Rice University which emptied out most of its dorms more than three weeks ago because of the coronavirus, has opened rooms at two of those dorms for temporary housing for medical personnel who work in the Texas Medical Center hospitals.
In a message sent out to the Rice campus community, Prsident David Leebron commented in the great increase in the number of COVID-19 cases locally and that "Our hospitals are being stretched to their limits, and their medical personnel are working round the clock.
"Enabling hospital staff to live nearby will give them a greater opportunity for rest and to work needed hours. We will do this by offering the use of two of our residential colleges, Wiess and Hanszen," wrote Leebron. "This will require that we move approximately 50 students and resident associates out of those two colleges to other colleges on our campus. We have chosen these two colleges because of their location close to Main Street near the Texas Medical Center, because they are connected to each other, and because measures can be taken to separate those colleges from the rest of the campus."
Previously, the campus had opened up a parking lot to the Methodist Hospital so its employees could park their cars there and avoid taking public transportation with its increased risk of possible contamination.
Fewer than 10 percent of Rice's undergraduates, graduate students and staff remain on campus as classes are being conducted remotely, Leebron said. Most of these students who remain are international students. Leebron said he regretted that some of them in the two dorms will have to move to make room for the medical center employees. "But I hope we can all agree that it is the right thing to do in support of our neighbors who are undertaking heroic efforts literally across our street to save the lives of Houstonians."
Leebron also announced the school's "new efforts to undertake and support research related to COVID-19, research that will help not only with this pandemic, but with future pandemics."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.