Campus Activity Status

This page provides a summary of permissible campus activities for Brown community members aligned with the easing of COVID-19 health protocols and required prevention measures.

In light of improving public health conditions on campus and in Providence and Rhode Island, members of the Brown community will experience continually increasing levels of campus activity in the coming months.

This page will be updated as the University continues to loosen the restrictions implemented in response to the pandemic. All students, faculty and staff are expected to align their activities to adhere to the standards currently in place, and in compliance with the COVID-19 Campus Safety PolicyPolicies and guidance on campus may, in some instances, be more restrictive than guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and/or the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH). There will also be instances where requirements in some areas of campus are more restrictive than the campus as a whole, such as shuttle transportation and health care settings. The residential nature of our community and the priority we place on individual and collective health and safety warrant a phased approach to easing restrictions.

NOTE: The pace of resuming operations in line with plans to return to a more traditional fall depends entirely on our community getting vaccinated against COVID-19 and documenting their vaccination. Employees and students can find more information and instructions on the Verify Your Vaccination page.

Current Updates to Campus Activities as of May 27, 2021

The following information reflects the updated status for allowed activities and protocols, including the dates when some future changes in operations take effect, where applicable:

Updated COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy

The COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy has been updated to reflect current medical and health guidance, regulations of the State of Rhode Island and public health conditions. The updated policy is a simpler and more general framework that allows for increased levels of activities and operations over the course of the summer and into the fall as public health conditions continue to allow. The policy remains an important foundation governing the activities of the entire campus, and all members of the community should carefully review and fully understand the updated policy and their individual responsibilities and obligations.

Eliminating Campus Activity Levels

The Campus Activity Levels implemented at the beginning of the Fall 2020 semester (Levels 1, 2 and 3) have been eliminated and replaced by a simpler Campus Activity Status summary of what is allowed and not allowed.

Reduced Routine COVID-19 Testing

All participants in the COVID-19 routine asymptomatic testing program will have their testing frequency reduced to once weekly (every seven days), effective June 1. Testing participants will need to complete the symptom tracker in order to schedule a test but will no longer need to complete the symptom tracker on a daily basis. After June 1, the testing site at the OMAC will be available for testing Monday through Saturday only, and closed on Sunday, and the One Davol Square site will continue to operate Monday through Friday. Additional details regarding the change in testing frequency will be communicated directly to testing program participants.

Reduced Mask-Wearing Outdoors for Those Vaccinated

Community members who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks in outdoor settings. Community members who are not yet fully vaccinated need to wear masks outdoors if they cannot maintain three feet social distancing from others. All community members, regardless of vaccination status, will continue to wear masks indoors (including indoor in-person classes) when they are with other people until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above. Consistent with CDC guidance, masks continue to be required for all community members on shuttle transportation, in University Health Services and in COVID-19 testing sites.

Reduced Social Distancing

During this transition period, social distancing minimums will be reduced and in some cases eliminated. Please note that this will take some time, and in some areas — such as Mail Services — distancing of six feet will remain the norm until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above.

Sustained Classroom Protocols

Given that faculty planned their courses and specific modes of instruction for the summer term months ago, there will not be significant changes to how classes are taught in terms of in-person and remote instruction. With regard to indoor in-person classes, mask-wearing and social distancing of six feet will remain the norm for now, although we anticipate being able to reduce or eliminate those requirements when we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above.

Resuming Multiple Occupancy

Facilities Management will be removing various signage in academic and administrative buildings and eliminating one-way travel routes, single-occupancy elevator use and single-use restrictions for multi-use bathrooms.

Increased Use of Student Communal Spaces

Residence hall kitchens, study spaces and lounges will be opened for student use in early June. Students in residence halls can use these spaces — with three feet of social distancing and mask-wearing required until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above — after they have been opened by Facilities Management and Residential Life.

Expanded Use of Conference Rooms

In administrative and academic buildings, in-person meetings and use of conference rooms is now allowed for meetings of 19 or fewer people with three feet of social distancing and mask-wearing required until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above. The use of kitchen and break spaces continues to be allowed in administrative and academic buildings with mask-wearing required.

