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To use Campus Clear … or not

Although Miami University’s Healthy Together Pledge calls for students to “conduct daily symptom monitoring for [COVID-19] symptoms and stay home from classes/activities if [they are] feeling ill,” the use of the symptom monitoring app recommended by Miami, Campus Clear, is not required.

While some students use the app for peace of mind, without the university’s requirement, some don’t see the point in doing so. 

Campus Clear is an app that was created to aid universities in returning to campus during the pandemic. The app is free and acts as a tool for students and faculty to self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms before coming to campus. 

Jayne Brownell, vice president for student life, says that although the app is only a recommendation, she is trusting students to make the right choices. 

“It is something that students committed to doing … but it’s on an honor system,” Brownell said. “We are not checking that. We are offering the Campus Clear app as a tool to do so.”

Some students do take advantage of this tool, like junior speech pathology major Marianna Gay. She uses it every day because the university recommended it at the beginning of the year, and she thought it was required.

“It takes like three seconds, so it’s not too bad,” Gay said. “It’s not bothering me. It’s not adding anything to my life, but it’s not taking anything away, so I’m pretty neutral about it.”

Gay also said she used it to help the university gather any information about COVID-19 on campus that they needed. Brownell said the administration is not tracking any analytical data from the app because it is not required.

Other students don’t use the app at all.

Junior education studies major Molly Smith doesn’t use it for multiple reasons: It’s not required, she can tell if she has symptoms without the app and she is wary of sharing medical information.

“It is extremely worrying how much information we are expected to disclose because of COVID,” Smith said.

The Campus Clear website says the company is “dedicated to protecting anonymity and privacy,” and that only authorized administrators can access protected data.

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Nicholas Dent, a first-year sports leadership and management major had never heard of the app. Still, he uses other methods to protect himself from COVID.

“I don’t necessarily track my symptoms, but I try my best to stay out of the way and take the same precautions I do every day,” Dent said. “Like, I’m not going to parties or anything like that. I’m doing stuff in precaution to everything going on.”

First-year university studies major Grace Sloane uses the app but not every day.

“At first, I thought it was required to use, and then I realized, once I forgot, that nothing happens if you don’t use it, so I just haven’t been prioritizing it anymore,” Sloane said.

Sloane said it’s easy for the Campus Clear notification to get lost among other notifications when she wakes up, so she can sometimes forget to use it. However, she is always cognizant of potential COVID symptoms.

“I’m already pretty aware of what to look for,” she said. “I think [it could be helpful] for other people who aren’t thinking about it as much, but I feel like I like to be pretty careful, so I’m already kind of looking out for those things.”

Because using the Campus Clear app is not required, and the only building that checks for COVID symptoms is the health center, this part of the Healthy Together Pledge is harder to enforce than others, like wearing a mask or participating in COVID testing. Even if the app was required, it wouldn’t guarantee that students are symptom-free.

“For a health check, there will always be an element of an honor system since we can't confirm that a student has no symptoms if they say they don't,” Brownell wrote in an email to The Miami Student.

Brownell, however, has faith that students are doing what’s necessary to protect the Miami and Oxford community.

“I am trusting that students are paying attention to how they feel and doing what they need to do to keep their community safe,” she said, “whether they are using the [Campus Clear] app or not.”