Midsemester Update

Dear Rice Colleagues,

We hope the semester has settled down for all of you and that things are feeling more normal. While the pandemic still requires additional care and vigilance in what we do, the energy is returning to campus and we appreciate all that each of you are doing. We write today with two clarifications in response to questions we have received.

As previously announced, it is likely that some students will need to isolate themselves from the classroom for a substantial period of time — perhaps a week or longer — due to COVID-19 protocols. This is for the safety and well-being of the entire campus.

When students must isolate due to these protocols, instructors are expected to accommodate them by providing lecture notes, recorded lectures or other means for students to stay up to date on their coursework, including graded work such as homework assignments, papers, quizzes and midterms.

The Crisis Management Team will not provide lists of isolating students to instructors nor will they provide verification of a student’s requirement to isolate or quarantine. The Honor Code governs our approach to these situations. If any member of the community feels that students are taking advantage of these policies, the incident should be reported to the Honor Council.

Also, we would like to note that the midterm recess on Oct. 11 and 12 is fast approaching. The intent of this recess is to provide a break from the demands of school work for two weekdays as well as the weekend immediately preceding them. This includes not having assignments due during the recess.

While many things are more normal this semester, the strain associated with the pandemic, school work, the rough start to the semester and potentially other issues have not gone away, and we are aware of a higher level of stress among students and other members of our community than is typical. Everyone can use a real break and we ask instructors to be mindful of this as they plan due dates for various assignments. In short, please provide students the opportunity to rest and enjoy the recess without having work due during or immediately after midterm recess. They truly need it.

Again, thank you for your continued and thoughtful work on behalf of Rice and our students.


Reginald DesRoches, Howard Hughes Provost

Christopher Johns-Krull, Speaker of the Faculty Senate

Bridget Gorman, Dean of Undergraduates

Seiichi Matsuda, Dean of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies