Coronavirus update 2/28/2020

Coronavirus update 2/28/2020

Rice’s Crisis Management Advisory Committee has been closely monitoring the latest information on the novel coronavirus. We want to share what we know with the Rice community and tell you about a couple of precautionary policy changes we’re making.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the coronavirus outbreak has spread throughout China and to 31 other countries, including the United States.  Fifteen people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in the U.S.  (That’s in addition to 45 people diagnosed who’ve been repatriated to the U.S. from high-risk areas and are in quarantine.)

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports that the only confirmed cases in Texas are among people under federal quarantine at an Air Force base in San Antonio.  Those patients returned to the U.S. on State Department flights and haven’t interacted with the general public in the U.S. “The risk for all Texans remains low,” the DSHS reports.

There are no suspected cases on the Rice campus. 

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued a warning against traveling to China, and Rice suspended all university-sponsored travel to China by faculty, students and staff.  The outbreak has spread and CDC travel warnings at level 2 and 3 now include China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. The university is extending its travel ban on official business to those countries. 

That list is likely to grow as the CDC extends level 2 and level 3 warnings to other countries.  The Crisis Management Advisory Committee will keep you updated, and you can monitor these warnings at this website:  https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices

Also, any student, faculty or staff member who travels for personal reasons to any country on the CDC’s level 2 and level 3 warning list is expected to self-isolate and stay away from campus for two weeks after returning to the U.S. 

As a precaution, we’re also requiring everyone in the Rice community who travels outside the U.S. to register their travel at this website:  https://travelregistry.rice.edu. You’ll need to log in with your NetID, but it’s a simple process.  If you have questions about using the application, please contact the help desk at 713-348-HELP (4357) or email helpdesk@rice.edu.

Finally, we are anticipating more students than usual may decide to stay on campus during the upcoming spring break.  We want everyone to know that Rice students are more than welcome to stay here during the break.  Food options will be available across campus, including meal service in a campus servery for our undergraduate students.   

We’ll keep you posted with updates.  In the meantime, if you would like more information, you can find it at these websites:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/summary.html

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/novel-coronavirus-hubei-province--china.html

https://dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/