Eat breakfast, pack up your books, grab your backpack and head out the door to campus. Oh, and don’t forget to do the COVID-19 Salisbury University screening app before you go!
Since the official re-opening of Salisbury University’s campus, SU students have been required to complete a daily self-assessment screening for COVID-19.
The screening can be completed through the SU-Mobile app, a web portal and even in-person at specific locations throughout campus.
Although screening is certainly a good idea, the reality of the app’s effectiveness is unsuccessful for several reasons.
For one, the app’s purpose to screen students before entering SU buildings or classroom is not fulfilled, as the use of the app is not enforced.
Although it seemed as though the SU-Mobile app would play a vital role in the re-opening of SU’s campus, using the app hasn’t actually been enforced around campus.
Several students have stated they have forgotten to do complete app screening before class and have had no issues attending their classes during the day.
Students’ screening status is not consistently checked in all academic buildings, and it doesn’t appear all professors check their students’ statuses before the beginning of class either.
Thus, there isn’t much motivation to complete the app’s time-consuming screening process which can be particularly annoying considering the additional DUO sign in process.
The screening costs students additional time, but in truth, most students probably either forget to complete the app’s screening on a consistent daily basis even with daily email reminders sent every day around 5 a.m.
Many students forget to check their email and therefore don’t see the reminder, or just ignore it and move on with their day.
“I feel that it [the email] gets overlooked because how many students actually check their emails that often to use the daily email as a reminder? Or [the students] proceed to ignore it anyway,” Junior Kaitlyn Rother stated.
Even if students do remember to do the app, and care enough to do it, the odds of the app accurately screening for COVID seems unlikely.
The SU-Mobile app has basic questions to identify COVID-19 symptoms, such as whether a student has had a fever over 101.4 degrees, new loss of taste or smell or chills.
There are many other symptoms included in the SU-Mobile app’s screening questionnaire as well, such as cough, fatigue, muscle ache, body ache, shortness of breath and sore throat which are general symptoms that honestly could be allergies, a common cold, the flu or a plethora of other causes.
Because the some of symptoms listed on the app are so general, it is highly unlikely that students are going to report they have COVID-19 symptoms on the app.
For example, the SU-Mobile app contains a screening question about fatigue, but what college student isn’t at least a bit tired or fatigued every day?
Students are likely select no for all of the questions, rather than risk being unable to enter campus for the day for something that could be minor.
“Some of the questions are kind of dumb because they are usually the result of non-COVID related things. For example, congestion or runny nose equals allergies, loose stool equals any number of digestive issues [and] aching muscles equals simple soreness,” Junior Aaron Stiegler stated.
While the app was a good idea in theory for a COVID-19 safety protocol, it has not been the most effective in keeping potential COVID-19 symptomatic students off campus.
Many students are likely to select “no” to the questions, so they can attend class and enter on-campus buildings, especially if they have what appears to be “just a sniffle.”
Instead, SU should have students take their temperatures upon arrival to class or building entrances.
While it wouldn’t catch everyone who is sick, it would prevent someone with a fever from lying on the questionnaire and showing up to class anyway.
By LAURA AMRHEIN
Featured graphic by Michael Cotterino