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U. transitioning to ‘managing’ COVID-19 cases instead of disrupting

Carey responds to lack of student concerns about virus in Herald’s spring poll

<p>Since lifting masking requirements in most settings, a majority of students have reported going maskless more often than not when not required, according to The Herald’s 2022 spring poll.</p>

Since lifting masking requirements in most settings, a majority of students have reported going maskless more often than not when not required, according to The Herald’s 2022 spring poll.

From April 14 to 20, 182 students and 28 employees reported positive COVID-19 test results, according to an April 22 Today@Brown announcement from Executive Vice President for Planning and Policy Russell Carey ’91 MA’06. The announcement also reported that 130 students were in isolation in designated on- or off-campus housing.

“Without minimizing the impact of COVID-19 on individuals, we are not seeing indications of widespread transmission, clusters or outbreak, or instances of severe illness or hospitalization,” Carey wrote in the announcement.

“Furthermore, we do not have any indication that increased restrictions, such as returning to mandatory indoor masking, are necessary or would have much impact on the level of positivity we are experiencing,” he wrote.

“I think we’re at a point where we’re really transitioning to managing (COVID-19 cases) rather than trying to disrupt them,” Carey told The Herald.

The announcement also clarified that although mask-wearing requirements on public transportation and airlines were recently lifted, masks are still required on University shuttles.

Since the University moved to a mask-optional policy, 41.1% of undergraduate students reported not wearing a mask more often than not in all indoor spaces where masks are not required, The Herald found in its 2022 spring poll.

The poll, which included over 1,000 anonymous undergraduate student responses, also asked students how often they take rapid antigen tests and how concerned they are about the spread of COVID-19 on campus, among other COVID-19 policies.

Approximately 26.5% of respondents reported that they have not tested at all for COVID-19 since testing became optional, while 40.7% test less than once a week, 22% once a week, 9.9% twice a week and 1% more than twice a week, the poll found.

Additionally, 33% of students responded that they were not concerned about the spread of COVID-19 on campus, while 28% responded that they were somewhat concerned, 28% were slightly concerned, 8% were very concerned and 2.9% were extremely concerned.

In response to these statistics, Carey said he thinks community members have “adapted well” to the test-optional policy. He added that students may still test for a number of reasons such as concerns about symptoms and exposure, or before attending a large event. “Hopefully people aren’t ignoring symptoms,” he added.

As summer approaches, the University has not discussed specific guidance for travel policies, although Carey said he would “certainly encourage people … to wear a mask on a plane” and follow any additional testing and masking rules for international travel.

The University is “not anticipating or planning” a mask mandate or quiet period for the fall semester but is “planning for a normal semester” and is “prepared to adjust” if needed, Carey said.



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