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Rice has entered a contract with Evergreen Contract Resources to support contact tracing on campus, according to Jerusha Kasch, Rice’s director of institutional crisis management. Approximately five employees from the external Houston company will work 36 hours per week as contact tracers at Rice, Kasch said.
Rice fell one place in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report’s Best National Universities list, tying with Cornell University for No. 17. Over the past five years, Rice has ranked as low as 17 and as high as 14.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases at Rice so far this school year reflects the severity of the latest surge of the pandemic within the Houston area. According to data provided by the Texas Medical Center, August saw a record-high number of Covid patients hospitalized at the Texas Medical Center, along with 69,174 confirmed cases countywide — second only to the 71,996 cases in January, when less than three percent of Harris County residents were vaccinated.
Thousands of Afghan refugees are set to arrive in Houston after fleeing the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan. Houston, which from 2017 to 2018 resettled more refugees than any other U.S. city besides Atlanta, is already welcoming new Afghan refugees, according to Elena Korbut, the community engagement manager at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.
Editor’s Note: Some students who tested positive for COVID-19 were given the option of remaining anonymous in the interest of protecting private medical information. Anonymous students were given false names, which have been marked with an asterisk on first reference.
Rice will require everyone to wear masks indoors on campus, according to Kevin Kirby, chair of the crisis management advisory committee. Also, fully vaccinated people who come to campus must test at least once every two weeks, while unvaccinated people must test twice a week, Kirby wrote in a campus-wide email.
Content warning: This article contains references to racial slurs.
All members of the Rice community are expected to return in person for the fall and all students who come to campus are expected to be fully vaccinated before the fall semester, President David Leebron announced in an email Friday. Students who receive a medical or religious waiver must continue to test weekly and wear a mask indoors, according to the email.
Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask indoors on Rice campus, Kevin Kirby, chair of the Crisis Management Advisory Committee, wrote in an email to the Rice community Monday afternoon. This announcement comes three weeks after Rice removed the outdoor mask requirement.
Rice Management Company attended last week’s Student Association meeting, updating the Rice community and sparking debate about Rice Management Company’s ongoing development in Houston’s Third Ward. The Ion, a centerpiece of the 16-acre Innovation District, is slated to open later this year, according to Rice Management Company’s manager of strategic initiatives Samuel Dike.
Half-black, half-clear plastic clamshells, often with bits of food and utensils stuffed inside, pile up every day in trash cans across campus — clamshell and clamshell and clamshell, one per student per meal, seven days a week, 14 weeks a semester.
Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman cancelled all in-person events at McMurtry College starting Oct. 2 after three off-campus students and one on-campus student from McMurtry tested positive for COVID-19. Gorman made her decision in conjunction with the McMurtry magisters and the Rice Crisis Management Team.
U.S. News & World Report’s Top 20 colleges have adopted varying reopening plans and testing strategies for the fall semester. Rice, which has maintained a low positivity rate on COVID tests, joins only five other Top 20 institutions — the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, Duke University, Vanderbilt University and Cornell University — in offering a hybrid or in-person classroom experience for the fall.