Dear Brown Students,
With the start of the academic year nearing, we are excited to again convene our community in-person. To assist in your planning, we are writing with important COVID-19 health and safety information, ongoing requirements, and reminders regarding the start of the Fall 2022 semester.
The protocols in this letter apply to all students who will study at Brown this fall, and the pre-arrival guidance is important for those who will travel to campus in the coming weeks. For graduate and medical students who have begun studies already, schools have communicated directly.
At this time, there are no significant new COVID-19 measures or major changes to current University operations expected for the start of the new academic year. While we continue to actively monitor and support Brown community members who report positive COVID-19 test results, we have seen no recent indication of widespread transmission or instances of severe illness or hospitalization, and all counties in the state are now considered low-risk areas according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Community Levels risk assessment.
This summer we began to transition our operations to managing COVID-19 on campus in a similar way to how other infectious diseases are managed, and we expect to continue that this fall. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our planning is based on expert medical and public health guidance — if public health conditions change, we will take appropriate steps at that time.
Below, we include important updates and reminders about COVID-19 protocols, and outline and describe in greater detail the following:
- Vaccination requirements
- Pre-Arrival guidance
- Testing, masking and distribution of University resources
- Reporting requirements
- Isolation protocols for students
In the coming days, Provost Richard M. Locke will follow up with some additional information about Brown’s approach to instruction for Fall 2022 courses. The Campus Activity Status page on the Healthy Brown website remains the best guide for information on current COVID-19 measures in place, and the University will complete a comprehensive update to the full Healthy Brown website over the coming weeks in advance of the start of the semester.
We will also communicate separately, this month, about the global outbreak of orthopoxvirus (monkeypox).
The Brown community’s compliance with the University’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement has been essential to maintaining in-person academic and administrative operations over the last year, and the requirement that all community members remain up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations will remain in place for the entire 2022-23 academic year for all students who will be on campus or engage in any level of in-person instruction, whether in the U.S. or abroad. This means that students are required to receive a COVID-19 booster shot no later than the start of fall semester classes or within 30 days of becoming eligible. You are eligible for a booster five months after your Moderna or Pfizer two-dose series, or two months after your initial Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pursuant to CDC guidance, those who have been fully vaccinated outside of the U.S. with a WHO-EUL approved vaccine are eligible for a single booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at least six (6) months after full vaccination. Booster shots are widely available in the U.S. and remain free of charge, and you can find available vaccination locations at vaccines.gov. Booster shots are available in Rhode Island, and you can find available vaccination locations at www.vaccinateri.org.
You will need to submit your booster documentation to the Health and Wellness Patient Portal only once. If you have already submitted documentation, do not submit it again. Duplicate submissions will restart the verification process and delay confirmation of your vaccination.
To update your vaccination information via the portal:
- Log in to the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password: https://brown.medicatconnect.com/home.aspx.
- Select “Immunizations” at the top of the page and select “Enter Dates.”
- In the COVID-19 Section, select the calendar icon associated with the vaccine manufacturer for the vaccine you received to select the date you received your booster. Once you have completed this step, you can select the “Submit” button.
- Next, select “Upload” from the menu at the top of the page and select “Proof of COVID Vaccine.”
- Choose “Select File,” upload your vaccine card image, and select “Upload.” All vaccination records will be stored confidentially.
Students who have already received an approved medical or religious exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination will continue to be exempt. Students who have not previously received an exemption and wish to request one should contact University Health Services at firstname.lastname@example.org to request an exemption form, and complete and submit that exemption form for review.
We encourage students to procure COVID-19 test kits prior to campus arrival, either for free through the government’s COVID-19 testing program or by purchasing them at local pharmacies, and to keep them on hand for use during the semester.
Students should take a COVID-19 test 24-36 hours prior to departing to travel to campus, using either a rapid antigen or PCR test. If a test result is negative, students may continue their planned travel to campus and should not upload their test results to Health Services. Students who receive a positive result should delay their return to campus to complete an isolation period (details below). Students are required to report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password.
TESTING, MASKING AND DISTRIBUTION OF UNIVERSITY RESOURCES
Students (and Brown employees) are no longer required to conduct routine testing (regardless of vaccination status) and, upon arriving at the University, are only required to test if they experience COVID-19 symptoms.
