COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Updates

Novel Coronavirus

Selected recent updates from Brown University:

All of Brown University's Coronavirus updates

 

April 7, 2020: Dean Marcus Student Town Hall

I have never been so proud of our community. Many of you are contributing to addressing COVID-19. Members of our community are working to improve contact tracing capabilities in Rhode Island, have coordinated donations of essential protective equipment to address shortages in the medical community, and more. I hope you will continue to draw on your immense talents to advance rigorous public health science, policy, and practice as we respond to COVID-19.

I encourage you to continue using your skills to amplify best-evidenced public health approaches such as social distancing, and to challenge approaches that contravene best practices such as the use of the discriminatory term "Chinese virus," which is contributing to rising xenophobia. Now is an especially important time where we must reaffirm our values of inclusion and allyship to combat both negative social and economic fallout from the pandemic. For further support and resources, please read Brown's Statement on Bias and Hate published this morning by Shontay Delalue, Vice President, Institutional Equity and Diversity.

We remain a community even as we shift to new models of teaching, learning, research, and operations. To ensure we can remain resilient, we need to find ways to engage in self-care as well as care for each other. I write to highlight School and campus resources that remain available to you. Support for your mental health and wellness remain available to you through Brown. This period of uncertainty, change, and isolation has been a challenge for everyone.

Our leadership team remains available and eager to support you via remote sessions during dedicated office hours; of course we also aim to respond to your needs as they arise, regardless of the time of day.

Resources and support are available for students through Counseling and Psychological Services and for faculty and staff through the Faculty/Staff Assistance Program. The University Chaplains can also offer support to any member of the Brown community. In addition, we are planning a virtual town hall for students on Tuesday, April 7th, and further details are forthcoming.

I look forward to supporting our wonderful community through these times.

Sincerely,
Bess H. Marcus, PhD
Dean, Brown University School of Public Health
Professor of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Dear Public Health Community Members,

I’d like to take this moment to acknowledge that for now, we have a new normal in communicating with each other, but there are some things we think are important to continue, such as our monthly newsletter. This is where we celebrate the accomplishments of our students, alumni, faculty, and staff for innovation in research, education, and service.

As this pandemic continues to bring challenges to our communities, I encourage you to press on with your work. Public health is more important than ever before–whether your research is on HIV, substance use, environmental health, or data science.

I am especially thankful to our faculty and alumni, and the staff who support them, working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. From the tirelessness of the director of the Rhode Island Department of Health, Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, MPH'11, to the emergency room efforts of Dr. Megan Ranney, MPH'10, there are countless School of Public Health faculty and alumni working in clinical settings and in communities near and far.

As public health scholars and professionals, we appreciate the urgency of this moment, and we are supporting one another through the challenges ahead. These are just a few examples.

  • Through the delivery of virtual learning staff, faculty, and students are working together to maintain the rigorous standards of our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs.
  • Adapting our research practices to continue important and timely research to impact population health.
  • Keeping our community of learners engaged though Zoom lectures, social media, and this newsletter.
  • School faculty lending their expertise to the public though the media.
  • Forging ahead with a virtual version of Public Health Research Day on April 6.
  • Informing our community and the public about the coronavirus with a recent panel of public health experts.
  • With the Mindfulness Center, offering daily virtual mindfulness sessions to help our community reduce anxiety and maintain mental health.
  • Working around the clock to address issues like child care, trainee support, and staff grant pay.

I urge you to continue to consult the University's coronavirus website, as it has up-to-the-minute information for the entire Brown community as it pertains to safety, teaching and learning, and research. The actions being taken by the University are absolutely necessary to maintain the health of our community, and I assure you that great care is taken with every updated policy.

Again, please follow the CDC’s common sense guidance for preventing the spread of illness, including hand washing, social distancing, and staying home when you are sick. I am grateful for the strength of our community and to everyone working to respond to this challenging situation. I thank you for your ongoing support, understanding, and commitment to the public's health.

Bess H. Marcus, PhD
Dean, School of Public Health

Dear Public Health Community Members,

I am writing as a follow-up to the message sent out by President Christina Paxson this morning. As she said, with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continuing to spread across the world, we must take prudent steps to ensure the health and safety of our community. As public health scholars and professionals, we appreciate the urgency of this moment and we are prepared to support one another through the challenges ahead. I urge you to reference the University's coronavirus website as it has up to the minute information for the entire Brown community as it pertains to safety, teaching and learning, and research.

Teaching and Learning

As a School, our first obligation is to our students and their education. The University has made the difficult decision to move academic instruction for all undergraduate and graduate students to remote learning effective Monday, March 30. Classes have been cancelled for the week of March 16 so that faculty and teaching assistants have time to prepare to transition to remote learning. Faculty should avail themselves of the opportunities offered to learn about the remote instructional resources available to them. The School is hosting a Digital Teaching Training tomorrow (Friday) from 11 am – noon in Room 245.

  • Graduate student teaching assistants and teachers are expected to continue with their work using remote learning resources. The School is working with our colleagues from Digital Teaching and Learning to provide training and support to teaching faculty and teaching assistants. 
  • The School will remain open and students may use the student lounge and computer labs.
  • Students working on thesis projects may continue to meet with advisors.
  • All of our administrative offices remain open and stand ready to support faculty and students during this transition to remote learning.
  • Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, Nancy Barnett is working with departments directly regarding faculty searches.

Specific questions not covered in the President’s message should be directed to your program director, department chair, or [email protected].

Research

Research laboratories, and other critical functions that support essential research activities, will continue to operate. We encourage you to refer to the research impact information prepared by the Office of the Vice President for Research. Graduate students may continue to conduct on-campus research, but faculty and staff should use their best judgment around issues such as requiring graduate students and postdocs to be present in a lab and/or explore strategies through which they can work remotely.

Specific questions not covered in the President’s message should be directed to your center director or [email protected]

Administration

The School of Public Health remains open for normal administrative operations. Brown has implemented a new category of paid leave called “Paid Special Leave,” which provides for 10 business days of paid leave. University policies may be modified as more information becomes available. Employees can direct questions to University Human Resources at [email protected] or (401) 863-2141.

Events

Effective immediately, National Public Health Week events and all other events, both on campus and beyond, must be cancelled, regardless of the number of attendees. These decisions have been made in the interest of protecting the health and well-being of our community.  We have postponed the Barnes Lecture and will hold a virtual version of Public Health Research Day.

In addition, Brown has suspended all domestic and international travel sponsored by the University.  

Please follow the CDC’s common sense guidance for preventing the spread of illness, including hand washing, social distancing, and staying home when you are sick. I appreciate how deeply disappointing this news is but I am grateful for the strength of our community and to everyone working to respond to this challenging situation. I thank you for your ongoing support, understanding, and commitment to the public's health.

Bess H. Marcus, PhD
Dean, School of Public Health

Dear School of Public Health Community,

The School of Public Health is working very closely with the University on its actions to safeguard the health of our community and to provide general information about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The University has established a  COVID-19 webpage to share up-to-date information about Brown’s ​interventions to support the health and wellbeing of our campus community. The site will continue to reflect any status updates, including any major effects on programs and operations, should they occur. While there are no significant threats to our community and the risk in Rhode Island remains low, follow the travel advice, take common sense measures, and otherwise, live your life as you normally would.  We will continue to provide you information as it becomes available.

Sincerely,
Bess H. Marcus, PhD
Dean, Brown University School of Public Health

Common sense measures to protect your health

  • Stay home when you are sick and seek medical care​
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces