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Ellen McDonald, News Editor

On Sept. 1, the Office of University Communications and Marketing released a press release detailing the launch of a COVID-19 reporting page.

Over the summer, the UNA community was able to view the case numbers of campus. Shortly after the return of students, this resource was removed from the University’s website. After classes started and students began to attempt to have a sense of normalcy on campus, the number of students within quarantine and isolation began to rise. 

“The data was removed as the institution was trying to determine the best course of action to ensure that the data presented was reliable,” said Tammy Jacques, the Vice President for Student Affairs. 

After this data was removed, students, faculty and staff were left to speculate and wonder about how many COVID-19 cases their University had. It was a top priority of the University to get the tracker back up onto the website to eliminate any confusion and conjecture. 

The University of North Alabama followed the lead of the University of Alabama while creating a tracking system. UA developed a systematic reporting dashboard for the institutions within their system. The UNA Administration followed that lead. 

Moving forward, the University Health Services will report data to designated faculty members, as well as with the University Communications and Marketing Department to report case numbers on a weekly basis. 

The tracker will be updated weekly on Mondays and can be found on the University’s webpage. 

“The weekly positive cases include all GuideSafe testing and any UNA student or employee that reports to Health Services,” said Jacques.

The University is continuing to employ students to report any symptoms or positive cases to UHS. This is the best possible way to ensure that the COVID-19 tracker is accurate. 

“The data represents the number of individuals who are known to have tested positive for the virus that 

Students should also report a positive test even if they were not tested through GuideSafe. It is important to remember that if a test is conducted through an external test center or a private doctor, they must send that information to UHS. That is the only way the University will be made aware of negative or positive results if testing was not conducted through GuideSafe.

causes COVID-19,” said Jacques. 

If a student is tested through the GuideSafe program, their test results are immediately sent to the University. However, the same cannot be said if a student is tested elsewhere.

Students should also report a positive test even if they were not tested through GuideSafe. It is important to remember that if a test is conducted through an external test center or a private doctor, they must send that information to UHS. That is the only way the University will be made aware of negative or positive results if testing was not conducted through GuideSafe.

The UNA community is also encouraged to continue to assist the University with contact tracing. Students, faculty and staff may access the form to report a need for contact tracing on UNA’s website. After submitting the form, a nurse will contact them for a follow-up. 

Individuals are also able to call the COVID-19 information line at 256-765-5000 or the Health Services Clinic at 256-765-4328.

If a student suspects that they are ill, they should immediately move to a private location that is away from any roommates, friends or family. They should also call UHS for further directions. 

The COVID-19 dashboard will remain on the UNA website as long as we are facing the pandemic and the University is able to provide accurate data. As the disease progresses and goes on, having a way to see case numbers will prove beneficial and bring comfort to the UNA community. 

As students continue in their classes this semester, it is paramount that they continue to do the daily health check through the GuideSafe app. Every morning, students should receive an email from UNA Health Services. This email entitled, “UNA COVID-19 Symptom Checker,” is one of the most important daily tasks of UNA students. 

It helps the University to provide accurate data and to assess any potential cases. It allows the University to successfully protect the health and well-being of the UNA community. This can only be achieved if students complete the health check.

If a student does not receive an email containing the link to the daily health check, they should download the GuideSafe app onto their phone. Through the app, checking one’s symptoms is easier and faster than scrolling through emails and clicking a link.

Students may download the GuideSafe app by scanning the QR code below.