Amid an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases among students and faculty members, the University expects to receive the latest COVID-19 vaccine from the Rhode Island Department of Health “very shortly,” according to Vanessa Britto MSc’96, associate vice president for Campus Life and executive director of Health and Wellness.
“The RI Department of Health has experienced a slight delay in obtaining (the vaccine),” but as soon as they have it, “we expect to be able to make it available to students,” which “should be very soon,” Britto wrote in an email to The Herald.
News that the University was in the process of obtaining the latest COVID-19 vaccine first came in a Today@Brown announcement on Sept. 18. The announcement also contained public health reminders including preventative care measures for respiratory illnesses and more specific COVID-19 guidance. The announcement asked students to test for COVID-19 if they are not feeling well, to report positive test results and to isolate for at least five days if infected.
Britto wrote that the increase in COVID-19 cases on campus is “not unusual or unexpected.”
“The pattern that we noticed at the beginning of the fall semester is not unlike the pattern we’ve observed whenever we've brought large numbers of students together for the start of a semester,” Britto wrote, adding that it is important to keep immunocompromised and vulnerable staff, students and faculty in mind.
“Brown does not relocate students who test positive for COVID-19 or other contagious respiratory diseases, so students should take appropriate safety precautions while cohabitating, such as masking and maintaining proper hygiene,” according to the Today@Brown announcement. Students on meal plans should wear a mask to dining halls and use the takeout option, the announcement continued.
Students may continue to obtain free KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits at the Key Office in Grad Center E. They can also request up to 4 free rapid COVID-19 test kits from the government.
Haley Sandlow is a section editor covering science and research as well as admissions and financial aid. She is a junior from Chicago, Illinois, studying English and French.