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Healthy Brown FAQs for Graduate Students


SAFETY & HEALTH

Will I need to quarantine?
Any student who is arriving from out of state or out the country must follow the current Rhode Island law regarding quarantine. This may require you to complete a 10-day quarantine before conducting any on campus activities. Please review additional information on isolation/quarantine on the Healthy Brown website.

I have questions about signing the student attestation form.
Please contact the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards. The attestation of community expectations is part of the University’s efforts to ensure we have processes and practices that reflect our values of caring for others in our community.

TESTING

What is Brown’s program for testing and reporting for graduate students?
COVID-19 testing is mandatory for all Brown community members who are authorized to be regularly on campus (testing costs are paid by Brown). As of June 1, graduate students who are on campus will be tested once (1X) per week. Graduate students who are included on departmental return to campus plans as having limited access to departmental space may be in the “low” category which does not include asymptomatic testing on campus.

Graduate students who will not be on campus at any time during the semester do not need to be tested. A student’s status or authorization to be on campus may change during the course of the semester and thus the need to be tested may change as well. If you anticipate changing your level of presence on campus, you will need to notify your program in advance of any change in your status.

Testing is conducted in the OMAC (Olney Margolies Athletic Center) where there is ample space to accommodate the large number of students and employees who will need to be tested. An online scheduling system will provide you a time window for testing, which will avoid large numbers of people waiting together for testing.

Brown's COVID-19 dashboard shows a range of COVID-19 indicators, reflecting positivity rates and the prevalence of novel coronavirus on campus, as well as campus vaccination levels. More information about the testing program is available on the Testing & Tracing section of the Healthy Brown website.

TRAVEL 

  • University-sponsored domestic travel to a destination within the United States or U.S. territories is permitted for faculty, staff, graduate and medical students, and undergraduates. Travelers do not need to seek pre-departure travel review or approval but are required to register their travel plans in TravelSafe.
  • All students may travel to countries rated as U.S. Department of State (DOS) Level 1 or 2, and/or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Level 1, and/or CDC COVID-19 Level 1 or Level 2 as part of University-sponsored travel. No student will be permitted to conduct University-sponsored travel to any country that is categorized as Restricted Travel (U.S. DOS Level 4, or CDC Level 3, or CDC COVID-19 Level 4, and/or extreme security risk). Any student wishing to engage in University-sponsored travel to a High-Risk Travel destination (U.S. DOS Level 3, or CDC Level 2, or CDC COVID-19 Level 3) and not traveling with a Brown-administered group program must complete a Safety Plan via TravelSafe and obtain permission from the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) prior to making travel arrangements. All students are required to register their travel plans in TravelSafe.
  • Field Research plans continue to require approval of the Research Continuity Committee, per guidelines on the Resuming Research web page.

For more information, please see the current travel policies.

How can I obtain permission to travel for field research?
University-sponsored travel is allowable on a case-by-case basis for graduate students if approved by the advisor/PI, the field research subcommittee, the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC) and the Provost. The details on these steps are available online on the Travel Policies section of the Healthy Brown website.

Steps would include first seeking written approval by the student's advisor and completing a Safety Plan Proposal and Request for Essential Travel form at least three weeks prior to travel. This form will then be reviewed by the relevant committees, specifically the Global Travel Risk Assessment Committee (GTRAC), including the field research subcommittee, and then reviewed by the provost. Depending on the nature of the research, students should also review the Process for Resuming Research

What is the definition of University-sponsored travel?
This is travel resulting from or connected to your graduate research, studies, teaching or research appointment at Brown. This includes travel organized or hosted by Brown, or funded in any part by University funds, including personal funds reimbursed by Brown; start-up or internal research funds, the Doctoral Research, International, Joukowsky or Conference Travel grants, Global Mobility Award, departmental funds, etc.; externally sponsored grant or contract dollars (e.g., NIH or NSF awards); or funds from another institution.

