Starting the fall semester in 2020 is unlike anything we have seen before. Masks, social distancing, and hybrid classes — how does St. John Fisher College ensure its students are staying safe?
Fisher has started a new “app” where students are asked to fill out a daily pass every day two hours prior to classes or arrival on campus. The daily pass gets sent to students via email. There are a total of 12 COVID-related questions such as a loss of taste or smell, presence of chills or a fever of 100 plus, or, if the student is dealing with a new or worsening cough.
After filling out the questionnaire, the student will receive either a “GO”, allowing them on campus, or a “STOP” with specific instruction on what to do next.
Dr. James Bowman, has had to hold class through zoom instead of in-person due to him receiving a “STOP” for a sore throat. “I got a red light when I had a sore throat. I was told to contact my doctor and that Fisher would have someone in touch with me to follow up. So I contacted my doctor, we made an appointment four days later, I ended up feeling better and not using that appointment for a COVID-related visit. Also, I didn’t get tested. No one followed up with me from the school and I was back Monday when I no longer was experiencing symptoms.”
For freshmen, the daily pass may not be an issue because they are being introduced to college life with many changes. However, for some of our upperclassmen, it might be a hassle to remember to do it. Malik Smith, a senior at Fisher has seen many new changes this fall semester. “I do remember to do my daily pass the majority of the days, I would say five out of seven days. Sometimes I get busy and forget to do it but if I have to go to Ward-Haffey, or Murphy dining halls to eat I make sure I fill it out. Especially with the daily emails.” Smith stated.
“The daily emails are way more effective than the reminders around campus because I try not to leave my room too often, but the emails come around 4 to 4:30 am every day and sometimes I’m awake and see them which for me is effective, and the subject lines are pretty eye-catching.” These daily passes are to be completed even on weekends when classes are not in session. This is for the safety of residential students and as well as weekend staff, such as janitors and dining hall workers., “Well if the numbers are this low since campus reopening then I suppose some of it could be tied to this, but I do not know that for sure–not sure anyone does. Even if the Daily Pass were not literally screening out people with COVID, that would not necessarily make it a bad policy. It’s difficult to do each day for me, especially on weekends. But I try,” Dr. Bowman said
Also at Fisher, there are QR codes everywhere, from the dining halls, bathrooms, and even the dorm lounges. These location check-ins are helpful if a student happens to test positive for the novel Coronavirus. This is just an easier way to see who was around that student and to take necessary precautions for those students who might possibly be affected. Students can just open their cameras and hold it over the QR code, which then will bring up a prompt that says “location check-in”, once the student clicks that it will take them to the Fisher website, where the student fills out the daily pass and checks into the location.
“I don’t really check into locations as needed around campus because I try and stay in my room but when I do I forget or don’t do it because it’s kind of a hassle I feel like it could be more intuitive personally.” Smith said. He believes that the check-in can be made for an easier way instead of the way we have already been using it.
Since reopening the campus has had only 3 confirmed COVID-19 cases.