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).

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). This website contains information 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.

COVID-19's Impact on University Operations

The health and safety of the Brown community continues to be the University’s highest priority given the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on evolving information about the spread of COVID-19 across the country and the world, Brown 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 the 2019-20 school year.
  • 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 are completing the semester from their homes or at an alternate location.
  • 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 August 14. 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 is preparing for a gradual and controlled resumption of some on-campus activities between June and August that will begin, when possible, exclusively with approved laboratory-based research. As part of that preparation, Brown has established a COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy intended to manage all work that is authorized to take place on campus in a safe and orderly manner.
  • 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 plans to hold a double-Commencement in May 2021 to honor both Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 graduates on campus. All Class of 2020 graduates will still formally receive degrees in May 2020 with a series of Virtual Degree Conferral ceremonies scheduled for May 24.
  • All in-person summer programming and campus events that would have been hosted at Brown have been suspended through July 1. In line with this decision, no new requests or applications for visitors, coming from within or outside of the U.S., will be processed until July 1.
  • Brown has cancelled all on-campus Summer Session 2020 undergraduate courses but will offer an expanded array of courses remotely. Information is available on the Summer Session website and registration for online courses remains open until June 22.
  • Brown has cancelled all residential Pre-College Programs and all Sports Camps for Summer 2020. Many Pre-College courses will be available online. Additional details are available on the Pre-College Programs and Sports Camps websites.
  • The University is planning for a range of different scenarios for the 2020-21 academic year. Brown's senior leaders expect to make and communicate a decision about the planned approach for the Fall 2020 semester no later than July 15.
  • Given the uncertain nature of the crisis’s continued effects on both public health and on travel between countries, Brown in May cancelled all University-sponsored undergraduate study abroad for Fall 2020.

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.

Information on novel coronavirus, the COVID-19 disease and general health and safety measures is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 20, 2020