For more information on University definitions of sponsored travel, visit Brown's International Travel Risk Management website.

Do I need COVID-19 test before returning to campus?
Effective January 26, 2021, federal policy requires all international passengers entering the United States to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 3 days of boarding their flight or to provide documentation of having recovered from COVID-19. Airlines are required to check each passenger's documentation and will deny boarding to those who do not comply or cannot show proof of a negative test result or recovery. Please visit the Travel Restrictions page on the Healthy Brown website for additional details,  as well as the most current University travel guidance.

My travel has been postponed and I am concerned about my academic progress. Whom can I speak with?
Contact your faculty advisor or director of graduate studies to discuss the impact of travel cancelations on your academic progress.

Am I still covered by International SOS under the new travel restrictions?
Yes! International SOS provides Brown University travelers with 24 hour worldwide medical and travel assistance.

INSURANCE & HEALTH SERVICES

For information related to accessing health services, please see the Health and Wellness section of the Healthy Brown pandemic planning website. 

Can I add my spouse, partner or dependent to my health insurance plan if they have lost their insurance recently?
Yes. When the loss of insurance is the result of a qualifying event, such as the loss of employment related to COVID-19. The student would need to complete a qualifying event form and obtain a letter from the spouse or partner’s insurance company indicating current coverage is being terminated. To start this process, please contact [email protected].

Is my health insurance valid outside of Providence?
Yes, students enrolled in Brown’s student health insurance plan should know that their plan covers care both domestically and internationally. UnitedHealthcare Choice Plus and United Behavioral Health Network are the provider networks. Please log in to Gallagher Student Health (www.gallagherstudent.com/Brown) and click on “Find a Doctor” to search for a provider in the network. When making an appointment, you should always confirm that the provider currently participates in the network.

Can I access health insurance when outside the United States?
Yes. When outside of the United States, you will likely be asked to pay for your medical care first and will then need to submit for reimbursement. Covered Expenses will likely be reimbursed on an Out-of-Network basis. When you submit claims for reimbursement, you will need to have the itemized bill(s) translated into English and include a letter informing the claims administrator that you are seeking reimbursement for charges previously paid. Please ensure that your name, ID number, address (to receive your reimbursement check), and your school’s name are on the bill. Please review additional information on the Gallagher Student Health website, including the 2021-2022 Brown University Frequently Asked Questions.

Does my student health insurance cover COVID-19 testing? Does it also cover treatment?
Any testing for and treatment of COVID-19 will continue to be covered in the same way that any serious illness would be covered. In addition, the insurer has waived some out-of-pocket costs for defined periods. Please see Brown’s Insurance Office website for additional information as it relates to COVID-19 coverage.  As outlined in the insurer’s information, the following applies:

  • Testing for COVID-19 (testing, testing-related visits, antibody tests) is covered and member cost-sharing will be waived, including copays, coinsurance, and deductibles, for COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided at approved locations in accordance with CDC guidelines through the national public health emergency (currently set through July 19,2021). 
  • Treatment of COVID-19 is covered as for any illness, and copays, coinsurance, and deductibles would, if applicable, apply. (Please see here for the out-of-pocket costs and definitions.)
  • Cost sharing for telehealth visits related to COVID-19 testing and for 24/7 Virtual Visits with preferred telehealth partners are waived through July 19, 2021. Cost sharing does apply for non-COVID-19 in-network telehealth services.

Should you receive a bill for testing or treatment that you believe should be covered, please reach out to [email protected]. For the most up-to-date information, please consult the UnitedHealthcare Student Resources webpage directly; including Student FAQs.

Details on the plan and coverage can be found at Gallagher Student Health, which outlines the annual policy deductible, in-patient copays, emergency room copays, and the out-of-pocket maximum, which could apply, depending on the individual circumstances, as for any serious illness.

