With JMU returning to in-person classes, safety precautions have been put in place to make sure another rise in cases doesn’t occur again. Limiting the number of students in classes and enforcing a stricter emphasis on wearing a face mask have been some of the most notable safety provisions that the university has implemented, but the use of the LiveSafe app has most people questioning its importance on campus.
The LiveSafe app requires students to answer questions based on how they’re feeling at the moment. These questions ask if a student or faculty member has a fever, any symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19, if they’ve been asked to quarantine, and if they’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive for the virus. All of these questions are yes/no, and this is where students begin to question the authenticity of the app preventing a spread of the virus.
The question about whether the app can prevent a rise in coronavirus cases on campus is due to the fact that students could easily lie on the app to be able to attend their classes or get a meal. The questions have only yes/no answers, and if a student chooses all “no” choices, they’re able to enter any building. A student who isn’t feeling well but has a mandatory in-person class that day may feel the need to lie on their LiveSafe app to be able to attend the course. The same goes for if a student feeling ill wants a bite to eat at a dining hall; there’s nothing stopping them from entering that dining hall unless they answer “yes” to the choices given on the app.
Students are worried that their peers may not realize the seriousness of the virus, thus putting many at risk when they aren’t honest on the app. According to Salma McDonald, a junior at JMU, the app is based on college students being honest.
“Let’s say a college student with COVID-19 has a sore throat, but dismisses it and still selects they don’t exhibit symptoms,” McDonald said. “They still have the ‘green check’ to go to class, even if they possibly have COVID-19 and are just not attentive to how they are feeling.”
Students and faculty are voicing their opinions about the use of the app and how it affects the spread of the virus. According to comments from an article published by The Breeze, people believe that the app is “pointless” and agree that students can lie on the app to be able to enter a building.
“The LiveSafe app is really easy to lie on,” an anonymous commentator said. “No one has ever asked me to present the app saying that I have no symptoms.”
As the rest of the semester goes by, it’s important for students to think about how they use the LiveSafe app and how their answers can affect the rest of the student body. Being honest on the app can prevent another spread of the coronavirus around campus, but there should be more safety precautions rather than just a “yes/no” questionnaire that determines if a student is able to enter buildings.
Kylee Toland is a junior Media Arts and Design major. Contact Kylee at email@example.com