COVID-19 Student Monitoring and Campus Communication

COVID 19 Campus Communications and Monitoring for the Fall

COVID-19 Campus Communications and Student Monitoring for the Fall

With the Fall semester just a few months away and COVID-19 still very much a concern, returning to on-campus life for the coming school year will require implementing a variety of extra measures and precautions to ensure your school community is as safe as possible for everyone.

What might that look like and involve? We understand this is a challenging time, so we’ve outlined just some of the approaches and best practices that leaders of higher education and auxiliary services might consider implementing, as well as the technology that can help make these processes easier to integrate into daily life on campus.

Campus Priorities for the Fall

Regular testing of students, faculty, and staff will be a key part of any “back-to-school” plan in the era of COVID-19. Specifically, this should involve:

  •         Testing both students and staff members when they arrive on campus.
  •         Periodic follow-up testing.
  •         Quick turn-around testing when required, such as when a particular concern or new outbreak arises.

Vigorous tracing efforts will be another key part of maintaining the safest possible return to on-campus life. This means identifying all contacts for students and staff members who test positive for coronavirus.

Quarantines will also be necessary for anyone who tests positive, and as part of the quarantine there must be ongoing monitoring of the impacted individual. All those who had contact with the infected individual will also need to be tested and potentially undergo a self-quarantine as well.

Challenges

Beyond the testing and tracing efforts, the coming school year presents a variety of unique challenges that must be sorted through and planned appropriately. These include such questions as:

  •  How might students and staff self-report if they’re concerned about their health? 
  • How will the health status of quarantined and self-isolated students be monitored by campus officials?
  • In addition, higher education leaders need a plan in place to notify all departments, including various auxiliary services, of the status of affected students and staff.
  •  It will also be incumbent on the school and auxiliary services to develop a plan for providing services to affected students and staff. 

Some of the key steps to consider include:

  • Students self-identifying when they’re not feeling well
  •  Health services determining the student’s medical status
  • If quarantine is required, health services engaged in monitoring the student’s progress on a daily, ongoing basis
  • These steps might also include having health services be responsible for notifying all other departments of a student’s quarantined status

Once other departments have been notified, they too will need to provide services to the quarantined individual.

In the case of dining services, this would include allowing for mobile ordering and providing food delivery. Touchwork’s OrderIT solution can help with this effort, providing mobile ordering capabilities to impacted students and staff with meals being delivered right to the student’s room.

When the impacted student recovers, health services can denote the individual as cleared and all departments are automatically notified.

Touchwork’s COVID-19 Solution

Touchwork’s suite of digital, web-based solutions including TxtandTell for realtime student feedback can be a particularly effective and timely way to monitor and communicate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This would begin with outbound texts from schools and universities using Touchwork’s MarketIT solution designed to educate students about the appropriate process for notifying campus officials when feeling sick and other relevant information.

In the event that a student is feeling sick and initiates communication by simply texting “I’m SICK” to inform the officials about potential viral illness, the student would then receive, complete, and submit a self-assessment webform with additional details about their symptoms.

A similar process could be used to provide daily monitoring of an impacted student in isolation. The student would receive a link via text to provide daily updates on his or her condition and symptoms.  To augment this effort, health services could distribute a wearable device that measures and records the impacted individual’s SpO₂, heart rate, sleep, and more.

The combination of the questionnaire and wearables data enable timely student care and improved monitoring during the recovery process. Touchwork is currently working with UCSD to help them monitor COVID patients.

Conclusion

We understand that higher education and auxiliary services officials across the country are still sorting through the various scenarios for the future and the dynamics of the pandemic are continually changing.

Touchwork’s technology is designed to be flexible and configurable so it can be quickly adapted to cater for the needs of everyone involved, helping to make this difficult time easier.

Not only can students easily initiate interaction if they’re not feeling well using our tools but campus-wide status notifications are also streamlined. Our system also allows for ongoing, comprehensive monitoring, and it facilities contactless food ordering and delivery. It is a complete solution for the path ahead as we all adjust operations to ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff this coming semester.

All of these efforts will be critical as higher education and auxiliary leaders navigate through these unusual times. Together we can adjust appropriately to life amid a pandemic and create a safer future for everyone on campus.

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About the author

Johann Leitner is the founder and president of Touchwork, a marketing management software company.