UMD's Early Contact Identification (ECI) in Classrooms


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We must remain vigilant and committed to supporting each other, and do whatever we can to prevent the spread and further waves of COVID-19. To protect yourself and others, the Health Center is asking ALL students to adopt TWO critical and very simple practices:

  1. At the beginning of each class session, please, use your mobile device to “check-in” and scan the QR codes nearest your seating location.
  2. Do your best to remember and sit on the same seat or location (table or zone) while attending each session in the classroom. 

These two practices will make an enormous impact on your community, as they will enable the University Health Center’s staff to identify and quickly notify those who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

How do I scan a QR code?

Here are the most common ways to scan QR codes. Different devices will have different options available.

What if I can’t scan a QR code?

To manually check in, please visit https://return.umd.edu/covid/qr.

Can I use the UMD app for this?

Yes, IOS and Android users may download the UMD app and use it to scan QR codes.

What kind of data is being collected?

The student’s Directory ID, the date and time, the building name and number, room number, and the chosen seat number (when possible) or location (table, zone). Individualized data collected for this purpose will be destroyed when no longer required (within 28 days after collection). Anonymized and summary data may be retained for longer periods to assist campus COVID-19 response efforts.

The CDC defines close contact as “someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.”

How will this information be used?

To aid in early contract tracing. This information will be used only by the Health Center’s case managers to identify and notify those who have been in close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19. The data will not be provided to instructors, nor will it be used in the computation of grades or to track course attendance.

What extra steps can I take to assist with contact training and keep UMD safe?

To the extent possible, be consistent and choose the same seat/location for every class session. In addition, be diligent and document which classmates you had significant contact with (e.g., were within 6 feet for > 15 minutes) during group activities and/or attending classes in classrooms with 39 seats or less.

What strategy was used to distribute QR codes in classrooms?

For rooms with fixed seating (eg, lecture halls and round tables, QR code stickers were placed in every seat. Seats were numbered from front to back and from audience-left to audience-right.

For rooms with moveable seats, zones were identified, using a line on the floor and wall with a large sign designating each. Small rooms (30 seats or fewer with moveable seats), QR codes designating the entire room as a single zone location have been posted.

Why is UMD adopting this strategy in classrooms first?

Our primary focus continues to be the health and well-being of every member of our community. UMD is giving primary attention to classrooms where students are asked to be in-person to engage in academic activities with high room density and extended time of close contact.

Will this strategy be expanded to other rooms and spaces on campus?

UMD will monitor the adoption and explore the need to adopt similar strategies in additional spaces around campus such as instructional labs, research spaces, conference rooms, living-learning rooms, dining halls, etc.

Why can't I find a QR code in my classroom?

QR codes are being installed in all UMD instructional spaces. First priority was given to large classrooms with fixed seating (e.g., lecture halls and round tables) where QR code stickers were placed at every seat and numbered from front to back and from audience-left to audience-right.

During the first week of September, QR codes will be installed in classrooms with moveable seats. In these spaces, zones are identified using a line on the floor and wall with a large sign designating each zone and its corresponding QR code. For small rooms (30 seats or fewer with moveable seats), a single QR code designating the entire room as a single zone location will be posted inside the classroom.

General-purpose classroom spaces will be completed first, followed by departmental teaching spaces listed in the schedule of classes with target completion by the middle of September.

To report any issues related to this new procedure, please contact itsupport@umd.edu

Who should I contact for questions or more information?