NOTE: Please see Aug. 3, 2021, community message for updated information, which replaces much of the guidance communicated in the July email below.
Dear Brown Community Members,
As we have since the start of the pandemic, the University continues to monitor public health conditions, including the potential impact of COVID-19 variants, as we assess the health and safety measures required to help ensure successful operations at Brown. In light of recent developments and evolving public health guidance across the nation and world, I’m writing with an update regarding requirements for routine asymptomatic testing for all members of the Brown community as we prepare for the 2021-22 academic year.
First, it’s important to make clear that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains highly effective and is the most important step that all members of the community can take to protect themselves and others. The response from Brown community members to our vaccination requirement has been excellent and is already helping to ensure generally normal operations for the fall semester.
While our campus vaccination rates give us high levels of confidence for the fall semester, new variants of the coronavirus, and the impact of the Delta variant in particular, do offer some cause for concern as we look forward to the coming weeks and months. This is especially the case as we prepare for an increased population of on-campus community members beginning Monday, August 16, with the return of employees who have been working remotely, as well as the new and returning students arriving for the Fall 2021 semester over the following weeks.
Given these factors, the University will resume the requirement that all students, faculty and staff on campus complete routine asymptomatic COVID-19 testing beginning on Monday, August 16. Testing frequency will vary based on vaccination status, but all community members – including those who are fully vaccinated — will be required to participate in testing as directed. We will maintain at a minimum this level of testing through the month of September, at which time continued testing and frequency will be re-assessed.
Testing frequency requirements for students, faculty and staff are detailed at the end of this letter. Please read them carefully. Leading up to August 16, community members who have not previously been enrolled in testing (such as faculty and staff who have been working remotely and students who are new to Brown) will receive detailed instructions on how to enroll in routine COVID-19 testing, and community members who have previously been in the testing program will receive instructions on how to resume.
We recognize that testing represents an additional obligation for members of our community, but given the uncertainty associated with the Delta variant, at the same time the campus returns to a population level that we have not experienced since March 2020, we believe this is a reasonable and appropriate measure to help ensure a safe and healthy fall. Other protocols and expectations for the fall that we have previously announced will remain in place, and while we will continue to monitor conditions and adjust plans as needed, we do not at this time anticipate significant changes or deviations from those plans.
Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy
Fall 2021 COVID-19 Routine Testing Requirements; Effective August 16, 2021
Students (undergraduate, graduate, first- and second-year medical):
- Vaccinated students (14 days past their final dose) will be tested on arrival (day 1 on campus) and then with a frequency of every other week (14 days apart). For students already in Providence, day 1 will be Monday, August 16.
- Unvaccinated students (those with approved exemptions and those who are in the process of getting vaccinated) will be tested on arrival (day 1 on campus, or Monday, August 16, for those already in Providence) and follow direction from Campus Life and Health Services regarding a modified quarantine period. Once released from the modified quarantine period, unvaccinated students will be tested once a week (7 days apart).
Employees (faculty and staff, including postdocs):
- Vaccinated employees (14 days past their final dose) will be tested with a frequency of every other week (14 days apart), beginning Monday, August 16.
- Unvaccinated employees (those with approved exemptions and those who are in the process of getting vaccinated) will be tested once a week (7 days apart), beginning Monday, August 16.
- For all employees who will be on or returning to campus the week of August 16, you will be expected to schedule your initial test sometime during that week. For employees who have been remote, testing is not required in advance of or on the first day of your return, but rather as you are resuming campus activities and then on the schedule described above depending on your vaccination status.
If you have not yet shared your vaccination status with the University, please do so immediately, in accordance with Brown’s vaccination requirements. All students must verify their vaccination status by the previously communicated deadline of August 1, or their enrollment may be cancelled for the fall semester, and they will not be permitted to register for classes or access any campus facilities. Detailed instructions on how to comply are available on the Verify Your Vaccination page on the Healthy Brown website.