Rice University will hold classes in outdoor tents, asks students to bring own chairs

"You might consider class held in massive circus tents a little unconventional, but Rice University believes it’s a perfect social distancing strategy.

When Rice University plans to resume its on-site classes in August, students will be bringing their laptops and chairs into nine large tents and temporary buildings in order to manage social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials.

‘Reducing population density will require us to use spaces in non-traditional ways and increase the number of large venues on campus,’ the Rice University statement read." …


I was talking about this with my wife last week. I thought colleges in warmer climates should stock up on large wedding tents. In colder climates, it would work for the fall and spring, but probably not winter.

If a class is held outdoors in tent, wouldn’t it affect the quality of its remote delivery (a necessity for students not attending in-person) due to noises?

Pretty sure the tents Rice is talking about will be fully enclosed


Amherst is also using tents this school year, and has said they will be heated, lighted, and have full electricity for laptops.

Being fully enclosed would reduce natural ventilation and make the tents equivalent to indoor spaces in terms of risk of spreading the virus.

Nothing says fun like dragging your laptop and chair across the campus in Texas August heat.

This article is a little sensational. Yes, Rice is adding tents to campus. They are adding 2 types. Some are enclosed with heating/air conditioning, electricity, etc. They are basically extra classroom space where kids can distance. I believe they are considered hurricane proof so they are pretty sturdy. The second type are open tents that are more designed as outdoor meeting space. I believe the chairs they are bringing are more for these tents. The classroom spaces should have their own chairs. I also would not be surprised if the various residential colleges add tents/outside seating for extra eating space.

D is freaking out a little about the heat the first month. While taking advantage of the outside space is an awesome idea October - March or so, it will not be pleasant outside during the day in August and September.

An enclosed area with students 6 feet apart is not equivalent to students to sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in a lecture hall, in terms of spreading the virus.

“ temporary buildings which are designed to accommodate 50 students and an instructor with the requisite 6 feet of distance maintained.”

So shall we expect a run on portable folding chairs along with Lysol?