Good Hygiene

We encourage all Brown students, faculty and staff to take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by continuing to practice habits that prevent and slow the spread of viruses.

Essential Steps for Prevention

Even absent the continued spread of novel coronavirus, respiratory viruses can cause colds, influenza-like illness and even influenza throughout the year. Self-monitoring for symptoms of flu, social distancing and self-isolation are all essential to disrupt the transmission of respiratory illness, including COVID-19. Symptoms related to COVID-19 include fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius along with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Additional symptoms such as chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell may also be an indication of illness related to COVID-19. Because these symptoms for COVID-19 are common also to colds and influenza, it can be difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from other illnesses in the absence of a test. All members of the community should routinely take the following steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Stay away from work or class when you are sick.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

  • As soon as it is available to you, get a flu shot.

Self-monitoring for symptoms of flu, social distancing and – if directed by a health care professional – self-isolation are essential to disrupt the transmission of infectious respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Accordingly, all students, faculty and staff with any common symptoms for COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, body aches, chills, or new loss of taste or smell) should self-isolate from the onset of symptoms until:

  • they have no fever for at least 72 hours without use of fever-reducing medication;
  • other symptoms, such as cough or shortness of breath, are improving ;
  • and at least seven days have passed since symptoms first appeared.

This is updated from previous guidance on when to self-isolate, which had been recommended only for individuals with specific combinations of symptoms and/or travel histories.

For anyone who experiences symptoms they cannot manage on their own, guidance is to contact a health care provider by telephone. Faculty and staff should contact their primary health care provider. Students should contact Health Services (401-863-1330). The team has implemented a robust phone triage system and will use that to consult with students in lieu of in-person visits. Students who have severe shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, inability to eat or drink, extreme dizziness, or other symptoms indicating the need for emergency care should contact the Department of Public Safety (401-863-4111) on campus or call 911 off campus.

Vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 must self-monitor for symptoms. Those who are unvaccinated and have been exposed to someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 should consult with Health Services (students) or a local provider (faculty and staff) before returning to campus.

If you’ve been directed to self-isolate, you should:

  • Stay home. Don't attend work, school, events, social gatherings or public areas.

  • Self-monitor for fever by checking your temperature at least twice daily. Contact a health care provider if you develop a fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough or trouble breathing.

  • If you need to seek medical care, call ahead to describe your symptoms and travel history.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.  

  • If you don’t have access to soap and water use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. Never cough in the direction of someone else.

  • Limit contact with others, as much as possible, including those in your home or residence. Try to keep a distance of about 6 feet.

  • Avoid any visitors.

  • Avoid sharing household items. Do not share drinking glasses, towels, eating utensils, bedding or any other items.

  • Keep your surroundings clean. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces like tabletops, tablets, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, etc.

  • Avoid using public transportation, taxis, or ride-sharing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 can be very similar to other viral illnesses and influenza. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has expanded symptoms in addition to fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius along with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Additional symptoms may be chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell may also be an indication of illness related to COVID-19. It can be difficult to distinguish COVID-19 from other illnesses in absence of a test.

Students with these symptoms or other symptoms of concern should call Health Services at 401-863-1330 to consult with the health care team. Brown faculty and staff should consult with their local primary care provider.

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

Yes, there are three COVID-19 vaccines — one made by Pfizer-BioNTech, one by Moderna, and one by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and have been shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 if exposed and in preventing severe disease. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine that has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe or critical COVID-19 disease 28 days after vaccination. In clinical trials, it was 100% effective at preventing death.

The vaccines are authorized for individuals age 12 and older (Pfizer) and age 18 and older (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson). None of the vaccines carries live coronavirus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Brown University is following guidelines and screening protocols from the CDC and the WHO. If someone you know has respiratory or flu-like symptoms or you are concerned about their health, please encourage them to contact Health Services (students) at 401-863-1330 to seek advice and care. Brown faculty and staff should consult with their local primary care provider.