Has any risk to the Brown community been identified?
To date, Health Services staff at Brown have seen no suspected case of coronavirus or have identified no specific risk to any member of the Brown community.
Of the cases confirmed in the United States to date, the closest is in Boston, Massachusetts. No cases have been identified in Rhode Island — and the risk to communities in Rhode Island remains low, according to health officials.
What actions has the University taken to protect the health of the Brown community?
Brown’s leaders and staff in Health Services, the Office of Global Engagement and other departments are deeply committed to the health and safety of students as their first priority. The University is following all guidelines and recommendations from local and national public health experts, who have the best understanding of how to carefully manage public health risks such as coronavirus.
Among the actions Brown has taken to date:
The University's Core Crisis Team is convening regularly to monitor this evolving public health situation and to ensure that appropriate plans are in place to protect the health of the Brown campus community, should the need arise.
Since the week of Jan. 20, campus leaders and medical providers based in Brown’s Health and Wellness departments have been actively coordinating with federal and state health officials and monitoring national guidelines to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of the Brown community.
Brown Health Services is monitoring and following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance to ensure that its screening and response protocols remain fully aligned with the most current health care community recommendations.
Brown Health Services sent an initial community advisory (Brown login required) on coronavirus to all members of the University community on Friday, Jan. 24.
On Tuesday, Jan. 28, the Office of Global Engagement issued updated guidance (Brown login required) to the University community on travel to China, after the CDC reclassified China to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel. As detailed below with additional information, no Brown undergraduate, graduate or medical student will be permitted to travel to China as part of a for-credit or non-credit program.
Staff members from Brown’s Office of International Programs worked with a small number of students enrolled in study abroad programs operated by other institutions in mainland China. All have successfully enrolled in alternative programs or returned to the Brown campus for the semester.
The Global Brown Center for International Students hosted an early February event on campus to share information on the University’s response and to offer the opportunity to explore concerns or experiences related to the outbreak.
What guidance has Brown offered on travel to China?
Guided by recommendations from International SOS, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of State (DOS), and the CDC, Brown’s International Travel Risk Assessment Committee has been closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the COVID-19 virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. On Jan. 27, the CDC reclassified China to Level 3: Avoid Nonessential Travel and the U.S. DOS raised the travel advisory to Level 4: Do Not Travel.
Per Brown's policy and based on the CDC and DOS reclassifications, China is now considered a restricted destination. At this time, the University’s guidelines on travel to China are as follows:
No Brown undergraduate student, graduate student or medical student will be permitted to travel to China as part of a for-credit or non-credit program.
Faculty and staff are not restricted at this time but are strongly advised against travel to China. Faculty or staff with essential travel to China are urged to verify feasibility of travel due to increased travel restrictions and reduction in available commercial flights and to register their travel in TravelSafe. Due to the security threats in this destination, Brown’s emergency assistance provider, International SOS, may not be able to provide assistance in the event of an emergency or may have limited resources available.
What about travelers arriving from China?
Similar to guidance for outbound travelers, Brown follows advice from International SOS, the WHO and the CDC for individuals arriving in the U.S. after travel from China. Anyone traveling from China should allow for additional time at the airport for enhanced health screenings conducted by the CDC and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
In addition, on Friday, Jan. 31, the White House issued a “Proclamation on Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Persons who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus.” Effective 5 pm on Sunday, Feb. 2, temporary restrictions on travelers who have been “physically present” in mainland China (therefore excluding Hong Kong and Macau) are as follows:
- all foreign nationals “other than immediate family of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, who have traveled in China within the last 14 days, will be denied entry into the United States for this time";
- U.S. citizens who have been in Hubei Province during the previous 14 days preceding their entry to the U.S. will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine upon return to the U.S.;
- U.S. citizens who have traveled in any other area within mainland China in the previous 14 days prior to arriving to the U.S. “will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine with health monitoring.”
Those restrictions went into effect with no assigned end date other than indicating that restrictions will "remain in effect until terminated by the President." It is set to be reevaluated in 15 days and, if renewed, will continue to be reevaluated every 15 days after that.
Are any Brown students studying abroad in China? What guidance has the University offered?
Brown does not directly operate any semester-long study abroad programs in mainland China. However, a small number of current Brown undergraduates had been scheduled to participate in approved study abroad programs operated by other organizations. Staff members from the Office of International Programs worked with each of those students. All have successfully enrolled in alternative programs or returned to the Brown campus for the semester.
How is Brown considering the impact of COVID-19 on applicants for undergraduate admission?
In coordination with colleagues in a number of offices at Brown, the Office of College Admission is closely monitoring COVID-19 and recognizes the effect the outbreak has had on school activities and on prospective students from multiple countries.
With notifications on regular admissions decisions approaching in the coming weeks, all applicants for admission should be assured that they will not be penalized in the admissions process for circumstances outside of their control. Brown will give full consideration to all applicants based on materials received.
What support will be available to new students seeking to travel to campus to begin studies in Fall 2020?
Brown will continue to monitor travel guidance from national and international agencies and to support all international students, including those who are newly enrolled and seeking to travel to campus for the academic year. The Office of College Admission and Office of International Student and Scholar Services partner to offer guidance on matters related to student visas. Together, they will work with international students as they apply for visas and offer support in the context of all policies and guidance from the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.