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Brown reinstates routine COVID-19 testing for all students, cites uptick in variants

University to bring back routine asymptomatic testing after removing vaccinated individuals from program July 13

The University will reinstate its COVID-19 testing requirement for all community members starting August 16 with plans to maintain it through September at least, Vice President of Planning and Policy Russell Carey '91 MA'06 wrote in a Monday email to the Brown community. 

Fully-vaccinated individuals will be required to get tested once every 14 days, while unvaccinated individuals will test once per week. A modified quarantine period will also be put in place for unvaccinated students arriving on campus.

Concerns over the Delta variant and other COVID-19 variant strains prompted to the return to testing, according to Carey. Just shy of a month ago, the University removed fully vaccinated individuals from its routine testing program. 

Carey added that the University felt the resumption of testing was necessary “as we prepare for an increased population of on-campus community members beginning Monday, August 16, with the return of employees who have been working remotely, as well as the new and returning students arriving for the fall 2021 semester.”

The decision comes amid increasing concern in the United States and around the world over a new uptick in COVID-19 cases, which some have attributed to the Delta variant. Reports of breakthrough cases, in which a fully-vaccinated individual tests positive for COVID-19, have also increased. While the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that vaccination drastically reduces the risk of both contracting COVID-19 and severe illness due to the virus, the possibility for infection still remains.

Nonetheless, the University still emphasized its preparedness for an in-person fall, citing its community vaccination rates as a key point of confidence.

“It’s important to make clear that being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 remains highly effective and is the most important step that all members of the community can take to protect themselves and others,” Carey wrote. “The response from Brown community members to our vaccination requirement has been excellent and is already helping to ensure generally normal operations for the fall semester.”



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