My doctor or pharmacist reports that my insurance is not active.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist to call the "for providers" number listed on your insurance card (1-888-224-4875) to confirm your coverage. It is recommended you take this step at the time you receive service. Please note: Insurance ID cards are not automatically mailed to students, if you want a hard copy of your card the easiest way is to make an online account at https://www.uhcsr.com.

I see a therapist at CAPS. Can I keep seeing them?
Please see the CAPS website for the latest information, as well as information on Health and Wellness page on Brown’s Healthy Brown website.

I have a Delta Dental plan, but I do not have my dental card. Can I still access dental services?
For immediate access to the dental plan, students covered by the plan can go to the Delta Dental website and download an ID Card or request a new one be sent to their current address. Visit the Insurance Office website.

  • To register, you will need your Banner ID#, which can be found on your Bursar bill or your Brown ID card,
  • If you are not able to enroll online, contact us at 401-863-1703

Additional information about the plan is on the Insurance page on the Graduate School website. All students enrolled in the Student Health Insurance program have the option of using the Dental Savings Program, which provides pre-negotiated discounts on services provided by participating area dentists.

PAYMENT/FUNDING

I am experiencing financial hardship. What are my options?
The Graduate School has established a Graduate School COVID-19 E-GAP Fund for graduate students with high demonstrated financial need to assist with emergent expenses due to this crisis. The application can be found in UFunds, listed under “Graduate School E-Gap Funds.” As always, we will give these requests the fullest consideration that our available resources will permit. 

Students may also apply for an emergency short-term loan of $500. Short Term Loans are available to graduate students who are currently enrolled at Brown, do not owe an outstanding short term loan, and are requesting funds to cover an emergency. These funds are not intended to cover tuition, fees, room, board, or other expenses that are charged to the student account. 

Eligible students may complete the Short Term Loan Request Form and set up an eRefund Profile at payment.brown.edu in order to receive the funds electronically. Students must repay all approved Short Term Loans directly to the Brown University Cashier Office before the end of the current semester.

UNIVERSITY SERVICES

How do I reach the Graduate School with questions?
The Graduate School is able to offer all services and support virtually and in planning for in-person appointments in the Fall. The best way to reach the Graduate School with questions is to email [email protected]. Deans and staff can meet with you remotely by phone or zoom. You can make a remote meeting appointment with the Associate Dean of Student Support, as well.

Where do I go with questions about my SAS accommodations?
Please contact SAS with any questions and or requests for accommodations. Please call 401-863-9588 or email [email protected], and identify yourself as a graduate student.

What other University services are available virtually?

What printing services are available on campus?
For health and safety reasons, most shared self-service student printers are not currently available. However, a limited, print ahead of time service is available. Print from home, then visit our MyPrint Pickup Desk at 180 George Street to collect your prints.  Your documents will be held for up to one business day after you printed them.

All students have received the usual $30 of printing funds at the start of this academic year, and can add more funds with the GET portal. Learn more.

I am having challenges with my internet. Are there options for me?
Please see our Off-Campus Internet Resources Guide, for information on connecting to the internet, including additional support that providers are offering in the U.S. For students with no internet access or severe internet challenges, please submit a request through UFunds to "Graduate School E-GAP Funds," where we will review computer/technical hardship needs.

RESEARCH & LABS

What should I do if I have concerns about safety in my research lab? 
Graduate students who have concerns about their lab and/or behaviors inconsistent with or in violation of the COVID-19 Workplace Safety Policy should report those concerns to their department Director of Graduate Studies and also to the Associate Dean of Student Support Services, Maria Suarez in the Graduate School, if appropriate. 

More details for Stage 2 of the plan for resuming research on campus is available through the Research at Brown website. Guidance specifically for graduate students as it relates to safety is available in the Resuming Work in Research Facilities Principles and Procedures: Stage 2 document on page 2.

