JMU encourages students to monitor their health with LiveSafe, but how effective is the app at preventing the spread of COVID-19?

Investigations editor Jake Conley talks about transparency at James Madison University as well as the truth about the LiveSafe app on Breeze TV. The Breeze has filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests asking for COVID-19 case numbers and other relevant statistics, some of which have been denied by JMU. Despite pushback from university spokesperson Caitlin Read and other university administration members, Conley and other student journalists are continuing to fight for their legal right to information.

LiveSafe is a public safety application that JMU has partnered with to help keep the community safe from the spread of coronavirus. The mobile tracking app helps students monitor their health to ensure that they are not exhibiting coronavirus symptoms before going on campus. JMU requires students and faculty to complete a daily health check-in to decide if it’s safe for them to attend in-person classes. The mobile safety app also allows users to report people who have violated COVID-19 policies. Examples of violations include students hosting gatherings with more than ten guests or if someone has not been wearing a mask in public. If JMU receives an anonymous tip from the app, then that data is reported to the Harrisonburg Police Department. HPT delegates the report to an applicable department.

Professors and instructors can use the risk intelligence communications platform to keep their in-person classes safe. They can require students to show a green check on their app, meaning that they are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, before entering the classroom. The same procedure can occur in JMU’s award-winning dining halls. But there are no mandates that force students and faculty to comply with LiveSafe’s recommendations. The communications platform is a good reminder for JMU community members to check up on their health. However, the app doesn’t do much physical policing to stop the spread of the coronavirus.