March 19, 2021
Russell C. Carey, ​Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students Faculty and Staff

To the Brown Community: COVID-19 Testing Update: 03/11/21 - 03/17/21


Below, please find our weekly update on Brown’s testing program for COVID-19, with additional information and context to complement the data shared via our public dashboard:

The national and local pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues to hasten, and new information regarding eligibility and timelines for eligibility is being announced by states on a regular basis. Brown does not currently have direct access to distribute the vaccine ourselves, but we continue to strongly encourage students, faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when they become eligible and to stay informed about when that may happen. We have and will continue to communicate directly to Brown community members when they become eligible in Rhode Island, and links to official websites regarding vaccine eligibility in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut follow below as well:

Once Brown community members have received the vaccine, we are asking that you let us know by uploading your completed vaccination card to Workday (for faculty and staff) or the Health Services Patient Portal (for students). That information will be maintained as entirely confidential, but understanding the extent of vaccination in the Brown community will be critical in the coming months to enable us to return more quickly to in-person operations. Documenting your vaccination status with the University will also enable individuals to avoid having to quarantine if they are exposed to someone who tests positive or has symptoms of COVID-19. Detailed information on how to upload your card to Workday for faculty and staff can be found here:

Health Services will be communicating guidance to students regarding how to do the same in the Health Services Patient Portal.

At Brown, since launching our routine testing program for the fall term on Aug. 24, we have conducted 299,596 asymptomatic tests to date. A total of 10,521 individuals have been tested in that timeframe, and the total number of positive test results is 466 (up 22 this week from a total of 444 last week) — a prevalence rate of 4.4%.

Here are highlights of the testing program over the last seven days, Thursday, March 11, through Wednesday, March 17:

-- There have been 22 positive asymptomatic test results: 6 from employees, 7 from on-campus students and 9 from off-campus students. As a reminder, our student testing program includes undergraduate, graduate and medical students.

-- Over the past week, the employee asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.19%, and the student asymptomatic positivity rate was 0.11%. The Rhode Island positivity rate during this same time period was 2.30%.

-- The average turnaround time for asymptomatic test results during this period was 19 hours.

-- University Health Services (UHS) conducted 30 symptomatic tests of students. Of these, less than 5 were positive for COVID-19. Exact results for symptomatic students who are tested by UHS are not reported (and do not appear on the public dashboard) to protect the confidentiality of the small numbers of students who are tested. We will report on ranges and any concerns regarding trends in these weekly summaries.

-- The University does not directly test symptomatic employees, as they receive health care from their individual providers. We do 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 14.

-- It is important to note that with regard to all positive cases, we have taken action consistent with our contact tracing protocols, COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy, isolation and quarantine procedures, and other measures outlined in Brown’s Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.

As a reminder, if you are currently being tested once a week and would like to change to twice a week, you are welcome to do so. Students can email to make that change. Faculty and staff can email for guidance on how to increase their testing frequency.

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 (401-863-6500,, and faculty and staff can contact the employee testing support team (401-368-4828,


Russell C. Carey
Executive Vice President, Planning and Policy