What should I do if they don't feel safe returning to or continuing with lab work and have not been able to resolve it with their DGS or advisor?
Following the Resuming Research Guidance and Resuming Research FAQs, graduate students (whenever possible) should first speak with their DGS about their concerns about their lab work and explore with the assistance of the DGS whether a reasonable accommodation and/or flexible work arrangement can be identified. If a student has spoken to their advisor and DGS and/or feels unable to address their concerns and wants additional assistance addressing their concerns, they should schedule an appointment with Maria Suarez, Associate Dean of Student Support in the Graduate School. Students with personal health concerns should register with SAS (Student Accessibility Services).

What will the Graduate School do with these student concerns?
Associate Dean Maria Suarez in the Graduate School will work with affected students to address their concerns and needs. Dean Suarez will consult with departments, PIs and DGSs, as needed. For medical accommodations related to the health of the student, she will refer the student to SAS (Student Accessibility Services), if they have not already registered with that office. Depending on the nature of the concern and given the potential complexity of the concerns in the research work environment, she may also consult the relevant Research Continuity Committee subcommittee or an Ad Hoc team in the Graduate School. As part of this process, depending on the nature of the individual case, considerations will be given to questions of funding, continued academic progress and standing, accommodations or flexible work arrangements, and whether a leave of absence is warranted. 

Where can graduate students find more information about the process of resuming research?
We encourage all graduate students to visit the Resuming Research website for the most updated guidance.

I have questions about PPE and safety in my lab, who can I ask?
Students with general questions or feedback can share these with [email protected]. Students with specific concerns about safety in their lab are encouraged to first review with their PI and/or their DGS. Students can also reach out to Dean Maria Suarez for assistance. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting online for matters of concern, or by phone (877-318-9184).

TEACHING, CLASSES, FUNDING & ACADEMIC CONCERNS

I need assistance planning to teach online.
See the Teaching & Learning section on the University’s Healthy Brown website, as well as Teaching Resources for Graduate Students from the Sheridan Center and Digital Learning and Design team.

Who should I go to if I face challenges with remote teaching?
Should any student serving as a TA or instructor have difficulty fulfilling their responsibilities remotely, please notify the department chair, who should then contact [email protected] and/or [email protected]. We ask that departments also remain in regular contact with graduate students serving as Independent Instructors.

What resources are available to graduate students who need additional equipment or space for teaching or research?

  • CIS offers an Equipment loaning program for laptops, camera and projectors.
  • Digital Learning and Design may be able to purchase equipment such as a digital writing tablet, external webcam and/or peripheral equipment for smartphone recording for graduate student instructors who submit a  Media Consultation Form. Graduate instructors may also email [email protected] and with other specific equipment requests.
  • Select rooms on campus are available for reservation for teaching or teaching preparation. Graduate students who would like to reserve one of these rooms should do so through 25 Live Space-Reservations.

Also check out the Brown Resource for Online Teaching webpage.

How can I work effectively with my dissertation advisor(s) and mentors remotely?
While many effective mentoring practices can translate from face-to-face in person interactions to online and remote mentoring, there are some effective practices that are specific to online mentoring. Students and mentors interested in effective "e-mentoring" practices might begin with Doctoral E-mentoring: Current Practices and Effective Strategies,(Brown authentication required) a literature review of the scholarship on best practices.

Can I request conference expense support for “virtual” conference fees?
Yes. You may apply for reimbursement for virtual conferences through the
Virtual Conference Travel Application on UFunds. Please follow the guidance on the Graduate School’s Conference Funding page.

DISSERTATION DEFENSES

Can I defend my dissertation virtually?
Yes, all dissertation defenses and similar events should have the option to be conducted virtually, such as through Zoom.

Can my friends and family attend my defense?
We understand that your dissertation defense is an exciting and pivotal time in your Ph.D. experience, and represents a cumulation of years of intensive courses, conversations, research, and writing at Brown. You are more than welcome to share a Zoom link with family and friends if your defense is open to outside guests.

