January 21, 2022
Russell C. Carey, ​Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To the Brown Community: COVID-19 Campus Safety Update


Dear Brown Community Members,

As noted in the University’s recent communications, we are reinstating weekly COVID-19 campus safety updates as we begin the spring semester. Over this past week we have transitioned from PCR testing to distributing rapid antigen tests, and our campus population is still low (undergraduate residence halls reopen this weekend). Overall public health conditions on campus are very good. We are seeing neither any evidence of meaningful transmission on campus nor have we seen any reports or indications of serious illness or hospitalization among members of the Brown community. Given the experience of other universities who began their spring semester teaching before Brown, we do continue to anticipate that a large number of arriving students may report positive test results and we are prepared for that potential. We are, however, also encouraged by recent indications of declining positivity rates in Rhode Island and across New England.

From Saturday, Jan. 15, through Wednesday, Jan. 19, 15 students reported positive test results. Approximately 7 students are currently in isolation in on-campus or in designated isolation housing off-campus (note that the number of students who report positive tests results and the number in isolation will not be the same each week, as students may isolate in their off-campus apartments or at home if they live nearby or have not yet returned to campus, and the isolation numbers fluctuate as students begin and end their respective isolation periods on a constant basis). In the same timeframe, 29 employees reported testing positive. We also monitor employee absences due to COVID-19 — which can be for a range of reasons, including care of a child or family member or quarantine due to a known exposure — and the number of such absences for the most recent full work week was 36.

We began distributing rapid antigen tests and KN95 masks on Monday, Jan. 17. Through Wednesday, we distributed tests and masks to 3,615 members of the Brown community. The test kit pick-up sites are open this weekend, and further information is available on the testing page of the Healthy Brown website:


Rapid antigen tests are becoming increasingly available from the federal government supply as well. Insurance companies are now reimbursing the costs of tests, and in the coming weeks they will be available at pharmacies and other locations with no out-of-pocket expense. Tests can also be ordered directly at https://www.covidtests.gov/. We encourage all members of the community to take advantage of these resources. Information for employees regarding options through participating insurance carriers can be found here:


Information for students participating in the student health insurance plan can be found here:


Finally, a reminder that all employees (faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, visiting researchers, lecturers, and seasonal and intermittent staff) and students must receive a COVID-19 booster shot no later than January 26, 2022 (the first day of classes of the spring semester), or within 30 days of becoming eligible. An on-campus booster clinic is being held next week and registration information has been distributed via Today@Brown. Further information regarding the booster requirement and how to upload your required documentation is available on the Vaccinations page of the Healthy Brown website.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns. For questions or support regarding the testing program, students can contact the student testing support team (studenttesting@brown.edu), and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team (employeetestinguhr@brown.edu).


Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy