Contact tracing app launches, college students highly recommended to utilize

It uses technology from Apple and Google to let you know if you've come in contact with someone who tested positive for the Coronavirus.

Posted: Aug 3, 2020 7:45 PM

The highly anticipated contact tracing app has officially been launched for thousands of college students.

It uses technology from Apple and Google to let you know if you've come in contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.

One student told WAAY 31 he knows a lot of students are nervous about coming back to campus as the number of coronavirus cases keeps going up. But, he likes the idea of having an easy contact tracing app - and thinks it'll put some minds at ease.

"I think it could be useful, just in terms of stopping a possible spread as soon as possible," Zach Foster, a student at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, said.

The technology's been in development for months, but Foster said he learned about the new Guidesafe app on Monday. He plans on using it.

"It seems like a no hassle thing so I don't see why not," Foster said.

The GuidesSafe app is an exposure notification system that anonymously alerts someone if they've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

The University of Alabama in Birmingham said the app doesn't access your personal information, and uses Bluetooth signal strength to determine how close you were to someone who tested positive.

As part of project GuideSafe,there's also an app to monitor your symptoms through the health check tool.

"We believe in many ways this is a model for our country, but in most of all we want to provide the best service possible for our citizens including most of students who are returning to college," Dr. Selwyn Vickers, the Dean of UAB'S College of Medicine, said.

Vickers said Alabama's plan is the most comprehensive campus re-entry plan in the country - and the contact tracing app is a big part of that.

"The exposure notification app is really powerful and in many ways we have led the country in developing this that we want to make available for our students and all the citizens in our state," he said.

Any student can register for the app through their student account by using an edu email address. They'll be sent a number that allows them remain anonymous. It is not required for students to have the app, but highly recommended.

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