Maximum in person class size will increase to 40 students for spring semester
The Academic Restart Committee announced Friday morning that the maximum in person class meeting size will increase from 25 to 40 for the spring 2021 semester, which begins on January 25.
The announcement, co-signed by Provost Reginald DesRoches and Christopher Johns-Krull, the ARC Chair, noted that both student and faculty expressed a desire for more in-person class opportunities in the recent campuswide surveys.
DesRoches and Johns-Krull said that there is no evidence of COVID-19 having been transmitted in the classroom during the current semester. The ARC recommended increasing the maximum class meeting size to the administration, and the administration accepted the recommendation.
“We will continue to schedule courses in the largest available classrooms in order to maintain the greatest possible physical distancing in the classroom, and in any case at least 6 feet,” they wrote. “Mask wearing will continue to be required as per our current mask policy.”
DesRoches and Johns-Krull said that students and faculty will continue to have the choice of deciding whether to participate in the classroom environment physically or virtually.
“Instructors and students will still have the choices they currently have related to how they teach and attend their classes,” they wrote. “This change is intended simply to allow more flexibility to our faculty and to enable the possibility of more in person classroom experiences.”
Earlier this year, the Faculty Senate passed a resolution expressing “its deep disappointment that in spite of the stated principle of ‘choice,’ some faculty and staff members felt under pressure to be physically present on campus.”
More from The Rice Thresher
Following an opinion piece by former Students Turning Rice Into a Violence-Free Environment liaison Sarah Park which called for organizational reform, the Thresher reached out to several STRIVE affiliates to further investigate the claims made and discuss STRIVE’s mission and the whisper network.
Alongside the student expansion, the administration plans to add around 50 faculty members with diversity in mind, according to President David Leebron.
The Abercrombie Engineering Laboratory will be demolished and replaced by a new engineering and science building beginning this May. Demolition will start mid-May and construction of the new building will be substantially complete in January 2023, according to Associate Vice President for Facilities Engineering and Planning Kathy Jones.