EU adds COVID-19 feature to Shield app

Category:  News
Wednesday, August 26th, 2020 at 12:54 PM
EU adds COVID-19 feature to Shield app by Emma McNeeley

With schools across the country figuring out how to open this fall, Edinboro University has been adding precautions in the last couple months, such as limiting both in-person classes and the on-campus residential population. Another safety net came in the form of an existing tool, sporting a new feature.  

The EU Shield app, previously used for a variety of emergency and safety services on campus, has become another weapon in the university’s fight against COVID-19.  

The app’s COVID-19 self-assessment feature provides employees and students with a way to track their symptoms. With the feature, you must assess yourself and your symptoms every 24 hours. After the assessment, it gives you a badge that is either red or green. A green badge means you’re “good to go,” according to a pre-semester email from EU President Dr. Guiyou Huang. A red badge appears if the app determines that you’re experiencing symptoms or are at risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. 

According to that same email, “To help protect our campus community, all Edinboro University students are required to complete the EU Shield COVID Self-Assessment each day they plan to be on campus.” Professors “may require students to show the COVID Self-Assessment Badge at the beginning of each class period.” 

Jim Dahle, director of safety and risk management at Edinboro, described the new feature as “another mitigation tool used to reduce the risk of spreading the virus by having all students monitor their health daily.” The idea of asymptomatic students was also considered, as Dahle added, “The COVID self-assessment asks three questions, two of which are relevant for everyone, regardless of if they are asymptomatic or symptomatic.” 

Those that receive a red badge will be contacted by the university’s Student Health Services. Darla Elder, director of the Ghering Health and Wellness Center, explained, “Students who are symptomatic for COVID-19 will be offered a virtual appointment via ZoomHealth with a member of the Student Health Services medical team [in order] to self-collect a specimen.” This self-collection has written instructions and a self-collection kit, but the Zoom health visit will offer the steps and instructions, as well. The process includes inserting a cotton swab one inch into the nostril and rotating two times; you keep the swab there for 15 seconds total.  

If a student tests positive and they reside on-campus, “they will quarantine/isolate in their own room,” stated Elder. “A member of the medical staff is in contact with each student on a daily basis to assess their medical situation and ensure they have everything they need.” Once a student is cleared from their quarantine, they can return to their in-person classes. 

According to the COVID-19 tracker set up by Edinboro, one positive student case was reported during the week of Aug. 17-23. According to a recent email to “Students, Colleagues and Parents,” the university does not plan to “announce each individual COVID case for two reasons: 1) we want to protect the privacy of the individual(s) involved and 2.) we will likely have a number of positive cases on campus this fall, as will other colleges and universities -- many already do.” 

You can download the EU Shield app through Google Play or the Apple Store. Other features include a safety escort, the “Friend Watch” tool and other emergency services.  

Emma McNeeley is the News Editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com.

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