January 20, 2023
Koren Bakkegard, Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students; Dr. Vanessa Britto, Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director for Health & Wellness
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students

To Brown Students: Return to Campus: Health Precautions and Resources


Dear Students, 

We hope you enjoyed a restful Winter Break. We are excited to welcome you back to campus as we plan for a safe and healthy start to the spring semester. 

In light of the increase in viral infections across the country — with rates of COVID-19, flu, and RSV remaining high — we want to share reminders of important measures you can take to help safeguard your health and the health of our community. There are no major changes to Brown’s public health approach at this time, but this communication shares guidance around testing, masking, vaccination clinics for COVID-19 and flu, and other support resources.

Brown’s approach to public health continues to be based on expert guidance from public health and medical professionals as well as current health guidelines.


Prior to traveling back to campus, everyone should continue to take precautions, such as masking while indoors with large numbers of people and sanitizing your hands frequently. Although you are not required to report positive COVID-19 tests prior to your return to campus, testing when symptomatic is strongly recommended. Note that you may order free COVID-19 test kits to be sent to you. 

Visit the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and CDC websites for additional guidance surrounding safe travel to Rhode Island. 


> Testing: If you develop symptoms upon your return to campus, self-testing for COVID-19 will be instrumental in identifying and minimizing potential spread. You are required to report positive COVID-19 status to Health Services after your arrival on campus. 

> Masking: Wearing masks is strongly recommended for all Brown community members when indoors with large numbers of people, regardless of vaccination status, including on the Brown University shuttle. Masking can help limit the risk of inadvertent transmission of common respiratory viruses. Masking continues to be required in certain situations and places including:

  • healthcare facilities, including the Health and Wellness Center;
  • 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 may require a student in their office to wear a mask during a meeting).

To assist in this effort, the University continues to offer high-quality KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits available 24/7 at no cost for all undergraduate, graduate and medical students at the Key Office in Grad Center E. This office is open 24 hours every day, so stop by at your convenience to obtain a test. Reference the expiration date timelines to ensure your tests are still valid.


> COVID-19 Booster Clinics: Health & Wellness will be offering bivalent COVID-19 booster shots to Brown students for no out-of-pocket cost. COVID-19 booster clinics will be held in the Multipurpose Room (450 Brook Street) on January 25 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and on February 2 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Note that these clinics are for booster shots, not initial vaccinations. Visit Health Services to learn more about the clinics and initial vaccinations.  

> Flu Clinics: Flu shots are available to Brown students at Health Services for no out-of-pocket cost. As they are announced, the dates of upcoming flu clinics will be posted on the Health Services website. Email nursing@brown.edu or call 401-863-3953 with any questions.


As you transition back to academics and your life in Providence, there are many on-campus resources available to support you with issues related to your medical, mental health, sexual assault and academic needs. In addition, community and national resources can help support your mental health and wellbeing. 


The health and safety of our students, staff and faculty remain our top priority. Following guidance from public health and medical professionals, Brown University administrators are continually evaluating a variety of health indicators to shape our policies. We will continue to communicate any changes or updates when there are medical and/or public health benefits in doing so. Throughout the year, please visit the Healthy Brown and Health Services websites for up-to-date policies, information and recent communications.  

Thank you for your continued commitment to our community. Together, we can look forward to a wonderful spring semester! 


Koren Bakkegard
Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean of Students

Vanessa Britto
Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Executive Director for Health & Wellness