Testing and Tracing FAQ

The following is a list of frequently asked questions from students and employees.

If you have additional questions, please contact the appropriate group listed on the Contact Information page.

General Questions

If you are required to enroll in the testing program, you will receive an email to visit the healthy.verily.com website and enroll using your Brown email address. Once you have created your account, you will receive an email from [email protected] to do the following daily:

  1. Log in to the dashboard at healthy.verily.com.
  2. Complete the daily symptom screening questions.
  3. Participate in testing, if prompted.

Contact Verily User Support at 800-935-6634 or [email protected] if you have additional questions about enrolling in the program.

We will continue to test the on-campus population as long as the pandemic remains a threat to the health of our community. As the situation evolves, we will continue to issue new guidance and any additional precautions — in line with expert public health guidance and state law — as part of a commitment to keep you and the Brown community healthy to the best extent practicable.

Failure to comply with the University’s mandatory testing requirements will disqualify students and employees from being on campus and may result in additional repercussions.  

Students who do not comply may be subject to a conduct process with sanctions up to and including removal from campus and/or academic suspension. If you are a student with a disability and require accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services.

Employees who do not comply may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment. If you are a person with a disability and require reasonable accommodation, please contact University Human Resources at [email protected].

Please see the Contact Information page for phone numbers and email addresses for Brown support teams and Verily.

Routine Testing

Brown is committed to protecting the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff, and every member of our community has a role to play in ensuring a safe campus for themselves and others they may interact with every day. In order to maintain a healthy and safe community during a pandemic, to the best extent practicable, it is critical to identify and stop the spread of virus at the earliest possible stages. Routine testing will allow a better understanding of the initial incidence of COVID-19 in the on-campus population as well as identify the proportion of asymptomatic positives over time.

The test kits that are used in Brown’s testing program are provided by the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA who will also process the samples in their laboratory. The sample is collected from the lower nasal cavity using an anterior nares dry swab that is a more pleasant experience for the person being tested than the nasopharyngeal wet swabs that are placed deeply into the upper nasal cavity. The Broad Institute laboratory has performed validation studies to confirm that this swab type and collection method perform similarly to the wet swab collection method. The Broad Institute generally returns results within 24 hours of receipt of the sample, but it may take up to 72 hours from testing to receipt of results.

Brown is partnering with a third-party vendor called Verily, a life sciences and health care company, to deploy a combination of web-based symptom tracking and on-site testing services. Each day, you will respond to a web-based screening survey to record health conditions. After completing the survey, you will receive a prompt to schedule an appointment for testing as needed. All asymptomatic tests will take place at the University’s testing sites located in the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center at the Erickson Athletic Complex or at One Davol Square in the Jewelry District. Students and employees 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. All tests will be scheduled in order to minimize queues and crowding at the testing sites.

If you are experiencing symptoms or think you might have been exposed to COVID-19, immediately contact one of the health specialists listed below. Do not go on-campus or to Brown’s routine testing facilities, as you may risk infecting others.

  • For Students: Contact Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider.

If you are a student or employee enrolled in Brown’s testing program, are not experiencing symptoms, and have not been exposed to COVID-19, you can schedule a test at one of the following routine testing sites through Verily’s web application

  • Olney-Margolies Athletic Complex (OMAC) on College Hill
  • One Davol Square in the Jewelry District

Full details on testing sites and operating hours are available on the Testing Sites and Hours page.

Complete the daily symptom tracker before you arrive at the testing site for your appointment. If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, contact one of the health specialists below.

  • For Students: Contact Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider.

When getting tested, report to the scheduled testing site alone 15 minutes before your appointment and follow Brown’s health protocols by wearing a facial covering, practicing social distancing, and following hygiene guidelines. If you have questions about your appointment or the testing site, please contact Verily User Support at 800-935-6634 or [email protected].

Bring a copy of the email you received confirming your appointment (on paper or via phone) and either a Brown Card or a photo ID that includes your name and date of birth. Though not required, you may want to bring a cell phone to complete the daily symptom tracker or contact Verily Support or the University, if necessary.

