Rice Business Facilities McNair Hall

Message from Dean Peter Rodriguez for Students, Staff and Faculty:

Dear Rice Business Community,

I write to follow up on the latest message from Rice regarding the decision to cancel ‘in-person’ classes for the week of March 9th. To clarify, this decision was not made because any more Rice students or personnel have been quarantined or tested positive for the coronavirus — they have not.  

One reason for this decision was to prepare more of the campus for remote class delivery, which will help to accommodate students who are ill, immunocompromised or uncomfortable attending class in these circumstances. Being better prepared for remote class delivery and other class options helps keep everyone safer. The ‘extra’ week of preparation allowed by the cancellation makes it more likely that we will be able to complete courses that are underway or soon to begin. Fortunately, Rice Business is prepared for remote delivery in many of our classrooms and we are quickly adding capacity. Students in most courses will soon receive instructions on how to access their remote class or what alternatives to in-person classes are being offered.  

Rice’s administration also announced the decision to eliminate activities that bring increased risk for the potential spread of the virus, namely, events with more than 100 people in close proximity. We will soon announce any reschedulings or alternatives to Rice Business events of this size which were scheduled. At a minimum, no such event will take place on campus before April 30th. This change, too, helps keep everyone on campus safer and reduces the discomfort some may feel being on campus when such an event takes place. These two key changes, along with those regarding international travel and unnecessary domestic travel, will make the campus a safer place. 

Everyone on our campus should feel safe and be supported in making thoughtful decisions about their work while we are managing the risks of this health issue. For all who work at Rice Business, your safety is paramount. We have not and will not employ work policies that are unsafe for you. Please, contact your supervisor if you feel that you need an exception to our standard work policies. I ask that supervisors refer these requests to the Dean’s office and we will do our best to work out a solution as soon as possible. Some of you already have established suitable remote work procedures. Please use them as necessary and be sure to stay in close connection to your supervisor and business unit. 

Finally, I ask that you be patient and generous with each other as we all do our best to address and adapt to these recent decisions about our campus. 

Sincerely, 
Peter 

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