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Brown plans to welcome students from each class year back in Spring 2021

All students will have the option of studying remotely, but a “large number of undergraduate students” can return to campus

The University plans to offer an in-person residential experience for students from each undergraduate class for the spring semester, though space constraints may limit how many students can return. 

Our goal is to allow a larger number of undergraduate students to return to campus, while ensuring that students who choose to study remotely can do so,” President Christina Paxson P’19 wrote in a campus-wide email Thursday afternoon. Faculty with “health or other concerns” will continue to have the option to work remotely, she added.

All first-years, who will officially matriculate in January, will have the option to live on campus in University residence halls. 

RPLs currently serving remotely as well as students who live in unsafe environments, who are returning from a medical leave and those with other exceptional circumstances will all be allowed to live on campus or in University-owned or leased housing. The same exceptions will be made for international students for whom studying remotely will cause hardship due to travel restrictions, visas or access to employment training programs in the United States 

Currently enrolled students will have the option to maintain their fall location of study. But many of those living on campus may be asked to relocate to a different residence hall or University-leased space in the spring.

All juniors and seniors will have the option to live off-campus in the Providence area without requiring permission. 

First-years and sophomores are not eligible for off-campus permission, and may not live off-campus in the Providence area, Paxson wrote.

Paxson noted that it may not be possible to accommodate all students who wish to return to Providence, given the limited number of single-occupancy rooms available on campus as well as the number of available apartments in close proximity to Brown. 

All students who choose to take a personal leave in the spring will have the option to return to campus in the summer for their second residential term, she added.

If more students request to live on campus than space permits, the University will use a lottery, with juniors who are currently studying remotely receiving preference, followed by sophomores studying remotely. Seniors, juniors and sophomores who are currently taking a personal leave, respectively, will receive preference after juniors and sophomores with remote status.

The announcement came amid climbing COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island and across the country. “We know that the nation is at a precarious point in the pandemic,” Paxson wrote. Nationwide, travel restrictions are tightening and infection rates are increasing.

“Despite this challenging national picture, Brown is very fortunate to be faring well,” she added.

From Oct. 21 - Oct. 23, the University recorded eight positive asymptomatic test results, more than it had experienced in any three-day period to date, Russell Carey wrote in a campus-wide email Oct. 24. Nonetheless, the positivity rate in that timeframe remained low at 0.15 percent, he added. 

Recognizing the ever-evolving nature of the global health crisis, Paxson underscored a need for flexibility and commitment to following ongoing public health guidelines. “To realize our goals for a healthy spring term, we must persist in sharing the responsibility of caring for each other and our neighbors in Providence,” she wrote. 

All currently enrolled students and those who have requested to return from personal leave will receive a message early next week with a link to their Spring 2021 Location of Study Forms. This form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. EST Nov. 8.



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