No. There is no cost to any individual getting tested and no insurance is required. The University is paying all expenses related to the University’s mandatory routine testing program.

Yes. Once enrolled, you can reschedule a testing appointment at any time by logging into your account at healthy.verily.com. Note that all testing appointments are scheduled to minimize queues and crowding at the testing sites - do not show up for a test without a confirmed scheduled appointment.

If you are having technical issues with the web application or rescheduling, please contact Verily User Support at 800-935-6634 or [email protected].

Undergraduate students and students enrolled in the Warren Alpert Medical School (except third- and fourth-year MD students) are required to be tested twice per week if they are living on- or off-campus.

Graduate students and employees may request to change their frequency for testing by contacting the following groups:

  • For Graduate Students: Contact the Student Call Center at 401-863-6500 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact University Human Resources at 401-386-4828 or [email protected].

Graduate students who are studying or teaching remotely and who will not be on campus for any reason may change their location status to off-campus, which will exempt them from testing. Off-campus graduate students who will be on campus at any point are required to change their location status to on-campus and participate in the testing, symptom tracking and contract tracing program before coming to campus. Please submit a change of status from off-campus to on-campus two weeks in advance of your need to be on campus.

Employees who cannot continue to work on campus due to an underlying health condition or who are in a high-risk category as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) may seek an alternative work assignment (AWA) or consider options to apply for a leave of absence from work. For questions regarding how to request an AWA, contact your supervisor and the Employee and Labor Relations Team in University Human Resources at [email protected].

Currently, Brown does not have plans to conduct antibody testing. Depending on evolving guidance from state and federal authorities and/or advances in scientific research, the University may consider conducting antibody tests in the future.

Yes. It is important to note that testing only reveals if the virus is currently present. A negative test does not mean that an individual will not acquire the virus later. Therefore, even if you test negative for the virus, you must continue to comply with Brown’s testing requirement and take appropriate infection control precautions to help to ensure a safe campus environment for all students, faculty and staff, as well as the greater community.

Faculty, staff and students and others as determined by the University who are working, living or studying on campus or approved to return to campus are required to undergo COVID-19 testing at times and dates established by the University to determine if they have the virus and to allow the University to estimate the incidence of infection in the Brown community. Employees enrolled in the University testing program will receive an email with instructions on how to register and participate in the program.

No. The University is only testing employees and students. Employees will only be tested if they are approved to be on campus more than one-half day per week with a designation of essential on-campus or essential special.

No. The University only tests employees who are working on campus more than one-half day per week with a designation of essential on campus or essential special. Your primary health care provider will be able to direct you how to get a test in the local area.

You should receive an email notification from Verily to schedule your next test three days after you get tested at the OMAC or One Davol Square. You should be able to schedule your test any time over the next four days in the Verily web application (healthy.verily.com), and we recommend that you aim to schedule your test on the third or fourth day to space out your testing.
You should receive an email notification from Verily to schedule your next test the day after or the same day as you get tested at the OMAC or One Davol Square. You should be able to schedule your test any time over the next four days in the Verily web application (healthy.verily.com), and we recommend that you aim to schedule your test on the third or fourth day to space out your testing. Please note that the system only allows you to have one test scheduled at a time.

The PWN consent form is a generalized consent form used for all tests Verily performs across the country. Brown University requires participation in this program in an effort to reduce the risk of exposing others in the workplace to COVID-19, which is transmitted by community spread. Brown policies control over conflicting language of the consent form.

The staff at Brown’s testing sites are employees of Advanced Clinical. As is the case with many workers in health care settings, they are not routinely tested for COVID-19, which is consistent with CDC guidance. They are subject to daily symptom checks, including temperature checks, and wear all appropriate and necessary personal protective equipment and face masks at all times in the testing center. They maintain social distancing from each other and test program participants to the fullest extent possible, and the nature of the testing process ensures that testing program participants spend a minimal amount of time interacting with testing site personnel.  If Advanced Clinical employees are individually experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to a possible contact with COVID-19, they are instructed to stay home from the testing site, seek medical care, including a test, and not return to work until they have received a negative test.

