Health & Wellness
Health Services


Availability of KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits

The University will continually have high-quality KN95 masks and COVID-19 test kits available on campus at no cost for all students — undergraduate, graduate and medical — at the Key Office in Grad Center E. The office will be open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, and students can pick up masks and test kits at their convenience. We expect these items will be available to students throughout the fall semester. 

Testing Requirements

Students (and Brown employees) are no longer required to conduct routine testing (regardless of vaccination status) and, upon arriving at the University, are only required to test if they experience COVID-19 symptoms. 

Please plan to keep at least one COVID-19 test available at all times to use in monitoring your COVID-19 status. Students should report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password. 

Symptomatic students do not need to be seen at Health Services to confirm a positive test result and can test using an at-home kit. Students with questions or concerns about their symptoms can receive nursing advice 24 hours/day, 7 days/week by calling 401-863-3953 and can also make an appointment with Health Services by calling that same number during business hours.

Masking Requirements

Mask wearing is now optional for all Brown community members, regardless of vaccination status, and including on the Brown shuttle. While masking is optional, those who are unvaccinated can help limit their risk of transmission by continuing to wear masks. Related details can be found on the Campus Activity Status page of the Healthy Brown website. 

Noted exceptions to the optional masking policy — where wearing masks continues to be required — include:

  • health care facilities, including the Health and Wellness Center;
  • the Warren Alpert Medical School;
  • classes where the faculty or graduate student instructor requires students to wear masks; and
  • meetings where the host requires attendees to wear masks (for example, a staff member meeting with a student in their office may require the student to wear a mask during the meeting). 

Reporting Requirements

Undergraduate, graduate and medical students are required to report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password. Follow-up instructions from University Health Services will be provided to students. 

To self report a positive COVID test: 

Any student experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness should not attend any in-person classes or other activities and must contact University Health Services, and University Health Services will continue conducting symptomatic testing of student patients as they determine is clinically necessary.

Isolation Guidelines

Brown continues to adhere to guidance from the Rhode Island Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control. The University requires that community members who test positive for COVID-19 self-isolate for a period of five (5) days. The 5-day period applies regardless of previous infection, vaccination or booster status, and the presence or absence of symptoms.

  • To calculate your 5-day isolation period, day 0 is your first day of symptoms OR your asymptomatic positive test date (whichever is earlier).
  • Day 1 is the first full day after your symptoms developed or positive test result.
  • On day 5 you can take a rapid antigen test, and if the result is negative (do not send in the negative test results) and you have no symptoms or improving symptoms, you are released from isolation.
  • Students may also end isolation (without a negative rapid antigen test) 5 full days after testing positive if they are fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving.
  • If students have been very sick from COVID-19 and your symptoms and fever are not improving or you have a weakened immune system, isolation is recommended for at least 10 days.
  • If you are able to end isolation on day 5, it is important to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days, even at home.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Rhode Island Department of Health and other agencies have provided information and guidance to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

Government and Agency Resources on COVID-19:

Coronaviruses are a group of viruses that cause cold and flu-like symptoms in mammals, including humans. On rare occasions, certain strains of coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms such as pneumonia.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, in December 2019. This specific strain has potential to cause more severe symptoms than its close relatives. To date, the majority of individuals that have suffered from severe complications of this new virus have been elderly or suffering from predisposing underlying chronic illness.

All viruses change and mutate over time. The SARS CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 is no different. Over time, the virus has undergone one or more genetic mutations, resulting in different variants each with slightly different characteristics such as transmissibility. The recent Delta variant is more infectious than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, with those unvaccinated at greatest risk. More information on the Delta variant is available from the CDC.

According to the CDC, symptoms related to COVID-19 include fever greater than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit / 38 degrees Celsius along with difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Additional symptoms of illness related to COVID-19 may be chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell.

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria. The new COVID-19 is a virus, and therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

Yes, there are three COVID-19 vaccines — one made by Pfizer-BioNTech, one by Moderna, and one by Janssen, a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson — have been authorized for emergency use in the U.S. by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and have been shown to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and in preventing severe disease. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose vaccine that has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing severe or critical COVID-19 disease 28 days after vaccination. In clinical trials, it was 100% effective at preventing death. The vaccines are authorized for individuals age 12 and older (Pfizer) and age 18 and older (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson). None of the vaccines carries live coronavirus. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

Please plan to keep at least one COVID-19 test available at all times to use in monitoring your COVID-19 status. Students should report any positive test result to University Health Services via the Health and Wellness Patient Portal using your Brown username and password. 

To self report a positive COVID test: