Assessing Student Opinion of #CampusClear

Understanding #CampusClear and Student Concerns Regarding It

In the mist of the current COVID-19 pandemic, it is paramount to be able to prevent the spread of the virus and identify individuals who are infected with it. When in-person classes began to resume at SLU back in August, viral spread was a major concern. Even now, in spite of having an initial low percentage of students with COVID-19 during the move-in, SLU still has concerns about the virus given how students still move around on and off campus. One method that SLU is currently utilizing to track the virus is #CampusClear.

#CampusClear is an app that enables students, faculty and staff to regularly report any of 11 symptoms of COVID-19, as well as if they have tested positive for the virus or have been in contact with someone who has. The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and students are required to use the app daily in order to access parts of SLU’s campus. Depending on their responses, they will either be cleared to attend classes and come to campus or will be instructed on what to do next. 

Just as it’s vital to develop new methods to track COVID-19, it’s also equally as important to assess student opinions regarding their new methods. For the most part though, it would seem that the overall opinion regarding SLU’s usage of #CampusClear seems to be positive. Sophomore Jonah Wright, who previously had to quarantine as a result of his roommate getting COVID-19, spoke well regarding SLU’s usage of the app. “I think it’s a good thing to do,” said Jonah, “I think at least the attempt to keep people accountable for how they’re feeling, whether they’re asymptomatic or not, is probably good.” An anonymous upperclassmen also reported having positive emotions of SLU’s use of the app, “I think it’s pretty smart that we’re using it. I think it’s definitely helpful in keeping track of cases.”

However, just because student opinions overall seemed to be positive, that didn’t necessarily mean there weren’t any concerns to be had. One worry echoed by some students is the dishonesty regarding self-reporting, which sophomore Anna Richards shared with UNews. “People could be not being truthful about their symptoms just so they don’t have to quarantine,” told Richards. Another issue brought up is how some students don’t participate in using the app. The anonymous upperclassmen who reported positive overall opinion of the app also had this concern, “I’m concerned about that [students not using #CampusClear] because we are trying to keep our cases low to stay on campus, and if not everyone’s doing it, kinda a concern.”

However, in spite of these concerns, it seems that SLU students still believe that, to a certain extent, the usage of #CampusClear is effective in helping the university monitor students with symptoms of COVID-19. “I think it is effective because it holds people accountable to check their symptoms every day… to step back from the rush of college life to ask themselves about how they’re feeling,” Richards told UNews, “but only to a certain extent because students are not being tested as frequently as they should be.” Wright also shares in this sentiment, “It’s hard to say. I think it’s probably effective to some degree, so I think it’s a good thing that it’s in place. But, I don’t think it’s a hundred percent effective obviously. I would say, yeah at the end of the day, it’s effective, but it’s not a hundred percent effective obviously.” These concerns again tie back to student honesty regarding #CampusClear’s self-reporting, though for SLU students it seems, any way to help identify COVID-19 cases would be welcome.