Symptom Tracking

The symptom tracker is based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which currently do not differentiate between symptoms related to COVID-19 and other health conditions. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability, considering if your symptoms are new to you or if they are typically caused by your underlying conditions.

If you have further questions about how to answer questions on the symptom tracker, please contact one of the health specialists below.

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider.

If you have technical questions on how to use the Verily web application, please contact Verily User Support at 800-935-6634 or [email protected].

To prevent the spread of the virus, immediately self-isolate, limit contact with other individuals, and do not go on campus. Do not schedule a routine test through Verily’s web application and do not report for testing at the OMAC or One Davol Square. Instead, contact one of the health specialists below as soon as possible for evaluation.

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider.

The symptom tracker includes a comprehensive list of symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as possible symptoms of COVID-19. In an effort to reduce the risk of exposing others on campus to coronavirus, which is transmitted by community spread, it is important to track all potential symptoms.

Students in the testing program are required to track symptoms daily, and employees are required to track symptoms on days they are scheduled to work on campus. Verily’s system will send a reminder email each day. Please note, however, that if you skip a day the system will not send you an email reminder to complete the symptom tracker until you log into the Verily web application

Verily’s web application does not diagnose your symptoms and will show the green box no matter what symptoms you select. If you are experiencing symptoms, immediately self-isolate, limit contact with other individuals and do not go on campus. Do not schedule a routine test through Verily’s web application and do not report for testing at the OMAC or One Davol Square. Instead, contact one of the health specialists below as soon as possible for evaluation.

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider and University Human Resources at 401-386-4828 or [email protected].

Test Results

Test samples will be processed by the Broad Institute which generally returns results within 24 hours of receipt of the sample, but it may take up to 72 hours from testing to receipt of results. The University monitors the timeliness of test results on a daily basis.

If you have questions on your COVID-19 test results, contact one of the health specialists below. 

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider.

If you have technical questions on how to use the Verily web application, please contact Verily User Support at 800-935-6634 or [email protected].

A negative test cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that an individual is not an asymptomatic carrier of the virus. A negative test result does not mean that you will not acquire the virus later, even shortly after testing. For these reasons, it is essential to continue all practices to prevent and mitigate the spread of novel coronavirus on campus regardless of test results. You should continue to wear face coverings, wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing, limit the size of gatherings and adhere to other public health measures.

To prevent the spread of the virus, immediately self-isolate, limit contact with other individuals and do not go on campus. Do not schedule a routine test through Verily’s web application and do not report for testing at the OMAC or One Davol Square. Instead, contact one of the health specialists below as soon as possible for evaluation.

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider and University Human Resources at 401-386-4828 or [email protected].

Your results will be reported to the Rhode Island Department of Health as required by law to help track community spread. University Health Services or University Human Resources will call you to begin contact tracing and you may also be contacted by the Rhode Island Department of Health. Brown is committed to maintaining the privacy of any individual who tests positive — results will be shared only on a need-to-know basis in accordance with University policy or as required by law.

According to current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to be re-tested for 90 days. Students and employees should follow guidance from University Health Services or their primary health care providers and isolate for ten days after their positive test result or the onset of their symptoms (whichever is earlier).

Students will still be required to complete the daily symptom tracker from Health Services’ MEDICAT system, but not through the Verily web application. Employees should continue to complete the daily symptom tracker through the Verily web application. Neither students nor employees should schedule additional COVID-19 tests unless directed by University Health Services or their primary health care providers.

Individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 must immediately self-isolate, limit contact with other individuals and not go on campus. Contact one of the health specialists below as soon as possible for further instructions.

  • For Students: Contact University Health Services at 401-863-1330 or [email protected].
  • For Employees: Contact your primary health care provider and University Human Resources at 401-386-4828 or [email protected].

You will receive an email confirmation from PWN Health ([email protected]) as well as well as directly from Verily ([email protected]). You will also be able to view and access your test results through your account on healthy.verily.com.

