Brown-Jones public canceled amidst post Beer Bike rise in COVID cases
Over the past few days, Rice has seen a substantial rise in COVID-19 cases, according to an email sent to students, staff and faculty from the Rice Crisis Management Team. The Brown-Jones College public, scheduled for this Saturday, is now canceled as a result, according to Brown College Social Coordinator Lucian Bennett-Brandt.
The spike in cases comes after Rice hosted Beer Bike this past weekend, resembling the pre-COVID event for the first time in three years. The weekend included hosting large cross college events and welcoming visiting alumni, many of whom traveled from across the country and world.
As of April 6, 22 Rice COVID-19 tests and 60 non-Rice tests came back positive in the last seven days, according to Rice’s COVID-19 dashboard. These numbers do not account for unreported non-Rice positive tests.
Bennett-Brandt said that canceling the public was not consistent with the information received in the email sent to the Rice community by the CMT on Wednesday. The April 6 email stated that the team was not ready to make policy changes.
“We viewed the email that was sent out on Wednesday as a green light,” Bennett-Brandt said. “The email made no mention that the status of the public was very much in the air.”
Bennett-Brandt said that while he believes the public could have been adapted in order to occur, he understands why it was canceled.
“I still think it was really unfair to communicate that it wasn't probably getting canceled and then do the opposite,” Bennett-Brandt, a junior at Brown, said. “I think they shouldn't have sent out that email. Stick to your guns. Either change your policies or don't. But, Dean Gorman has a really hard job so I understand that handling all these things at once is tough.”
Although no policy changes have been announced by administration, some event organizers have announced that they will require masks for upcoming events. The Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium, scheduled for Friday April 16, announced a mask requirement for participants today due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, according to an email obtained by the Thresher. The Pub at Rice is also encouraging patrons to receive a negative COVID-19 test, according to its Instagram.
Gabriela Perez, a Wiess College junior, said that she wasn’t shocked about the rise in COVID-19 cases following Beer Bike.
“Because Rice stopped testing requirements, if anyone had COVID there was no way of knowing,” Perez said. “On top of that, the alumni coming back [is another factor]. These people were flying from all over the country and coming to one space.”
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