During the week of Feb. 3 to 9, 361 students and 10 employees reported positive COVID-19 test results, according to a Feb. 11 Today@Brown announcement.
“The increase week over week is certainly something we’re monitoring very carefully,” said Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06. “What we expect and hope for is to see a decline, which is exactly what’s happened on the employee side.”
Individuals who are testing positive for COVID-19 continue to report mild or no symptoms and there have been no reported hospitalization or cases of severe illness, according to the announcement. The University will continue to make two rapid antigen tests available to community members each week until the week of March 28.
Gov. Dan McKee announced Feb. 9 plans to lift the statewide school mask mandate on March 4, allowing local school districts to make individual decisions about masking, The Herald previously reported. McKee also said the state executive order mandating indoor masking in schools, businesses and other public spaces would be lifted Feb. 11.
But at the University, mask wearing requirements will continue to remain in effect in classrooms and indoor spaces, Carey said.
Approximately 196 students are currently isolating in designated on- or off-campus housing, including the Courtyard by Marriott Providence Downtown hotel. Other students are isolating on-campus or in off-campus residences. Between the designated locations, about a third of isolation housing is filled and the University is “not concerned” about capacity, Carey said.
The Division of Campus Life and Health Services “feel confident about their abilities to support students who are in isolation,” Carey said. As of right now, the University is not contemplating any further restrictions in dining, student gatherings or mask wearing.
“There are a lot of things we look at really carefully every week and on a constant basis,” Carey said. “We really feel that we’re doing well and … there’s nothing that we are recommending to make any changes to.”
According to the Today@Brown announcement, the University is also allowing faculty departments to resume events such as group meals with job candidates in recruiting activities — which require participants to be unmasked for long periods of time.
Many receptions, events and faculty meetings take place at the beginning of the semester, which is a “prime time” for recruiting, Carey said. As a result, the previous restriction on these events aimed to encourage people to exercise caution and avoid potential transmission of COVID-19, he added.
“We felt comfortable with the department resuming those types of activities while still using common sense and caution,” given the low number of positive cases among faculty and staff, Carey said.
Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a sophomore from Chicago, Illinois studying English and French.