Testing and Tracing

A robust protocol of testing, symptom tracking and contact tracing for all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus regularly will serve as an essential element for supporting community health.

To maintain a healthy and safe community during the pandemic, Brown will focus on identifying and preventing further community spread of the virus at the earliest possible stages. Routine testing — which tests individuals regardless of symptoms to monitor for the virus’s spread — will be essential for the health of the campus population.

This will allow a better understanding of the initial incidence of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the population and how it changes over the year, as well as identify the proportion of asymptomatic positives and the proportion with potential immunity to the disease over time.

The following reflects the essential elements of Brown’s testing program:

  • Testing will be mandatory for all students, faculty and staff who will be on campus regularly.
    All community members subject to mandatory testing will receive an initial baseline test in late August, early September or the point at which they come to campus. After the baseline test, individuals will be tested either once or twice per week, depending on the amount of regular contact they are likely to have with other students, faculty and staff (more information on the employee and student testing pages).
  • All asymptomatic tests will take place at the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center (OMAC) and at One Davol Square in the Jewelry District.
    Community members who meet the requirements for routine testing will be asked to perform a self-administered nasal swab — the most reliable, accurate and non-invasive method available currently — and clinical personnel will guide participants as needed from a safe distance. Brown will cover all costs. Full details on testing sites and operating hours are available on the Testing Sites and Hours page.
  • Brown will perform testing of symptomatic students through University Health Services (UHS) using nasopharyngeal swabs.
    UHS staff will be equipped with standard clinical personal protective equipment to perform the tests. An alternate campus site for testing symptomatic students may be identified in order to avoid congestion at UHS facilities where other students are visiting for other unrelated issues.
  • Employees with COVID-19 symptoms should contact a health care provider and University Human Resources.
    Per the University’s COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy, faculty and staff must stay home from work, inform University Human Resources and contact their medical provider if they experience symptoms of COVID-19, test positive for the virus or have been exposed to the virus through an identified contact.
  • A robust contact tracing strategy will help minimize the risk of community spread.
    Brown has implemented a contact tracing program, through which the University will continue to notify individuals who have been in contact with someone infected with novel coronavirus and coordinate with the Rhode Island Department of Health as necessary.

Initial Testing for Students, Faculty and Staff

Testing began the week of August 24 in OMAC, where there is ample space to accommodate the large number of students and employees who will be tested. Testing at One Davol Square for Warren Alpert Medical Students and others located in the Jewelry District began on August 27. All Brown community members who are authorized to be on campus and therefore subject to mandatory testing will receive information about how to enroll and schedule their baseline test, and further tests thereafter.

Reporting Prevalence

The University is committed to keeping the community informed of prevalence on campus, though Brown will not publicly report individual positive tests to preserve privacy. Brown's COVID-19 dashboard reports aggregate data on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence, and weekly updates published in [email protected] and posted to the Messages to the Community page include additional details and context.

Last updated Oct. 5, 2020. 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.