As one of Houston's hubs of innovation, Rice University has been making headlines with its work to battle the coronavirus outbreak locally and nationally. Most recently, the school gained attention for its cutting-edge work creating a low-cost alternative to ventilators, which the school’s Design Kitchen is releasing to the world for free. That creation may have global implications.
Now, Rice is stepping up to address local concerns by shifting its focus to Houstonians on the front line. The school announced that it will offer temporary housing for any medical personnel who work in Texas Medical Center hospitals. The move will assist those staffers who are working longer hours and need rest, as well as help those who are intentionally quarantining themselves from their families.
Rice will offer up two of its residential colleges: Wiess and Hanszen. Per a statement by the president of the university, David Leebron, the school will move approximately 50 students and resident associates out of those two colleges to other colleges on our campus.
Rice chose the 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, per the statement.
Thus far, Houston hospitals haven’t seen critical impact. But during a recent press conference, Houston Mayor Turner revealed information showing a peak here around May 2 and added that cases will “spike up dramatically.” Turner noted that his goal was to “flatten the foal and slow the progression in such a way that “will not overrun our healthcare delivery system.”