Now in the third week of the fall semester, safety on campus has continued to be a common area of discussion. On Aug. 21, President Rita Cheng announced new additions to COVID-19 testing on campus via email. Another safety measure that will be implemented this fall is COVIDWatch, a user-friendly phone app for student safety.
Cheng stated in the email the importance of maintaining testing procedures for students, faculty and staff as students continue to move to campus. While the school will continue to test students moving onto campus, the university will also implement ongoing randomized and asymptomatic testing within the campus community.
"This phase of testing, which will use a saliva test, will be carried out through our partnership with Arizona State University and the Arizona Department of Health Services,” Cheng stated in the email. “A random sample of approximately 1,000 students, faculty and staff will be invited for testing each week.”
Testing remains available at the University Union Fieldhouse for the community. For those with symptoms or who have been in close contact with COVID-19, Cheng said Campus Health Services will provide tests throughout the fall.
The email stated testing at the Fieldhouse will continue to be available at no cost and accessible to all until Aug. 30. As of Aug. 21, Cheng said that more than 1,700 faculty, staff, students and members of the Flagstaff community have been tested using the self-administered nasal swab tests provided on campus.
Along with randomized testing, active faculty, staff and students are required to complete a health self-assessment daily by using NAU Healthcheck. Further information regarding how to use NAU Healthcheck can be found in a previous article from The Lumberjack.
NAU will also be implementing the COVIDWatch app, which will allow individuals to anonymously report a positive test result. Individuals with the app installed will be alerted of potential close contact. The email states the app will be available for iOS and Android users "campus-wide prior to the broad resumption of in-person learning on Aug. 31."
Cheng ended the email by thanking those who aided in contributing to the success of students returning to campus.
"Keeping the campus open and our semester moving forward as intended will require all of our best efforts,” Cheng said in the email. “I know that working together as we have will give us the best possible opportunity to have an exceptional year in the midst of this extraordinarily challenging time.”
Through technology, members of the NAU community can report, self-assess and receive notifications regarding COVID-19. NAU has created a new app called NAUSafe that includes features to help keep students safe on campus. A short article by NAU News reported the app will feature "notifications, alerts, tools for responding to an emergency and tips for staying safe on campus.”
The app includes safety features such as location tracking, direct contact to emergency services, reporting, safety escorts and motorist assistance. These features allow students to share their location information, directly contact emergency services, contact the NAU Police Department and request a safety escort on campus.
NAUSafe also includes a safety alert system which is accessible for NAU campuses. Safety alerts can be received through text, phone call, email and push notifications. Users can opt for alerts at any time.
Whether it is COVID-19 or general campus safety, resources are available on campus and at the touch of a button. For more information regarding testing, the Jacks are Back website provides up-to-date communication. More information regarding the NAUSafe app can be found on the Information Technology Services website.