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COVID-19 Updates, News, University News

For students returning to Providence: Quiet period guidelines, testing procedures

Information related to the University's phased approach to the fall semester, details of procedures related to students' return to campus

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, August 21, 2020

Updated 4:49 P.M., September 1, 2020 

As part of the University’s “phased approach” to undergraduate instruction and students’ return to campus announced Aug. 11, most undergraduate students will not be allowed on campus until late September, if at all.

But, for the undergraduates granted permission to reside on campus, those living off campus on College Hill and graduate students, The Herald has compiled information on the details of returning to campus as well as updates about on campus resources, which can be found here

Key takeaways

  • Students returning to Providence before Labor Day must complete an online education module and sign a commitment to follow health and safety requirements. 
  • During stage 1 of the quiet period, students living on campus will only be able to leave their dorms for meals and testing, while off-campus students will be expected to quarantine away from campus.
  • In stage 2 of the quiet period, on-campus students will have more freedoms, but will not be allowed to interact with off-campus students in Providence. 
  • Students will be sent an email with information to set up the symptom tracking tool and schedule their first tests on campus. 

Arrival on campus

All students who will be living in Providence, whether on or off campus, will have to complete an “online education and prevention module” and sign a commitment to follow the University’s health and safety requirements. The commitment, which can be found on the Healthy Brown website, consists of 12 clauses and a statement of understanding. 

“Because the University cannot guarantee a campus free from the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, I understand that my failure to follow these health and safety requirements increases the risk that I may become infected with COVID-19 or infect others, and that I or other members of the community may experience severe illness including personal injury and death as a result of becoming infected with COVID-19,” reads one line of the commitment.

An individualized link to the COVID-19 online education module was sent to all students planning to return to Providence at the end of the month today, Aug. 21, coinciding with the deadline to request an early return. The deadline to complete the module is Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to the email. 

Students returning to live off-campus had to indicate their date of return on the Housing Questionnaire by 11:59 p.m. Aug. 20. Those students, as well as those returning to live on campus, will receive a COVID-19 test on Aug. 29 or close to their arrival. 

The University is also purchasing additional health supplies for distribution, and is ensuring that its supplies will be adequate to provide three cloth masks, two 4-ounce tubes of hand sanitizer and one container of sanitizing wipes to every student, faculty, and staff, according to the Healthy Brown website.

Quiet period

All students living on and off campus will have to adhere to a 14-day quiet period — essentially a quarantine — in order to eliminate the risk of spread from pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic students. The quiet period will be split into two phases.

Stage One 

In the first stage, on-campus students will be isolated within their residence halls. They will only be permitted to leave to receive a COVID-19 test or pick up dining hall meals delivered to designated spots on campus, according to the Healthy Brown website

Students living off-campus will be expected to quarantine in off-campus housing in compliance with Rhode Island Department of Health rules. RIDOH notes that while all people arriving in Rhode Island are advised to quarantine, people traveling from one of these 33 states with a positivity rate of over 5 percent or out of the country are required to quarantine for 14 days.

College students are exempt from the RIDOH provision allowing visitors and returning residents to “test out” of a two-week quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival, according to the Healthy Brown website, meaning that if a returning student tests negative on arrival, they will still need to complete a two week quarantine. RIDOH’s “Guidance for Colleges, Universities and Boarding Schools” notes only that “students and their families and friends traveling from countries outside of the US or a hot spot within the US must quarantine for 14 days within the state.” 

Off-campus students will not be allowed on campus in any capacity during the quiet period with few exceptions, including receiving a scheduled COVID-19 test, visiting Health Services or completing University-approved laboratory work. 

On-campus students are discouraged from leaving their rooms for anything other than the essentials, according to Vanessa Britto, associate vice president for campus life and executive director of health and wellness for the University. “As challenging as it is, we really do need people to not gather while in residence halls and to limit their movement beyond the essentials — bathroom, meal pick-up, etc.,” Britto wrote in an email to The Herald. “This will help us minimize exposures during the quiet period.”

