U Denver initiates location 'tracking' as part of COVID-19 response, team to 'impose' quarantine

Students “will be asked to install an application on their mobile device;” disabling location tracking is “not recommended.”

Failure to take symptom surveys twice a day “results in termination of campus access.”

A new committee will “request” or “impose” quarantine/isolation of students and faculty.

Students at the University of Denver will be kicked off campus if they fail to comply with the school’s coronavirus safety policy, which includes daily symptom reporting and location tracking via a mobile device app to aid with contact tracing efforts.

The university recently released an action plan outlining the changes to accommodate students returning to campus in the fall during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other requirements and restrictions, the plan announces that students “will be asked to install an application on their mobile device,” to run in the background and provide alerts should students come in contact with someone who tested positive. 

Similarly, students will be required to report whether or not they have symptoms to university staff via text message twice daily. They will also be asked once daily if they have come into contact with anyone who has the virus.  Answering will be mandatory, and not doing so could get students barred from setting foot on campus. 

The self-reported results of the survey determine whether each student will be advised to return to campus, self-quarantine, or seek medical care. “Non-compliant responders receive follow-up support to resolve technological issues, handle accidental non-compliance, and allow temporary stops for vacation. Persistent non-compliance results in termination of campus access,”  the university explained. 

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These measures were coupled with other measures that students are likely already familiar with, such as mandatory masks, social distancing, and reduced occupancy of indoor spaces.

The administration acknowledged the privacy concerns associated with the contact-tracing application.

“Data is stored securely and only temporarily, and location information is only accessed when someone is confirmed or expected positive for the virus that causes COVID-19,” the university stated in the plan.

Location tracking can be turned off in the app, “though this is not recommended,” the policy clarified.

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The action plan went on to discuss the creation of several new administrative committees at the university, including the COVID-19 Response Team (CRT). Among various other tasks, CRT will supervise the digital contact tracing, report findings to the state and county, and “requests or imposes quarantine/isolation of a student or employee.”

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The administration claimed that the action plan will be updated as policies and procedures change in preparation for student arrival in September. 


Follow the author of this article: Logan Sack