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Brown University COVID success

Brown79Brown79 28 replies2 threads Junior Member
edited September 16 in Brown University
As students complete their first week back on campus, the results of campus-wide COVID testing are now in:


A stellar 0.2% positivity rate among students, faculty and staff. Consider what an achievement that is, especially given that the latter two groups live with their families in the midst of Rhode Island's ok-not-great 3.3%. So people are making a tremendous effort to get it right, and all the hard work + $$ expended by Brown's administration looks to be providing students with a good chance at a full in-person year. Hopefully by the time first-years arrive (and isolate for two weeks), things will have stayed in check. Maybe a few restrictions can even be loosened at some point in the Spring. It's not much fun for the students there now, dealing with isolation + non-stop Zoom classes:


Speaking from experience, there are few things more enticing in this world than the view from a Brown dorm window in the Fall. It screams "Get out of your room, dummy!" IMO first-years will find it much less frustrating doing those first two weeks in Winter, when the view from the dorm window screams (at least to this SoCal native) "Stay in your room, dummy!"
edited September 16
7 replies
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Replies to: Brown University COVID success

  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 424 replies2 threads Member
    @Brown79 Just wanted to clarify that the number don't include the entire population of upperclassmen , only those who received an exception to be on-campus. Per this Brown Daily Herald article (https://www.browndailyherald.com/2020/09/10/brown-welcome-undergraduate-students-back-campus-person-classes/ ) ~900 students can move back between September 18-20th, w/ in-person instruction beginning October 5th (IIRC <19-20 students though for in-person.) Those receiving exceptions likely have a strong reason for making being on-campus throughout the Fall a reality, but hopefully the trend continues once the rest of the upperclassmen return to campus and in-person classes begin! :smile:
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  • Brown79Brown79 28 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Yes, thank you for clarifying -- it's a multi-phased arrival. In temporal order: Students who never left last year (nowhere safe to go -- a relative handful); Med school; Grad students/researchers; 500 undergrads starting Aug 29, another ~900 undergrads over the next few days (reservation required as to which particular day); First-years in January, if all goes well (enough).

    Some international students have had a very tough time of things. Not only visa issues, but in some cases having to quarantine in "third countries" for weeks before being allowed to enter the USA (for even more quarantining) because they are from a country where direct travel to the US is banned. Hopefully Brown has been allowing those students into the dorms just whenever they have been able to make their way here.

    A long way still to go in order to achieve "success", but IMO off to a good start. It will really hinge on student behavior: Some combination of a common-good spirit, plus however hard Brown decides to come down on scofflaws early on so as to set the tone. Even in the Ivy League, unfortunately, there has always been a fraction of the student body which is decidedly self-centered. Some of them won't be willing to let a pandemic inhibit their college fun, and then we'll see what happens next.
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 424 replies2 threads Member
    @Brown79 Yep! Fingers crossed for the best! :smile:
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  • cupugucupugu 56 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Agree that Brown is off to a good start and the phased return to campus has helped to keep the testing, tracing, and isolation burden relatively light as they get their processes functioning smoothly.
    Cornell has really impressed as well. As the largest Ivy they took a huge risk inviting all 14,000 undergrad students back to campus simultaneously back in August and it appears to have worked out. Since classes started (in person and online) on September 2 they have been testing all undergrads 2x per week. According to their dashboard they have a 0.08% positivity rate the past week and zero positive cases in the last three days (13,000 students tested). it certainly helps to have your own testing lab on campus -- over 25,000 tests conducted per week.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 11262 replies603 threads Super Moderator
    Aren’t Freshmen not coming to campus until Spring semester?
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 424 replies2 threads Member
    @Lindagaf Yes, unfortunately. :disappointed: However, all upperclassmen have the option to return to on-campus and in-person classes will be beginning for them (although IIRC w/ <19-20 people.)
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  • Brown79Brown79 28 replies2 threads Junior Member
    > Cornell has really impressed as well. < Concur. What I read about Cornell a while back was that the university had learned from surveying students that 60%(?) planned to return to the Ithaca area even if classes were solely remote. So the logic was "might as well get people on campus, where behavior can be better monitored and controlled."

    Brown's Public Health dean noted yesterday that while it's nice to be starting from a low value, he doesn't expect it to stay that low once classes begin an so forth. His strategy will be to not wait to take action once an upward trend begins. He cited colleges that wait until positivity rate climbs to 5% before they mount a response, characterizing that as way too late.
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