History of Academic Changes Due to Rice's COVID-19 Response

This Office of the Registrar webpage addresses specific topics and areas of change as a response to COVID-19 by Rice University. This page is strictly related to academic situations and decisions arising from Rice's COVID-19 response. For more information on COVID-19 policies and communications, please visit coronavirus.rice.edu.

Table of Contents

Detailed Semester Pages

Academic Calendar

Spring Semester 2020

Summer Semester 2020

Fall Semester 2020

  • Instruction began as originally planned on Monday, August 24, 2020.
  • Labor Day remained as a holiday with no classes scheduled on Monday, September 7, 2020.
  • The two-day midterm recess (previously scheduled for Monday-Tuesday, October 12 – 13, 2020) was cancelled, classes are scheduled on those days.
  • Election Day (Tuesday, November 3, 2020) will be a regular class day; however, no assignments can be due that day and all instructional material covered on that day must be available asynchronously.
  • Instruction will end on Friday, November 20, 2020.
  • The week of Monday, November 30 – Friday, December 4, 2020 will be an “independent study” week – work such as papers, homework assignments, and similar materials that are currently allowed by the General Announcements (GA) to be due the last week of classes may be made due on Thursday or Friday of that week (Dec. 3 – 4) but there will be no class meetings during the week.
  • Friday, December 4, 2020 will remain the official “last day of classes” for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • Study days (Saturday-Tuesday, December 5 – 8) and final exam days (Wednesday-Wednesday, December 9 – 16) will remain as originally scheduled.
  • Final exams will be conducted in a remote format.
  • Midterm recess is cancelled; end of instruction moved to November 20; independent study days added; final exams to be remote/take home

Supporting Documents for Fall Semester 2020

Spring Semester 2021

  • The Course Schedule will be published no later than Thursday, November 12, 2020.
  • The Course Request Period will run Thursday, November 12, through Friday, December 4, 2020.
  • Instruction will begin on Monday, January 25, 2021.
  • The following "breaks" have been cancelled:
    • Spring Recess
    • Spring Break
  • The following days are designated as "Sprinkle Days," on which there are no scheduled classes:
    • Wednesday, February 17, 2021
    • Monday, March 1, 2021
    • Tuesday, March 16, 2021
    • Friday, March 26, 2021
    • Thursday, April 8, 2021
  • The Last Day of Classes and the End of Instruction is Friday, April 30, 2021
  • Study Days are Saturday, May 1, 2021, through Tuesday, May 4, 2021
  • Final Examinations will be held Wednesday May 5, 2021, through Wednesday May 12, 2021
  • Convocation will be held Friday, May 14, 2021, and Commencement will be held Saturday, May 15, 2021

Supporting Documents for Spring Semester 2021

Fall Semester 2021

  • Classes will begin on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, to allow faculty to prepare to move their courses online for the first two weeks of the semester
  • All registration-related (and Course “Add”) deadlines have been extended by one week, to Friday, September 10, 2021.

Supporting Documents for Fall Semester 2021

Academic Instruction

Spring Semester 2020

Summer Semester 2020

Fall Semester 2020

Spring Semester 2021

  • Maximum in person class size was increased from 25 to 40.
  • Courses in which a student is in a classroom and the instructor is "brought in" virtually on a screen are considered "online" courses; "face-to-face" courses must have the instructor and student(s) in the same location.
  • "ARC Message for Spring 2021 Semester" (1/4/2021) - Contains of summary of Spring 2021 items, including dual delivery, Sprinkle Days, international student issues, academic accommodations, syllabi, and final exams. Courses to be taught in "dual delivery" unless specific exceptions were granted. A list of courses that were granted exceptions is available on the Spring Semester 2021 Schedule (Changes, Etc.) page.
  • Courses will begin with online delivery for the Spring 2021 semester with limited courses excluded from this requirement.
    • "Message Regarding Spring Semester Plans" (1/8/2021) - Summary of changes to the Spring 2021 semester given changing situation in Houston and Harris County. With regards to academic instruction, the semester will begin with all classes being delivered online only with specific exceptions granted by the Provost. Additional information to follow on how to obtain an exception.
  • "Message Regarding Spring Semester Plans" (1/8/2021) - Summary of changes to the Spring 2021 semester given changing situation in Houston and Harris County. With regards to academic instruction, the semester will begin with all classes being delivered online only with specific exceptions granted by the Provost. Additional information to follow on how to obtain an exception.
  • "Exemption to Online Start for Individual Study Course" (1/22/2021) - Makes all "individual study courses where students and instructors meet one-on-one" exempted from the online-only start requirement requirement. These courses include independent research courses, directed reading courses or other courses where students and instructors meet individually, and they may begin in person on January 25, 2021.
  • "Making Up Lost Instruction" (2/18/2021) - Provides guidance to instructors on how to make up lost instructional time due to the February winter weather event.

