March 9, 2020
VP for Campus Life Eric Estes and Associate VP for Campus Life Vanessa Britto
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To Brown Campus: Community notice regarding COVID-19


Dear Brown Community,

We’re writing to share that three Brown students are currently being tested for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and are in isolation pending the outcome of their test results. The students have not tested positive for the virus, but rather are isolated out of an abundance of caution because they traveled to a venue outside of Rhode Island where they may have been exposed to the virus. All three students have been in close communication and cooperation with Brown and state health experts, as well as appropriate University offices.

Given that this is flu season, it is possible that these students do not have COVID-19. Under close guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health, Brown has established standard protocols for testing and/or isolation based on potential exposure to the novel coronavirus or evidence of potential symptoms.

We will communicate with campus and take all necessary steps to protect the safety and wellbeing of our community in the event of any positive test result. To date, there are no confirmed or presumptive cases of COVID-19 on the Brown University campus. The University expects to learn of test results within the next 48 hours. Please continue to visit Brown’s COVID-19 website regularly for updates.

For now, we want to stress again for our entire community the importance of helping to prevent the spread of viruses. The best protection is frequent hand washing (especially when coming into contact with any communal surfaces), covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, avoiding contact with others who are sick, and self-isolating if you have any symptoms of illness. Please review the full guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention below. These are absolutely essential prevention measures.

We recognize that ongoing issues surrounding coronavirus may raise particular concerns for members of our community who may have underlying health conditions. These students should email University Health Services with health concerns, and contact their dean’s office in the CollegeGraduate School or Medical School for curricular support. Faculty and staff with underlying health concerns for themselves or their households should contact their health providers and consult with their supervisors.

As noted in previous updates, we recognize that reports of the impacts of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world can be very troubling. Resources and support are available for students through Counseling and Psychological Services and for faculty and staff through the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program. The University Chaplains can also offer support to any member of the Brown community.


Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life
Vanessa Britto, MD, MSc, Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness, Assistant Professor of Medicine



All members of the community should routinely take the following steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay away from work or class when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you have not already done so, get a flu shot.

Visit the CDC’s prevention and treatment website for more information.