Healthy Brown

COVID-19 Routine Testing Pilot

As part of developing sound, evidence-based public health plans, the findings of a summer testing pilot will help to refine approaches for the 2020-21 year.

The University has contracted with Verily, a life sciences and health care company, to perform routine testing starting with a pilot during Summer 2020 that will test all essential on-site and essential-special graduate students, faculty and staff. We anticipate that what we learn from this summer pilot will provide essential information that helps to inform our public health testing strategy for the 2020-21 academic year. 

Brown is committed to protecting the health and safety of its students, faculty and staff, and every member of our community has a role to play in ensuring a safe campus for themselves and others they may interact with every day. In order to maintain a healthy and safe community during a pandemic, to the best extent practicable, it is critical to identify and stop the spread of virus at the earliest possible stages. Regular random testing will allow a better understanding of the initial incidence of COVID-19 in the on-campus population as well as identify the proportion of asymptomatic positives over time.

Brown is partnering with a third-party vendor called Verily to deploy a combination of web-based symptom tracking and on-site testing services. Each day, you will respond to a web-based screening survey to record health conditions. After completing the survey, you will receive a prompt to register for testing. All tests will take place at the University’s testing site located at 205 Meeting Street. Employees will be asked to perform a self-administered nasal swab — the most reliable, accurate, and non-invasive method available currently — and clinical personnel will guide participants as needed from a safe distance.

No. There is no cost to any individual getting tested and no insurance is required. The University is funding all expenses related to the testing.

Test results are usually returned within two to three days but can range from two to five days depending on lab capacity.

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will receive a phone call from PWN Health, Verily’s clinician partner network. If you test negative you will receive an email confirmation from PWN Health.

You will receive an email to visit the program website and enroll using your Brown email address. Once you have created your account, you will receive an email from [email protected] to do the following daily:

  1. Beginning June 22, log in to the Healthy at Work dashboard at healthy.verily.com.
  2. Complete the daily symptom screening questions.
  3. Participate in testing, if needed.
  4. Receive instructions to report to campus or to remain at home.

The symptom tracker includes a comprehensive list of symptoms identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as possible symptoms of COVID-19. In an effort to reduce the risk of exposing others in the workplace to COVID-19, which is transmitted by community spread, it is important to track all potential symptoms.

The symptom tracker is based on CDC guidelines, which currently do not differentiate between symptoms related to COVID-19 and other health conditions. Please answer the questions to the best of your ability, considering if your symptoms are new to you or not typically caused by your underlying conditions. Or, you may wish to seek an alternative work assignment (AWA) or consider options to apply for a leave of absence from work. For questions regarding how to request an AWA, contact your supervisor and the Employee and Labor Relations Team in University Human Resources (UHR) at [email protected].

Right now, it’s unknown. We will continue to test the on-campus population as long as the pandemic remains a threat to the health of our community. As the situation evolves, we will continue to issue new guidance and any additional precautions — in line with expert public health guidance and state law — as part of a commitment to keep you and the Brown community healthy to the best extent practicable.

Yes. All faculty and staff working on campus will need to get tested. It is important to note that testing only reveals if the virus is currently present. A negative test does not mean that an individual will not acquire the virus later. Therefore, even if you test negative for the virus, you must continue to comply with the requirements in the updated COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy to help ensure a safe working environment for yourself and your colleagues.

Yes. You can reschedule a testing appointment at any time by logging into your Healthy at Work account at healthy.verily.com (on or after June 22).

If you test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19, a physician working with Verily will contact you, and University Human Resources at Brown will be notified to contact you directly regarding requesting leave time for isolation. The results will also be reported to local public health authorities as required by law to help track community spread. And the web-based tool used by all participants will provide specific instructions to help determine the next steps regarding care and return to work on campus. Brown is committed to maintaining the privacy of any individual who tests positive, as outlined in the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy.

If your symptoms indicate that you should not return to work on campus, you will be prompted to schedule a test. You will need to follow University guidance and contact [email protected]  for assistance. If you are able to work from home, you may be able to do so and should contact your supervisor and UHR to confirm.

The kits that are used in Brown’s testing pilot are those used by Quest Diagnostics, a leading diagnostic lab. Quest uses the Roche and Hologic nucleic acid tests, both of which have received emergency authorization use from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and exhibit performance on par with the best available tests.

Currently, randomized testing will occur every 14 days and approximately 500 people will be included in each round. This approach may change over time depending on health trends and evolving guidance from state and federal authorities. Individuals who need to complete a randomized test will be asked to “request a test” in the tool.

Currently, Brown does not have plans to conduct antibody testing. Depending on evolving guidance from state and federal authorities and/or advances in scientific research, the University may consider conducting antibody tests in the future.

Verily will confidentially provide certain data to Brown University for use in assessing individuals’ eligibility to report to campus. The name of an individual who tests positive for the virus will only be disclosed to others if necessary to prevent a direct threat to safety in accordance with applicable law. The University and the testing company will maintain the confidentiality of an individual’s COVID-19 test results and will only share an individual’s test result with the individual tested, University Human Resources, the Rhode Island Department of Health, contact tracers employed or contracted by the University, other employees or contractors of the University on a need-to-know basis, and other persons or entities as required by law.

Verily collects and analyzes health information related to COVID-19 for the purpose of supporting a safe return to work in accordance with organizational work policies and state law. Data may also be used to customize and improve the overall Healthy at Work program. For more information, please read the privacy policy at healthy.verily.com/privacy (on or after June 22) upon registration.

Verily is the developer of Healthy at Work and a separate company from Google. Verily uses Google Cloud, for example, for data infrastructure and to support the business purposes of the program. Google’s access to data is strictly limited to the purpose of providing such services to Verily. The data collected through the testing program will never be joined with your data stored in Google products without your explicit permission.

The information you provide, such as your address, is used to match your testing information to your person. This basic information is only used to confirm your identity and provide your test results.

The PWN consent form is a generalized consent form used for all Healthy at Work testing. Brown University requires participation in this program in an effort to reduce the risk of exposing  others in the workplace to  COVID-19, which is transmitted by community spread. Brown policies supersede the language of the consent form.

Failure to comply with the University’s mandatory testing requirements will disqualify an employee from working on campus, and may subject an employee to discipline, up to and including termination of employment. If you are a person with a disability and require reasonable accommodation, please contact University Human Resources at [email protected].

Please direct additional questions to University Human Resources at [email protected].