Please plan to keep at least one COVID-19 test available at all times to use in monitoring your COVID-19 status. Students should report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password.
Symptomatic students do not need to be seen at Health Services to confirm a positive test result and can test using an at-home kit. Students with questions or concerns about their symptoms can receive nursing advice 24 hours/day, 7 days/week by calling 401-863-3953 and can also make an appointment with Health Services by calling that same number during business hours.
Mask wearing is now optional for all Brown community members, regardless of vaccination status, and including on the Brown shuttle. While masking is optional, those who are unvaccinated can help limit their risk of transmission by continuing to wear masks. Related details can be found on the Campus Activity Status page of the Healthy Brown website.
Noted exceptions to the optional masking policy — where wearing masks continues to be required — include:
- health care facilities, including the Health and Wellness Center;
- the Warren Alpert Medical School;
- classes where the faculty or graduate student instructor requires students to wear masks; and
- meetings where the host requires attendees to wear masks (for example, a staff member meeting with a student in their office may require the student to wear a mask during the meeting).
Availability of KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits
The University will continually have high-quality KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits available on campus at no cost for all students — undergraduate, graduate and medical — at the Key Office in Grad Center E. The office will be open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, and students can pick up masks and test kits at their convenience. We expect these items will be available to students throughout the fall semester.
REPORTING REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL STUDENTS
Undergraduate, graduate and medical students are required to report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password. Follow-up instructions from University Health Services will be provided to students.
Any student experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness should not attend any in-person classes or other activities and must contact University Health Services, and University Health Services will continue conducting symptomatic testing of student patients as they determine is clinically necessary.
ISOLATION PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS
Brown continues to adhere to guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control. The University requires that community members who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for a period of five (5) days. The 5-day period applies regardless of previous infection, vaccination or booster status, and the presence or absence of symptoms.
- To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms OR your asymptomatic positive test date (whichever is earlier).
- Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or positive test result.
- On day 5 you can take a rapid antigen test, and if the result is negative (do not send in the negative test results) and you have no symptoms or improving symptoms, you are released from isolation.
- Students may also end isolation (without a negative rapid antigen test) 5 full days after testing positive if they are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving.
- If students have been very sick from COVID-19 and your symptoms and fever are not improving or you have a weakened immune system, isolation is recommended for at least 10 days.
- If you are able to end isolation on day 5, it is important to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days, even at home.
Given the high vaccination rate within our community, we are shifting our focus to encourage students to maintain their routines and remain in their housing even upon positive COVID-19 diagnosis. We encourage students to begin an open dialogue with their roommates and suitemates about COVID-19 safety precautions, and plan in advance for how you will manage living in your shared environment over the course of the semester.
- Students in on-campus Brown housing: Students who test positive will isolate in their residence hall room, while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols like masking and sanitization if they have roommates or suitemates. Roommates or suitemates who test negative may remain in their room or stay with a friend or family who may be in the area. Questions regarding housing situations may be directed to Residential Life at email@example.com.
- Students residing off campus: Off-campus students who test positive will be expected to isolate at their residence. Shelf-stable food, tissues and toiletries will be helpful to have readily available in the event that the whole house or apartment needs to be isolated.
Grab-and-go meals will be made available by Brown Dining Services to all students who are self-isolating and live on campus, and also to those who live off campus but are registered with a meal plan. We advise students to keep essentials including shelf-stable food readily available in the event you need to isolate.
For any student in need of assistance, Student Support Services deans are available to assist with a wide range of issues and concerns. Meetings can be held in-person or via Zoom. To schedule a meeting with a Student Support Dean, call 401-863-3145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, the Administrator on Call is available 24 hours a day by calling 401-863-3322 and asking to speak to the Administrator On Call.
We look forward to welcoming the full Brown community to campus for the fall semester. Together, by adhering to the health and safety measures outlined above, we can anticipate successful, in-person campus activity that supports Brown’s education, research and operations. We thank you for your diligence in following University requirements and guidance around COVID-19 and for your commitment to protecting the health of the entire community.
Vice President for Campus Life
Dr. Vanessa Britto
Associate Vice President for Health and Wellness