Operating Reduced-Density Labs

Laboratories with approved safety plans may continue to operate at a density of one person per 75 square feet, with three feet social distancing and mask-wearing required until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above.

Maintaining Other Indoor Restrictions

Other current restrictions regarding use of indoor spaces (reservation system for library spaces, limitations on uses of performance venues, etc.), and reduced shuttle occupancy will remain in effect until we are confident the employee and student vaccination rates are at 90% or above.

Increased Individual Movement

Restrictions regarding where community members are allowed to be on campus are eliminated: Researchers can visit other research locations; on-campus students can visit students in residence halls other than their own; off-campus students can visit student residence halls, etc. Please note that given the continued reduced density on campus, academic and administrative buildings will generally remain card accessible only to authorized occupants, and on-campus visitors from other buildings will need to be admitted by building occupants.

Easing of Travel Restrictions

The University is lifting the “essential travel only” mandate and gradually easing restrictions on domestic University-sponsored travel, effective immediately. In addition, the University has lifted undergraduate travel restrictions for individual students undertaking University-sponsored domestic travel. This will allow greater flexibility for members of the Brown community to conduct mission-critical research and to take part in activities and opportunities that cannot be deferred or carried out by remote means.

Community members who do travel are responsible for understanding and abiding by the public health guidance and regulations in effect in the location (and, if applicable, the institution or organization) they are visiting. Highlights of the changes are summarized below, and more detailed information is available on the Travel Policies page.

  • University-sponsored domestic travel to a destination within the United States or U.S. territories is permitted for faculty, staff, graduate and medical students, and undergraduates. Travelers do not need to seek pre-departure travel review or approval but are required to register their travel plans in TravelSafe.
  • The University will continue to operate under a restricted travel policy for University-sponsored international travel, which is defined as travel outside the United States and U.S. territories. Approval of international travel by faculty, staff, and graduate and medical students is required.
  • Field Research plans continue to require approval of the Research Continuity Committee, per guidelines on the Resuming Research web page.
  • The general guidance grid for undergraduate student personal travel (which had differentiated what is allowed at different Campus Activity Status levels) has been eliminated. Undergraduate students are free to travel on and off campus in Providence and elsewhere within the United States without needing to consult with Student Support Services regarding their personal domestic travel (consultation remains required for personal international travel). Any proposed travel or activities that require travel contemplated by student organizations does require review and approval from the Student Activities Office, and generally will not be allowed until we are confident student vaccination rates are at 90% or above.

Anticipated Plans and Increased Flexibility Over the Summer Months

If public health conditions continue to allow and Brown achieves near-universal vaccination rates among employees and students, we will be able to further loosen restrictions and allow even greater levels of activity on campus over the course of the summer. Brown’s goal is to be at or close to fully normal (pre-pandemic) operations by the beginning of the fall semester.

Areas currently being reviewed for further policy changes include the following:

Return to Campus and Resuming Research Plans

The current processes will continue to be in effect for now, but work is actively underway to eliminate these processes no later than July 1. To reduce the administrative burden on staff, these processes will soon be replaced with a simplified process for managing enrollment in and compliance with the routine testing program. The University will announce those changes as soon as they are ready to be implemented.

COVID-19 Testing

Later this summer, we anticipate removing employees and students who are fully vaccinated (14 days past final dose) from mandatory testing. This is highly dependent on vaccination rates and public health conditions. We have begun to report campus vaccination rates weekly in both the COVID-19 testing updates in [email protected] and also on a new Campus Vaccination Rate page.

Events, Dining, Fitness and Other Activities

Active planning and preparation are underway to allow for greater flexibility later this summer with regard to University-hosted events; use of athletic and recreational facilities (including resuming faculty and staff access to the Nelson Fitness Center and the Katherine Moran Coleman Aquatics Center); dining services, including in-person dining; and opening the Brown Bookstore to the public. Student-hosted events will remain virtual for the summer term, but there will be more and larger in-person events as the student community gets fully vaccinated.

Last updated May 27, 2021. Information on this page will be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.