Testing and Tracing

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

To maintain a healthy and safe community during the pandemic, Brown has focused 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 — remains essential for the health of the campus population.

This is providing 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 identifying the proportion of asymptomatic positives and the proportion with potential immunity to the disease over time.

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

  • Testing is mandatory for all students, faculty and staff who are on campus regularly.
    All community members subject to mandatory testing receive an initial baseline test at the point at which they come to campus (at the start of a semester, or in resuming on-campus work, for example). After the baseline test, individuals are tested either once or twice per week, depending on the amount of regular contact they have with other students, faculty and staff (more information on the employee and student testing pages).
  • All asymptomatic tests are taking 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 are asked to perform a self-administered nasal swab — the most reliable, accurate and non-invasive method available currently — and clinical personnel guide participants as needed from a safe distance. Brown continues to cover all costs. Full details on testing sites and operating hours are available on the Testing Sites and Hours page.
  • Brown performs testing of symptomatic students through University Health Services (UHS) using nasopharyngeal swabs.
    UHS staff are equipped with standard clinical personal protective equipment to perform the tests. An alternate campus site for testing symptomatic students has been identified 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 is helping to minimize the risk of community spread.
    Brown has implemented a contact tracing program, through which the University is notifying individuals who have been in contact with someone infected with novel coronavirus, coordinating with the Rhode Island Department of Health as necessary.

Reporting Prevalence

The University is committed to keeping the community informed of prevalence on campus, though Brown is not publicly reporting 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 Dec. 18, 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.