Rice University will start the fall semester online for two weeks, Provost Reginald DesRoches announced Thursday.
DesRoches said: “Much remains to be learned about the Delta variant and we need to pay close attention to the current surge that is especially pronounced in Texas. We need time to test and assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the Rice community and its related health outcomes, and to implement any appropriate risk mitigation actions, keeping in mind the effectiveness of vaccination in preventing serious illness.”
In a separate letter, Bridget Gorman, dean of undergraduates, said students who live in the Houston area should delay their return to campus. She also announced that “if you are currently living on campus this semester but wish to move off campus because of the complexities surrounding the COVID circumstances, housing and dining will waive the fees for breaking the housing contract in the following ways. Students that do not move on campus at all will receive a full refund for room and board.”
Gorman added: “I am sure that reading this, you feel a sense of disappointment that we find ourselves in this situation — I know that I do. But, as much as our vision for our fall start is shifting, I remain optimistic that these changes reflect a relatively short-term opportunity to pause-and-reset, rather than permanent alterations to how life on campus will be this semester.”