(From The New York Times) Over the past year, colleges and universities have been quick to apply innovative solutions aimed at limiting the spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, many schools that use fever scanners and symptom checkers, including prominent research institutions, are not rigorously studying effectiveness, raising questions about the usefulness of the technologies. The University of Idaho, for example, invested over $90,000 installing temperature-scanning stations. But so far the fever scanners have caught fewer than 10 people out of the 9,000 students living on or near campus. Even then, university administrators could not say whether the technology had been effective because they have not tracked students flagged with fevers to see if they went on to get tested for the virus.
Some public health experts said it was understandable that colleges had not methodically assessed the technology’s effectiveness against the coronavirus. Other medical experts say increased surveillance of largely healthy college students seemed unduly intrusive, given that symptom checkers have limited usefulness and the effectiveness of wearable health monitors against Covid-19 is not yet known.
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