All students returning to Providence will be tested twice during phase one of the quiet period — once upon arrival and again after four or five days. “Low infection rates in the second-round test will allow Brown to move to Stage 2,” on the phased reopening model, according to the Healthy Brown website.

Stage Two

Stage 2 of the quiet period will bring some more flexibility to those living on-campus — students can exercise outdoors (on-campus only), have small gatherings (five people wearing masks or adequately social distancing) and order contactless food delivery to residence halls. 

Off-campus students will still have to comply with the RIDOH-mandated 14-day quarantine, and will not be allowed on campus save the few exceptions also applicable during stage 1. 

Students residing on campus are not permitted to interact with students living off campus during stage 2. 

During stage 2, all students on meal plans will be allowed to pick up grab-and-go meals from dining halls, including off-campus students.

The Healthy Brown website notes that the University may loosen or tighten listed quiet period restrictions based on the results from arrival testing. 

Failure to adhere to the quiet period regulations and the University’s COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy, issued Aug. 7, will be a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, which could result in sanctions including removal from campus or academic suspension. 

“We are relying on each member of the community to be fully engaged in holding each other accountable and in providing guidance and support around the public health guidelines,” wrote Yolanda Castillo-Appolonio, senior associate dean of students and director of student conduct and community standards, in an email to The Herald. 

Testing

Most University students returning to Providence — including all undergraduates — will be considered “high-contact,” and will undergo asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 twice per week, The Herald previously reported

To facilitate the details of testing and symptom tracking, the University has partnered with Verily, a life sciences company. Members of the University community will use Verily’s Healthy at Work online tool to report daily symptoms and schedule COVID-19 tests. Returning students will be granted access to the tool in an upcoming email. 

“Students who will be living on campus or off campus in Providence in the fall will soon receive an email with instructions on how to log on to Verily Healthy at Work, schedule their first COVID-19 test and complete symptoms screening questions,” Russell Carey P’18, executive vice president for planning and policy at the University, wrote in an email to The Herald. “Students will schedule each subsequent routine COVID-19 test directly after they have been tested.”

All asymptomatic testing of students will take place in the Olney-Margolies Athletic Center. Students will be tested with a nasopharyngeal swab, which will be self-administered under the supervision of a medical professional, The Herald previously reported. Clinicians will be available to assist students who request help with administering the test.

Any student exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should contact University Health Services, which will then arrange a telehealth visit to assess the student’s symptoms and schedule a test if necessary. All symptomatic testing will be conducted by Health Services personnel and will be conducted at a separate University facility. There will be another location for symptomatic testing of students already in isolation or in the quarantine residence hall, The Herald previously reported.

More information on COVID-19 testing on campus can be found here

Enforcement

According to University Spokesperson Brian Clark, the Department of Public Safety will “respond to and report on situations where community health and safety requirements are reportedly violated.”

In addition to patrolling campus, DPS officers will monitor “surrounding streets and locations adjacent to campus property,” as they normally do, so they will also respond to violations of health and safety requirements off-campus. 

The University has also created “Healthy Ambassadors” as part of the new Brown Takes Care campaign to ensure health guidelines are followed on campus.

“The goals for the program are to help ensure a safe return to campus as high-usage buildings and public spaces open up for the fall,” Clark wrote in an email to The Herald. “They will serve as educators, supporting the community in following current public health guidelines and recognize the community for following public health guidance.”

The program will consist of 51 ambassadors across 15 locations around campus. Ambassadors are “current Brown staff members who volunteered for a short-term, partial work reassignment and were selected through an application process.” The ambassadors are receiving training from the University and must complete a “workplace safety training module,” Clark wrote.

This page will be updated as more information becomes available. If you have a question about returning to Providence that you’d like to see answered, email us at: herald@browndailyherald.com.

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