Rice University is restoring a mandatory masking policy in the classroom for all students. Instructors may remove their masks while lecturing.
The university also ordered the cancellation of “large college parties” this past weekend.
Kevin E. Kirby, chair of Rice’s Crisis Management Advisory Committee and vice president for administration, wrote to faculty, staff and students with the rationale for the changes.
“We constantly monitor the COVID-19 situation on campus, which has been quite encouraging over the past two months,” Kirby wrote. “But over the past few days, there’s been a significant rise in the number of positive cases reported in our community—about 145. Over 90 percent of the positive cases are undergraduates, with about half occurring in two residential colleges. The vast majority of these positive test results have been reported not through Rice testing, but rather through the self-administered antigen tests that were distributed across campus earlier this semester. While most of the people who tested positive have symptoms, we know of no serious illness among Rice community members.”