Isolation/Quarantine

Brown is encouraging self-monitoring for symptoms of colds or flu-like illness, social distancing and self-isolation to disrupt the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

Isolation Policy for Students, Faculty and Staff

In January 2022, in light of new guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Brown updated its isolation policy. The University requires that community members who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for a period of five days. The five-day period applies regardless of previous infection, vaccination or booster status, and the presence or absence of symptoms.

  • To calculate the five-day isolation period, Day 0 is the first day with symptoms OR the date of an asymptomatic positive test — whichever is earlier.
  • Day 1 is the first full day after symptoms develop or after a positive test result.
  • On Day 5, take a rapid antigen test — and if the result is negative and there are no symptoms or improving symptoms, you are released from isolation.
  • If the Day 5 test is positive, you must continue to isolate until you have a negative result on a rapid test AND have no or improving symptoms OR reach Day 10 — whichever is sooner.
  • If you are able to end isolation on Day 5, it is important to wear a well-fitting mask around others for five additional days, even at home.

Isolation Protocols for Students

Given the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, University leaders know that Brown will experience periods of significant test positivity in the student community in January and February 2022. The University’s primary focus, especially during surges in cases, is on supporting students who test positive and experience significant illness. The University is also working to provide all students who report positive test results with basic support as needed.

Where students who test positive isolate will depend on their current living arrangements.

  • Undergraduates students who test positive and live on campus in private bedrooms (i.e., a single room, a single within a suite, or as the sole occupant of a double room) should isolate in their residence hall room, as should students who live in shared bedrooms and have roommates who have also tested positive.
  • For students who test positive and share a bedroom with a student who tests negative, designated isolation housing (i.e. dorm rooms set aside by the University or in a hotel) are a primary option. In these cases, University Health Services prioritizes designated isolation housing based on a number of factors, including the severity of symptoms and the ability to move roommates who test negative to alternative housing options.
  • Students who test positive and wish to leave campus to isolate can do so only if they can use a private vehicle to leave campus and travel to their isolation location.
  • Undergraduate, graduate and medical school students who live off campus and test positive are expected to isolate at their off-campus residence.

Isolation and Quarantine to Prevent Transmission

All students, faculty and staff must take responsibility for their own health and the health of others by practicing self isolation if exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness, flu or coronavirus. Accordingly, anyone with 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, per the protocols outlined above.

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 call Health Services (401-863-3953), which 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.

What Does it Mean to Self-isolate?

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.

Last updated Jan. 12, 2022. Information on this page may be updated as the University’s planning evolves and/or public health guidance prompts a shift in Brown’s operations and protocols.