December 27, 2020
Vice President for Campus Life Eric Estes
Tags Undergraduates Grad and Medical Students

To Brown Undergraduate, Graduate, and Medical School Students: Preparing to Return to Campus for Spring Semester


Dear Undergraduate, Graduate, and Medical School Students, 

I hope you are enjoying a restful and restorative Winter Break, whether you are away from campus or here in the Providence area. This message contains important information and recommendations to promote health and safety, and to help prevent spread of COVID-19 as you prepare to participate in Brown study, programming or other activities on campus during the spring semester. 

Preparing for Travel

If you will be traveling to Providence for the start of the spring semester, it is important to take steps in advance to help protect your health, the health of fellow travelers, and the health of the Brown and Providence communities.

During the approximately two weeks prior to your travel to campus, we encourage you to limit your social contacts and avoid circumstances that could result in exposure to COVID-19. For example, we recommend that you reduce in-person contacts — beginning as soon as today — so that you can travel to campus Jan. 9-12, which are the scheduled move-in dates for undergraduate students planning to live in Brown housing (and the time when other undergraduate, graduate and medical students also are choosing to come to Providence). 

Based on a new recommendation from the State of Rhode Island, you are strongly encouraged to obtain a COVID-19 test during the 3-5 days prior to your travel to Providence. We recommend that you travel with documentation of your test date and result so that you can provide proof if requested. If your test is positive, you will need to postpone travel for the 10 days during which you remain infectious. This is especially important for those who may be planning air travel, as current U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance makes clear that air travel during quarantine or isolation is prohibited. Any passenger who knowingly violates this rule can expect to be placed on a national “No Fly List.” We also expect you to continue checking with the Rhode Island Department of Health for travel requirements or advisories relevant for the geographic area in which your travel will originate.

Returning to Providence for Spring Semester and Initiating Testing

Spring classes are expected to begin remotely on Wednesday, Jan. 20; those classes with a hybrid option will begin meeting in-person on Wednesday, Jan. 27, if Brown’s Campus Activity Status is at or above Level 2. Undergraduate students living in Brown-owned or Brown-leased housing (including the downtown hotel) will move in Jan. 9-12.  Undergraduate, graduate and medical school students living off campus need to plan their arrival to allow adequate time for quarantine per Rhode Island Department of Health guidelines in advance of in-person classes.

All students who will be in the Providence area for the spring (except for new first-year undergraduates) were asked to enter their arrival date (or, for graduate and medical students, when they will begin participating in Brown study, programming or other activities on campus) in MyBrown by Sunday, Dec. 13, in order to initiate their COVID-19 testing in January. If you are unsure whether you entered a date, you can check in MyBrown. If you have not entered your return date, or if you need to update your date, please contact the Student Testing Call Center. The Student Testing Call Center will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4, and can be reached at or 401-863-6500. 

This is an essential step in initiating your required participation in routine COVID-19 testing for the spring. Any student who does not comply with the testing requirement at their assigned testing frequency will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards and may be subject to discipline. No changes to testing eligibility can be made between Dec. 18 and Jan. 3, when Brown offices are closed.

Upon their arrival, on-campus undergraduates will be required to observe a Quiet Period for the period of Jan. 9-26, until in-person classes begin. Off-campus undergraduate students will not be allowed on campus during the Quiet Period except to engage in required COVID-19 testing.

All undergraduate, graduate and medical school students enrolled at Brown are required to complete an online educational module and sign the Student Commitment to COVID-19 Community Health and Safety Requirements by Wednesday, Jan. 6, regardless of whether they are on campus or learning remotely, or whether they have signed a previous version of the commitment. This commitment reflects our shared responsibility for helping to keep our community safe during the pandemic. You previously received a separate communication with a link to the module and commitment. 

For additional resources, please consult the information on the Healthy Brown website, especially the information on the student testing page.

In Closing

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to care for yourselves and others through this difficult time. University offices will reopen on Monday, Jan. 4, and you will be able to connect with staff at that time. After Jan. 4, email or call 401-863-3500 with any  questions about the spring semester. For questions about testing, email the Student Testing Call Center at or call 401-863-6500.

As a reminder, all University plans are based on the best data and public health recommendations currently available. If there is any need to make changes to the plans outlined in this letter given a shift in public health conditions, the University will be sure to provide updates as quickly as possible.  

Best wishes for the remainder of your Winter Break. We’re looking forward to welcoming you for the start of the Spring 2021 semester. 


Eric Estes
Vice President for Campus Life

January 2021 Dates At-a-Glance:

Monday, Jan. 4

Student Testing Call Center reopens; to provide or update return date to initiate testing, email or call 401-863-6500

Wednesday, Jan. 6

Commitment to COVID-19 Community Health and Safety due; check email for subject “Educational Module and Student Commitment to COVID-19 Community Health and Safety Requirements” for link

Jan. 9-12

Undergraduate residence move-in

Jan. 9-26

Quiet period until in-person classes are eligible to begin on Jan. 27

Wednesday, Jan. 20

Spring classes begin (remotely)

Wednesday, Jan. 27

Hybrid and in-person classes of 19 or fewer students begin (public health conditions  permitting).