After an intensive planning process, Brown unveiled its academic year plans in July 2020, detailing an approach that will bring many students back to campus for the Fall 2020 semester, should the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in Rhode Island allow. On Aug. 11, the University outlined a phased approach to welcoming students back — graduate and medical students choosing to study on campus during the fall arrived in August, and most undergraduates returning for the fall arrived by late September.
Highlights of Brown's operations for the 2020-21 academic year include the following:
- To reduce the density of students on campus, Brown is pursuing a three-term academic model, and also has implemented a robust set of public health practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus and safeguard the health of students, employees and community members. Students have been scheduled to be on campus, if they choose, in phases to reduce density in line with rigorous health protocols.
- Brown announced on Aug. 11, 2020, a phased approach to bringing students back for the fall semester in light of the shifting public health conditions of the global pandemic. In the first phase of the fall term, all undergraduate classes were taught fully online until the week of October 5, and only a limited number of undergraduates were permitted to return and have access to campus. Graduate and medical students have been engaged in research and instruction since the summer, while the majority of undergraduate students started the Fall 2020 semester studying remotely. The University announced on Sept. 10, 2020, it would proceed with phase two of bringing the majority of students back to campus and beginning in-person instruction of small classes.
- Effective Nov. 18, 2020, Brown's Campus Activity Status returned to Level 1 with regard to learning, dining, exercising, socializing, off-campus engagement, etc. The activity level had previously been at Level 2 as of Oct. 5, 2020, but the spread of COVID-19 in the region prompted a return to online-only instruction and other public health measures in the final week of classes for most students, helping to ensure that community members could be healthy as they travel for Thanksgiving Break. Before the return to Level 1, classes of 19 students or less could be taught in person. Students scheduled to be on campus were given the opportunity to choose to study remotely, and any faculty member with health or other concerns could choose to offer instruction remotely. All courses have a remote learning option, enabling the transition to Level 1.
- Employees who are able to continue working remotely will continue to do so for the months ahead. Telecommuting policies are currently in effect, and the University will notify all employees of changes or timeline extensions regarding telecommuting as decisions are made.
- Travel restrictions remain in place, aligned with state law and public health guidance, and access to campus is limited for visitors.
- Updated events policies are designed to engage in community-building in person, while also limiting risk and prioritizing the health and safety of community members.
- The Ivy League announced on Nov. 12 that league schools, including Brown, will not conduct intercollegiate athletics competition for winter sports during the 2020-21 season, nor will the league conduct competition for previously cancelled fall sports during the upcoming spring semester.
Read more about Brown’s COVID-19 planning in the “Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21."