July 7, 2020
VP for Campus Life Eric Estes and Dean of the College Rashid Zia
Tags Undergraduates

To Brown Continuing Undergraduate Students: [Action Required] Important Information Regarding Fall 2020

Updates

Dear Returning Undergraduate Student, 

As you read in President Christina Paxson’s announcement earlier today, Brown’s academic operations this year will include a three-term academic model with a combination of in-person and remote learning. This model will allow Brown to operate with public health protocols in place designed to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on campus. All returning students will have the option to attend Brown on campus or remotely this fall. By July 15, you will need to let us know (via a form linked below) whether you plan to live and study remotely or in the Providence area during the fall semester. This form will also collect information about your housing preferences and meal plan choices. If you are an international student attending Brown on an F-1 visa, you will receive more information from Global Brown later this week in order to inform your decision.

We recognize that these are difficult and challenging times, when families around the world are confronting issues of illness, social injustice, and economic stress, and these factors may complicate your decision-making process. Our goal in this message is to connect you with information and resources so that you can determine the best option for you.

Brown’s plans are based on current public health guidance and could shift as the University continues to closely monitor how the pandemic is evolving across the region and around the country.    

Please read this message in full and consult the links provided below to learn more about the changes to instruction and campus operations this fall. If you do not find the information you need in these links, please know that staff in the College and the Division of Campus Life are available to answer questions that are specific to your situation and concerns. As you review this information, we strongly encourage you to consult with your family and people you trust before making a final decision. 

In this message, we will provide you with information regarding: 

  1. academic timelines and plans for the coming year; 
  2. the nature of life on campus; and 
  3. finances and financial aid. 

You will find more detailed information in Brown’s Undergraduate FAQ, which is organized thematically in order to help you find answers to common questions. At the end of this message, we have included a brief list of next steps for you to take, along with related deadlines for each action item. And please note that the current deadlines and planning are based on current public health guidance and could shift as the University continues to closely monitor how the pandemic is evolving across the region and around the country.    

Academic Calendar and Fall 2020 Courses

While the three-term model has necessitated some changes to Brown’s academic calendar, the Fall 2020 term will begin as scheduled on Wednesday, September 9, and will conclude with a remote reading week and a remote final exam period after Thanksgiving break. Academic departments have undertaken detailed curricular planning for the three-term model and are currently planning to offer more than 800 courses this fall. Departments are now working with the University Registrar to load courses into Banner, and you will be able to review Fall 2020 courses, delivery modes, and schedules in [email protected] by July 27. Pre-registration for fall courses will begin on August 5, and you will receive a follow-up communication later this month with instructions regarding how to proceed. 

All courses will have a remote or online participation option, so that all registered students can engage fully (whether on campus or remote). We encourage you to consult the official Academic Calendar for more information about shopping period, final exams, and pre-registration and term dates for next spring and summer. You can also find additional details and answers to many questions you may have regarding academic policies on the Undergraduate FAQ website.

Fall 2020 Location of Study Form

As noted above, by submitting the Fall 2020 Location of Study Form, you must indicate whether you will attend the fall semester remotely or here in the Providence area. You will also be asked to indicate your housing plans (on-campus, approved off-campus, commuter) and meal plan selection. This form is due by 11:59 pm EDT on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. We understand that this deadline is soon; it will ensure that on-campus students can receive their housing assignments by August 10. You can make unlimited changes to the form until the deadline. 

Life on Campus 

Your life on campus this fall will be shaped by health protocols that require adherence for every member of our community. This is required not just for your health and safety, but also the health and safety of others. You will be tested for COVID-19 after you arrive in Providence, and depending on the most up-to-date guidelines from the Rhode Island Department of Health, will need to observe either a 14-day quarantine or “quiet period” with minimized contact with others on campus and restricted interaction with the community beyond Brown. The goals of the quiet period include: engaging students in baseline COVID-19 testing; isolating those students who display symptoms; and setting and reinforcing expectations with regard to public health. 

Throughout the semester, access to communal kitchens in on-campus residences will be restricted, and the occupancy of gathering spaces will be limited. All members of the Brown community will be required to wear masks in public and practice social distancing. Extracurricular activities and events will be shaped by the reduced capacity of indoor and outdoor spaces. You will receive education and support in following these practices so that we can build a healthy community together. Disregard of these public health practices will be considered a conduct violation that could result in sanctions up to and including removal from campus. 

On-Campus Housing

In order to de-densify the residences and provide a single room to every student returning to campus this fall, most previous housing assignments and pending housing requests will need to change. If you received a housing assignment prior to the transition to remote learning last spring, or if you were eligible for the housing lottery at that time, you will receive an email from the Office of Residential Life later today with information and instructions specific to your housing circumstances. You will receive your new fall housing assignment via email no later than August 10; please note that you may have a different housing assignment in spring in order to accommodate students arriving on campus. If you live on campus, you will move into your assigned residence on a staggered schedule between August 29 and September 1, 2020. If you plan to leave campus for Thanksgiving break, you will not be permitted to return to campus for the remainder of the term. For more information, please consult this information and read closely the email you will receive later today from the Office of Residential Life.

Dining

If you are on a meal plan, access to dining will look different to ensure everyone’s health and safety, including the safety of our Dining Services staff. You will pick up grab-and-go meals, and you will find measures in place to manage lines and reduce density among diners. If you are in isolation or quarantine on campus, meals will be delivered to you. Dining Services will offer a more limited number of meal plan options, all of which will have double the standard number of flex points (for you to use at eateries and vending). As always, if you have dietary needs beyond traditional and vegetarian/vegan offerings, you will be able to connect with Dining’s Registered Dietitian to ensure those needs are met. For more information, please consult the Brown Dining Services website

Financial Aid & Finances

The Office of Financial Aid has completed financial aid eligibility determinations for the coming academic year. If you are applying or have already applied for financial aid, you can review the status of your application in Banner Self-Service. Billing and student account statements will be sent to enrolled undergraduate and graduate students by July 31 with a September 1, 2020, due date. Details on fees, the Installment Payment Plan, and spring and summer billing can be found on the Student Financial Services website.

Next Steps

As President Paxson mentioned in her announcement, our plans for the academic year are based on the best data and public health recommendations currently available, but the University may need to make mid-course changes or adjustments to these plans if the situation changes. We know you have many questions about what your return to Brown will look like. With this in mind, here is a summary of the actions that you can take now to prepare for this fall:

In the coming weeks, the best and most up-to-date information will be available in the Undergraduate FAQ and on the Healthy Brown website, both of which include contact information for offices that can assist you with questions about your specific circumstances. Please continue to check these sites and your Brown email account for updates as we approach the start of the fall term. 

We thank you for your patience as we continue to navigate the complexities of returning to residential learning at Brown, and we look forward to seeing many of you on campus this fall.

Sincerely,

Eric Estes
Vice President for Campus Life

Rashid Zia
Dean of the College