Can I postpone my defense?
It is recommended you review this request with your advisor and defense committee. While academic deadlines remain in place, individual students may be able to work with their programs to modify the defense date.

Can I submit my dissertation signature pages electronically?
Yes. In addition to the electronic dissertation submission process, all Ph.D. candidates can submit their signature page to the Graduate School electronically, by sending it to [email protected]. The Graduate School will accept scanned signatures, as well as electronic signatures. Please see the Graduate School’s Dissertation Guidelines webpage.

STUDENT PARENTS

My child’s daycare or school is closed, are there any options to secure backup care?
We understand the disruption this may have on your academic progress and that this may cause additional stress for both you and your children. The National Association of School Psychologists has released a parent resource guide to think about ways to talk to your children about COVID-19.

In the event of the potential disruption of your regular care channels, using backup care via Care.com may help. Please register at browngradfamilies.care.com and carefully review any updates on services from Care.com. Each active degree-seeking graduate student is eligible for a maximum of 5 subsidized days of care per year. Students who are in TA, TA II, TF, RA, or Proctorship appointments are eligible for an additional 5 days of subsidized days of care a year. If you have used your benefit and need additional days, please contact the Graduate School at [email protected]. For more information on using backup care please see our Backup Child Care page.If you are experiencing financial hardship, you may complete a request for emergency funds in UFunds, listed under E-Gap Funds.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS

International students considering personal travel should contact the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS) for general travel and re-entry information. Please also see an FAQ for international students from the Global Brown Center. Additional questions can be directed to the following contacts:

INCOMING STUDENTS

Housing & Relocating to Providence
For tips on finding housing, please watch our Incoming Student Housing Webinar Video (4/21/2021).

What is the latest date I can arrive at Brown to start my program in the Spring?
New international graduate students: your program begin date is indicated on your immigration document I-20/DS-2019, which also is the begin date of the Orientation (August 25, 2021). If you are not able to enter the U.S. within 30 days of that date (by September 25, 2021), international graduate students should contact their academic department to request a letter of support and plan to defer to Spring2022. Deferrals should be declared by August 1, 2021. The letter should indicate up to which date during the fall semester you may enter the U.S. to begin your program. Please forward a copy of the letter to the Office of International Student and Scholar Services (OISSS), so they can adjust your immigration document accordingly.

For more international student FAQs, please see the Global Brown FAQ webpage.

GRADUATING STUDENTS

What are the changes to my services?
Your Brown Google content will stay with you—your password, your Google Drive, Google Meet and all your Google email content. You’ll continue using BrownConnect, Handshake, and Rosetta Stone, with minor differences.

Student services such as software (ex: Adobe Creative Cloud, Zoom), VPN, card access, wifi, and your current library access will cease once your requirements are marked as complete by the Registrar’s office, usually within a few days of degree completion. See full details on the Computing & Information Services webpage for graduating students.

When will my email address change?
Student email accounts will be migrated to an alumni.brown.edu lifetime address (unless the graduate is going straight into a Brown staff or faculty position) 10 days after degree completion). Messages will be forwarded from your student @brown.edu address to your new @alumni.brown.edu address for 90 days after degree completion.

PETITIONS FOR REMOTE STUDY IN FALL 2021

Will graduate students be expected to return to in-person study for the Fall 2021 semester?
Students who are taking courses and/or serving as a Teaching Assistant, Teaching Fellow, Research Assistant, or Proctor will be expected to participate in-person. Brown is planning to return to the traditional two-semester academic calendar and mostly in-person operations beginning with the Fall 2021 semester. Only a portion of the curriculum will be available in hybrid or fully online form.

What are the criteria for graduate students to receive an exemption from the requirement to study in-person at Brown?
Students who cannot participate in-person in Fall 2021 because of health concerns or disability, travel or visa restrictions, or financial hardship may request an exceptional circumstances exemption no later than 8:00 a.m. EST on Monday, June 7, via UFunds.

