present and focused with your professor and classmates.
- Please dress appropriately and act responsibly to manage your physical surroundings during video conferencing. It is important that you take steps to prevent violating the privacy of people in your area and to prevent recording of private information. Take steps to remove private information from the view of the camera and notify people in your immediate surroundings that you are participating in a video conference that is being recorded.
- Be sure to tell those you live with about your academic schedule and deadlines. The more they know about what you are doing, the more they can understand and help you as you participate in classes and complete assigned work.
Technical Details for Staying Connected
- Run a system check prior to your first meeting each week to ensure you have an up-to-date browser. For Zoom, check for updates on a regular basis. It is also recommended that you reboot your computer regularly to ensure your computer is up-to-date and to minimize technical issues.
- Test your microphone and speakers/headset prior to joining a meeting.
- Try to minimize the number of programs running during a meeting, especially those that use internet connectivity or notifications. If possible, disconnect other devices (such as printers) from the internet while you are using Zoom.
- If your video is not working, please follow these steps:
- Make sure all other programs that utilize the camera are not using the camera and/or are closed.
- Restart your computer.
- Uninstall the Zoom application and reinstall the latest version.
- Reach out to 713-348-HELP (4357) or firstname.lastname@example.org if you continue to have challenges.
Finally, please remember that your instructor and classmates are also engaging in remote learning for the first time. Please be patient with yourself and others as we all adapt to these new modes of communicating and learning. If you have helpful suggestions and creative ideas for enhancing online communication, share with your instructor and peers. Reach out for support when needed and make opportunities to stay engaged with your courses.
- Student Health Services
Rice University understands that there has been some confusion about how to access Student Health Services. The Center is open and they are taking appointments. However, students must CALL ahead and speak to a nurse or Doctor who will triage them and decide whether or not the student needs to come in and what level of care is needed to treat the student.
It is important to understand that students are not being turned away for care, but that they are receiving care in a different way than they are accustomed to and this is at the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC has asked that health centers limit the amount of walk-in appointments to prevent the spread of the virus, especially in cases of respiratory illness, including ear, nose, and throat. These measures are also being utilized by doctor’s offices and hospitals around the city as well. Primary care physicians are urging patients to call first and to do phone consults. Student Health Services are following these best practice guidelines.
Students may also be asked to utilize virtual care which is available to students in a variety of ways-please see below.
Students who need EMS, should also be communicating to dispatch when they call that they are experiencing respiratory or fever symptoms so that the EMT's can protect themselves.
Currently, they do not have testing kits for the novel coronavirus. There are specific kits and we have not been given to us as of yet. There are likely to be more testing options provided by the city of Houston later this week, which will provide students with more information about when we have the location information.
Here is a list of all options available to students:
Psychiatry Care Access
Please feel free to make an appointment by calling 713-348-3311.
Wellbeing and Counseling and the SAFE Office
Please feel free to contact these offices by calling 713-348-3311. They will assess you for continued care, which may include in-person, virtual appointments, or referrals depending on your situation. Walk-ins are not accepted at this time. Due to the licensing restrictions of our therapists and social workers, staff will only be able to have virtual visits with students who are in Texas. All other students will be assisted with referrals appropriate to their care.
For students on the Rice University students health plan, Aetna provides Teladoc, a mobile app that allows them to schedule a virtual appointment with a physician who will call or video consult with them within 20 minutes of their initial request.
Aetna Informed Health Line 24/7
Students with Aetna can call their nurse line at 1-888-556-1555.
Other insurance providers 24/7
If a student does not have Aetna, most insurance plans have nurse lines that can be found on the providers website or by calling the help line number on the back of their insurance card.
- Blue Cross Blue Shield: 1-800-581-0368
- Memorial Hermann: 713-338-7979
- United Healthcare: 866-705-9767
Methodist Virtual Urgent Care 24/7
Methodist Hospital, which is next to Rice and located in the Texas Medical Center, is now offering urgent care visits virtually. This allows students seeking non-emergency medical care to stay in the comfort of their own room: https://www.houstonmethodist.org/virtual-urgent-care/.
For more information on these and other services, please contact Rice University's Student Health Services website.
- Student Refunds
The university will be providing certain refunds and payments to undergraduates. All payments will be made by direct deposit or mailed check for those not on direct deposit and the amount paid will be net of any outstanding amounts owed on the student’s account.
Room and Board
Students who are moving out of their residential college, will receive a credit on their student accounts for the prorated amount of their families’ contribution to the fee for room and board charges for the 45 days remaining in the spring term as of March 23. A payment will be made to the student of the credit amount net of any unpaid student bills. Students who had room and board fully paid by need-based financial aid or other scholarship will not see a credit for room charges but will see a credit for board. Credits will appear on student accounts as soon as possible but no later than by March 31. Depending on the amount a family has contributed to the fee for both room and board, the credit will be up to $2,722. For those receiving only a credit for board, the credit amount will be $855.
Off-Campus Meal Plans
The off-campus meal plan refunds will vary by plan. The refund will be based on the balance of meals remaining as of March 26.
Undergraduate students with on-campus parking decals who are moving out of residential colleges and off-campus undergraduate students with Rice parking decals will receive a credit of 38.5% of the spring contract amount, including the semester surcharge. The amount will vary by lot and will appear as a credit on student accounts no later than March 31.
All undergraduate students will receive a credit of $20.00, which is 38.5% of the spring semester amount. The amount will appear as a credit on student accounts no later than March 31.
- Travel Policy
Reference the latest from the university’s travel policy.
- Zoom Accounts
All students are equipped with Zoom accounts and can find help getting started here: https://kb.rice.edu/84808. This page has “Getting Started” documentation, video tutorials, and a link to download the Zoom application.
Students can call the HelpDesk (713-348-4357) for Zoom issues, and will be routed to 1:1 Zoom help.