Testing and Tracing

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

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

  • Testing is mandatory for all  unvaccinated employees and students (those with approved exemptions and those who are in the process of getting vaccinated) and optional for all other employees, undergraduate, graduate and medical students who are on campus. Additional details are included below in the Testing Frequency section.
  • All asymptomatic tests are taking place on Brown's College Hill campus 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.

Testing Frequency as of October 25, 2021

In early October, the University announced a number of changes to asymptomatic testing requirements, including making testing optional for fully vaccinated employees — faculty and staff — and graduate and medical students and reducing required testing for fully vaccinated undergraduates to once a week. In the weeks since that announcement, we have continued to see very low positivity rates on-campus — around a tenth of a percent or less. We did not experience any increase in positivity related to the long weekend or Family Weekend, which were two events we were monitoring closely. Given the public health conditions on campus, Brown was prepared to further lower levels of routine asymptomatic testing.

Effective October 25, 2021, the following testing requirements are in effect:

  • Fully vaccinated employees — faculty and staff — and undergraduate, graduate and medical students: Testing is optional. All community members in these groups will remain enrolled in the testing program and may schedule and take a test if necessary for travel, concern about a potential exposure, or other reasons, but being enrolled does not mean a requirement to continue testing. No individual in these groups should take an optional test more than once a week, and because testing is fully optional, there is no longer a required testing frequency or cadence with which you must comply. If individuals in these groups wish to take an optional test, schedule an appointment through the Verily Healthy at School web application.
  • Unvaccinated employees and students (those with approved exemptions and those who are in the process of getting vaccinated): Testing is required twice a week (every four days). This remains unchanged since early August.

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 Oct. 25, 2021. 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.