Rice University changes in-person plans ahead of fall semester

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Classes at Rice University haven't even started, and administrators are already scrapping their plans for a normal start to the fall semester.

University officials announced Thursday that classes would move to online-only for at least the first two weeks of the term, and classes will begin two days later than originally scheduled, on Aug. 25.

"As our students are arriving on campus, the number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area is increasing," said Reginald DesRoches, Rice University's Howard Hughes Provost, in a statement. "We are also seeing a substantial increase in the number of cases within our Rice community, which is predominantly vaccinated."

The private university is the first higher education institution in the Houston area to make this move.

"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," DesRoches said.

DesRoches went on to say administrators still plan on returning to classrom instruction some time this semester. For now, the online-only plan will be in effect through Friday, Sept. 3.

You can find more about Rice's plans on the university's website.

The video above is from an ABC News reported illustrating the spread of COVID within a classroom setting and the impact of masks. More about this can be found here.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.