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Students cannot return to campus and all classes are remote until Feb 15


By Savannah Kuchar     1/8/21 12:17pm

Undergraduate students will not be able to return to campus until Feb 15, according to an email from President David Leebron sent out this morning. The email also states that all classes this semester will begin in an online format and that Rice will move to Research Stage 2 in which essential on-campus research will be able to continue but with added safety protocols. 

According to Leebron in the email, these changes are in response to worsening COVID-19 conditions nationwide and within the city of Houston.

“The number of COVID-19 cases in Houston has never been higher,” Leebron wrote. “We’ve seen a sharp spike in positive cases and hospitalizations that started in early December, and that has been accelerating over the holidays. At hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, the positivity rate increased last week to 15.2%, and across Harris County it has recently surged to over 20%.  Daily new hospitalizations for COVID-19 have more than doubled since just before Thanksgiving.”

Leebron wrote that some students may be granted exceptions for living on-campus prior to the Feb. 15 return date, if they are already currently living there or if they are able to successfully petition the Dean of Undergraduates to return early.

According to Leebron, graduate students are advised to stay home as much as possible and only essential staff workers are encouraged to return to campus before Feb. 8.

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