University evaluates daily COVID-19 screening


The email that arrives in every St. Bonaventure University student’s inbox at 08:00hrs links to a self-screening form with 7 questions, as commonly required for Covid-19 screening.

Every student must complete this health survey daily. The university hopes to increase student participation in the survey to keep the campus community safe.

On average, 840 students complete the screening form regularly on week-days” said Tom Missel, chief communications officer at St Bonaventure University.

With a student population of around 2,000, a little less than half of all students are completing the survey on weel- days. The university has changed the time the email reminder arrives in student inboxes from 05:00 to 08:00hrs and has begun to use the popular Whatsapp messenger to try and increase student participation, according to Missel.

Victoria Wangler, a senior English and professional creative writing double major, suggests that providing the survey via a messenger app rather than email definitely increases student participation.

The Richter Center has been a main reason for students to complete the daily survey.  “Usually I only take care of [the survey] when I have to go to the Richter Center,” said freshman, Tyler Everett.  Ryan Connolly, another freshman, agreed. “I complete it usually when I have to go to the Richter Center for class or the gym,” said Everett.

To enter the Richter Center, students must have completed the health screening prior to presenting themselves. Faculty and staff can request a student show their confirmation email they recieve from completing the survey before entering class.

I do complete the screening every single day because I feel that it’s important to keep track of if you have symptoms or not,” said Aiello.

Over the past week, 1,606 unique students completed the screening survey at least once with the lowest participation on Saturdays and the highest participation on Mondays.

I complete the survey for my own health and I know with the university, the more data they have the better they can protect and provide for the students,” said Aiello.

The university has used data from the survey to help combat community spread of the virus.

We have had students indicate symptoms on the screening form, which triggers a call from the Wellness Center. Most often they turn out to be negative, or some other illness,” said Missel.
The daily survey is an integrated part of a much bigger plan to help keep the campus community safe.

I think that [the survey’s] intention is to keep everyone safe, but the problem is if students don’t fill it out or are lying when they fill it out then that defeats its purpose,” said Wangler. “That’s not something the university can control, that’s the responsibility of the students.

I feel as though a lot of people do lie on it to get it done. For some it’s easier to just click no no no and be on with their day,” Aiello said.

Missel said that because some students have marked having symptoms in the survey that students are being conscientious when filling out the forms and not just clicking no for every question. The survey is more than data for the university, it offers the opportunity for students to reflect on themselves.

Not only does [the survey] allow us to check in on ourselves and see how we are feeling, but it also provides more of an emotional stability to know that someone is doing something,” said Everett. “It’s almost like a reassurance to an individual.

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