Fall Semester 2021

Course Schedule/Registration

Spring Semester 2020

Summer Semester 2020

Fall Semester 2020

Spring Semester 2021

  • The Course Request Period and Add/Drop Period were moved to the end of November and beginning of December.
  • Maximum in person class size was increased from 25 to 40.
  • Courses will be online except for courses that have been exempted from that requirement.
    • "Message Regarding Spring Semester Plans" (1/8/2021) - Summary of changes to the Spring 2021 semester given changing situation in Houston and Harris County. With regards to academic instruction, the semester will begin with all classes being delivered online only with specific exceptions granted by the Provost. Additional information to follow on how to obtain an exception.
    • "Exemption to Online Start for Individual Study Course" (1/22/2021) - Makes all "individual study courses where students and instructors meet one-on-one" exempted from the online-only start requirement requirement. These courses include independent research courses, directed reading courses or other courses where students and instructors meet individually, and they may begin in person on January 25, 2021.

Fall Semester 2021

Academic Relief Accommodations

Spring Semester 2020

Undergraduate Students

  • All courses in full term or second half of term were eligible to be taken Pass/Fail
  • Pass/Fail Deadlines Updated
    • As of 3/25/2020: The last day to declare a course Pass/Fail was the last day of classes
    • As of 4/22/2020: The last day to declare a course Pass/Fail was 6/1/2020 for continuing students; 5/20/2020 for Spring 2020 degree candidates
  • Courses designated Pass/Fail were still eligible to have grades uncovered
  • Courses designated Pass/Fail did not count against the normal Pass/Fail allowance
  • Pass/Fail courses taken in Spring 2020 were/are eligible to be used to meet major/minor/certificate requirements provided a grade of P is earned
  • Course Drop Deadlines Updated
    • As of 3/25/2020: All courses for all students were eligible to be dropped unto the last day of classes
    • As of 4/22/2020: All courses for all continuing students were given a 6/1/2020 deadline to drop courses; drops after the last day of classes would be changed to NG grade
  • Academic probation and academic suspension "paused" in most circumstances for Spring 2020
  • Graduation accommodations created due to COVID-19 disruptions

Graduate Students

  • All courses for all students were eligible to be dropped unto the last day of classes
  • Students in terminal master's degrees were allowed to designate up to two non-research courses as Pass/Fail; courses designated Pass/Fail were still eligible to have grades uncovered; courses designated as Pass/Fail courses taken in Spring 2020 were/are eligible to be used to meet program requirements provided a grade of P is earned
  • Pass/Fail Deadlines Updated
    • As of 3/25/2020: The last day to declare a course Pass/Fail was the last day of classes
    • As of 4/22/2020: The last day to declare a course Pass/Fail was 6/1/2020 for continuing students; 5/20/2020 for Spring 2020 degree candidates
  • Academic probation and academic suspension "paused" in most circumstances for Spring 2020
  • Graduation accommodations created due to COVID-19 disruptions

Supporting Documentation for Spring Semester 2020

Summer Semester 2020

No academic relief accommodations were granted during Summer Semester 2020.

Fall Semester 2020

Spring Semester 2021

Fall Semester 2021

No academic relief accommodations have been announced for Fall Semester 2021.