"Out of an abundance of caution and to allow faculty and staff time to prepare for possible remote instruction this semester, in-person classroom instruction and undergrad teaching labs for the week of March 9 are canceled," Rice said in a news release. "Like some of our peers, Rice is preparing for the possibility of delivering the majority of its classes remotely if that should prove necessary."
The university has formed a working group to look at how to implement remote teaching methods. The campus is also closed for spring break March 14-22.
Following advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials also announced that all campus events involving over 100 people would be canceled, including the longstanding Beer Bike tradition.
On March 5, the university received confirmation that one of the staff members in that group tested positive for the virus, but no one else in the quarantine group had displayed symptoms as of March 5, the university said.
In a news release March 7, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said despite recent confirmed cases, the threat is minimal.
"It’s important to note that all cases in our area thus far are linked by international travel, and there is no evidence of community spread. For the general public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus at this time, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 remains low," Turner said.