Students all over campus have been asked to file away a daily symptom report with the Campus Clear App to decide if it is safe for them to attend class and enter campus buildings or not.
Students are expected to input their daily symptoms into the app and from there, they receive information about whether or not they are free to roam campus. The app can also suggest a student report to health services or quarantine, according to an Aug. 5 announcement by the university.
This data is catalogued daily by the app and sent to the university. According to the terms of service on Campus Clear, the data can be decoded by “specific university administrators.”
Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Planning Debbie Stasolla stated that the people who can view the data are affiliated with the Student Health Center and Human Resources, and that the data can only be accessed with help from the office of information technology.
These administrators have been entrusted to view a daily report of all student symptoms inputted into the app, according to the Campus Clear website.
“The data is organized in such a way that both offices can more easily identify those who are exhibiting symptoms or are otherwise not cleared to come on campus,” she said. “It is still the responsibility of the student and employee to contact the Student Health Center or Human Resources when they are symptomatic, have tested positive for COVID-19 or been contacted by a contact tracer that they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive. But at least both offices have the benefit of the Campus Clear information to conduct any follow up if needed. “
The university released a follow-up announcement on September 22 stating that in addition to checking temperatures, several locations on campus will also begin checking a student’s campus clear status.
The announcement stated, “Effective Thursday, Sept. 24, the above locations will also check that you have completed Campus Clear and are cleared to be on campus via the app before they will allow you to utilize the Fitness Center, enter the Bookstore, dine-in or pick up food in Daly Dining Hall or Cranberry’s. If you have an elevated temperature or are symptomatic on Campus Clear, you will be asked to contact either the Student Health Center or Human Resources as soon as possible.”
Stasolla made it clear that though Campus Clear is useful for helping to keep campus safe, the app is not for contact tracing. This is also stated in the app, and the app does not have permission to access user’s locations at any time.
She stated that “…we [the university] are not using Campus Clear for contact tracing purposes. We have a team of contact tracers led by Chris Botti, Associate Dean of Students, and consisting of Student Affairs and Human Resources staff who have all been trained via the Johns Hopkins Contact Training Program and who are working closely with the Lawrence Township Health Department.”
Stasolla emphasized the fact that the contact tracers do their job very thoroughly, working with outside entities when necessary.
“They [the contact tracers] reach out to Rider community members…who test positive for COVID-19 to determine what, if any, Rider or other individuals they have been in close contact with as defined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC),” she said. “Contact tracers, in turn, then contact those Rider community members to encourage them to be tested and…quarantine…. For anyone outside the Rider community, contact tracers work with the Lawrence Township Health Department to turn over further contact tracing responsibilities to them or the appropriate health department depending on where the individual resides.”
Sophomore dance and acting major Josiah Jacoby returned to campus this year and believes the Campus Clear app is a good thing for the Rider community.
I definitely think the app is helpful and it was a good idea, but it could use better implementation. There isn’t any penalty to not doing the app every morning and I can almost guarantee most people don’t,” Jacoby said. “Nobody wants to not be allowed to use campus because they have a cough or a slight fever which probably isn’t due to COVID. However, having a daily reminder that this is a big deal will probably help because it will remind people daily to stay safe, wear a mask, social distance, and wash your hands.”