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Contact Tracing’s Use of Student Data

Graphic by Gerd Altmann | Pixabay

The rumor that Drake’s Contact Tracing Team is using personal data, including meal and building entry swipes as well as security camera footage, spread amongst students on campus in the last semester. However, no evidence has been found to support this rumor. 

Sophomore Molly Green was quarantined more than once, both in her dorm and in Ross Hall.

“Twice I had come in contact with a positive case and therefore had to quarantine and get tested when I could,” Green said. 

During one of her in-dorm quarantines, Green developed a low-grade fever and sluggishness. The CTT moved her to Ross until she was tested, which came back as negative.

Drake University Chief of Staff Nate Reagen, who helped assemble the CTT, said he was unaware of the rumor that Drake was using personal data to track exposure.

“Drake’s CTT complies with standard contact tracing protocols as defined by the CDC and Johns Hopkins University,” Reagen said. “[The] only information supporting contact tracing is tracked and limited to name, student ID, residence, whom they’ve been in contact with recently and COVID-19 related information.” 

Reagen explained that having access to meal swipes would not be helpful to the CCT because the swipes cannot show whether the students were within six feet of each other for more than 15 minutes. 

“When a student tests positive through Drake, a member of the contact tracing team calls the student and first verifies their identity before going through the contract tracing interview,” Reagen said. “A ‘case’ interview is to ensure they understand isolation protocols and to identify whom they have been in contact with. The identity of the positive individual is not shared with the contacts in any way.”

To ensure privacy, members of the CTT have all signed confidentiality agreements, Reagen said.  

For more information about Drake’s COVID-19 procedures and resources go to Drake.edu/coronavirus.  

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