IssuesStatewide NewsTexas Coronavirus Precautions: Rice University Cancels In-Person Classes, North Texas Sees First Confirmed Cases

While Texas is currently experiencing just a handful of confirmed coronavirus cases, university and public health officials have begun taking precautions.
March 11, 2020
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Rice University Cancels In-Person Classes Amid COVID-19

On Monday, Rice University in Houston became the first in Texas to join the growing list of universities across the country opting to cancel in-person classes because of coronavirus concerns.

On Sunday, Rice University made the announcement after an employee tested positive for the virus.

“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. During the week of March 9-13, faculty can provide material that can be completed remotely and does not require group interaction,” Rice said in a statement.

The news comes after public health officials announced the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Texas in Fort Bend County last week.

The Texan Tumbler

Since that announcement, at least 12 people have tested positive for the virus in the Houston-area after traveling to Egypt on a cruise.

On Tuesday, Texas A&M University announced its plan to delay classes for two days after spring break to prepare for a hybrid of online and in-person teaching should it be necessary.

However, the university has no intention of moving courses entirely online at the time.

The University of Texas at Austin is also working on a contingency plan that allows the university to move classes online.

Universities across the country, including Harvard University, Stanford University, and Ohio State University, have canceled class in the wake of the coronavirus.

Collin County and Other Parts of North Texas See Cases of COVID-19

Collin County Health Care Services (CCHCS) announced three confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Collin County on Tuesday.

On Monday, a Frisco man tested “presumptive positive” for the coronavirus after traveling to California for business in late February. 

He, in addition to his wife and one of his four children, have all tested positive for the virus. 

After the Frisco man tested “presumptive positive,” all six members of the family and one family contact were tested for the virus. 

The individuals are quarantined at their North Texas home where they are reportedly in stable condition.

Public health officials emphasize that “the immediate risk of transmission in Collin County remains low,” as does the risk to the passengers who traveled on the same flight as the infected man.

On Tuesday, Tarrant County announced its first “presumptive positive” case in a patient who traveled to Kentucky for a conference at the end of February.

The patient is reportedly being held in isolation at a local hospital in Fort Worth.

Dallas County also announced its first “presumptive positive” in a 77-year-old man on Tuesday.

The patient is reportedly being treated at a Dallas-area hospital.

Here are important reminders from the Texas DSHS to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often
  • Avoid touching your face, including eyes, nose, and mouth
  • If you’re sick, stay home
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, including phones and computers.

For more information, visit dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus.

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Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell is a reporter for The Texan. Previously, she worked as a Cyber Security Consultant after serving as a Pathways Intern at the Department of Homeland Security – Citizenship and Immigration Services. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Texas A&M as well as her Master of Public Service and Administration degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. In her free time, Sarah is an avid runner, jazz enthusiast, and lover of all things culinary.