If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, you will receive a phone call from PWN Health, Verily’s clinician partner network, and, for students, follow-up from University Health Services. After those calls, you will be contacted by Brown staff to perform contact tracing and you may be contacted by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).

As of late October, students and employees tested through Brown’s routine program should receive two emails on their test results — one from Verily ([email protected]) and one from PWN Health ([email protected]). Verily’s email should include a link to the web application, which will show your results and allow you to schedule a follow-up test. The email from PWN Health — a health care vendor that works with Verily on clinical evaluation of the test results — should include a link to the PWN site, which includes more detailed clinical information on your test results including downloadable documentation.

As always, please be aware of a sender’s email address and exercise caution when clicking links — we have received limited reports of phishing emails that look like they are from Verily asking for personal information. While these reports have not been widespread, we encourage all community members to follow safe practices and not respond to testing emails that are not from Verily, PWN Health or Brown. You can find additional guidance in this post from Brown’s Computing and Information Services department. 

You can request test documentation by directly contacting PWN Health at 315-401-7865 or [email protected] You should be prepared to provide the following:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • COVID-19 test date
  • test number (barcode)
  • reason for request

PWN Health will then send a personalized link where you can view your test results and obtain a PDF report for travel purpose after confirming your date of birth. Once you receive the link, you can download the PDF by clicking "LAB PDF" or "PATIENT FRIENDLY PDF" in PWN Health’s website in either the middle-left table (if using a laptop) or bottom of the screen (if using a mobile device).

Generally the University is not able to notify building occupants or others of positive test results beyond the appropriate notifications through contact tracing. The University has a legal obligation to safeguard the confidentiality of personal health information. Community notifications of individual test results, even anonymized, would have the effect of violating that confidentiality as co-workers, colleagues, fellow students, etc. would be able to reasonably conclude the reason an individual in the area where the positive test has been reported is absent or a space is being cleaned due to a positive test result. While individuals may surmise the reason for an absence or subsequent cleaning, and/or an individual who has had a positive test result may themselves opt to share that information with others, as an employer and an educational institution, the University is prohibited from doing so. Accordingly, the University will generally not issue communications of individual test results, even in a seemingly anonymized manner.

In the case of multiple positive test results, whether officially deemed a cluster by the Rhode Island Department of Health or not, the University may, based on the circumstances, share information to address concerns, rumors and questions and to aid in the overall public health education campaign on campus. The need for such notifications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and may vary in terms of content and audience, depending on the circumstances.

In each instance of a positive test result (student, faculty or staff), the University immediately isolates the individual, conducts thorough contact tracing in coordination with the Rhode Island Department of Health, quarantines individuals who may have been exposed, and cleans all impacted spaces, including common spaces and restrooms.

Data & Privacy

Verily will confidentially provide certain data to Brown University for use in assessing individuals’ eligibility to report to campus. The name of an individual who tests positive for the virus will only be disclosed if necessary to prevent a direct threat to safety in accordance with applicable law. The University and Verily will maintain the confidentiality of an individual’s COVID-19 test results and will only share an individual’s test result with the individual tested, University Human Resources, the Rhode Island Department of Health, contact tracers employed or contracted by the University, other employees or contractors of the University on a need-to-know basis, and other persons or entities as required by law.

The information you provide, such as your address, is used to match your testing information to your person. This basic information is only used to confirm your identity and provide your test results.

Verily collects and analyzes health information related to COVID-19 for the purpose of supporting a safe campus. In addition, for the purpose of improving the testing program, for research and for public health purposes, Verily may use collected deidentified or aggregate data to create statistics that do not identify individuals personally. For more information, please read the Verily privacy policy at healthy.verily.com/privacy.

Verily is a separate company from Google. Verily uses Google Cloud, for example, for data infrastructure and to support the business purposes of the program. Google’s access to data is strictly limited to the purpose of providing such services to Verily. The data collected through the testing program will never be joined with your data stored in Google products without your explicit permission.

Last updated Nov. 4, 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.