I am not sure if I will need to study or teach remotely in the Fall. Should I submit a request?
Yes, if you believe that there are exceptional circumstances that may prevent your in-person participation in courses or service as a TA, TA II, RA, or proctor this fall, you should submit a request for an exemption. This request form will be the only guaranteed opportunity to request an exemption to study remotely for exceptional circumstances for the Fall 2021 semester.

I am an advanced doctoral student, have completed my coursework, and will be on a fellowship appointment (not a TAship, RAship, or Proctorship). I plan to be conducting research away from campus. Do I need to apply for an exemption?
No. The exemption application process applies only to continuing students who will be enrolled in courses and/or appointed as TAs, TA IIs,TFs, RAs, or proctors. Please keep in mind that your research plans may need to be approved by the Resuming Research Committee and/or the Global Travel Risk Advisory Committee. International research travel must also be registered through Travelsafe. Please regularly consult the Healthy Brown website for updates to the travel policies. These may change between now and your dates of travel.

What if my RA or proctorship appointment does not normally involve being on campus?
If you are not enrolled in courses and your RAship or proctorship would not normally involve activity on campus —such as an RAship that is being completed through research in an archive or lab away from Brown — you are not required to petition for an exemption to the on-campus requirement.

I have spoken with my instructor(s) and department, and they have said it is okay for me to participate remotely. Do I still need to apply for an exemption?
Yes. Requests for exemptions must go through the petition process in UFunds.

When will I know which classes will be offered in hybrid or fully online form?
The subset of classes that will be offered in a hybrid or fully online format will be known in mid-June, but these should not have any bearing on the need for an exemption. The request to study remotely should be independent of the course offerings. By submitting a request to study remotely, you are indicating that there are exceptional circumstances that may prevent your participating in courses or fulfilling other responsibilities associated with your appointment or course of study in-person. After approval to study remotely, you will have an opportunity to request a personal leave of absence if the course offerings do not meet your academic goals.

What happens if I do not receive approval for remote study in the fall?
If you are not approved, you have the option to participate in person or to request a personal leave of absence. Requests for reconsideration will be reviewed by the Dean of the Graduate School or the Dean’s designee.

What if my plans change after I am approved for remote study and I want to study in Providence?
Students who have been approved to be remote but subsequently wish to change from remote to in-person participation for the fall should contact their Director of Graduate Study and Program Administrator as soon as possible.

What if my circumstances change after the June 7 deadline?
It may not be possible to review requests to be remote that are submitted after June 7. If your circumstances do change, please email your Director of Graduate Study and Program Administrator, as well as [email protected] (for PhD and MFA students) or [email protected] (all other Master’s students). 

Whom can I contact if I have more questions?
PhD and MFA students should write to [email protected]. Master’s students (other than MFA) should write to [email protected].

VACCINATION

If students can’t easily get access to the vaccine where they are residing — in the U.S. or abroad — can they get vaccinated upon arrival at Brown?
Students who are unable to access an authorized COVID-19 vaccine prior to arrival in the fall, including international students, will be able to get vaccinated in the State of Rhode Island where they will be living and studying. There will be additional information over the summer from University Health Services regarding the implementation of Browns’ vaccination requirements for students, including the process for requesting an exemption for medical or religious reasons. For current information on vaccination requirements, see the Healthy Brown website.

What are the guidelines and rules for vaccine interchangeability for international students?
Brown has established requirements for accepting international vaccinations that closely follow CDC guidelines regarding those vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines not authorized in the U.S. and interchangeability of vaccines. Please see the Healthy Brown website for full details.

ADDITIONAL FAQS

For answers to the following more general questions, please see the University’s Healthy Brown website.

Whom should I contact for more information?
Please know that the Graduate School will remain open. We are able to meet with you virtually and/or answer questions via email at [email protected] or phone at 401-863-2600.