Michigan is college under fire for making students download app that will track all their movements to stop the COVID spread and threaten to punish those who don’t comply
- Albion College officials have made it mandatory for students to download an app
- App will track student’s movements as school tries to create ‘COVID-19 bubble’
- Students are asked to stay within school’s 4.5-mile perimeter for entire semester
- They will face consequences for leaving in the form of temporary suspension
- Albion College is only allowing in-person instruction for the upcoming school year, unlike many other universities like Harvard, which is offering online-only
- Any Albion students who refuse to comply with the mandatory app and contact tracing will be forced to defer for a semester or a full school year
A college in Michigan is reportedly requiring students on campus to download an app that tracks their movements at all times in a bid to prevent them from getting coronavirus.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, Albion College officials are attempting to take on contact tracing by creating a ‘COVID-bubble’ on campus.
Students are being asked to stay within the school’s 4.5-mile perimeter for the entire semester.
And if they leave campus, the app, which is called Aura, will notify the administration.
Albion College (pictured) is reportedly requiring students on campus to download an app that tracks their movements at all times in a bid to prevent them from getting coronavirus
Students are being asked to stay within the school’s 4.5-mile perimeter for the entire semester. And if they leave campus, the app, which is called Aura (pictured), will notify the administration
Students will also face consequences for leaving in the form of temporary suspension.
The mandatory app is a part of the school’s reopening process, but it is being criticized by students and parents as an ‘invasion of privacy’.
One father told the Free Beacon: ‘The school wants my daughter to sign a form consenting to specimen collection and lab testing. I have a ton of concern with that…. Why is the state of Michigan’s contact tracing not enough?’
Student Andrew Arszulowicz said: ‘I feel like I am being treated like a five-year-old that cannot be trusted to follow rules. If the school believes masks work … why are we not allowed to leave if they work? It does not make sense to me.’
Despite claiming they are trying to create a ‘COVID-19 bubble,’ there is one loop hole: Professors and administrators can travel on and off the campus.
Albion College is only allowing in-person instruction for the upcoming school year, unlike many other universities like Harvard, which is offering online-only classes this semester.
The state of Michigan has recorded more than 103,000 coronavirus cases and at least 6,592 deaths. There are more than 5.4 million cases of the coronavirus in the US
Any Albion students who refuse to comply with the mandatory app and contact tracing will be forced to defer for a semester or a full school year.
According to the Free Beacon, students will be tested upon arrival to campus and returning students must sign a form authorizing the disclosure of their test results to the county or state.
Once on campus, students will undergo a mandatory three-day quarantine and they will be given a list of ‘approved businesses’ to visit.
They must also notify administrators five days in advance if they plan to leave for activities, including medical appointments, family and religious obligations.
The state of Michigan has recorded more than 103,000 coronavirus cases and at least 6,592 deaths.
How does contact tracing work using the app Aura?
The Aura app could be used by colleges and universities, healthcare providers, state and local governments and nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
‘With no end in sight to the COVID-19 pandemic, countless organizations would benefit from COVID-19 testing and contact tracing,’ the Aura website reads.
Here’s how the app works if a user tests positive or negative:
Once a user tests positive:
- User is in quarantine for 14 days and will be alerted to retest again in 14 days
- Government, employer, state and local municipalities, Federal Department of Health, are notified of positive result
- A notification alerts the user to go directly to Contact Tracing screen in app
- From here, the user can select phone contacts with whom they’ve been in contact with
- These users are alerted to schedule test and added to the contact trace list
- User imports social media contacts, who are alerted to schedule a test
- Location services algorithm enables GPS tracking, which logs the user’s location every 10 minutes
- Durations of 20 minutes or longer will deem a search of users in the proximity of those times, and those users will be notified to get tested
- Employees who are within the patient’s department or close proximity are added to the contact trace list and notified to get tested
If a user tests negative:
- The employee is marked as ‘certified’ to return to work
- Employee will continue to fill out daily symptom tracking
- Record of testing history and certifications is stored in a de-identified database
- The user will receive a push reminder to get tested again at a frequency determined by their organization
Other states are either moving school instruction to online-only or starting hybrid programs.
In California, Gov Gavin Newsom said that more than 90 per cent of students in California are going to start the new school year with online classes.
Newsom said the state had been planning how to best educate their 6.2 million students, and investing in technology as well as protective equipment.
The University of California system will provide the majority of its classes online with some hybrid options.
In Massachusetts, Boston University will resume in-person learning with masks and social distancing, but they will offer virtual learning supplements for those who don’t feel comfortable returning.