Campus Clear - Screenshot via #CampusClear app

The app allows students to self-report for COVID-19 symptoms.

“I'm still trying to encourage people that you should still screen yourself on a daily basis, because even on Saturdays or Sundays, you're probably going out and doing other things with family or friends or different activities.” 

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Since early August, students have arrived back on college campuses throughout the nation. According to an article published by The New York Times, COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in these areas — making them important to track. BGSU has implemented many rules and regulations with the return of students; one including the encouragement to log daily health through self-screening.

With students back both on and off campus, they’re asked to do a daily self-screening test for COVID-19. Many just check their temperature, but there is an app to conduct self-screening easily.

The app called #CampusClear has been recommended by BGSU as a universal way for the campus to get a clear picture of the student, faculty and staff day-to-day health. 

Chief Health Officer Ben Batey explained the importance of daily self-screening tests and what the university hopes will come from use of the app.

“We're looking for every faculty, staff and students to screen themselves on a daily basis, you could utilize that app to help remind you to do so. And then it's going to talk you through what signs and symptoms you should be looking for.”

#CampusClear is a one-question, self survey that takes a few seconds to complete. Each day, students, faculty and staff are prompted to login before leaving their home, and pick choices such as, “no symptoms” or “tested positive for COVID-19” withint the app.

Other possible answers range from a new cough, shortness of breath, temperature over 100 degrees, new loss of smell and influenza-like illness. There are also options regarding one's interaction with someone who has COVID-19, and whether or not they were wearing a mask. 

First-year student Damon Sherry said they downloaded the app on Aug. 24 after the university sent out an email regarding it. 

“I love that it gives you specific symptoms that you could be feeling and it's not generalized,” Sherry said.

While signing up, students and faculty aren’t asked to enter any personal information and are given the ability to purge all of the previously collected data. The anonymity aspect appeals to many, along with many personalized features. 

“You can have it personalized to your dorm hall and it'll tell you that this many people have been having symptoms without giving you names, just letting you know that there are people there,” Sherry said.  

One of the main reasons BGSU decided to use #CampusClear was due to the confidentiality that came with the data. 

“It gives us a big picture, aggregates data, but it doesn’t identify any one person,” Batey said.

There are roughly over 2,000 BGSU students and faculty signed up for #CampusClear and throughout the week the number of daily self-screening tests fluctuate. Through the weekdays, numbers vary through the 800s to 900s. During weekends about 200 reports are received. 

“I'm still trying to encourage people that you should still screen yourself on a daily basis, because even on Saturdays or Sundays, you're probably going out and doing other things with family or friends or different activities,” Batey said. “And so, you know whether you're going to campus or not, we should still be monitoring those kinds of symptoms.”

The use of #CampusClear can help users fall into a routine of recording their current health status which can potentially slow the spread of COVID-19. 

“Hopefully, it'll get people into that routine, because that's what we all sometimes need, those daily reminders to get into a pattern. And so that's really where we want to see more people start to use it,” Batey said.

#CampusClear is owned by the company Ivy.ai, where Director of Marketing Jason Fife talks about the amount of institutions that are using the app. Approximately 1,000 schools have requested access and between 300 to 400 have moved on with the registration process.

“I think it's 200 at this point that are actively using it and gotten all the way through the launch process and started using it on their campuses,” Fife said.

Fife also explained the process of institutions getting access to the app. There isn’t much communication between campuses and the Ivy.ai team, but after following the automated processes through the main #CampusClear website institutions then gain access and move to the next step.

After receiving further access to the app, resources were created by Ivy.ai to help finish installing. Contact between Ivy.ai and institutions using the app range from email conversations to no contact at all.

“So the interaction depends on campus, I've had exchanged emails back and forth with certain admin users, or other campuses that have gotten set up without ever sending a single email to us,” Fife said.

Little research or record has been reported from #CampusClear due to it being new, but regular use from institutions will draw in more data. 

“The idea is that these institutions are getting visibility into what's happening on campus, so that they can make decisions about what to do before it's too late,” Fife said.

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