Coronavirus Updates

2019 Novel Coronavirus

Updates and information about Brown University's continued preparedness, action and response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The health and safety of the Brown community continues to be the University’s highest priority. Based on evolving information about the spread of COVID-19 across the country and the world, community members should know that:

  • The University reported positive cases of COVID-19 on March 14 and March 20. As this public health crisis evolves, it may not become uncommon that members of our community have exposure resulting from personal activities away from campus. Brown will defer to health officials to make appropriate notification of contacts of positive cases and will not send communications to the community about positive tests.
  • Both the State of Rhode Island and the U.S. federal government have declared states of emergency, and R.I. Gov. Gina Raimondo has required all public K-12 schools to offer instruction remotely through the end of April.
  • Brown remains open, but the University expedited the departure of students from campus and has taken steps to limit the exposure of Brown employees to the virus.
  • To protect the community while enabling students to complete the semester, Brown moved academic instruction for all undergraduate and graduate students to remote learning effective March 30.
  • Most undergraduate students who live in on-campus residences or Brown-owned properties vacated their residences and will complete the semester from their homes or at an alternate location.
  • Classes were cancelled for the week of March 16 so that faculty had time to prepare to transition courses to remote learning and students had time to pack and arrange for travel.
  • All in-person events are cancelled. Admissions events and all spring athletics competitions and practices are cancelled, and non-essential visitors are discouraged from coming to campus (parents and families are considered essential visitors during the process of helping students move off campus). 
  • Brown’s telecommuting status, which began on March 16, has been extended through May 1. Brown remains open, only essential personnel should report to work in person, and all other employees who can telecommute are expected to do so.
  • Brown researchers were asked prepare for non-critical, on-campus research to be restricted only to essential activities by March 18.
  • Brown has suspended all University-sponsored travel to both international and domestic destinations.
  • Per executive order in Rhode Island, anyone returning to the state after (1) international travel, (2) domestic air travel or (3) by any means of transportation for a non-work related purpose must immediately self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state.
  • Brown's Commencement and Reunion Weekend has been postponed from its traditional Memorial Day weekend schedule; the University's hope is that it can be held as early as October 2020, and the community will be informed when a date is set. Graduates will still formally receive degrees in May 2020 with a virtual Degree Conferral Ceremony being planned.

Medical professionals who lead Brown’s Health Services are in constant and continuous communication with the Rhode Island Department of Health, and in the event there were to be any changes in the medical and public health guidance Brown is receiving, the University would communicate that to the campus and take all necessary steps. The most important steps that all Brown community members can take to remain healthy are outlined on this site's Self Care page.

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2020

In December 2019, the global health care community identified a new respiratory virus that originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and has since been labeled 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization — previously referred to as 2019-nCoV). Spread of coronavirus is correlated with circumstances of close and sustained contact with others who are infected.

This website contains information on the state of the virus on Brown’s campus, an overview on the University’s actions to protect the health of the community and general information about the COVID-19 virus. This site is updated as new details become available or information changes.