Healthy Brown

To Brown Campus: Positive COVID-19 case; Immediate steps to reduce community exposure

Updates

Dear Brown Community:

We are writing with important information about COVID-19 and implications for the Brown campus community. Unfortunately, the situation around the country and at Brown is becoming more difficult each day. The University has learned that yesterday, for the first time, a member of our community tested positive for novel coronavirus. Brown students and employees who were in contact with the diagnosed individual have been notified directly by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), which provides guidance on health considerations and quarantine.

In addition to this, both the State of Rhode Island and the U.S. federal government have declared states of emergency, and Governor Gina Raimondo has closed all public K-12 schools in the state for the coming week. Brown remains open, but given these fast-changing events, we have no choice but to expedite the departure of students from campus and to take steps to limit the exposure of Brown employees to the virus.

Please read this full letter carefully, as it includes provisions that apply to all students, faculty and staff.

FOR UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

  • With news reports of the possibility of increased challenges with national and international travel, students should leave campus as soon as possible. The last date by which undergraduate students living on campus must leave residence halls has been moved to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17.
    • The date by which students can petition to remain in residence halls due to exceptional circumstances has been moved to noon on Sunday, March 15. Requests will be reviewed as quickly as possible, on a rolling basis.
    • Students will receive further information from Residential Life later today. If they have questions or concerns, they should continue to contact the Residential Life phone line, (401) 863-3500, or email, [email protected]. The phone line will be staffed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and staff will respond to emails throughout the weekend. 
    • Starting on Monday, March 16, dining services will be available only in the Sharpe Refectory on a “take-out” basis.
  • Undergraduates who live off-campus are strongly encouraged to travel home.
  • All undergraduate students who receive financial aid will receive $150 to defray travel and moving expenses.
    • This funding will be provided via direct deposit or mailed check to students’ homes.  
    • Students who have not departed and need immediate access to funding to facilitate travel, including those whose travel is cost prohibitive, should submit an application to the COVID-19 Transition E-Gap Fund at ufunds.brown.edu. (We ask students with already finalized travel plans to delay their submission until next week, so we can help those in need of support for immediate travel.) 

FOR GRADUATE AND MEDICAL STUDENTS

  • Graduate and medical students should prepare for a curtailment in University services, including the closure of libraries.
  • Graduate students involved in scientific research will receive instructions from their departments about their continued participation. Medical students will continue to receive instruction directly from the medical school.
  • Guidance about remote teaching and learning and research continues to be updated on Brown’s COVID-19 website.

FOR BROWN EMPLOYEES (FACULTY AND STAFF)

  • Starting on Monday, March 16, only essential personnel should report to work in person. Employees who can telecommute are expected to do so. Brown remains open.
  • Staff members from Campus Life, the College and several other offices who are directly involved in assisting students as they move out of residence halls may be classified as essential personnel during the week of March 16. They will be contacted by their managers over the weekend with instructions.
  • These work arrangements will remain in effect until Sunday, March 22. A decision on whether to extend them will be made by Friday, March 20. In the meantime, all employees will continue to be paid.
  • Faculty should continue to prepare to resume teaching remotely on March 30, when classes resume. In the meantime, students should not be expected to complete any assignments or midterms with due dates prior to March 30.
  • A new Telecommuting page on the University’s COVID-19 website contains information and links to resources about telecommuting. 
  • Information about leave policies and resources appears on the Leave Arrangements page of the COVID-19 website.  
  • Individuals with questions about their unique situations should be addressed to University Human Resources at [email protected] or (401) 863-2141.

FOR ALL COMMUNITY MEMBERS

Please take essential steps to keep yourself well:

  • Wash your hands with soap carefully and frequently.
  • If you cannot easily access hand washing facilities, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Sanitize hard surfaces.
  • Avoid touching your face (transmission typically occurs from contact with surfaces).
  • Engage in social distancing; avoid crowds, shaking hands and physical contact with other people.
  • When possible, all meetings should take place via Zoom or teleconference.

These may seem like exceptional measures for Brown to take, but they are warranted by the public health crisis that is taking place across the country and the world. For continued updates, please consult Brown’s COVID-19 website.

We want to thank everyone who lives and works at Brown for your continued dedication to helping to keep our community safe.

Sincerely,

Richard M. Locke, Provost
Barbara Chernow, Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration
Eric Estes, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services