Auburn to require students to self-screen beginning Aug. 17, supporting Alabama's GuideSafe™ platform

Published: August 13, 2020
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Auburn has partnered with institutions across the state to implement the GuideSafe™ platform, one of many university efforts designed to facilitate a safe and healthy return to campus and reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

An integral component of A Healthier U, Auburn’s plan for fall reentry, the GuideSafe™ platform includes entry testing for all students returning to college campuses, a daily self-screening tool and an exposure notification app that will assist with critical contact tracing.

“The launch of this multi-tool resource is a major step forward in our ongoing work toward a safe and healthy campus and supports our plans for a strong start to the fall,” said Auburn President Jay Gogue. “These tools are an important means to keep our campus community safe, as well as a way for our students, faculty and staff to demonstrate personal responsibility.”

On the first day of classes, Aug. 17, all students coming to campus must begin using HealthCheck, a daily self-screener that allows users to report COVID-19-related symptoms. After completing the HealthCheck, students will receive an A Healthier U pass. A green pass indicates students are safe to come to campus, while red means they should stay home or seek medical attention. Students may be asked to show their pass at any time as they move around campus.

In addition to the GuideSafe™ platform, the university has launched a COVID Resource Center, a multidisciplinary team created to respond to questions and requests from Auburn faculty, staff and students regarding COVID-19. Staffed by trained volunteers from across the university, the center is a centralized resource that works closely with the Auburn University Medical Clinic, Facilities Management, University Housing, Human Resources, Campus Safety and Security, Student Affairs, academic and other campus units.

“Auburn has put numerous measures in place for the fall semester to help reduce the transmission of the virus and safeguard the health of our students, faculty and staff as much as possible,” Gogue said. “Together, we all play a vital role in keeping our campus open by being responsible and wearing face coverings, completing a daily screening, maintaining physical distance and practicing proper personal hygiene.”

In addition to Entry Testing and Healthcheck, the GuideSafe™ platform also includes a voluntary Exposure Notification App, which alerts users of potential exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days. The Exposure Notification app, currently in a pilot stage, enables individuals to make decisions best for them and their loved ones, such as seeking medical advice or staying home. To preserve user privacy, the exposure notification technology assigns random number codes to each user, ensuring all parties remain anonymous to each other and to the system itself.

All Auburn students, faculty and staff with a .edu email address are invited and encouraged to participate in the app’s pilot phase. The pilot app was built by the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Birmingham-based MotionMobs in conjunction with the Alabama Department of Public Health. It integrates exposure notification technology developed by Google and Apple exposure notification, and Alabama is one of the first states in the country to leverage the new technology. Once the pilot phase of the app has ended later this month, it will be assessed and made available for public download via Apple and Android devices.

The GuideSafe™ platform is supported by Gov. Kay Ivey’s direction of more than $30 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act funding and allows for robust testing, symptom monitoring and notification of exposure to COVID-19 for students in all Alabama public and private institutions.

For more information about Auburn’s implementation of the GuideSafe™ platform, visit the university’s A Healthier U website.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.