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Students and employees critical of health check feature on ASU app

Users on social media have complained about excessive reminders and incorrect notifications of not completing the health check


"The ASU app will allow students and employees to submit their daily health checks." Illustration published Monday, June 29, 2020.

Students and employees have taken to social media to voice critical opinions of ASU's daily health check.

Users on Reddit and Twitter have reported receiving an excessive amount of daily email reminders, even after completing the check and incorrectly receiving notifications of not completing the health check. 

Every day, students and employees must self-report if they will be on campus and whether they are experiencing any common COVID-19 symptoms including fever, shortness of breath, cough, muscle pains and more. 

People can submit the check on their phone through the ASU Mobile App, online through ASU’s website or by calling a designated hotline. When someone reports symptoms related to COVID-19, a graphic will appear urging them to self-isolate and schedule a telehealth appointment with ASU Health Services

Those who do not submit their health check will have their MyASU account password reset.

But some have incorrectly received notifications that they had not submitted their health checks. One Reddit user said they are a faculty member and their supervisor was incorrectly notified that they did not complete their health check.

The school has taken steps to resolve the technical issues with the reporting system and plans to roll out additional features over the next few months, a University spokesperson said in an email.

“Keeping the community healthy is a continuous team effort, and we’ve listened to student and employee input,” the spokesperson said.

University President Michael Crow said to The State Press in August that the daily health check is an integral part of the school's coronavirus mitigation strategy.

"If everyone follows the guidelines in our Community of Care plan, wears a mask, social distances, (completes the) health check, testing if you're showing symptoms, we're not going to have any problems," Crow said in an August interview with The State Press.  

Completing the health check questionnaire is currently required of all students regardless of whether they’re living in Arizona or not, and some students find it to be a daily nuisance. 

Katie Garner, a senior medical studies major, said the constant notifications she receives are "annoying" because she lives in Los Angeles and won't be on campus. 

“I get notifications about it on the app, I get emails about it, I see it when I log into my student portal," Garner said. "It's just like everywhere, and there's no way to unsubscribe."  

Jen Fuller, a graduate student studying environmental social science, is currently located over 2,000 miles from campus. She said because she has a full-time job on top of her academic work, she doesn’t go online every day, and the health check feels like a pointless task for her. 

“I understand that ASU wants to treat students and staff; however, the first question on a health check is, ‘Are you performing work on behalf of ASU today,’ and my answer is always no, and there's no way for me to set some sort of setting that I am an off-campus Ph.D. student,” Fuller said.

Fuller tried to contact multiple offices around campus attempting to be designated as an off-campus student, but never received any answers to her questions and was rerouted to the housing office who could not help her.

A University spokesperson said a way to designate a prolonged absence from campus will be available in a future update.

One student on Reddit claims to have programmed a Python script that can complete the daily health check automatically. The student posted the script to ASU’s dedicated subreddit, where it was briefly removed, sparking controversy among users. 

Moderators for the subreddit initially removed the post, arguing that not all the moderators can read the programming language to determine if the script does what the creator said it would do. The creator could also later change the code to do something malicious like steal personal information, the moderators said. 

After pushback from other subscribers, the post was returned to the subreddit with a disclaimer from the moderators, saying they "neither approve nor disapprove" of the reposting and advised users to download and execute the script "at your own risk."

As of Sept. 6, the University is recording 825 total active cases in its community. There are 573 current cases off campus, 202 cases are in isolation at the Tempe campus, and 32 between the Downtown Phoenix, West and Polytechnic campuses. 

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