PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With the recent rise in new COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island and across the nation, Brown University officials announced Tuesday they will be implementing a phased approach to getting students back to campus.
During Phase 1, Brown will allow a limited number of students to return in late August, with the majority of students beginning the fall semester at other locations. All undergraduate classes will be remote from Sept. 9 — the first day of classes — until the week of Oct. 5.
If resuming in-person instruction is feasible by Oct. 5, those planning to live in campus dormitories will be invited to move in during the week of Sept. 21, officials said.
According to the university, if COVID-19 cases in Rhode Island have declined from their current level or over a 14-day period, and the number of students who test positive is sufficiently low, Brown will revert to the approach outlined in its Plan for a Healthy and Safe 2020-21.
Along with the plan, the university will invite returning undergrads back to campus in late September and start in-person classes for small undergraduate courses on Oct. 5.
If the public health situation hasn’t improved by Sept. 11, the rest of the semester will be held remotely.
Brown University President Christina Paxon modified the fall semester on Wednesday, five weeks after the initial plan for the 2020-21 school year was released, emphasizing flexibility and the “importance of course-correcting as necessary based on the pandemic’s trajectory.”
“This staggered arrival of students over a longer time period will better position Brown to address challenges, including quarantine and isolation for any students who test positive for COVID-19,” she said. “This plan also is in keeping with the data-based and public health-based decision making that has driven our planning since the beginning of the pandemic.”
To support the health and safety of students and staff, the university said it’s setting up an on-campus COVID-19 testing site, training contact tracers, investing in improved air filtration systems, and purchasing additional cleaning supplies.
“I want nothing more than to see all of our students back on campus,” Paxson added. “However, we must make decisions that prioritize the health and safety of the Brown community as well as the greater Providence community. I recognize that this year will be unlike any other, but we remained committed to delivering Brown’s world-class education.”
Visit the Healthy Brown 2020 page for updates and more information.